Day one consists of checking off a big to-do on your list. Holiday shopping. You may be dreading it, but with all the festive local shopping options in Minneapolis, this task will be a breeze and dare we say fun experience? Start the morning off right with a scrumptious pastry and strong deliciously brewed coffee. Try Patisserie 46 which sells French pastries and some of the best flaky croissants. Café Ceres has three locations and takes inspiration from Turkish flavors. Make sure to grab a craft latte and something from their sweet and savory pastry selection. Black Walnut Bakery also perfects the croissant, so much so they have created a croissant loaf bread that is used in their must-try egg and cheese sandwich. We also recommend the kouign-amann here, it’s chef’s kiss.
Now that you’re fueled up, it’s time to shop! All over Minneapolis you can find holiday pop-up markets at breweries, event venues and food halls. These seasonal markets offer a chance to find niche gifts you won’t find anywhere else from local artisans. Many of them also have fun holiday activities for the whole family, live music and food vendors. See what holiday markets are happening the week you’re in town!
After you’ve crossed a few people off your shopping list, it’s time for lunch. Soup season is here, so fill up at these restaurants that are offering some hearty options. A Minnesotan favorite is the chicken wild rice soup which features the official state grain—locally grown and harvested wild rice (known as manoomin in the Ojibwe language). It can be found on a lot of menus during the winter season, but we recommend the ones at the Loon Café, Hi Lo Diner or French Meadow Bakery. Kramarczuk Sausage Company, in addition to legendary Eastern European sausages and Ukrainian specialties, serves up a classic chicken noodle soup. If you’re on the lookout for the best pho in Minneapolis, we recommend Quang, Lotus Restaurant and Pho Tau Bay. Ramen fans should try popular locations Zen Box Izakaya and Tori 44.
Ok back to shopping. This time try your luck at some of Minneapolis’ most popular holiday shopping spots. These include markets like the Midtown Global Market or Mercado Central. Hit up local boutiques selling everything from self-care products to home-goods at places like Kobi Co., 14 Hill Gift Shop and Patina. Head over to the Northrop King Building for open studio events and find local artists selling their work. Get the most unique find at one of our many vintage shops. Or make the bookworm in your life happy with a gift from a local bookstore.
If you need a coffee break in between we know a few cozy spots that will get you motivated again.
For a truly magically shopping experience visit the Dayton’s Project’s Winter Makers Market in the heart of downtown, where there will be around 78 vendors, including 25 giftable gourmet foods and a flower market. You can also buy a limited-edition Santa Bear. A long-standing tradition since the 80’s, the Santa Bear is a collectible item and this year’s bear will feature a festive hat and matching tote. Be sure to walk around Nicollet and the area near the Winter Makers Market, which will be decorated with holiday window displays created by Minneapolis-based artists.
Hopefully by now your hands are full of shopping bags. Reward yourself with dinner at some of the tastiest restaurants in the city. Boludo offers a tantalizing fusion of Argentine and Latin American flavors, serving up delectable pizzas and empanadas. For locally sourced, French-inspired cuisine head over to Petite Leon. Tamu Grill has flavorful dishes from Kenya and other parts of Africa. For our vegan friends, Francis Burger Joint serves up classic burgers and chicken sandwiches with a plant-based twist. Lastly, get your Mexican food fix at Maya Cuisine, they have tamales, tacos, sizable burritos, and much more.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention another holiday shopping option: taking a trip out to the Mall of America. Since it’s the largest mall in North America, we recommend spending most of the day here if this is where you choose to do your shopping. The best part? It’s an easy trip in and out of Minneapolis via the METRO Transit Blue Line train. Now, you could dedicate all your time to shopping while you are here, they have hundreds of stores to explore, but the Mall of America is also filled with attractions and dining options. Get up close and personal with the underwater aquatic world at SEA Life or have a thrilling adventure at the indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe Become a putt putt pro at the Moose Mountain Adventure Golf or Rock of Ages Blacklight Mini Golf games. The Crayola Experience is a colorful attraction where you can explore many different hands-on activities with Crayola products. You can also watch the latest blockbuster at the B & B Movie Theater.
For a quick bite head over to the food courts filled with favorites like Shake Shack or Slice Brothers Pizza. There’s also the option of a full-service meal at places like Twin City Grill and Crave. During the holiday season the Mall of America goes all out, and we don’t just mean the two 44-foot tall, decorated trees in their Rotunda. Make an appointment to visit with Santa Claus, go on an interactive tour of the North Pole at the Candy Cane Institute or listen to a holiday music performance. The Mall has plenty of holiday experiences and events happening throughout the entire season. Whatever shopping route you take, know that Minneapolis has plenty of gift options for all your loved ones.