Plan the Perfect Girls Weekend in Minneapolis
No matter whether your daily grind consists of work, school, kids or a mix of it all, let’s be real: It’s hard to find a time and place to hang with the gals. But it’s always worth it, especially if you pick a destination that delivers the perfect blend of fun and chill time. In Minneapolis, you can have it all: spa experiences, a wealth of arts and culture, shopping and the Mighty Mississippi reminding us that sometimes, life is best enjoyed when we go with the flow.
Where to stay:
Scandinavia meets the North Woods at this uber-chic boutique hotel in the North Loop. Each cozy room features Swedish-inspired patterned wallpaper with deer, loons and flora, and you’ll be cuddling up with down duvets and Faribault Woolen Mills throws. Before you crash, head to the rooftop for the hotel’s star attractions: a Nordic sauna, heated-year-round outdoor pool and cocktail bar.
Alternative: Hotel Ivy
Spacious rooms and suites (including airy limestone bathrooms) allow plenty of space to hang at this Luxury Collection Hotel downtown. Head downstairs to speakeasy Constantine for stellar drinks, sorbets and one of the best Happy Hours in town.
Breakfast: Although more commonly known as a brewpub, The Freehouse takes breakfast seriously as well. Here you'll find plenty of healthy options, American breakfast classics and homemade English muffins to help get your girls weekend started. And if you're looking to be a little more adventurous in the morning, try their gnocchi breakfast special—basil pesto, cream bacon, arugula.
Shop: A short walk away, an awning of suspended pots and pans hints at what’s inside Cooks of Crocus Hill. You can score just about any kitchen accessory you’re looking for, along with all sorts of things you didn’t think you needed in your life until now (wiener-dog-shaped corn cob holders!) Best of all, this is the spot for a fun cooking class with the besties. A few blocks away, Love Your Melon Studio offers exclusive lines of the snuggly hats sold to support children battling cancer as well as their families (they’ve raised more than $6 million for pediatric cancer research … and counting). The studio’s only open a couple times each month, so be sure to check their site before visiting.
Lunch: A trio of food-loving girlfriends launched Hen House Eatery in 2014 to serve farm-fresh fabulousness among downtown’s skyscrapers. Their Avocado Tuna Melt with pickles, bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella is a hit, and if you love breakfast food for lunch, it’s hard to go wrong here, with build-your-own omelet ingredients including chorizo, quinoa, feta cheese and hollandaise sauce.
Shop: Couple Emily and Caglar Kisa bring their respective cultures of Minnesota and Turkey together at Kisa Boutique. Emily, who met Caglar while studying abroad in Turkey, designs intricately crocheted earrings and necklaces that are crafted by women in Istanbul. They also sell statement-making blazers, shoes and towels—all sustainably made abroad.
Treat yourself: In August of 2019, Hotel Ivy renovated and renamed its spa, making it one of the most sought-after places to escape in the cities. Anda Spa features an unmatched menu of services, including crystal-based healing practices and hydrotherapy in addition to more traditional scrubs and massages. Once you’re left feeling as relaxed as a wet noodle, head to Frenchies Modern Nail Care for mani-pedis and some polish to prep for a snazzy night out.
Dinner: James Beard award-winning chef Isaac Becker has crafted so many magical Italian dishes at North Loop’s Bar La Grassa, it’s hard to know where to start. Our tip: share as many plates as you can. The soft egg and lobster bruschetta and gnocchi with cauliflower and orange are best-sellers for good reason.
End your night: Long communal tables allow plenty of room to chat with old friends—and make new ones—at Royal Foundry Craft Spirits. A giant Union Jack, a red phone booth and British-style bowling lanes lend across-the-pond vibes to the distillery serving gin-, rum- and whiskey-based drinks.
Alternative: Right next to Royal Foundry but thousands of miles away in style, La Doña Cervecería pours Latin American-inspired brews such as the Fired Up chili pepper IPA among brightly colored murals and other wall art.
Brunch: Weekends are a drag (the fun kind) at Union Rooftop. Themed Flip Phone drag brunches run the gamut from Grease and The Greatest Showman to Lizzo and Nicki Minaj. Even when sassy queens aren’t sashaying among the tables, the glass-enclosed space is the perfect spot to sip mimosas, dive into eggs benedict and savor the Minneapolis skyline.
Explore: For a quieter cultural experience, stroll through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Pose for an iconic shot in front of the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry, then head for the newest favorite: a towering blue rooster called Hahn/Cock. The adjacent Walker Art Center showcases an eclectic mix of contemporary works, plus an artist-designed miniature golf course during the summer months.
Treat yourself: Theater is a big deal in Minneapolis, with dozens of companies based in the region. Even longtime locals often find themselves stumbling upon a venue they’ve never heard of before. If you’re looking for a longtime legend, check out a matinee at the Guthrie Theater, home to the best intermissions thanks to its Endless Bridge overlooking the Mississippi and the stunning Stone Arch Bridge.
Play: Create your own floating Happy Hour with Minneapolis Water Taxi. Up to six passengers are allowed on cushy, covered boats helmed by Captains Greg Hoseth and Cory Parkos, who navigate past Mississippi River landmarks while you enjoy BYO snacks and drinks (alcohol is allowed) on this 1-hour cruise.
Alternative: You’re never too old for the artist-designed indoor miniature golf course at Can Can Wonderland. Each of the 18 holes is delightfully unconventional (on the 17th, you wear a helmet, place your ball on top of a tee and swing at it with a bat). This underground playground also stars vintage arcade games, cocktails and way more fun than should be legal.
Shop: Customers come to Kitchen Window for the incredible selection of cooking gear and gourmet food, then stay for the classes at the state-of-the-art cooking school. This is the perfect place to learn and execute your “I’ve always wanted to try this” list of recipes: sushi, handmade pasta and Thai cuisine, for starters.
Dinner: The Uptown neighborhood has become a see-and-be-seen area of town, especially above the streets. Rooftop dining at places like LynLake Brewery are warm-weather musts. No matter the season, the brewery’s sampler platter delivers the perfect shareable starter, with spicy pepper-cauliflower poppers, tempura avocado, fresh potato chips and addictive chicken wings.
End your night: Don’t be intimated by the occasional line out the door at Milkjam Creamery; the small-batch ice cream treats are worth the wait. Get a flight of four flavors to maximize your sampling, or go big with the Jam Bun: your flavor of choice sandwiched between two halves of a Glam Doll doughnut.
Alternative: Pair dessert cocktails with sinfully good cakes, cookies, soufflés and ice cream at Edwards Dessert Kitchen.