24 Hours in Minneapolis, MN

by Sabrina Smelko

24 Hours in Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis, MN is home to Melissa Coleman of and her husband, Kevin. With both cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers, Minnesota offers a wide variety of amenities, activities, and a balance of city living and suburban dwelling. “We have lakes in the middle of the city,” Melissa proudly says, “and the mighty Mississippi is to our right… We have bike trails that rival Portland’s and an impressive skyline. You [really] can live, work, and play in this city.”

Like many Minnesotans, Melissa and her young family are outdoorsy people (even in the winter), but working hard means playing hard, and with dozens of restaurants, shops and cafes, they are never short of great food and hot coffee. So lace up your sneakers and prepare your appetite for today’s 24-hour guide around the welcoming and neighborly city of Minneapolis, MN, but be warned: Melissa says, “Come for 24 hours, and I’ll convince you to stay forever. “

Morning Visits

7 am: Our tiny two-year-old doesn’t understand the art of sleeping in, so we head to , a new bakery around the corner from us in the Seward neighborhood. I’m not a fan of sweet rolls, but this place has changed me forever. We order a browned butter peach roll, blueberry orange roll, and a couple scones for good measure (one sweet and one savory), to go.

8 am: With our pastries and picnic blanket in tow, we head downtown to Gold Medal Park. We pass around the communal pastries until Hallie, my two-year-old, decides to run up the hill. Kevin, my husband, runs after her. The sugar-high is real. So is the hill.

9 am: I head over to the to pick up a couple of things for dinner while they continue scaling the hill. Then I head towards the back of the market to the rotating artist booths. I pick up a , fill it with a bushel of basil, and pretend I’m walking the streets of Paris.


Image above: Photograph by Blake Area

10:30 am: We walk a block over to and ride over the Stone Arch Bridge. I lock my new tote to the front of my bike using the bungee system, still pretending I’m in Europe. We ride to the end of the bridge to get our iconic Minneapolis picture with the Gold Medal sign in the background. It’s one of the best views in town!

We make a quick jaunt to the north loop to wander through a couple of our favorite stores. They’re beautiful spaces all a walk (or bike) away. First stop , a thoughtfully curated home goods store, then to , a men’s clothing store with an aesthetic I want for my own home. A couple blocks further sits , home of American-made bikes, watches, and other leather goods. We end at . There’s something for everyone here. We had to pry the hand-stitched wool duck from my daughter’s hands before leaving. Her allowance didn’t cover the hefty price tag.


Afternoon Visits

12 pm: We say goodbye to downtown and head towards south Minneapolis for an early lunch at . Is it too early for drinks? I start with an El Diablo, a pink ginger-lime cocktail. There’s not a bad arepa on the menu, so I order the shredded beef and plantains served with a side of yucca fries and chimichurri sauce. Kevin orders the adobo chicken, and Hal goes with a guacamole and black bean arepa from the kids menu. (Side note: I posted a New Haven style on my blog right after moving to Minneapolis, and repeatedly, people recommended that I try Hola Arepa, so we did. Again, and again, and again.)

1 pm: Nap time for the toddler. We make a quick 5-minute drive over to Lake Harriet and strap Hal into the stroller for a long walk. Covered in trees with a view of downtown, this is our favorite lake in Minneapolis. I still pinch myself every time we walk around it — a lake in the middle of the city! Certainly, I drove an hour to get here.

2 pm: We hop off the lake trail and make a pitstop in the storybook neighborhood of Linden Hills to visit Hal’s favorite book store, . It’s unassuming from the outside until you spot the tiny door. It’s just her size. Inside, there’s a shipwreck on the ceiling and live animals scurrying about and in cages. We head to the benches in the back and read a couple books until we’ve been transported to Hogwarts.

3 pm: I stop by next door. It’s a quaint shop with eclectic gifts. I go mostly to check out the design of the space and get ideas for our house. There’s so much inspiration in this space. I’ll be back for Christmas gifts soon.

4 pm: Time to head home to let the baby play. I’m sufficiently pooped, so I head to while Kevin mans our energizer bunny. I order the seasonal latte like usual. It’s always the best surprise — from a Lavender Latte to a Juniper Berry Iced Mocha. When friends are in town, we order a stack of of bittersweet chocolate cookies from , too. These cookies alone will make you pack your belongings and move to Minne.

Next door is one of our favorite home shops, . Their store is beautifully curated with mid-century design pieces crafted by mid-western makers. It’s like Dwell Magazine in real life.


Evening Visits

6:30 pm: The babysitter arrives. Should we go to for fresh pasta or for fine southern dining? Both will be a wait. This time we choose Revival. We’ll split an order of fancy fried chicken sides of collard greens, biscuits with sourgum butter, macaroni and cheese, and grits. The host takes our number down. We drive to Uptown and walk around the shops while we wait for the text that our table is ready. Dinner here is always worth the wait.

9 pm: Morning comes early with a toddler, so we head home, first stopping by to pick up a bottle of wine. It’s hard to miss their retro neon sign out front. A block over, we stop at our neighborhood grocery store, , to pick up milk. I think we’ll drink wine on the porch tonight and make breakfast at home tomorrow. We’re the best kind of tired.

Suggested For You


  • Actually, Minneapolis proper ranks 46th in size among US cities, with a population of almost 400,000 at the last census. It’s the entire TWIN CITIES, which includes St. Paul and the suburbs, that are ranked at 14th, with a population at just under half a million. St. Paul is our capital, and we wouldn’t be who we are without them! That’s what makes our cities TWINS, and we’ll thank you not to leave anybody out.

  • I’m living abroad and I love it, but Minneapolis is and will always be home for me. I take pieces of it back with me whenever I visit. It’s so fabulous to see a bit of my heart here on this blog that I love so much!

  • Welp, I wasn’t planning on visiting Minneapolis anytime soon but it just got moved up on my list of US cities I need to visit ASAP. XO, Melissa. Loved seeing you here. :)

  • So glad to see Minneapolis included here. The Twin Cities always gets overlooked. Would love to see one for Saint Paul now!

  • Not too bad of a list! There are just so many wonderful places to go, and things to see! I would like to add a few to the list: Patina, a quirky local gift shop; Marathon Sports, near Lake Harriet and next to Broders’, for all things running; Midtown Global Market, gifts, delicious food, and sweets (Salty Tart Macaroons, yumm!), and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (this is their 100th Birthday year!).

  • Hey Melissa, it’s Ian from Bald Guy Greetings. We are that card line you took a picture of at Honeyshine. Even though you didn’t mention our name — you made our day. Thanks so much for including that photo.

    Great write up. We’re huge fans of designsponge and are excited to finally make it on here. In fact, it’s a little weird how excited we are.

    Thanks again!

  • I loved this post. I’m dying to check out Minneapolis, it seems like there’s such a great arts scene there. Have you written a post on Detroit? If not, would love to see one :)

  • The Twin Cities are so great. Such a vibrant area with lots of great things going on. If you’re into art, I would squeeze in a trip to the Walker Art Center! An incredible institution for contemporary art!

  • Other one of a kind destinations in Minneapolis where I always take out of town guests: Patisserie 46 for exquisite French baked goods, Hunt and Gather Antiques for a truly unique retail experience, Zinnia Folk Arts for high quality curated art and home decor from Mexico, Guild Collective on Excelsior Boulevard for a mixture of old and new, Bogart’s Donuts (self explanatory), and a bike ride/walk along Minnehaha Creek. Oh yes, and Broder’s Pasta Bar for the best Italian food outside of Italy. A great city!

  • I LOVE this guide!! I would suggest grabbing some Izzy’s ice cream if you’re biking across the bridge on a summer day, as well as dedicating an evening or afternoon to a brewery bike tour in Northeast Minneapolis — located on the other side of the bridge, perfect if you’re doing a bike afternoon and don’t mind biking a few more blocks to have a beer at Dangerous Man — others are just a short bike ride away — Indeed Brewing, Fair State, Bauhaus, Northgate… if you find yourself needing more things to do in Northeast, the Mill has the most incredible brunch, and Find Furnish has MCM furniture and great vintage!!

  • So fun to read this as I have been to so many of these places! One difference – we walk to Bogarts Doughnuts since we live in the Lyndale neighborhood. And we can WALK to Hola Arepa and believe me, we go there often. I’ll throw out Sonny’s as an awesome place for ice cream. And yes, the bittersweet chocolate cookies from Rustica are the best cookies on the planet. LOVE Mpls!

  • Your day seemed so fun and relaxed at the same time. I have my birthday weekend planned in Minneapolis, can’t wait to get there.

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