Downtown Minneapolis gets a new green space in Downtown East Commons

Images by Kyle Smelter

Downtown East Commons, or, the Commons, in downtown Minneapolis adds 4.2 more acres of sprawling Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s already impressive 6,804 acres of green space blanketing the city and its suburbs.


The Great Lawn at Downtown East Commons in downtown Minneapolis with U.S. Bank stadium in the background.

A view of U.S. Bank Stadium from the Great Lawn.

Neighboring U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, Downtown East Commons trades in the steel girders, asphalt sidewalks, towering skyscrapers and other manmade works of art for the creations of the greatest artist on the planet, Mother Earth. Divided into two separate pieces, the eastern portion—also known as the Great Lawn— features plenty of open, green space to serve as ground zero for game day festivities and massive amounts of people during the football season, as well as a jungle gym and water jets for the little ones—or anyone—to run through, while the western piece serves as the quieter sibling featuring a spread of trees and shrubbery for a more natural aesthetic, along with the Edition apartments complex. All throughout both sections, visitors will find nearly 200 trees, including honeylocusts, oaks, pines and more, as well as native flowers such as hydrangeas, grey owl juniper and redtwigged dogwood, making it the perfect lunchtime hangout and office getaway.

 The jungle gym at Downtown East Commons in downtown Minneapolis.


Kids can play on the jungle gym as parents relax on the nearby benches and soak up the Minnesota summer weather.


 The myriad of seating tables at Downtown East Commons in downtown Minneapolis.


Myriad seating options make it easy to get out and enjoy a picnic on the weekends.


 The Great Lawn at Downtown East Commons in downtown Minneapolis.


The Great Lawn on the eastern side of the park is the perfect spot for Frisbee and volleyball with friends, or to set up shop for a picnic.


 The western portion of Downtown East Commons in downtown Minneapolis.


The western portion of the park has a quieter feel with more trees and shrubbery than the east side.


Aside from all the lush greenery, Downtown East Commons is host to myriad events that are both free and ticketed. Every third Thursday of the month, you can get your fit on during one of the heart-pumping, energy-packed classes put on by the expert running coaches at Fly Feet Running, or venture out every Tuesday night from July 18 through Sept. 26 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for the Mill City Farmers Market where you can find the freshest of local, organic produce along with food vendors whipping up seasonal dishes and live music.
So whether you are looking to get out of the office, try out a new picnic spot, or craving some fresh air and a change of scenery without leaving downtown, Downtown East Commons has a little something for everyone.


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