Northeast Minneapolis has greatly increased in popularity, both for people moving into the neighborhood and for those visiting from other parts of the metro. Part of its charm is its family friendly, highly walkable nature, and plenty of activities and kid-welcoming eateries. The diverse ethnic heritage of northeast is a great lesson for kids, and a fun place to explore it is at the intersection of Broadway and Central Avenue. The overpasses have colorful, distinctive markers for the different types of ethnic groups who have made their homes here over time, such as the Anishinabe (above), Germans, Scandinavians (of course!), Irish, Lebanese, Hmong, Chinese, and various Eastern European countries, including Poland.

ne mpls el taco riendo Family Fun Neighborhood Guide to NE Minneapolis

Photo Credit: Amy C. Rea

El Taco Riendo
2416 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN
Open daily 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

This diversity can also be experienced by visiting one of the myriad of ethnic restaurants, most of which are very family friendly and casual and offer a perfect opportunity to introduce your child to non-American foods. A place like El Taco Riendo will please more timid eaters with familiar chicken and beef choices, yet offer fare for those ready to graduate to the next level (tripe or beef tongue, anyone?).

Gorkha Palace
23 4th St NE
Minneapolis, MN
Hours: Open Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 5 – 10 p.m.;
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday – 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Conga Bistro
501 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN
Open Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday 4:30 – 10 p.m.

ne mpls sen yai sen lek Family Fun Neighborhood Guide to NE Minneapolis

Photo Credit: Amy C. Rea

215 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.;
Monday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

La Colonia
2205 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN
Open Monday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.;
Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Sen Yai Sen Lek
2422 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN
Open Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Other choices include Nepali foods at Gorkha Palace (be sure to try the dumplings called momos), Caribbean and Latin American foods at Conga Bistro, Eastern European specialties at Kramarczuk, Ecuadorian cuisine at La Colonia, and Thai food at Sen Yai Sen Lek.

ne mpls holy land Family Fun Neighborhood Guide to NE Minneapolis

Photo Credit: Amy C. Rea

Holy Land Deli
2513 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN
Open Sunday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

One of the long-time staples in northeast is the Holy Land Deli, well known for its hearty buffet. Holy Land has an ethnic food store adjacent to the restaurant, which can open up a new world of food exploration for young ones. Allow plenty of time to explore, and if you can’t figure out what something is, ask—the staffs at both stores are knowledgeable and friendly.

Jim Lupient Water Park
1520 Johnson St NE
Minneapolis, MN
Open Daily: June – August
Monday – Friday – 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday – 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Cost: $6 per person

lupient Family Fun Neighborhood Guide to NE Minneapolis

Photo Credit: Jim Lupient Water Park

All that food may require some physical activity to balance it out. A popular northeast summer spot is the Jim Lupient Water Park within the aptly named Northeast Park. The Lupient water park is themed to look like a quarry site, with foam stones, logs, and quarry equipment. There are tube and water slides, a log walk, zero-entry pool, and interactive spray features (as well as lap lanes for more serious swimmers).

East River Flats
360 East River Rd
Minneapolis, MN
Open daily: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

For more outdoors fun, check out the East River Flats, an area alongside the Mississippi River and the University of Minnesota’s East Bank with walking and biking trails.

Elsie’s Bowling Center
729 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN
Open daily
Prices start at $1.99 per game

ne mpls elsies Family Fun Neighborhood Guide to NE Minneapolis

Photo Credit: Amy C. Rea

When the weather is not cooperating, it’s a good time to head to Elsie’s Restaurant, Bar and Bowling Center. And why settle for “regular” bowling—call ahead to find out when glow-in-the-dark bowling is available. Elsie’s offers youth bowling leagues as well, and good prices for daytime games.

Amy C. Rea lives with her family in the Twin Cities. She’s the author of Backroads & Byways of Minnesota and Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: an Explorer’s Guide. She can also be found chatting about Minnesota travel topics at

Comments (3)
  1. BettyC says:

    You left off so many good places. Jax, Emily’s, 1029, The Modern,Psycho Suzis, and Mayzlacks

    1. Nah says:

      Family friendly was the key to this article… you missed the whole point… nice try.

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