Where the Good Times Are
Nestled along the Mississippi River, Northeast Minneapolis extends far back into a thriving industrial oasis. The area is an embodiment of old meets new - perfectly combined into a melting pot of change and preservation where cobblestone streets meet newly paved roads. New businesses, often local, open their doors next to historic shops and businesses while residential neighborhoods continue to grow as a city-wide hot spot for calling home.
Wherever you go you will never be far from a restaurant, brewery and/or distillery. With a food and drink scene as innovative and diverse as the generations that live there, Northeast is prime for spending your free time in - morning, noon and night.
Things to Do
Old warehouses containing artist studios, galleries and live performance spaces are a hallmark of Northeast Minneapolis. The area’s 400-some artists open their galleries and show off their stuff at a variety of fairs and art crawls, including the legendary Art-A-Whirl, which occurs annually on the third weekend in May. For an extensive directory of Northeast art galleries and events, visit the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association.
Discover clues, decipher hints, and solve puzzles with your friends at the Riddle Room, the original Twin Cities escape room. Pulse-quickening missions like shutting down a nuclear missile set to launch by a rogue general or saving the starship from certain doom must be completed in an hour or less.
Insider Tip: Just before intersecting with Northeast Minneapolis, Hennepin Ave bisects Nicollet Island, where a hidden, small, but delightful neighborhood can be found on the north side of the island. Have a wander around the brick streets, lined with beautifully maintained houses with white picket fences – quaint hidden treasure in the middle of the city.
Before or after grabbing a bite nearby (because we promise you can’t resist), find some time to stop at St. Anthony Main Theatre for a film. Flagship venue to the annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, the theatre screens current and popular movies as well as international and independent cinema through daily screenings and other niche film festivals and series.
Where to Eat & Drink
Because Northeast is so spacious, it’s a popular stop for food and drink of all kinds. From lively hotspots to hidden industrial gems, your options to fill up on are plentiful.
St. Anthony Main and the Riverfront Entertainment District
The riverfront’s cobblestone Main Street is lined with terraces and spectacular views. If you enjoy a whiff of history with your food and beverages, check out Pracna on Main, opened circa 1890, making it Minneapolis’ oldest, continually running tavern and café. Wilde Café & Spirits, named for the famous writer himself, is situated in a Victorian dining room that would make Oscar proud. They serve individual pizzas and sandwiches or just stop in for a cup of refreshing gelato. Tranquil Aster Café has a particularly attractive patio to complement its outstanding menu and popular happy hour.
Still on the riverfront, but farther north is Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, a pleasingly ridiculous series of dining rooms and massive terrace swathed in Polynesian decorations. On the menu are tiki drinks and Minnesota favorites like cheese curds and tater tots. Nearby is Suzi’s sister venue, the exceptional Betty Danger’s Country Club, “a country club for the 99 percent,” where one can munch on Tex-Mex and drink fruity cocktails while riding a ferris wheel with beautiful skyline views. Yes, seriously.
The East Hennepin Ave Corridor, Ethnic and New American Cuisine
In business for over 60 years, Kramarczuk's Polish restaurant, deli and bakery attracts customers of all backgrounds for fresh baked bread, pastries, smoked sausages (in dozens of varieties), stewed cabbage, head cheese and other “babushka” favorites. Minnesota German beer hall chain, New Bohemia, is heavy on the wurst, wurst and more wurst, including two vegan varieties for the less carnivore-inclined.
Newer to the neighborhood is the buzzing New American cuisine at Bardo. The short menu has a tempting variety of moderately priced small plates, craft cocktails and a small but strong selection of tap beers. PinkU Japanese Street Food serves obsessively crafted small plates, just 11 of them, of Japanese seafood favorites, prepared in an open kitchen. Ginger Hop has a reasonably priced Asian fusion menu, craft beers, a gorgeous, wood-crafted Indochine décor (check out the ceiling fans), and frequent events in their basement lounge space, Honey.
Long time Northeast favorite, Red Stag Supperclub, has more New American cuisine amazingness to offer. Their famous Tuesday “Cheap Date Night” special includes two entrées, a bottle of wine (or two beers) and a dessert for $36 per couple. Their breakfasts and brunches are no less famous. The slow-cooked comfort food at Brasa Premium Rotisserie includes Creole-inspired dishes like pulled pork and chicken, slow roasted beef, gumbo fried rice, crispy yucca and fried plantains.
Head less than two miles up Central Ave and find a pocket of incredible cuisine. Try Durango Bakery, a Mexican pastry shop that serves fresh breads, donuts, cakes and other delicious baked goods. Across the street you'll find Adelita's Mexican Restaurant where you'll find dishes from Northern and Southern Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, and more. They put their own twist on each dish to create an elevated version of cultural favorites. Also be sure to check out Holy Land, a local favorite for Arabic, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine! They're known for their gyros, falafel, hummus and kabobs and they've even been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
13th Ave and University Ave Crossroads, A Food and Beer Speed Round
The intersection of 13th and University has some notably great night out spots radiating out in all directions. These include North East Social (American/Continental bistro), Erte (French-American food, craft cocktails), Anchor Fish and Chips (Alaskan cod, Irish pub food), Dangerous Man Brewery (craft brewery and taproom) and Young Joni (award-winning wood-fired pizza, Korean grill).
You can’t swing a fixie bike around Northeast without hitting a dive bar, namely 311 Club (vintage dive bar, live music), Mayslacks (old school dive, roast beef sandwiches, live music), Shaw’s (sports bar, live music), Grumpy’s (tavern, bar food, video games) and Northeast Palace (live music, dancing, karaoke).
The craft beer scene landed hard on Northeast Minneapolis. The dizzying options include the 612Brew and its enormous indoor, wood-brick space and a small, atmospheric stone amphitheater outside. They keep about 10 house beers on tap at a time. Bauhaus Brew Labs serves a German-American beer hybrid in their busy taproom which hosts events like film screenings, trivia and live music. Indeed Brewing Company has two taprooms, serving pints of their flagship Day Tripper Pale Ale, IPAs, experimental brews, and the Wooden Soul series of wild, sour, and barrel-aged beer. Finally, there is Sociable Cider Werks, for those who like a little apple zing with their brewery explorations.
Because everything is in such close proximity, you can either make yourself comfortable at one spot or opt for some variety and hop from place to place. There’s no bad choices here.
Where to Shop
In between the restaurants and neighborhoods are plenty of stores worth whipping out your wallet for. Explore the open studios at the Northrup King and Solar Arts buildings, located in the heart of the Northeast Arts District, during the art crawl and fair off season. For a unique collection of women’s global fashion by designers who only use fair trade and sustainable fabrics, dive through the racks at Key North Boutique. If you’re looking for more greenery to fill your living quarters and work space, or for the perfect kind of gift that says ‘Hey, you rock’, make a stop at Madre Cacti, a hot commodity for cactuses from Mexico.
If you were born in the wrong decade or prefer to spend your money on unique and used products, Rewind Minneapolis, findfurnish and Tandem Vintage might just be calling your name. Magus Books & Herbs stocks up on a wide assortment of metaphysical supplies for those looking to expand their spiritual perspectives. Find everything from crystals, tarot decks and art to jewelry, oils and yes - you guessed it – books and herbs. And just because Minnesota made products are the best thing ever (no sarcasm, all truth), don’t forget to check out I Like You for unique handmade gifts by local artists! The ‘I like you’ mural on the side of the building is also a prime Instagram hot spot.
Getting to and Around Northeast
(Starting point of Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet)
Parking in Northeast varies from block to block. On and around Hennepin Ave. and Central Ave. is where parking is the most challenging. The farther north you go, the more street parking there is.
Being that this area, as we’ve defined it, is so large, there are several options for getting here on public transport from downtown. Routes 4 and 61 run straight up Hennepin from downtown. Route 11 goes up to the cluster of bars and restaurants around 13th Ave NE and University Ave. and continues north up to Betty Danger’s Country Club.