Hennepin & Lake: Uptown
"It’s all about being there. Everybody’s going Uptown. That’s where I wanna be."
Made famous in Prince's song "Uptown", the area surrounding Hennepin and Lake Street in Minneapolis is a youthful fusion of global cuisine, local retail, and lively nightlife with nature rooted just beyond the bustling main intersection.
Block by block you'll find multitudes of restaurants, bars and shops while walking a little further will bring you to Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun), the largest fixture in the city's Chain of Lakes
A favorite for rooftop brunch fans (per the weather's approval), Uptown will not disappoint.
Things To Do
Minnesotans celebrate the outdoors like few other cities. Sure, we like our winters, but the first time the temperature pokes its head above 45, the shorts come out (no kidding) and people flock to the lakes and parks. The Chain of Lakes is the city’s most popular of our many, many parks. (Fun fact: By design, no Minneapolis resident lives farther than six blocks from a park.) It’s also a key component of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, a 51-mile loop composed of parkways, trails, and the Mississippi River Boulevard. It’s the only scenic byway in the country located entirely within an urban area. The chain is composed of Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun), Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake. They all have bike and pedestrian paths, boating docks, boating, kayaking, gardens and picnic areas. Also available at some lakes are facilities for archery, fishing, tennis, soccer, volleyball, grills, skiing paths, ice rinks and hot food. While you're out exploring the Chain of Lakes, take a self-guided tour of the area, inspired by a local artist's vantage point. Susan Savage offers a tour featuring eight of her paintings that capture views of the lakes not typically seen.
Perennial Cycle sells, repairs and rents bikes if the sudden desire to bike around the lakes hits while you are bike-free. If it’s aquatic transportation you’re looking for, Wheel Fun Rentals rents stand up paddle boards, pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes among other biking equipment as well.
Arts & Nightlife
The landmark Uptown Theater features foreign, art and cult films, including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which was shown once a week for 22 years, and can now be seen once a month. Just down the street, Lagoon Cinema screens new releases, but it’s better known for showing indie, foreign and avant-garde films that are otherwise absent from larger, national theater chains.
A prominent hot spot for a night on the town, Uptown appeals to bar hoppers, late nighters and fun seekers alike. Some popular night spots include Libertine, Amazing Thailand, Chino Latino, Stella's Fish Cafe and Oyster Bar, Cowboy Slim's, The Pourhouse Uptown and The Fremont - just to name a few. With rooftop patios, daily late night happy hours, and a different vibe in each, bars in the area all live within a few blocks from each other, easily making your bar hopping dreams come to fruition.
Where to Shop
Uptown has a number of popular chains for apparel, accessories and outdoor gear such as H&M, CB2 and Columbia Sportswear. A collective of noteworthy local shops have also dug in and thrived. Kitchen Window features local, national and international kitchen appliances, accessories, glassware, grills, storage, food, ingredients and much more in their massive 20,000 square foot store. They also hold cooking classes!
My Sister is a socially conscious apparel shop for women and girls that benefits non-profit women's organizations that fight sex-trafficking. Their merchandise includes shirts, tanks, leggings, jewelry, lip products and gifts.
A neighborhood institution, Magers & Quinn Booksellers has been Uptown’s independent, new and used bookstore and literary events space for over 20 years and among the best bookstores in the state. They also sell cards, maps and other gifts.
Where to Eat & Drink
Offering a trip across the Atlantic for your taste buds is the much-loved French bistro Barbette. Serving breakfast, brunch and dinner with frequent live music, its daily late night happy hour is a crowd favorite. Even better, they get much of their ingredients from farmers and producers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Lake & Irving is relatively new to the neighborhood, but already legendary for their gastropub dishes, like the St Louis ribs, buttermilk chicken sandwich and truffle fries.
Kiku Bistro serves creative (and very pretty) Japanese options, including sushi and teriyaki. Their happy hour is universally adored. Darbar India Grill has a giant menu of contemporary Indian dishes, including numerous lamb, seafood and vegetarian options.
Libertine has an unusual, yet successful games/upscale restaurant thing going. Games include pin ball, skee ball, foosball, Nintendo 64, table tennis and more. As for food, they serve a range of bar snacks all the way up to entrees of salmon, steak and a “bacon chop” in addition to happy hour $3 beers and $3 sliders. Local health food chain, Agra Culture Kitchen & Press, serves light vegetarian and gluten-free options, along with juices and smoothies.
La La Homemade Ice Cream sells traditional and creative ice cream flavors as well as ice cream cakes, take-home containers, and floats made with house-made sodas. They even keep a few vegan options on hand. (Check out more sweet treat options along Lake Street).
Loud and lively Chino Latino has been a late-night fixture and consistently popular happy hour spot for nearly twenty years. They serve a Latin/Asian menu composed of “street food from hot zones.” Uptown Tavern is best known for its happy hour ($2 off all drinks and $5 apps) and rooftop seating. The Fremont has the rare Uptown DJ and dance floor and rotating happy hour deals that are arguably the best in Uptown.
There are a few cozy places in the neighborhood to have a quiet date night and Troubadour Wine Bar is one of them. It’s an intimate, upscale place with small plates, charcuterie platters, acoustic music and, of course, thoughtfully selected wine.
How to Get to and Around
(Starting point of Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet)
Free parking in this area is typically limited to neighborhood streets and may require a bit of a short walk, but is perfect for getting your steps in! A few places have dedicated parking, otherwise you’ll most likely find the closest parking at a meter or nearby ramp. Good news is that prices are comparable to most other places outside of downtown. If you’re not up for the short walk, paying for a closer spot will definitely not break your bank.
From the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center in downtown, the quickest way to get to Hennepin & Lake on public transport is to catch the Metro Transit Route 6 Bus, which runs through downtown on Hennepin Ave. every 10 minutes. It’s about a 25 minute ride in good traffic.
Other Public Transit Routes in the Area:
Bus Routes: Route 6, Route 12, Route 17, Route 21, Route 23, Route 53, Route 114, Route 115, Route 612
For more information on route options from your point of interest, visit Metro Transit's website and for information on other transportation options in the city, visit our Maps & Transportation info page.
See More of Lake Street
Known as the mid-line of Minneapolis, Lake Street stretches all the way through east and west of the city limits. Uptown is just one section of this popular and energetic street. Check out more of what to see and do along Lake Street with these travel guides: