Word of Mouth: Minneapolis

Known as an arts-loving city, there's that and so much more happening in Minnesota's largest city

Presented by KAYAK

From arts and music festivals to the mega-draw of the big game, Minneapolis continues to rise as a cultural destination. For years it’s been a CH favorite with great museums, a varied and vibrant landscape, theater, music and public arts programs often with a perspective that’s satisfyingly more intellectual than commercial. This year, it also happens to be #5 on KAYAK’s Picks list, featuring 10 “can’t miss” destinations selected by KAYAK travel experts. It’s found in their super-useful 2018 Travel Hacker Guide—an interactive resource full of data-driven insights and travel tips and tricks for the year. Domestic flights are usually between $200 and $330 and while some might feel that winter isn’t an ideal time to visit the city, it is very much alive—with public art, outdoor activities and more in the cold months. Minnesotans embrace all seasons. The 2018 Travel Hacker Guide offers plenty of practical information for visiting Minneapolis—everything from temperature to rainfall, average cost of hotels, to the ideal time to book flights.

Minneapolis continues to evolve, with its communities and institutions focusing their programming on creative development. The city has also well and truly woken up to the food scene and boasts several restaurants that are worth a visit—and international attention. Our many previous articles cover the classics, so here we’ve chosen to focus on destinations that are new, under the radar or truly noteworthy so that, whether a returning visitor or a rookie, you can explore Minneapolis with confidence.

Hewing Hotel

Located in the North Loop, the recently opened Hewing Hotel is sophisticated yet approachable, thanks in part to its former existence as a farming equipment warehouse. We especially like its nod to its host city—with room types named after local destinations, a locavore minibar and a style that’s decidedly Minnesotan. With just 124 guest rooms (including 14 suites) and a popular lobby full of leather and exposed wood, the hotel feels like a cozy clubhouse. On the rooftop is a social club (complete with a pool) which is available to guests at an additional cost, this is because—in true Minnesotan spirit—it’s also a members-only space for locals. Super-close to some of the best shopping and dining in the Twin Cities, this hotel is ideal for those who like to wander but have a comfortable and city-appropriate place to head home to.


With homewares, women’s apparel, accessories, shoes, grooming products and more, recently opened D.NOLO houses several impressive retailers in its co-op space, like Bluebird Boutique, Bumber Shute, kindred, Requisite and Rosegold. CH favorites including 3×1 are stocked at this destination, also in the North Loop, and you can lose plenty of time searching through all the products here. They’re also a dog-friendly store, so if you’re traveling with your your pooch s/he might even get a snack.


Inside the former Rachel’s location, chef and owner Remy Pettus’ Bardo opened in 2017 much to locals’ and visitors’ delight. With an extensive and impressive wine list and inventive cocktails the bar is a great spot for some local people watching. The menu is modern American, season- and produce-focused, and while adventurous it’s not challenging. No matter what’s available when you visit be sure to try the house bread, which is packed with herbs, lavender honey butter, chili and more.

Penny’s Coffee

With two locations, Penny’s is a no-fail place to get your morning coffee—no matter how you take it. They offer soy, oat (including one house-made version) and almond milk as well as dairy options, so all allergies and preferences are covered. The snacks are all impressive, but we especially love their sandwiches (only available at the West 44th St location) which are jammed with tasty fillings. Another favorite is the Jian Bing—a Chinese street-style crepe with eggs, scallions, cheese, basil, chili and hoisin sauce, cilantro, roasted hazelnuts and Sriracha mayo.

Duke Albert

Opened in 2017 by two friends (who named the store after their fathers), Duke Albert features mural-painted walls with artwork that changes frequently. Selling everything from games to limited edition books, accessories and clothing, the store’s main focus is on independent designers. Be sure to be directed to the local-designed goods and pick up a souvenir of your visit.

Marvel Bar

Though a staple of the local craft cocktail scene and a long-time CH favorite, we couldn’t not include it in any guide to the city. Taking walk-ins only (despite the fact that its exceptionally sought-out), Marvel Bar is an essential for anybody with even a fleeting interest in carefully considered and prepared cocktails. The highly experienced team here have crafted a remarkable list of drinks, some of which are only for the adventurous. From the Oliveto (olive oil, egg white, lemon, Licor 43, Gordon’s), which is one of the bar’s cocktails also available in candle form, to the Oakenshield (salt, Cynar, Toschi Nocello, Isle of Skye 8 year), these potions impress. Of course, the skilled bartenders can make classics too. Located underneath The Bachelor Farmer (a farm-to-table restaurant which is also worth trying out), this bar is plush and a little ritzy, without being showy or intimidating (these are key Minneapolitan traits).

The Bachelor Farmer Cafe

Offering plenty of tasty treats (all made in-house) and properly prepared coffees, the new Bachelor Farmer Cafe is adjacent to its sister venues The Bachelor Farmer restaurant, Marvel Bar and CH favorite retailer Askov Finlayson. Open seven days a week, it’s bright and airy, yet feels cozy—especially in the colder months. We recommend trying the Black Maple latte with just enough maple to make it compelling and not overpowering, and for those who are suckers for bold design pay attention to their enviable tile patterns.

Art Shanty On-Ice

Even Minnesota’s ice fishing heritage gets artsy with the annual Art Shanty On-Ice program, with a collection of new projects each year. Since its debut in 2012 the annual festival on Lake Harriet, one of Minneapolis three most popular lakes, turns it into a playground for people of all ages. The common through line with each creation is an exploration of what art can be and mean in a public space that’s open to all. From “Air Hockey On Ice” (2017) to “Monsters Under The Bed Shanty” (2012) each annual exploration is worth a visit.

The Foundry

With a focus on simple, functional and beautiful products, The Foundry is a nester’s dream. Each item has been carefully designed and selected, with a non-disposable lifestyle informing all decisions. Selling items made all over the world—from Minnesota to Ethiopia—The Foundry also produces their own candles, handmade with 100% natural beeswax. With nothing added, these candles smell divine and if you have room in your luggage, we recommend bringing a few home.

KAYAK recommends booking five months ahead for the best deals on flights to Minneapolis.

Duke Albert image courtesy of the store, all others by Leslie Parker for CH Studio