We love working with long-time locals because they know the well-seasoned spots that locals return to over and over again. We asked these natives of the Twin Cities, Paul Spring and Sophia Heymans, to send us some of their favorite digs for this guide to local Minneapolis. We're not talking about the most-instagrammable-coffee-shop, we're talking about the people and places that embody the spirit of a city. When we make it up to Minneapolis next, this will be our short list.
1. MINNEHAHA FALLS
Minnehaha Falls is a large park in southern Minneapolis at the confluence of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River. A large elevation drop in the limestone makes for a beautiful canyoned waterfall with hiking trails along the creek bed. In the dead of winter it transforms into a beautiful glacial blue wall of ice.
2. MAYA CUISINE
Fresh homemade Mexican food with handmade tortillas, fresh salsa bar, and a colorful ambiance. A la carte line as well as a back room seated restaurant. We highly recommend the Maya plate, which allows you to choose from their selection of tacos or tamales.
3. SOAP FACTORY
Minneapolis is known for it's Arts scene in large part due to the Walker Museum and Minneapolis Institute of Art. There are also exciting smaller galleries around town showing lesser-known local and international artists. Soap Factory is housed in an actual old soap factory and its interior remains true to its industrial past, definitely not your typical white-walled gallery. You can expect to see thought-provoking and experimental artists working mostly in installation, performance, and video in this unconventional and historical space.
4. WEBBER PARK AND POOL
Located in North Minneapolis, it is the first public swimming pool in North America to have a natural filtration system that uses plants in a nearby pond rather than chemicals to treat the water. The park was destroyed by a tornado in 2011 but has been rebuilt with beautiful amenities and trails. Be prepared for a short wait to get into the pool on a hot summer day at this bustling new spot.
5. CEDAR CULTURAL CENTER
Great concert venue for checking out local and international artists. They are a non-profit dedicated to bringing diverse musical acts to the twin cities. Located in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood near the west bank of the U of M campus.
6. VINTAGE MUSIC COMPANY
The only stand-alone 78 store in the country. Peruse shelves and boxes of old blues, gospel, country, and old-time music. The employees are happy to help place the shellacs on gramophones or turntables for you to connect with these voices and instruments of the earlier 20th century.
7. GRUMPY'S NORTHEAST
Best bar in town. Local brews on tap and incredible jukebox selections. Head over on Hotdish Night for a bowl of classic midwestern eats "A buck a bowl until they run out".
8. HERBIVOROUS BUTCHER
Although upon walking in you wouldn't know it, this is not your average butcher shop. All of the 'meats' are made by incredible vegan chefs who imitate everything from brats and cheese to Korean bbq ribs. Highly recommended for a cookout, but if you need a quick bite their sandwiches are mind-blowingly good.
Paul Spring is a long-time friend and Minneapolis-based musician. His album Home of Song was recently reviewed on NPR's All Things Considered. You can find more of his music here.
Sophia Heymans is a Minneapolis based artist. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings and many group and solo shows across the country. You can find her work here.