Flying under the radar of most travelers in the USA, Minneapolis remains an underrated destination. Sitting pretty amid dozens of Minnesota’s famed lakes, the city’s distinctive neighborhoods transform from one world into another depending on which area you step into. Luckily, it’s easy to hop around these neighborhoods, making it worth your while to pick several activities across the Minneapolis map.


Best neighborhood for arts and breweries

Chock-full of riverside patios and cobblestone streets, Northeast is conducive to leisure wandering. Home to the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, you’ll find studios, galleries and festivals throughout this much-loved neighborhood. Stop into the Northrup King Building, a 101-year-old former warehouse-turned-studio where more than 300 artists showcase their works. On the banks of the Mississippi River, you’ll find Boom Island Park, a breezy patch of greenery with picturesque views of the city’s skyline. 

In Northeast, worn-in dive bars rub shoulders with up-and-coming craft breweries. Neon signs illuminate the windows of red-brick buildings, beacons that signal longstanding neighborhood favorites. Grab some pull-tabs and a cheap beer at The Moose or sip on a flight of craft creations at Dangerous Man Brewing Company. Despite having its own hopping social scene, Northeast also has plenty of quiet corners for families to enjoy too. 

Linden Hills 

Best neighborhood for families

Linden Hills is the best of both worlds. Emulating the Minneapolis spirit with just a dash of suburban charm, this neighborhood is an ideal hangout for families. What’s more, it’s minutes away from the two most popular lakes in town, Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska, part of the area’s lure. Lake Harriet Bandshell Park has a whimsical-looking music arena that resembles a castle. Expect a full roster of activities, from free live performances throughout summer and fall to movies, sunrise yoga and popup festivals.Between bookstores and bespoke apparel, the Linden Hills neighborhood has an unpretentious yet upscale selection of shops. Highly lauded restaurants, such as Argentinean-inspired Martina, sit next to easygoing favorites like Sebastian Joe’s ice cream parlor. Families and relaxation-seekers should post up in Linden Hills to remain close to the city sights without the bustle.

Man carrying a Pride flag at the Twin Cities Pride Celebration in Minneapolis
Minneapolis has a strong history of Pride celebrations and LGBTQIA+ friendly venues © Steve Quinlan/ Shutterstock

North Loop

Best neighborhood to experience hip Minneapolis

North Loop has blossomed into Minneapolis’ social scene, drawing crowds for its warehouse-chic aesthetic and innovative restaurant scene. Also known as the Warehouse District, North Loop is full of both refurbished buildings from the late 1800s as well as modern developments. For can’t-miss views of the city, a visit to the sumptuous Hewing Hotel is a must. North Loop has some of Minneapolis’ most highly acclaimed restaurants, including James Beard Award-winning Spoon and Stable. There’s no shortage of brilliantly designed culinary masterpieces in this neighborhood, the type of art on a plate that is sure to elicit a gasp.

Seeing as it's right up against Target Field, the Minnesota Twins stadium, the area gets jam packed with locals and visitors on game days. In the summer, you’ll find plenty of folks hopping from low-key craft beer joints to glitzy rooftop bars pouring artisanal cocktails.


Best neighborhood for restaurants

Whittier is hands down the foodie neighborhood of Minneapolis. On a stretch of Nicollet Avenue, nicknamed Eat Street, lies a diverse array of cuisines, including Vietnamese, Jamaican, Greek, German and Mexican. Dig into fragrant jerk chicken at Pimento Jamaican Kitchen and Rum Bar or try booze-infused cupcakes at The Copper Hen. Apart from a colossal selection of incredible restaurants, Whittier is also the location of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). With more than 90,000 works of art spanning 5000 years of history, the MIA almost feels like a miniature stateside version of the Louvre.

Blue cock on a white plinth at the Sculpture Park downtown Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is an 11-acre park in the heart of the city  © Shawn Goldberg / Shutterstock

Loring Park

Best neighborhood for classic Minneapolis sights

Loring Park is a tourist-frequented area due west of downtown. Appearing on postcards, this neighborhood is home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, a famous sculpture commonly associated with the city. Loring Park, a central green space with a lilypad-filled pond and winding paths, is the neighborhood’s namesake. Cafes and small businesses line its perimeter, all airy spaces to take a rest from the near-city environment.

The Loring Park neighborhood is worth a visit for the famous sights alone. Swing by the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, an outdoor attraction of abstract creations. Right across the street, visit the Walker Art Center to view world-class contemporary art exhibitions.

While it’s largely a residential area, Loring Park holds some of the city’s biggest events. Most notably, the area hosts the Twin Cities Pride, an annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ communities. The first gay-rights march occurred here in 1972, and the festival continues to light up the area each July.

Minnehaha Falls Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
The 53ft high Minnehaha Falls is a popular destination for Minneapolis even in winter when it freezes © YinYang / Getty Images


Best neighborhood for urban nature

Minnehaha is the quickest way to escape the city without actually leaving the city. Most famous for Minnehaha Regional Park, this neighborhood has 193 acres of riverfront wilderness. Even better, it only takes 20 minutes to reach the area from downtown via Light Rail. Visitors gather at Minnehaha Falls, a 53ft waterfall that tumbles into a gorge. It’s a joy to watch in any season, but it’s a particularly magical sight when frozen solid and dusted with snow. In the summer, the enticing aroma of fish tacos wafts through the park, courtesy of the onsite seafood joint Sea Salt Eatery.

Beyond the park, a museum-like collection of antique and resale shops dominates the scene on Minnehaha Avenue, otherwise known as the Minnehaha Mile. Save some room in your luggage for a retro trinket.

University Area (East and West Bank)

Best neighborhood for student life and international culture

Buzzy campus excitement and the hum of the city coexist in idiosyncratic harmony around the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Separated by the Mississippi River, the area is divided into East and West Bank. It’s a fusion of worlds between students, academic professionals and East African communities residing in the neighboring Cedar-Riverside area.

East Bank is a five-minute ride on the Light Rail from downtown, making it easy to catch a Big Ten football game or relax on the lawn of Northrop Mall, the heart of campus. With more than 50,000 students, this neighborhood has no shortage of lively energy, especially in Dinkytown, a particularly high-spirited nightlife area. Don’t be surprised if a trail of boozy students passes by at a questionably early time of day.

On West Bank, arts and culture are abundant. The local music scene flourishes at venues such as The Cabooze and Cedar Cultural Center, putting on performances from all genres. Grab bar food, or go for some of the city’s best Ethiopian and Somali cuisine.

Prince shrine at the First Ave Nightclub Minneapolis
Remembering Prince at the First Ave Nightclub © Steve Quinlan/ Shutterstock


Best neighborhood for nightlife

It’s hard to nail down just one area that’s best for nightlife in Minneapolis, but Uptown certainly has a reputation for sundown (sometimes until sunrise) socializing. The area is full of recent college graduates, creative folks and young professionals. Head to Stella’s Fish Cafe for a plate of sushi, and stay for the three-floor party on weekend nights. While some Minneapolitans lament the area's changes and developments in recent years, Uptown remains an important stitch in the fabric of Minneapolis’ social scene. Prince wrote a song about it, so it’s a fair bet that the neighborhood deserves much of its hype.

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