Spring in the City

A Minneapolis expert shares her favorite destinations for a spring day in the city.

Image by Erica Loeks/Greenspring Media

Springtime is one of my four favorite seasons in the Twin Cities. Just like the other three, the weather can be as unpredictable as it is charmingly beautiful. See-your-breath mornings can give way to sleeveless afternoons, so it is best to plan your daytrip with flexibility in mind. Here’s an itinerary that you can easily swap the morning events with afternoon depending on what Mother Nature has in store. Either way, you’ll find yourself in a few of my favorite spring spots.

Morning

No matter where you are staying, make the trip underground to Hell’s Kitchen for breakfast. There is simply none better than this quirky lair with some of the best eats in store for carnivores, herbivores, the gluten-free crowd and everyone in between. Leave your car in the LaSalle Parking Ramp located on Ninth and LaSalle and walk the few short blocks down Ninth.

To work off some of your morning meal, walk back down Ninth to Hennepin and turn left. A few short blocks will bring you to the amazing Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (open 6 a.m.-midnight). Spend the next few hours meandering through the largest urban sculpture garden in the United States. Amongst the garden’s 11 acres you’ll find more than 40 important works of art by leading artists, including the most iconic, Spoonbridge and Cherry. Designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, the fountain-sculpture is a must-see for visitors. If you haven’t regained your appetite yet, stop at the Cowles Conservatory to get your taste of the tropics in the heart of the Midwest.

Image by Todd Buchanan/Greenspring Media

Afternoon

When your stomach starts to rumble, head to the easternmost side of the garden lined by Willow Street and grab a seat on the patio standing guard over the sculptures at Loring Kitchen & Bar, arguably one of best lunch spots in town. After dining al fresco, meander back from where you came and take in all that the Walker Art Center (open 11 a.m.-9 p.m.) has to offer. This was the Upper Midwest’s first public art gallery and, 75 years later, still stands as one of the best for contemporary and modern art in the U.S.

Image by Todd Buchanan/Greenspring Media

Evening

Head back down Hennepin to the theater district where you started, and stop in for a truly unique dining experience at Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse. Vegetarian? Don’t fret—despite its name, the restaurant has a gourmet salad and sides bar not to be missed. While feasting, see what’s on stage at the nearby theaters: Orpheum, State, Pantages, New Century or Guthrie. Or, simply head over to two downtown faves for live music: First Avenue or the Dakota Jazz Club, both within walking distance of that car you left a mere 10 or so hours ago.

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