For a full day of outdoor adventures, start at Lake Nokomis — the heart of the neighborhood — and branch out from there. As one of three sailing lakes in the Minneapolis parks system, the lake draws flocks of boaters who depart from the launch located just south of the Main Beach. Canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding are also popular activities here, and Wheel Fun Rentals can hook you up with the gear you need (they offer bike rentals, too).
On warm days, the lake’s two beaches are lined with families lounging and playing along the sandy shoreline. At the Main Beach, Sandcastle serves tasty bites including shrimp tacos and fried cheese curds during the warmer months. The 50th Street Beach is smaller and a bit of a hidden gem, as it tends to be less crowded. Come winter, the lake becomes a frozen battleground during the annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. More than two dozen rinks host some of the country’s players for nonstop action on the ice.
Canoers can paddle their way through the neighborhood along Minnehaha Creek, which features a dramatic climax with the 53-foot-tall Minnehaha Falls (don’t worry; you’ll be out of the water before you get there). A stone’s throw from the falls, savor fresh seafood and apps at Sea Salt. A nearby 6-acre dog park allows Rover to roam leash-free along the Mississippi, while hikers love roaming the Minnehaha Creek Trail, a gorgeous, wooded 1.8-mile loop.
Hop across Hiawatha Avenue to explore Longfellow Gardens, teeming with a broad palette of perennials and annuals in addition to trees and shrubs. Photo tip: The arched white arbor provides a perfectly framed selfie op.
When cooler weather arrives, the adventures continue indoors. Retro ‘50s décor meets contemporary comforts at Town Hall Lanes, a ten-lane bowling alley, restaurant, and craft brewery. Their Super Strike Light Lager pairs beautifully with a friendly round of ten frames. The Parkway Theater, a newly renovated 90-year-old vintage movie theater in the heart of the neighborhood's business district showcases classic 35mm films, comedy, and live music.