Minneapolis Farmers Markets: What to Eat, Buy and Do
Farmers markets are a wondrous, one-stop keyhole into a city’s people, culture and, of course, food. Here are a few markets where you can get an enlightening and quick read on Minneapolis.
- Location: 312 East Lyndale Ave N
- Hours: Daily, 6 a.m. – 1 p.m., year-round
Buckle up! This is the original Twin Cities farmers market, first opened in 1876, and still its largest. It’s also the biggest Minneapolis winter farmers market. Weekends frequently include themed days, presentations and live music. The market gives away canvas bags on select days. Check their calendar for specifics.
You’ll need plenty of fuel stops to get through this massive market. Smokehouse Snacks serves hot dogs, brats, breakfast wraps and pork chops straight from the grill. They also have beef and turkey jerky and beef sticks. Caribbean Heat has ready-to-eat burritos and tacos, served on 12 flavors of tortillas, with homage salsa and Mama Julie’s Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. If it’s just a snack you need, stop at Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, which also serves cashews and pecans. Great Harvest Bread Co. has cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, scones and all manner of bread. Sweeter options include Groveland Confections, which has candies, salty dogs, moo pies, caramel bars, truffles, and a full cupcake bar!
There are nearly 300 permanent and rotating vendors selling eggs, locally raised beef, pork, buffalo, poultry, goat, lamb, fresh & smoked trout, Alaskan salmon and codfish. Need we go on? OK, there’s also baked goods, hummus, maple syrup, honey, pickles, artisan cheeses, jams, jellies, wild rice and pasta. And of course there’s the full rainbow of local produce, flowers and plants.
The Lyndale Minneapolis farmers market parking is abundant and free! Click here for driving directions and a great map of the market itself. Alternatively, several bus lines run past the market. Check the Metro Transit Web site for schedules or use your favorite route-planning app.
If crowds (and parking uncertainties) aren’t your thing, aim for a weekday visit or even an early morning on a weekend. Fridays are best, as there are almost as many vendors as the weekends, but far fewer shoppers.
If you’re in central downtown on a Thursday, a smaller pop-up farmers market happens on Nicollet (6am - 6pm, May-November), stretching from 5th to 12th Street. This one is much easier to reach by public transportation. The Blue and Green light rail lines both stop at the Nicollet Mall station.
- Location: Saturday market 704 S 2nd St; Tuesday night market 425 Portland Avenue South
- Summer hours (May through October): Saturdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesdays 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Winter hours (November through April): Select Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Mill City is like a party, partly held in your mouth, and everyone is invited.
One of Mill City’s first ever food vendors, the Chef Shack food truck, assembles bison burgers, veggie burgers, bacon brats, pulled pork nachos, tacos and more. Gorkha Palace serves authentic, organic-fueled Nepali, Indian and Tibetan cuisine. Depending on season, Gorkha has plates of beef momo (steamed pot stickers, filled with vegetables and spices), turkey momo, yak momo, vegetable curries and daal (lentil soup). Wood fired pizzas made from meat, veggies and cheese sourced at the market are on offer at Northern Fires. Black Cat Natural Foods’ signature dishes include “The Donner” (egg, sausage and cheese sandwich), the Market Omelette (seasonal herbs and vegetables) and BBQ Pulled Pork Hash, plus seasonal pancakes, sandwiches and rice bowls. 3 Bear Oats has organic, gluten-free steel-cut oatmeal with a variety of toppings. For dessert, there’s ice cream, sorbet and gelato at Sonny’s Ice Cream, the legendary baked goods from Salty Tart and gluten-free bakery items from Sift.
Activities & Events
Mill City is as much a classroom as it is a market. A free 20-30 minute cooking class is held every Saturday at 10:30 a.m., featuring items sourced at the market. Samples and printed recipes are available at the end of each class, which often features a local celebrity guest chef and themes like the annual Bread Fest.
The Meet Your Vegetables demonstrations and Power of Produce vegetable tasting booth gives kids a deeper dive into the seasonal items at the market. Other kid-friendly activities include Guthrie Story Telling and Mini Farm programs.
The Tuesday night market additionally features beer and wine nights once a month, lawn games, and four acres of park space to race around or relax in. Finally, free yoga classes are held at most markets and there’s always live music.
For up-to-the-minute changes, times and special events, check the Mill City Farmers Market schedule.
Mill City has no shortage of crafts and take-home items. Pottery, textiles, knitted clothing, ceramics, prints, jewelry, woodwork and many other artisans can be found here. Organic body care products include soap, oil, creams, butters and even beehive products. In addition to the multitudes of produce and raw ingredients, one can buy honey, syrup, coffee, jam, pickles, kimchi, salsa, tea, flowers and plants.
Street parking for the Saturday market can be competitive. For those eager to dive into the market without a lengthy parking scavenger hunt, the nearby, pay-per-hour Guthrie Theater parking ramp is a quick solution. The nearest light rail stop, for both the Blue and Green Lines, is U.S. Bank Stadium, about three blocks away.
Being on the edge of downtown, there are numerous nearby attractions that can add up to a full day of activities. The world renowned Guthrie Theater is mere steps from the market, as is the Mill City Museum, which details the development of Minneapolis around the flour milling industry. The Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park are among the best Instagram spots along this part of the Mississippi River. Across the river is St. Anthony, one of the oldest settlements in Minneapolis. Of course, downtown itself has numerous eating drinking, music and sporting enticements.
Location: 4310 Nicollet Ave
Hours: Sundays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. (May through October)
Located in South Minneapolis, Kingfield is a cheery, family outing-style Sunday farmers market. There is always has live music as well as live demonstrations most weeks. Check their Facebook page for updates and announcements.
There’s a bounty of prepared foods here. Alimama Mediterranean Grill’s food truck dishes out baskets of sambusas. Dumpling makes ramen, banh mis and, of course, dumplings. Northern Fires Pizza bakes award-winning wood fired pizza. The Chef Shack food truck makes an appearance here, serving their menu of burgers, brats and tacos. Bogart’s Doughnut Co., Sonny’s Ice Cream and Groveland Confections take care of any sweets urges. There’s also paella, bagels, breads, pastries, vegetarian items, gluten-free baked goods, pies, coffee, bars and more.
Kingfield Market was named Best Farmers Market in 2013 and 2011 by local weekly paper City Pages. Each week there are thirty vendors at this produce-focused market, selling seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses, spices, flowers, plants, body care products, woodworking, ceramics, crafts, soaps, and pet toys & treats, to name a few.
If you’re visiting without a car, the Kingfield Farmers Market is easy to reach from downtown on Metro Transit’s Route 18, a hi-frequency bus that runs down Nicollet Mall. Other buses that pass nearby are the 142, the 568, the 46, the 146, the 535, and the 11. Check the Metro Transit Web site for details.
Other Minneapolis Farmers Markets
Part market, part neighborhood celebration, the West Broadway Farmers Market is open Friday afternoons, June through October. The requisite fruit and veggies are here, but there’s also clothing, art, live music, DJs and spontaneous dance parties.
The Midtown Farmers Market, at Lake Street and Hiawatha Ave. in South Minneapolis, is open May through October, Saturdays (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and Tuesdays (3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.). On hand is fresh produce, eggs, chicken, honey, maple syrup, flowers, spices, bread, sauces, jams, jellies, arts, craft and a variety of ready-to-eat food. There’s also live music!
Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market has food trucks, children’s activities, chiropractic services and henna art, in addition to the obligatory produce, jams, spices and handcrafts.
Another Saturday morning option is the Fulton Farmers Market in South Minneapolis. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., May through October. Another family-oriented market, Fulton has produce, breads, pastries, coffee and prepared food. They also have weekly story time, music, and/or educational programming.
Midtown Global Market isn’t a traditional farmers market, it’s entirely indoors for one thing, but it’s definitely a market atmosphere, offering a wide variety of cuisine, shopping and cultural events. Prepared food includes Mexican, Middle Eastern, Italian, Indian, Korean, Moroccan, Chinese, East African, a brewery, ice cream and baked goods. There are also numerous stalls selling apparel and crafts.