Hidden Minneapolis: How to Visit Like a Local

Hidden Minneapolis: How to Visit Like a Local

Photo of Nic Brown
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See how the city comes alive with micro-breweries, street festivals, and cultural hubs like the Midtown Global Market

15 Places
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    All great dive bars should come with a killer lobster roll. Order up a pile of pasta, rendered gooey by a head mix of cheeses that includes pungent Taleggio and hunks of succulent lobster and pair with a great beer. Elbows on the bar, with a full view of the bullet hole riddled cop car door and the bevvy of bras and tell me this idea wasn't genius.
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    What started as a food truck has become a full on dining sensation. Tender corn cakes, (Venezuelan style arepas) are stuffed with tender braised meats, creamy black beans, snappy sauces and crumbly cheese resulting in a cacophony of savory flavors. Plus, the cocktail menu is one of the leading drink programs in the Twin Cities.
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    The dining room at Heyday captures the effortless cool, rock n roll aesthetic that is singularly Minneapolis. The service is easy and attentive. The cocktails are beautiful, but the star attraction here is co-owner and chef Jim Christiansen's food. He plays with expectations and keeps diners at the edge of their seat as they plunge fork into plate time and again capturing alluring flavors that are both familiar and new. 
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    This family owned restaurant sources ingredients locally and whips them into Greek favorites like the tyro served with fresh, hot pita bread or the lamb as tender as a spring morning. Opa, indeed.
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    There's a sausage party going on in downtown Minneapolis and we're all invited. This spot was a hit from the word "go" and they haven't stopped loving the meaty menu accentuated by their fabulous bourbon drinks. 
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    Brasa began with the radical idea that quick served food can be locally sourced from the highest quality of ingredients. Inspired by the foods of South America, the menu centers mostly around long, slow-roasted meats adorned with house-made accents like vinegary hot sauce and pickled onions. Everything is naturally gluten-free (except the sandwiches).
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    Get ready to get cozy. This modest restaurant is tucked between two Dinkytown buildings and is just about wide enough for one person to walk through.Take any available seat at the counter and watch the magic. Gruff service is part of the charm at this iconic Minneapolis restaurant and so are the massive blueberry pancakes.
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    A humbly sized space, Victor’s has been a longstanding breakfast destination, boasting the best Cuban food you’ll find for the price. There’s outdoor seating when weather permits, but make sure to get there early or expect to stand in line.
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    One of the best bagel sandwiches in the city.
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    Try one of their sipping shots for $5, or a whiskey ginger (the ginger beer is made in-house). The stage is predominantly filled with jazz, folk, and progressive hip-hop acts like denitia and sene, Toki Wright & Big Cats, and Saul Williams. But every once in a while, you’ll be surprised by who shows up, like last year, when Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, pictured) showed up to Sunday brunch unannounced wearing a cowboy hat, jumped on stage, and sang country covers all morning. 
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    Adorned with a pin-up girl theme, the shop is a cool place to sit and chill and features a wide variety of donuts, including vegan options. Many of the donuts are named after local bands, showing a love for music that has extended to them creating customized donuts for all the big acts that come into town.
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    Constantly on innovation-mode, these guys not only boast an arms-length list of coffee drinks, but also an upcoming in-house cold press brewery (kegs and cans), latte art contests, and a specialty oatmeal bar that sometimes morphs into a hot cake station (pictured). On top of all that, this oasis also hosts the Five Watt Sessions—a live-performance video series featuring acts like Phox and S.Carey.
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