Update: September 2021
This area of Minneapolis is working to rebuild its community after the events and unrest following George Floyd's death. The community continues to stay resilient and hopeful. In addition to supporting local businesses in this area, you can help by donating directly to the Rebuilding Greater Longfellow fund.
Plan on spending a fair amount of time exploring this historic Minneapolis community made up of four individual neighborhoods: Cooper, Hiawatha, Howe, and Longfellow. Established in the 1880s, Longfellow is named after the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose famous poem, “The Song of Hiawatha,” incorporated tales of the Dakota Native American tribe who inhabited this area for centuries before European settlers.
Located along the breathtaking Mississippi River Gorge, the Longfellow community is rich in nature and recreation with scenic expanses including the fabled Minnehaha Falls and miles of parkland, biking, and hiking trails. It is also home to unique Craftsman-style and star architect residential housing and the Minnehaha Mile, a wide, bike-friendly retail boulevard hosting an abundance of antique, vintage, retro, and secondhand shops. All this along with great eating and entertainment establishments make for a great time for all!
Things to Do
Nature provides plenty of free activities in the Longfellow neighborhood, thanks to the abundance cycling, running, hiking, and walking opportunities along the Mississippi River’s scenic East River Road.
No trip to this area would be complete without exploring the many attractions of Minnehaha Regional Park, including the Falls themselves, plus several gardens, playgrounds, and historical sites. And if you want to go for the surrey with the fringe on top, you're in luck! Family surreys and other fun wheels are available for rent at Minnehaha Falls from Wheel Fun Rentals.
Nighttime fun can be found year round at Longfellow’s Trylon Cinema. This tiny venue is step back in time using authentic 35mm projectors to screen many of its classic films, six nights a week. Though compact, the Trylon features 90 brand new comfy seats with ample spaces for wheelchairs. Local tip: the cinema is cash only at the door—though tickets can be purchased online in advance. Check their website for current and upcoming showings!
For more physical fun, both day and night, head to Tapestry Folk Dance center at 3748 Minnehaha Ave. This non-profit organization is dedicated to dance, and classes go well beyond folk with offerings of Zumba, Flamenco, even Karate. It's a great place to meet the locals and drop-ins are welcome. Check the website for times and offerings.
Where to Eat and Drink
Sea Salt Eatery
At the southern end of Longfellow by its scenic waterfall is Sea Salt Eatery, a seasonal restaurant located right in Minnehaha Park. Open from spring to late fall, this local favorite serves fresh and fried seafood, wine, beer, and treats.
Go back in time at Hi-Lo Diner, a 1950s-themed diner car with modern takes on old favorites. Try the lauded Hi-Tops, house-made donuts piled high with a wide variety of toppings like fried chicken, peanut butter, and bacon, or pulled pork and zesty salsa.
Sonora Grill on East Lake Street is the perfect indoor getaway in the winter and ideal culinary escape in the summer, featuring a beautiful patio to enjoy the weather with a warm ambiance and plant-filled space. Owner and Chef Conrado Badilla Paredes brings a modern twist on Sonora-style Mexican cuisine to Minneapolis with a variety of tacos, seafood, soups, and handmade tortillas ALL packed with flavor. Don't forget to indulge in their creative cocktails and fully stocked tequila and mezcal bar while you're there.
A short stroll from Sonora Grill, Urban Forage Winery & Cider House features unique ferments made with locally foraged ingredients. Each summer and fall the Urban Forage tam picks apples, pears, plums, and cherries off of local residents’ fruit trees and from local orchards with permission of the landowners. (They'll also harvest rhubarb, dandelions, hops and other flowers in season for truly adventurous sips.)
Due north of the Falls at the corner of East River Road at Lake Street, the Longfellow Grill attracts out-of-towners, locals, and cyclists who enjoy an extensive made-from-scratch menu in the light-filled restaurant or on the spacious outdoor patio in the warmer months. Known for specialties like sweet potato fries, fish tacos, turkey burgers, banana waffles, and tasty, potent craft cocktails, this spot is a family-friendly crowd pleaser.
Smack dab on Minnehaha Mile’s retail road, located at 3637 Minnehaha Ave, the Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar offers a pub-like setting, huge weekend brunches, and a mind-blowing 40 beers on tap. If your pooch is indispensable to your outings, the Howe showcases not only a dog friendly patio, but a Fido-friendly menu as well! Check the website for the many happy hour specials and events. Just a few blocks south of Howe at 3860 Minnehaha Ave is Selam Restaurant, a Longfellow mainstay coffee shop-turned-Ethiopian restaurant.
Further north at 3262 Minnehaha Ave, find the community-based Wildflyer Coffee in all its caffeinated glory. They are dedicated to providing job stability to youth experiencing homelessness and serving up fresh roasted brew and a variety of pastries. The spot is laid-back Longfellow at its most authentic.
Where to Shop
With lots of distance to cover, the savvy tourist should plan a few hours along this store-studded street.
Fair warning: start at Moon Palace Books to the north on Minnehaha Ave and you'll want to stay all day long! The epitome of Minneapolis’ well-regarded indie bookstores, Moon Palace offers a highly curated selection of national and international titles, plus a masterful section by local authors on Minneapolis-centric topics. There is a café with coffee and treats, and the nighttime rocks with readings, book clubs, and other events. Head a few blocks south for even more enjoyable browsing at Heroic Goods & Games, with its new and vintage selection of board and electric games.
A Longfellow favorite is quirky Paris Antique and Gifts. This eclectic shop has a discerning collection of…well…everything! Not particularly French, there are antique and contemporary decorative, bric-a-brac, jewelry and gift items. Summertime is renowned for the backyard “Paris Courtyard.” Open Friday and Saturday noon to 6, or by appointment.
Another Minnehaha Mile favorite is Turquoise Vintage, a shoppers’ sanctuary for quality, much sought-after vintage pieces. In addition to an internet-famous Pyrex collection, the store bulges with designer clothes, pop-art finds, midcentury pieces, and Aunt Millie’s lawn furniture. Also check out E’s Emporium, offering furniture and household goods from the 1950s-80s every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.
Junket: Tossed & Found is all that its name implies and more. Shopping for those elusive “Admit One” tickets on a roll, beads, buttons, and thread.. or how about ancient office supplies? With its cavernous square footage, be sure to have your GPS on hand in case you get lost within this treasure-filled space.
After miles of vintage shopping, find a relaxing stop at the south end of the avenue. Awakenings is a store and learning center for all things spiritual and metaphysical. From oracle and tarot cards to essential oils, crystals, jewelry, and books, Awakenings can be a retreat after a busy day.
Getting to and Around Longfellow
Bordered on the north by the Midtown Greenway, a bicycle and pedestrian trail linking the Mississippi River all the way to the Uptown Neighborhood, and the Chain of Lakes in the west, on the south by Minnehaha Park and Falls, on the east by the Mississippi River Gorge, and on the West by the Hiawatha (Blue) Light Rail line, Longfellow is easily accessible by public transportation to downtown Minneapolis, MSP International Airport, and the Mall of America. Because the Longfellow Community is rather sizeable, it may be advisable hire a car or ride share. Seasonally, bicycles are a perfect way to tour the area.
Public Transit Routes:
46th Street & Minnehaha Station
Metro Blue Line
SCHEDULE times for A Line buses
Connecting bus routes:
7 - serves south Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis, north Minneapolis
9 - serves south Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park and Minnetonka
46 - serves Edina, 46th Street, Highland Park, Cleveland Avenue, Sibley Plaza
74 - serves Highland Park, Randolph Avenue, St. Catherine's University, downtown St. Paul, Sun Ray, Oakdale