Sitting atop the Mississippi river and picturesque inland lakes, the city of Minneapolis is a wildly underrated holiday destination.
The historic city has taken its industrial past in its stride, with the masterfully restored Warehouse and Mill Districts being major highlights. And even besides the repurposed warehouses and brick buildings, the city has plenty to offer.
Between street murals honouring city icons (including Bob Dylan of course!), lakeside sculpture gardens and majestic performance venues, Minneapolis has come to be known as a centre for arts, one where you will have endless prospects to look forward to!
Minneapolis does cover a vast area and has been divided into smaller districts. And with every changing neighborhood, you are likely to experience a general change in atmosphere and overall vibe.
It is then that choosing the right place to base yourself at becomes a significant choice. And that's where we step in. Here, we have listed some of the best neighborhoods of Minneapolis and what they might have in store for you traveller!
The bustling neighborhood of Downtown West is the centre for all modern entertainment activities in Minneapolis.
When in the neighborhood, you can choose to spend your days shopping around the Nicollet Mall and City Centre, trying out some of the city's best restaurants and steakhouses or heading to NBA games and/or live music concerts at Target Centre, this is the place for you.
The neighborhood is also home to some of the biggest cultural attractions that Minneapolis has to offer.
The Minnesota Orchestra and the First Avenue are known for their contributions to music; while the former is housed in a majestic hall and hosts major events, the latter is known for having been the launching pad for local talent for decades.
And while you're at it, keep an eye out for the city's street art. The Mary Tyler Moore statue and the Bob Dylan Mural are the most recognisable, and lie at a stone's throw from each other.
The surrounding streets also have equally impressive displays including the likes of the Music Wall. The Downtown Farmers' Market is hosted near the lush Government Centre Park and is popular for its fresh produce.
Downtown West is one of the best neighborhoods in terms of accessibility as well as hotel options by the virtue of being the city's central business district.
It therefore is a popular choice for many first-time travellers. As an aside, make sure you catch a 360-view of the city skyline from the Foshay Museum and Observation Deck.
Lying adjacent to its more modern counterpart, Downtown East is the real beating heart of Minneapolis. It differs from other central districts in it's cityscape, especially around the inner 'Mill District', which is dominated by old-world buildings.
Hidden behind the majestic facades of a former flour mill and train depot are Mill City Museum, which traces the history of the region with elaborate exhibits and the Depot, which now functions as an indoor ice skating rink.
The neighborhood definitely warrants a walking tour not just for its immaculate quarters, but also the stunning waterfront.
The Mill Ruins Park and the Gold Medal Park are as innovative as waterfront parks can get in their construction and make for perfect sunset viewing spots. And did we mention that the view also captures city bridges, including the iconic Stone Arch Bridge?
Downtown East's central location solves any and all transportation problems that you might face in some of the outer city neighborhoods. Hotels and accommodation options are in plenty and amongst some of the finest that the city has to offer.
Across the Mississippi River from Downtown East lies the city's oldest neighborhood of Marcy-Holme. Several former industrial/ warehouse buildings that have been repurposed as museums, art galleries and open air mixed-use spaces dot the neighborhood's bustling waterfront.
Visitors are also drawn to the natural beauty of the riverside, which can be best experienced at the expansive Father Hennepin Bluff Park.
Marcy-Holmes holds the distinction of being the only neighborhood on the list that lies east of Mississippi and that's largely owing to its varied appeal.
Besides being a historic neighborhood, it is also one of the city's trendiest. College-going crowds attend/host art festivals, movie screenings, productions around Dinkytown, home to the University of Minneapolis.
Casual eateries and bars that stay open till late into the night lie in the vicinity and contribute to a vibrant nightlife!
The Saint Anthony Falls Bridge and the 10th Avenue Bridge connect Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown to Downtown Minneapolis and offer easy connectivity.
The twin neighborhoods have several river-facing apartment complexes and getting a rental at one of these complexes should be your go-to choice for accommodation.
Home to the National Register of Historic Places landmark - the Waterhouse District, North Loop is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Minneapolis and the place where you can experience the city's industrial past the most intimately.
The red brick buildings, built in such varied styles as Victoria and Chicago Commercial are an absolute sight to behold and you will find plaques commemorate some of the truly exceptional buildings and their associated entrepreneurial geniuses.
The warehouses, some of which survive in their original designs and others repurposed, remain the big draws of the North Loop.
They house art galleries (though not as many as the neighborhood had at the peak of the influx of artists around the 1980s), homegrown designer boutiques and some of the city's finest restaurants, all in a setting that remains distinctively its own.
The redevelopment project has gone beyond being just a feat of urban planning, and has taken the shape of a fable that celebrates the spirit of the city!
All of that, without even mentioning the big fishes including the Target Field, the home ground of the Minnesota Twins baseball team and the Acme Comedy Co., a renowned club and headlined by live comics and the The Lab Theater, the venue for the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
North Loop lies adjacent to Downtown Minneapolis and access should be a non-issue here as well. The neighborhood is home to some iconic hotels including the much talked-about and often-photographed Hewing Hotel; you might want to plan a little ahead to get your bookings!
If you're looking for a quick getaway where you get to spend your afternoons marveling at the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture - Minnesota's unofficial symbol - and several other impressive open-art displays, then Lowry Hill is just the place for you!
Situated a little southwest of North Loop, the lush neighborhood has drawn crowds to its sculpture gardens for long now. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (which merged with the Walker Arts Center) is worth a trip on its own!
Other green spaces in Lowry Hill have followed suit in widening their appeal and almost all of them have a stunning fountain centerpiece or an accompanying art gallery that offer a happy distraction from a long day in the city centre.
And during the times that you're not in the midst of the city art, relax with a quick game at many sporting fields at the Kenwood and Parade Parks.
Lowry Hill's stock as a major tourist destination continues to grow and you should not have any trouble finding a nice place to stay in this part of the city.
Access is easy as it is bordered by Downtown districts towards its northern end and most major thoroughfares will lead you straight into the city centre.
Uptown borrows from Lowry Hill its love for the artsy, and blends into it a distinctively boho touch.
Lying just south of its predecessor on the list, the neighborhood is one that has come to be known for its brew pubs and clubs that double up as movie theatres and venues for live acts. The Troubadour Wine Bar, the Uptown Theatre, the Pourhouse Uptown and Granada Theater are among some of the must-visits.
Uptown is also a popular destination for shopaholics and has numerous quirky shopping venues.
Starting from indie boutiques to home-grown businesses selling jewelry and fabric to obscure-looking souvenir shops to art studios showcasing works from Minneapolis's own artists, Uptown covers it all.
And even with all the talk about shopping venues and bar-hopping, Uptown is after all the neighborhood that lies closest to Minneapolis' inland lakes.
The beautiful setting allows for some great weekend activities; you can either choose to visit the Lake of Isles, discover the water bodies on a canoe or get a rental bike and head straight to the pristine cycling tracks.
Uptown might come across as a little farther out than many of the inner city neighborhoods, but the somewhat quieter setting definitely makes it worth the trip. While in the neighborhood, you should not have trouble finding a nice midrange hotel and/or an Airbnb.
And for the last neighborhood on the list, we bring to you the outdoorsy Loring Park. Sandwiched between Downtown and Uptown districts, the quaint neighborhood is perfect for a getaway vacation.
It is centred around the namesake Loring Park, a vast green space that has its own picnic grounds, walking trails, an arts centre and a small lake! In short, there are fewer better places for an outdoor lunch or small get-togethers in the city than Loring Park.
Younger crowds of 20-something students throng the neighborhood streets, especially the ones surrounding Minneapolis College, for their many take-out joints.
The gastronomy has also expanded over the years and now accommodates other options including coffeehouses and premium restaurants. The 1907-built Basilica of Saint Mary, the first basilica to be established in the US stands tall within largely modern cityscape as a fine example of the Classical Revival style of architecture.
The neighborhood lies right in the middle of Downtown and and the city's inner suburbs as mentioned up top. That gives you a unique advantage of being in touching distance from almost all city landmarks. For your stay, you might want to look for a homestay (preferably one with a quaint setting near Loring Park itself).
That then is our complete list of neighborhoods from Minneapolis, traveller. Take your pick and get packing for your next vacation; the City of Lakes awaits!