What to Do Around the Minneapolis Armory

Get your boogie on in this historical event space, unique to Minneapolis! If you want to grab food or beverages, or just want to waste some time before or after an Armory event, the options are numerous.

Photo by Tyler Allix, owned by The Armory

Minneapolis Armory History

The Minneapolis Armory is located in downtown Minneapolis, just a few blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium.

Completed in 1936, the Armory was operated by the Minnesota National Guard until 1980. During this time it was used to run military drills, host concerts, political conventions and sporting events, including games for the Minneapolis Lakers NBA team between 1947 and 1960, before the team moved to a less awesome city. The Armory was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Photo by Tyler Allix, Owned by The Armory

Once home to the Minneapolis Lakers, fans of Prince and Aerosmith may also be familiar with the Armory’s made-for-music-and-sports interior! The videos for “1999” and “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing” were filmed here in 1982 and 1998 respectively.

Photo by Tyler Allix, Owned by The Armory
Photo by Tyler Allix, Owned by The Armory

Places to Eat and Drink Near the Armory

Only a few blocks away is Sawatdee, a local favorite that has plenty of Thai food classics. This location prides itself on being the pioneer of Thai in the Twin Cities, as the first Thai restaurant that opened in 1986. Across the Washington Ave., another local hot spot can be found. Zen Box Izakaya is all about the Japanese comfort food. Get yourself a hearty bowl of ramen and a couple pieces of sashmi on the side before getting your night started.
 
Even closer is Bar Zia, serving a pleasingly priced, comfortingly familiar array of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and small plates. They have two-for-one drinks and $2 off appetizers during happy hour. Having recently been reinvented with a short but respected menu is Dan Kelly’s Pub. The old Irish bar is still dark as a cave, but it has a strong selection of beer and whiskeys and an attractive happy hour.

Maxwell’s American Pub is less sporty, with more of a neighborhood hangout feel. The menu is mainly filled with classic pub food, with Minnesota touches like tatter tots with chicken wild rice and “Midwest Jambalaya.” Day Block Brewing Company doubles as a brewpub with a full bar and a live music venue! The menu offers snacks, sandwiches and pizzas to hold you down.

Things to See & Do in the Area

In agreeable weather, kick back at The Commons, a downtown park right across the street from the Armory. They host a lot of pop-up events here, but it’s also a nice place to sit in green grass (or snow), play Frisbee and relax.

Commons Park, Photo by Christopher Sticha; cstichaphoto@gmail.com

If pairing your concert energy with fascinating Minneapolis history sounds appealing, the Mill City Museum is your ticket. The museum tracks the history of flour milling and how it transformed Minneapolis from scattered settlements into the flour milling capital of the world for 50 years, powered by the only naturally occurring falls on the entire length of the Mississippi River. You'll encounter more than just history, with stunning views and exquisite architecture!

At the Guthrie Theater you'll find the Amber Box, a cantilever that protrudes 15 feet from the building and provides a near 360-degree view of Minneapolis from its retro yellow windows. Right below it is the Guthrie Theater's Endless Bridge, another cantilever that extends 178 feet from the face of the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis. a picture perfect spot for some of the best views in the city! 

Mill City Museum, Photo by Coppersmith Photography

Finally, there’s the allure of the West River Parkway (this particular section is designated as a regional park), with bike and walking paths, more open areas on which to pass your time. The St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center and the historic (and highly Instagrammable) Stone Arch Bridge are local favorites for walks, bike rides and photo-ops galore!

Stone Arch Bridge, Photo by Minneapolis Parks and Recreation

For more night out options in the area, check out our neighborhood guides for East Downtown/Mill District, Nicollet and the Central Business District


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