North Loop & Warehouse District
“Best,” “favorite,” “cool,” “hippest” – the startling transformation of the North Loop
Venture on the northern outskirts of downtown Minneapolis and you’ll stumble upon “Northloop” or “the Warehouse District.” The two terms are used interchangeably in reference to pretty much everything north and west of 1st Avenue North.
This melting pot of trendy shops and innovative restaurants has transformed warehouses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and created a vibrant neighborhood that is continually growing.
It’s an area with a bustling nightlife, where you’ll find a lively crowd after a concert or a game looking to extend the night just a little bit longer. The number of dynamic places to eat, shop and spend your evening here is just downright unfair.
Things to Do
Two major sporting venues have settled in the North Loop and Warehouse District. Target Field is where the Minnesota Twins can be found running the bases on beautiful hot summer days. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and the food vendors are from the most popular local restaurants in the area, making a visit to the ballpark a true local experience.
Target Center is where both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx call home. Watch some of the best athletes in basketball performing at their highest level in this recently renovated space. While you're in the area walk down towards the light rail station and take a couple selfies near the Bob Dylan Mural created by artist Eduardo Kobra.
Both Target Field and Target Center are known to bring some big act concerts and shows as well.
If you need a laugh the Acme Comedy Company is an intimate standup comedy club that provides a stage for local and up-and-coming comedians in Minneapolis. Another option for discovering talent is The Lab Theater. Depending on the time of year, they host live theater, music, dance, cabaret, fashion and burlesque.
Where to Shop
The North Loop and Warehouse District neighborhood is filled with plenty of local shops and designer boutiques to go on a spending spree for yourself or find that continually elusive unique gift.
For women’s clothing, D. NOLO (“Destination: North Loop”) is a boutique shop selling fashion-forward styles, home goods and accessories. Grethen House stocks a delightful variety of upscale clothing and accessories, with a sharp eye on trends of the season. Statement Boutique carries affordable local and designer jewelry, clothes and accessories.
Askov Finlayson sells high-end, magazine photo shoot-ready men’s clothing, bags, accessories, apothecary items, outdoor apparel and supplies. MartinPatrick 3 has gained traction as a fashionable and sophisticated men’s clothing store that also encompasses fine home furnishings.
Wilson and Willy’s features Minnesota-made items like men and women’s apparel, home furnishings, décor and accessories and apothecary products. In business for 20+ years, Cave Paper makes colorful paper and cards by hand from raw fiber for artists, bookbinders, calligraphers and everyday consumers.
James & Mary Laurie Booksellers have accumulated a staggering 120,000 books (many of them hard to find or out of print) and 30,000 vintage classical and jazz records. One on One is a bike shop/café hybrid. They sell new, refurbished and custom bikes, do repairs and have a “bike junkyard” in the basement where the patient and curious can dig through the heap of bikes and parts. The café serves coffee, soup, sandwiches and pastries.
Where to Eat & Drink
James Beard-recognized chefs have clustered in this area. Leading the charge with so-called “New Nordic Cuisine” is The Bachelor Farmer. Their dedication to using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients year-round (including from their rooftop garden) and whole-animal butchery sparked a trend that can now be found in restaurants around the city. Their café next door is a popular place for lunch and idle coffee sipping. And their Marvel Bar in the basement is a hidden speakeasy with some of the best cocktails in the county.
Spoon and Stable’s chef and owner is James Beard Award winner Gavin Kaysen. It’s a top recommendation for all who have stepped foot in this trendy eatery that puts a spin on Midwestern cuisine. These are coveted tables most weekends so it’s best to reserve well in advance.
Locals will also often mention Bar La Grassa as a neighborhood favorite. A wide variety of pastas and other crowd-pleasing Italian staples are served here.
Smack Shack may be best known for their lobster-enhanced dishes, but they also do exceptional oysters, crab, scallops, calamari, walleye and other varieties of seafood.
The much-awarded Borough is one Minneapolis’ most popular dining destinations. Their downstairs bar, Parlour, is one of the city’s top cocktail labs. No matter which floor you’re on, know that “The Burger” (two ribeye/chuck/brisket patties infused with garlic, shallots, and thyme with American cheese on an egg bun) has caused virtually every food critic to weep with joy.
True Tokyo style and flavor can be found at Kado No Mise, where every meal is carefully hand-crafted from a select choice of fresh, local Japanese ingredients.
With Target Field and Target Center, in such close proximity, this part of downtown is frequently visited by sports fans. The area is consequently filled with bars and clubs to extend the merriment. Just a few of the options in the area include Kieran’s Irish Pub (restaurant, pub), Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar (German beer, pub food), Brothers Bar and Grill (sports bar), City Works (giant sports bar, American food), Lyon’s Pub (English pub, bar food) and O’Donovan’s Irish Pub.
Dating back to 1906, the Monte Carlo is a classic supper-club that is these days best known as a casual place to drink. The coppertop bar with the awe-inspiring wall of alcohol behind it is hypnotic and the patio is considered one of the best in the neighborhood.
Cap it all off with dessert at Edwards Dessert Kitchen, a spot solely dedicated to serving up extravagant sweets and pastries, like passion fruit-chocolate mousse.
Getting to and Around the North Loop
(Starting point of Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet)
Parking in North Loop is a mixed bag, depending on what day/time you go and whether or not there’s a game at Target Field. It’s mostly on-street, metered parking but persistent people may score a free spot a block or two off Washington Ave, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare.
Depending on where you start your journey, much of North Loop is within walking distance of central downtown. Both the Route 7 and Route 14 buses head into the neighborhood.