Okay. So I am going to start off with a disclaimer saying, there are many great places to enjoy in each neighborhood of Minneapolis. For this list, I am going to keep it simple. Are you ever invited with a group of friends to an area you are really not that familiar with? Do you want to be the “smart friend?” Well this one’s for you.
Get educated on the best places to visit when out and about in what some call the “Mini-Apple.” If driving to the metropolis is either a chore, an “eye-roll” (especially when it comes to parking), or just simply a rarity, I have a feeling you’ll be visiting sooner or later. Here are some of the most fun places to visit, in no particular order.
Northeast. Hands down, this hipster hangout is my favorite place to re-charge. Whether on the run or in need of some one-on-one therapy (gossip), you will leave feeling relaxed and a little more in-touch with our great city. If you are looking to embrace a good read or just escape from the paparazzi, don’t miss out on this real treasure. If you do go, be prepared that Matchbox’s seating space lives up to its name and is cash-only.
Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den
North. This is the one place in the city where I can honestly say, “Wow, that deathly looking zombie mask ties the whole room together.” This place is great for a small gathering and big enough for a party. If you are in need of a smile, amped-up spontaneity or in need of a great first date location, you won’t leave disappointed. Try the Prison Mints cocktail. It’s killer.
St. Anthony Main
212 2nd St. SE.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
St. Anthony Main. This small stretch of paradise, which borders the Mississippi River, is an area where you can take on an entirely new persona and pretend you’re in Vegas. Whether you’re hanging out at the Pracna patio (with its famous Bloody Mary in-hand) or at the scenic overlook at St. Anthony Falls, I doubt you’ll run into anyone you know. This niche of the city is best admired on a warm day and is definitely a place where the “locals” hangout. This is a place to bring a great friend and a perfect place for Facebook photos.
Brave New Workshop
Uptown. If you enjoy dry, sarcastic and slightly offensive humor, this comedy club may be your new calling. I have been here several times and I laughed just as hard after the show, when reminiscing with friends, as when I laughed during. Be prepared though, every time I’ve gone, an audience member has been brought on stage. If you are in need of some fresh one-liners, buy your tickets in advance. Oh, they offer improv classes as well.
Sebastian Joe’s Two
Linden Hills. Close your eyes and imagine the following words: Bailey’s Irish Cream, ice cream and raspberry truffles. You may be brought to a state of nirvana, so raise your jaw because you’re on the right track. I named the ingredients in the Bailey’s Raspberry Truffle, which is one of the many ice cream flavors to choose from. This location, nestled in a neighborhood, will make you feel like a kid again, minus the “ding-dong-ditch.”
May Day Café
Powderhorn. I discovered this gem last summer when I was in search of a quick place to eat lunch. I haven’t stopped going back. The service: exceptional. The fresh spinach quiche: filling and something to Tweet about. It is usually pretty busy, so be ready to sit at the community table and meet someone new. You can enjoy the freshly-baked goods and if you have your pooch with you, the café has plenty of doggie treats to go around.
Bryn Mawr. If you live in the city, shine up your bike. If you live in the burbs, pack up the minivan and tell the kids they can bring a friend. No matter how you get to this timeless Minneapolis neighborhood, it’s impossible to ignore the four huge parks that surround the area along with the mom-and-pop shops within it. My Bryn Mawr favorite is this café. Cuppa Java is a great place to read or get food to-go and have a picnic. The easy parking is a bonus.
Tom’s Popcorn Shop
4708 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Nokomis. If you’re a member of Facebook, stop what you’re doing and “Like” this popcorn shop. If you ever saw the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the interior of Tom’s will give you déjà vu. It serves malts, shakes and of course, gourmet popcorn. Call me crazy, but the watermelon-flavored popcorn is awesome. Maybe walk around the lake to make yourself feel okay about finishing the entire bag. Just a thought.
Dinkytown. Whether you just need a hearty breakfast or if you have to nurse yourself back to health, go to Al’s. I am a big fan of old, retro-style diners and large meal portions. This place has just 14 seats at its long counter, so prepare to wait in line to get in. Just go with the flow and bring your appetite. This is one of the best breakfasts in the city. Only your mom can do better.
Moose and Sadie’s
212 3rd Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Downtown. My boyfriend introduced me to this place over a year ago and I’ve become a regular. Located in the North Loop, this curbside restaurant is a big win. Sitting on the sunny patio is the payoff for baring our cold winters. If it’s breakfast you’re after, get the huevos rancheros and a made-from-scratch pastry. You’ll be so excited, you’ll drink your coffee with a pinky out.
-Justin Reis is a WCCO intern studying broadcast journalism at the University of Minnesota. His passion for finding the “best” in the Twin Cities is inspired by his role as a group fitness instructor and interests ranging from “anything artistic” to “anything social.” Please leave a comment on what you think of his recommendations.