Downtown edge, cutting edge attractions
The area around Loring Park attracts a slightly older residential demographic (young professionals and empty-nesters that have moved back into the city), but don’t associate “older” with “boring.” For starters, this is ground zero for the historic and inclusive Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival every June, as well as Rock the Garden, held in July, an annual indie rock music festival organized by the Walker Art Center and Minnesota Public Radio. That said, Loring is also a great place for a mellow afternoon of art and an outstanding dinner.
Uniting Parks and Cultural Life
Since 1940, the Walker Art Center has been a Minneapolis institution and one of the most visited modern and contemporary art museums in the country. The interdisciplinary exhibits are enriched by a roof-top terrace, plazas and gardens. Across the street the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture park in the world, featuring some 40 works of contemporary art, including the city’s iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry.”
Best known as the spot where the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival party shifts into overdrive, Loring Park itself is the most complete park in the downtown area, with basketball and tennis courts, wading pool, picnic areas, garden, playground, pond and a bandstand. It’s surrounded on three sides by residential buildings and businesses. The fourth side faces the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, conveniently accessible by a bridge that crosses over the zooming traffic on Lyndale Avenue.
Eat It Up
The neighborhood’s eating options are few, but generally outstanding. The indisputable special night out spot in the neighborhood is Café & Bar Lurcat, offering a pleasing menu of souped-up comfort food, which includes jaw-slackening twists on sea and land food. Butcher & the Boar was an overnight hit when it opened in 2012. If you like sausage, charcuterie and, obviously, boar, this place is your Dollywood. The sampler is the way to go. Just a few years into what will hopefully be a long engagement, 4 Bells serves “South Carolina low-country” food in the form of fried chicken, beef and pretty much the whole checklist of east coast seafood. A different menu is served up on the roof patio.
Just a few blocks from Loring Park you'll find Salsa a la Salsa. Enjoy a large menu filled with authentic Mexican food and a fantastic happy hour (two for one margaritas!). A few doors down lives the Nicollet Diner. Get your pancake, burger, or chocolate shake fix at any time of day (they're open 24 hours!). If you need to quench your thirst, Lakes & Legends Brewing is close by. Stop in for a variety of brews and some indoor lawn games.
If you have a lot of mouths to feed, Buca di Beppo Italian will do the trick. Its mountains of pasta can feed three to five people per serving – perfect for a family night out. The maze-like Loring Park location was the first of what is now over 100 locations worldwide!