A travel journal
to Minneapolis by karameister
Quote: Uptown Minneapolis is teeming with hip and trendy Minneapolitans. Every local knows that, but you don’t have to be a sassy hipster to enjoy this shopping hub. Uptown has a little something for everyone, from stay-at-home moms to college kids.
Fighting your way through the Mall of America crowds may not be your thing, even if you love shopping. So, take a break from the stress of the mall, head uptown, and enjoy some sidewalk shopping and unique stores!
There are many chain stores in Uptwon, but there are also a plethora of one-of-a-kind shops. Check Kitchen Window for furnishing your kitchen and dining area, Heartbreakers for trendy clothing, Global Village for interesting home stuff, or Magers and Quinn for unusual books.
The Metris Uptown Art Fair runs the first weekend in August every year, and it offers a great selection from local vendors. You can also find live music throughout the year in different places in Calhoun Square. Famous Dave's does a lot of blues, while Cities 97 (a local radio station) offers "Acoustic Sunrise" on Sundays.
If you feel like your feet are going to fall off after all the walking you've done, pick out a trendy café--there are a ton! There's the ultra-European Barbette, modern Zeno, and Mediterranean Figlio.
Some of the restaurants have roof seating, which gives you a great view of both uptown and downtown Minneapolis. If you can't find a place with rooftop space, opt for one with a patio. Most of the dining spots that are not in Calhoun Square have some patio seating.
The best places to get local information are online. Try the Minneapolis Uptown Association website or the Calhoun Square website for lots of info. Calhoun Square is the main shopping center in uptown.
Parking is harder and harder to find uptown, what with the insurgence of condo developments and new buildings going up all the time. A few shops and restaurants have prized lots, but for the most part, you’ll have to pay if you drive. Try heading uptown on Sundays, though, as the meters are turned off.
Metro Transit offers fantastic bus service to Uptown. In fact, on of their main stations recently opened here. On any given day, you should be able to find 10-12 routes running to other locations in the city, especially downtown.
Restaurant | "Figlio"
Trendy hipster alert! If you scream and cover your face in fear at the sight of urbanites with tattoos, do not go to Figlio. If you like cheap drinks and tasty food, though, head to Figlio for happy hour now.
This bar/restaurant is not by any means the only trendy joint in Uptown, or even in Calhoun Square (where Figlio calls home). But Figlio manages to mix high class with lowbrow, and it works.
The best part about Figlio is easily their happy hour: “$2 Good $2 Be True” runs selected hours during the week and all day Sunday. During these times, you’ll fine $2 wines, beers, and appetizers. Wine includes chardonnay and Merlot; beers range from Pabst to Guinness; and the apps are mini burgers, pizza, and cheese fries. Incredible details are added to the apps, like tiny onions and tomatoes on the burgers and itty-bitty fries.The bar portion of Figlio runs along Lake Street, which makes for excellent people-watching. It’s also fairly dark, and there are no stupid hangings on the wall. In fact, everything at Figlio is pretty, from the decor to the servers to the food.
The dinner menu can get pricey, but they have a wide selection of foods. You can partake in anything, from chicken noodle soup and wood-fired pizzas to a lobster sandwich and tiramisu.
Visit the Figlio website for menus and happy-hour times.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 16, 2005
Figlio Restaurant and Bar
3001 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
+1 612 822 1688
Much like its name suggests, Azia is an awkward experience. Really, it is like three places in one, Azia is the main restaurant, but it also houses the Anemoni sushi bar, and Caterpillar lounge.
There are three separate exit doors, for each individual section of Azia, but the only entrance leads you through the main restaurant. When we tried to get in, it seemed like every smoker in the greater metro area was huddled within five feet of the door, which made it an even tighter squeeze. Plus diners get jostled when someone enters to grab some sushi or a drink.
With that unpleasantness out of the way, Azia is actually quite good for sushi and drinks. Anemoni has some of the best, most entertaining sushi chefs I've seen. The crunchy rolls are to die for, and there's no shortage of fresh fish around. There are at least 50 different types of sushi to try, and the atmosphere in Anemoni is both upscale and relaxed.
Many of the drinks here are on the expensive side, but Azia has a half-priced happy hour. They have a wide selection of sake, as well as a few original mixed drinks. The mixers do not go well with sushi, though!
After a bite to eat, avoid the Caterpillar Lounge at all costs. It's overcrowded, the DJ doesn't spin a great mix, and it looks like a sleazy pick-up joint. It's a good thing the lounge is separated almost entirely from the rest of the complex by the cute bathrooms, otherwise I wouldn't go back.
Overall, if you're looking for a hip night, where you won't feel out of place, Azia is the place to go. Try the restaurant or the sushi bar, but steer clear of the Caterpillar lounge. Visit the Azia website for a taste of the menu.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 20, 2006
2550 Nicollet Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Saint Sabrina's is the type of place that would (and should!) make any mother faint. It's the kind of place you hope your daughter never frequents, but the kind of place you've always been curious about... just a bit.
This uptown store has two floors, the first being clothing, shoes, and jewelry. That way, the faint of heart do not have to pass through the second floor. The upper level is completely dedicated to the tattoo and body-piercing parlor. Saint Sabrina's does boast some of the best, most experienced tattoo artists in the state!
Saint Sabrina's has some of the funkiest clothes around town. Here is where you can find anything, from goth-punk wear to Paul Frank T-shirts to nerd-inspired shoes. The store is split pretty evenly between clothing and shoes.
Even if it looks intimidating by the name, Saint Sabrina's does have a little something for everyone. Even if you're just looking to accessorize a Halloween costume, check it out! Visit the Saint Sabrina's website for a photo gallery and contact information.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 30, 2005
Saint Sabrina's Parlor in Purgatory
2751 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
Sometimes you can tell what a place will be like just by the smell. The scents of Indian cooking, McDonald’s, and pet stores are just a few examples. Penzey’s blends every cooking scent you’ve ever loved – and some you’ve never smelled before – and it’s amazingly pleasant.
When I first walk in, I always feel like I’m in a Indian spice trading post. Large wooden crates draped with burlap sacks carry jars upon jars of spices, herbs, and bottles of sauce. The Penzey’s name is stenciled in bold letters across the walls.
Penzey’s is just spices and cooking accoutrements. If you need pure vanilla, they have some of the best around. Penzey’s carries many typical spices and herbs: bay leaves, cinnamon, ginger, and several types of peppercorns. But you can also find some unusual items, like pickling spices and sausage seasoning.
Penzey’s also does many of their own blends, which are just fantastic. They have a homemade taco seasoning, which has just the right amount of flavor and spice. They also produce a Chinese five-spice powder and several incredible salad dressing blends.
The staff here is very knowledgeable and can always recommend the perfect item. I think I would get tired of the smell after working long hours bathed in it, but they are always friendly! Visit the Penzey's website for hours and product information.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 1, 2005
3028 Hennepin Ave.
Even stuffed among a ton of other stores, Global Village is hard to miss. You simply can’t pass by the solid black wall with their name painted in 6-foot-high letters without taking a glance. And so begins your love affair with this shop.
Global Village carries exactly what you’d expect. Chinese screens and fans, Indian clothing, worry people, fortune kitties, and a myriad of other knickknacks station themselves on the shelves. Everything is brightly colored, so nothing in particular will actually catch you eye, unless you’re really looking for it. Nothing is terribly expensive, but nothing is all that cheap, either.
The shop is fairly small, but does have a fitting room if you want to try on clothes. Global Village is a great place to go for two reasons:
1. You’re looking for something very specific and hard to find.
2. You just want to browse.
Otherwise, you can spend far too much time in here without really looking at anything. Global Village has one other location near the University of Minnesota campus. Check out the Global Village website for hours and occasional coupons.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 1, 2005
2827 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
One of my favorite stores in the entire world lies in Calhoun Square, plop in the middle of Uptown Minneapolis. It’s a store that I can spend hours in, a store my boyfriend will refuse to enter for fear of never leaving. That store is Kitchen Window.
Based on the name, Kitchen Window is just what you’d expect. This medium-sized store packs everything you could ever want or need for your kitchen onto shelves, counters, and tables. From the large plate-glass windows on Hennepin Avenue or inside Calhoun Square, you get a good view of what I’m talking about.
Kitchen Window carries every shape and size of cookie cutter ever. They have more than 30 teapots. You can find any cookbook currently in print in the back corner. Pepper mills? They have a million. If you’re looking for cannoli molds, tortilla warmers, or any other ethnic cooking item, they have it, and you’ll probably find something else that you didn’t even know you needed! Kitchenaid, Cuisinart, Bodum, Wusthof... it's all here.
The only part of this shop I don’t care for is the atmosphere. It’s very sterile inside, with solid blue carpet, white walls, and very bright fluorescent lighting. I know that it’s a kitchen store and that they may feel like they have to be sterile, but I’d rather have it feel relaxed and homey.
Visit the Kitchen Window website for a class list and hours.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 8, 2005
3001 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
Attraction | "Cheapo"
Wandering into Cheapo if you don’t know what you’re getting into is like entering a foreign country without speaking the language. You’ll be confused and apprehensive, but after awhile, you may really start to enjoy yourself. But don’t ask for help from the locals!
Cheapo has two entrances. The front entrance will put you directly into the fray of CDs, while the back entrance (from the parking lot) sends you into the albums. Either way, this warehouse-like store will impress you with its size. There are no windows here, only bright fluorescent lighting.
There are tens of thousands of CDs, LPs, and albums at this shop. Cheapo carries both new and used CDs – they will buy everything you bring in, so you may find Billy Ray Cyrus or Hootie and the Blowfish in the used piles! The used section is not organized by artist or title, but by the day they received it. That’s either a good or a bad thing, depending on if you have time to browse.
The new section is far more organized. Cheapo carries perhaps the biggest selection of local artists in the area, and if you’re visiting, you may be surprised to find Prince and Semisonic in those stacks, among other fantastic artists. Listening stations are situated along the walls, so you can hear a number of CDs before you purchase.
Cheapo is open until midnight every evening, which is great when you’ve got a hankering for a specific CD. This is a chain, so there is another store on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul and one in Dinkytown, and a few more scattered throughout the country.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 9, 2005
1300 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
After years and years and years and years and years of planning, the Midtown Greenway is almost finished. Finally, Minneapolitans and visitors on bikes and foot have a safe way of traveling along Lake Street without getting hit by a maniac driver.
The Greenway runs parallel to Lake Street, only a block further north. It’s a very pretty, wide path. The walking and biking paths are separate, and each is at least 6-8 feet wide. There are access points to the trail about every 4 blocks, and they give you a great workout! Almost every access point requires you to go up or down a hill, since the trail itself is below street level. That also means that you almost never have to cross over a street while riding on the Greenway.
The city did a wonderful job of sprucing up the trail with a lot of trees, and every so often a sculpture. There are also a ton of flowers in season, and the whole path is very well-maintained. At night, the Greenway is well-lit, but you still may want to ride with a partner.
As of right now, the Greenway stretches from Hennepin Avenue to Hiawatha Avenue. The trail links up to the LRT and Kenilworth trails on the west side, and once the eastern part of the trail is finished, it will extend to the River Parkway trails. You can also access the Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet trails from the Greenway. Overall, this is a beautiful, functional ride!
Visit the Midtown Greenway website for maps and event information.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 12, 2005
1 block north of Lake Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota