Photo Courtesy of the Art Shanty Project

Things to do around Lake Harriet during the Art Shanty exhibit

Not your average ice fishing - warm up with some food, drinks and shopping near this unique Minneapolis event.

Photo Courtesy of the Art Shanty Project

For those of you new to cold climates, a quick primer: Certain individuals in these parts get genuinely excited to spend a day sitting on a frozen body of water, with a fishing line dangling into a hole in the ice that they just created with a giant corkscrew thing called an “auger.”

The fanciest of these ice fishing enthusiasts will drag a purpose-made shanty out on the ice, to provide a sense of comfort and protect themselves from the bitter cold they have intentionally exposed themselves to. In extreme cases, these shanties can resemble a small house, with reclining chairs, beds, stoves, power, running water, kitchenettes, sonar, entertainment centers and more. 

The Art Shanty Projects has taken this unusual medium in a new direction. Each winter, they now host an exhibit of artist-designed shanties, “exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments.” The event is free. And super cool.

Once you’ve broadened your mind in this field, here are a few things to do around the neighborhood. 

South Minneapolis is awash in great eating options. On the south side of the lake, Broders’ Pasta Bar is a neighborhood favorite, serving incredibly fresh pasta plates with local and imported ingredients since 1994. Tables in this small space are hard to get at peak dinner hours. They also run TERZO across the street, serving more bistro-style Italian with pasta, steak, scallops and a giant wine list. They also have a porchetteria (walk-up pork sandwich window).

Salut Bar Americain

Red Cow, a four-location a local chain, serves craft beers, fancy burgers, sandwiches and a variety of sharing plates. Salut Bar Americain is a traditional French bistro serving old school dishes with duck, chicken and beef, numerous seafood options, including a raw bar, and craft cocktails. Get your American comfort food at Coalition Restaurant, including walleye, scallops, lamb chops and roasted chicken. More Italian is available at Arezzo Ristorante, specializing in upscale Tuscan food and brick-oven pizza. (Dinner only.)

Barcelona Burger at Red Cow

Lake Harriet’s west side has the much-awarded Tilia, serving creative twists on New American cuisine like chicken liver mousse, bass tartare and hanger steak. Unless you arrive just as the doors open, there is often a line for tables. Nearby, The Harriet Brasserie is also whipping up seasonal, New American plates like clam and bison sausage, duck tacos, Norwegian salmon and the tantalizing lobster and pork belly entrée. Martina’s Argentinean menu has a dazzling array of meat and seafood, like mackerel, tiger prawns, swordfish, octopus (with bone marrow!), pork chops and an 80-day aged bone-in NY steak. (Dinner only.) If you just want a treat, Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream Shop has been a Twin Cities staple for homemade ice cream for decades. 

On the east side, Tenant Restaurant has strict seating times, so plan ahead. Open in 2017, the hype here is still strong for its $50, six-course, seasonal tasting menu (no substitutions, though they can accommodate allergies). The menu is far too variable to call out any one dish, though scrolling through their Instagram feed will give you an idea of what to expect. A wine paring is available. Neighborhood mainstay Café Ena serves Pan-Latin dishes, with a lot of seafood and meat at casual night out prices. A few blocks away, La Fresca (same owners), has a similar model with a more specific Mexican focus. Corner Table dishes up a seasonal $45 prix fixe menu of French techniques applied to American fare. Across the street, Sun Street Breads serves a bakery-fueled menu of breakfast plates, sandwiches, soups and pastries till 2pm. Thursdays are pizza night (5-8pm). Revival serves Southern comfort food like wings, shrimp and corn pudding, and several presentations of chicken, with accompaniments like waffles or dumplings. More comfort food is available at C & G’s Smoking Barbeque, including family-priced sandwiches, ribs, wings, tips and fish or chicken slabs. 

Shopping options in the area are also generous. Southwest of the lake is the 50th and France shopping hub, with upscale chains and boutiques like, Anthropologie (chain women’s clothing), Athleta (chain sportswear), Fringe (fashion accessories), Nani Nalu (swimwear) and Bluebird Boutique (women’s clothing). 

To the west of the lake is Bibelot (gift shop), Wild Rumpus (bookstore), Poppy (women’s clothing), Heartfelt (toys, gifts, crafts) and Heart of Tibet (cultural gifts, clothing, jewelry, textiles and more).

Bibelot Minnesota-inspired product, photo courtesy of Bibelot Shops

East of Harriet is Millie (boutique clothing, jewelry and accessories), Patina (gift shop), Comic Book College (comics books, action figures and posters), Tower Games (game store) and Sugar Sugar (candy store). 

There are more shopping and food options at the nearby business and retail hub of Lake and Hennepin.