You’ve probably heard of the Big Apple, but have you heard of the Mini Apple AKA Minneapolis? Today in my second part of a three-part series on my top five/ten lists for three popular Minnesota cities: St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth, we’ll be talking about Minneapolis – which fun fact, is not the capital of Minnesota. The capital is St. Paul and you can learn about my favorite things for that city here.
Here is my top ten things to eat, drink, and do in Minneapolis, MN (guaranteed to be Instagram friendly and wallet friendly – great for that college student budget).
- Milkjam Creamery (bonus: Kelsey Montague #WhatLiftsYou balloon mural right across the street)
Donut ice cream sandwiches. Need I say more? (Also the donuts are from Glamdoll, another favorite of mine)
- Al’s Breakfast
Price: Under $10
Al’s Breakfast is a tiny little restaurant in the heart of Dinkytown. It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter but their pancakes are worth sweating and freezing for. The perfect place to go after a long night out.
- Black Coffee and Waffle Bar
Price: Under $10
I’ve been going here since high school and it has stayed a brunch staple in Minneapolis. Their waffles are fresh and delicious and the restaurant is very Instagrammable (although I have no photos lol).
- Mesa Pizza
Price: Under $5 for a slice
Disclaimer: I’m not the biggest pizza person. However, I’m always down for a slice from Mesa. They have unique flavors that you can order by the slice at their store in Dinkytown. They’re open late and cheap!
- Pizza Luce
Price: $10-$30 (Split with a friend to make this cheaper!)
Ok, I know I just said I’m not the biggest pizza person – but I couldn’t help but put Pizza Luce on here. Perfect for date night (or dinner with a friend), Luce has so many delicious, handmade, gourmet options to choose from. While it’s a little more pricey than a chain restaurant, a pie from Luce is going to taste better and their service is phenomenal.
- Glam Doll Doughnuts
Price: Under $5
My mouth waters thinking about Glamdoll. Definitely in my top 5 doughnut places in the country. Their decor is the cutest (it’s pin-up themed) and their options are amazing. Try the Femme Fatale!
- Uptown Diner
Uptown Diner is one of my favorite diners in Minny. I am obsessed with their waffle fries and their burgers are hard to beat. They also have a really great selection for breakfast!
- Hi-Lo Diner
After seeing Hi-Lo a lot on Instagram the past year, I recently tried it myself when I went home this spring. My friend and I split and shared the Notorious P.I.G. and the Gary Coop’er – both amazing, but I personally preffered the P.I.G.. Their take on breakfast is original and delicious. While it’s a little more expensive, I would definitely recommend hitting Hi-Lo for brunch at least once.
- The Lynhall
Price: $10-$15 or closer to $30 if you get a full spread
One of the most Instagrammable brunches I’ve had in Minneapolis. You have to go to The Lynhall and get a whole spread – don’t skip their coffee, bakery, or entrees. Get one of each. Then, split with a friend so you can try twice as many things. Their entire menu is filled with unique options you won’t find at any other restaurants. Plus the restaurant has tons of natural light and is super cozy. Add this to your brunch to do list immediately!
- MN Nice Cream
Price: Under $10
When I tried MN Nice Cream, they were still a food truck that I had to hunt down at the Walker to try one of their crazy cones. According to all of the Insta posts I’ve been seeing lately, they have opened a brick and mortar store. Try their unicorn cone – if not for me, for your Instagram game (and your tastebuds).
- Spyhouse (I heard the Northeast location has a really cool light up “CITY” sign but I haven’t been to that location so I can’t confirm)
Price: Under $5
Spyhouse is definitely one of the coolest and most Instagrammed coffee places in Minneapolis. Parking at some of the locations can be kind of rough but they’re definitely worth a visit. If they still have the Jasmine Lemonade, I would recommend that – otherwise try their spygirl latte.
- Hard Times Cafe
Hard Times is a wacky but fun place to grab food or coffee or a beer. Honestly, whatever floats your boat. They’re also super vegetarian friendly here!
- Five Watt Coffee
Five Watt has an aesthetically pleasing and clean interior and they serve up a great cup of joe. Their signature drink would be anything with the black Hawaiian sea salt. This store is pretty quiet and would make a great study spot.
- Wesley Andrews
Another aesthetically pleasing coffee shop, Wesley Andrews is located near Glam Doll donuts and has an arrange of ever-changing vinyls and seasonal beverages. I’d recommend trying the rosemary fennel latte.
- Penny’s Coffee
Go for the coffee, stay for the crepes. This store is super modern and perfect for the gram – make sure to snap a pic of their iconic neon sign near the register. They’ve recently opened another location but the flagship location is near downtown, so parking can be a bit of a hassle.
- Tattersall Distilling
Tattersall is an upscale distillery that is definitely meant for a “treat yo self” kind of night. The inside is very comfortable and the ambiance is nice, but the drinks are spendy. However, the flavors are extremely unique and original, so I don’t mind buying a drink or two.
- Chino Latino
Chino Latino was one of the first places I wanted to go once I turned 21+. They have such fun drinks and delicious food. They also have fun non-alcoholic drinks for those under 21 or uninterested in drinking. I’d recommend the El Orgasmo – it’s a fun drink in a pineapple!
- Gay 90’s
Gay 90’s is a must-do on a weekend in Minneapolis. Their drag shows are fun and I’ve heard their drinks are strong! I’ve never been but I also heard that the foam parties they host are a great time.
- Burrito Loco
Burrito Loco has great drink specials, awesome drinks, and delicious food, AKA the trifecta. I would recommend their nachos and a sex on the beach! They get super busy on weekends and even have beer pong tables set up.
I recently went to Up-Down on a trip home and had so much fun! I’ve been to barcades before and Up-Down isn’t different but is a great addition to the Minneapolis nightlife. They had a lot of games to choose from and lots of areas to sit and hang out. My drink was fine – I don’t really remember haha.
- Walker Art Center
Price: Students $10, Adults $15, Free on Thursdays and first Saturday
The Walker is one of my favorite art museums. I’ve seen some really cool pieces of art here. A bonus is the sculpture garden right outside with the iconic cherry and the spoon! During the summer they have a really cool mini golf course as well.
- Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The sculpture garden is right outside the Walker and has the iconic cherry and the spoon sculpture! It also has other sculptures that change every once in a while.
- Minnehaha Falls Park
Minnehaha Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Minnesota and one of my favorite hikes. You can even climb behind the waterfall (though it’s not recommended). As well, it’s worth visiting in all seasons.
- Minneapolis Institute of Art
MIA has some really cool exhibits for free, all year round! They recently had a really cool Guillermo del Toro exhibit. They have a ton of different styles of art so there is something for everyone.
- Visit the Guthrie Theater “yellow room” or catch a show
Price: Free or $20+
The yellow room at Guthrie Theater is free to check out and makes for some really unique photos, plus a nice view of the river. Guthrie has a lot of shows year round. Last year I caught A Christmas Carol over winter break and their stage sets were amazing!
- Hidden Beach
A unique and interesting beach, Hidden Beach is a fun place to visit on a hot day – and yes, it is pretty hidden. As well, the crowd here can be a little rough at times, I would not recommend visiting at night. During the day there are all sorts of people there – hula hoopers, singers, hammockers, and more. It’s a lot less busy than some of the other beaches in the area due to the difficulty in locating it! I don’t remember how to get there but it is Google-able – it just takes a little searching!
- Stone Arch Bridge
Not so much something to do, but something to see. Stone Arch Bridge is a pretty iconic part of the Minneapolis skyline. It also makes for a great backdrop for photos!
- Schmitt Music Building Mural
One of the cutest murals in Minneapolis! Not much else to say about it. I don’t have a photo here but I did someone’s senior photos over here!
- Visit First Avenue and look at the wall of stars (or hopefully see a concert)
Price: Free or $15+
First Avenue is an iconic (oops I use that word a lot) music venue, not only in Minnesota, but in the United States. Outside you can look at the wall of stars and see all of the famous musicians who played here. This was also one of Prince’s favorite places to play at! If you’re lucky, you could catch a really great show here.
- (Winter only) Ice skate at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate
Price: Free if you go with a Wells Fargo card holder, otherwise skate rentals are $4
Did you really visit Minnesota if you don’t participate in a winter sport? Well, yes, but you should still go ice skating while here! The Wells Fargo ice skating rink is one of my favorites because it is so centrally located in Minneapolis and it’s price point is great.