Press staff feature: A guide to the Twin Cities for American Anthropological Association meeting attendees (or anyone who finds themselves looking for Twin Cities advice from people who live there)

The Stone Arch Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

Dear conference attendees: The University of Minnesota Press welcomes you to the Twin Cities for the 115th American Anthropological Association meeting! We hope you enjoy your time here and have a chance to escape the Convention Center to experience everything the cities have to offer. Minneapolis is a walkable city with some of the best green spaces and parks in the country (there are 22 lakes within the city limits of Minneapolis) and stunning views of the Mississippi River, which cuts through downtown (over the only falls on the river and through its only gorge). We also are home to a vibrant and hip music scene (First Avenue, where the late great Prince filmed Purple Rain, is just down the street), world-class art, and great theater. And skip the usual conference chain restaurants to explore the amazing dining scene here, including adventurous global cuisine and farm-to-table experiences paired with a crazy craft beer scene.

For those venturing beyond the confines of the conference hotel and convention center, some of us at the Press put together a handy little guide for venturing out and exploring all that the Twin Cities has to offer.

Jason Weidemann, Editorial Director

Download a printable version of our guide.


If you don’t have the time or energy to explore the city (and I’m often guilty of this after a long day of conferencing), here are a few places that are likely near your hotel and within a 5- to 8-minute walk from the convention center. While these may not be the pinnacle of the Minneapolis scene (with the exception of the jazz music at the Dakota), they’re reliable standbys and all offer late-night options for when those academic conversations linger into the night . . .

The Local
Irish pub that features an 80-foot mahogany bar and numerous nooks and crannies (check out the Kissing Room). Their Guinness pours are good, and if you need something more substantial, try their pot roast, bangers & mash, or fish & chips. It can get busy during happy hour, but the space is large, and there’s usually room at the bar. Good brunch, too.
931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Devil’s Advocate
Come for the excellent selection of beers on tap, stay because it’s just easier than finding another place to have dinner. They seem to have an obsession with meatballs for those of you who are meat eaters. Vibe trends a bit more alternative, especially when it is after happy hour, which is a nice break from the typical downtown vibe.
89 S 10th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Dakota Jazz Club
Operating as a jazz club but also featuring wonderful cocktails and food. Often have reasonably priced jazz shows, especially if you’re willing to go after 10 p.m. They have a great happy hour from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10-1 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Normally a bit quieter and more intimate setting that has fewer downtown “bros.”
1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

A very good hotel bar/restaurant that features a lower-level “Library Bar.” Quiet, intimate, cozy, it’s a great place to unwind after a hectic day. They have a variety of non-alcoholic cocktails, too, that are more inventive than just soda water + lime, as well as kombucha on tap.
901 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

—Danielle Kasprzak, Humanities Editor


Nicollet Mall passes by the Minneapolis Convention Center, where it continues south. Colloquially known as “Eat Street,” you’ll find a wealth of food and drink options stretching from 15th Street down to 28th Street. Here are my favorite spots, all a short walk or cab ride from the meeting.

Evergreen has two things going for it: some of the best, most authentic Taiwanese food in the Midwest (so say the critics), and an approach to vegan and vegetarian cooking that doesn’t treat meatless dishes as an afterthought. Vegan egg rolls, vegan wonton soup, and lots of mock meat dishes. It’s a little bit hard to find—in a basement, below a flower shop. But it’s a great spot for folks on a budget.
Evergreen Chinese Restaurant
2424 Nicollet Avenue. Minneapolis 55404

Black Forest Inn has anchored the corner of 26th and Nicollet for over 50 years. While it’s the ideal place to get your fix of spaetzel, schnitzel, and cabbage in various stages of fermentation, this is also a good choice for a post-conference drink in the bar. Be sure to check out the enormous photograph hanging there, “The Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution,” which Richard Avedon gifted to his favorite South Minneapolis bar. Look closely, and you’ll see the bullet holes a bar regular added in 1986. Upon holstering his pistol, he explained, “That photo always bugged the hell out of me.”
Black Forest Inn
1 East 26 Street, Minneapolis 55404

Glam Doll Donuts is just around the corner from the Black Forest Inn. It hasn’t been open nearly as long, but it’s already just as much an institution. Badass donuts made by badass women, each one a little edible idol of confection. In addition to bacon-flavored creations, they also have a large selection of vegan donuts (fried in soy and cottonseed oil). Plus, they deliver via bicycle, including to the convention center and hotels (if it’s snowing, remember to tip your delivery person extra!).
Glam Doll Donuts
2605 Nicollet Avenue. Minneapolis 55408

Quang Restaurant is the perfect antidote to those cold, dark November nights in Minneapolis. The dining room is large, spare, and always busy. Super fast, super cheap, and super delicious. There are several restaurants on Eat Street that serve solid pho, but this one is my favorite.
Quang Restaurant
2719 Nicollet Avenue. Minneapolis 55408

—Jason Weidemann, Editorial Director


Blackeye Roasting Co.
Tucked away in the downtown skyway system, Blackeye Roasting Co. is a hidden coffee gem. Their recently opened bar boasts some of the best coffee around these parts: nitro-infused cold brew coffee/tea, kombucha on tap, and a smooth espresso blend make it a must-visit. With unpretentious but skilled baristas (one of whom recently won a local latte-art throwdown), Blackeye is for those who like their coffee simple but perfect.
330 2nd Ave South #210 Minneapolis 55401
Weekdays, 7am–4pm

Five Watt Coffee
Of the coffee shops/roasters in the Twin Cities, Five Watt Coffee is undoubtedly among the most innovative. Owners Caleb and Lee take a craft-cocktail approach to coffee with more than nine different signature drinks, almost all of which use their own homemade infusions and bitters. I recommend trying their lesser-known hopped Big Watt Brewer’s cold brew. IPA-lovers, you’re welcome.
3745 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis 55409
Every day, 6am–10pm

Spyhouse Roasting Co.
Home base of Tony Querio, winner of this year’s SCAA U.S. Roaster Champion award, Spyhouse’s four cafes are well-loved for their consistency and quality. If you like your coffee roasted light with fruity or nutty flavors, Spyhouse’s beans—particularly their Orion espresso blend—will hit the spot. Also offers some of the best hipster-watching in town bar none.
907 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis 55401 (and three other locations)
Weekdays 6am–8pm, Sat 7am–8pm, Sun 8am–8pm

Penny’s Coffee
The newest coffee shop downtown, Penny’s offers savory and sweet crepes and delectable pastries in an airy, modern space—two of the shop’s huge, two-story walls are glass paneled from floor-to-ceiling. The house espresso blend from La Colombe—Philly-based roaster—brings a slightly smoky yet sweet flavor that’s amazing in a latte or cappuccino. A great breakfast spot!
100 Washington Square, 100 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis 55401
Every day, 7am–7pm

—Kenneth Wee, Production Assistant


Hang out on the Guthrie’s Endless Bridge
One of the best views of the Mississippi, day or dusk or night. You don’t need a ticket to sit on the famed theater’s rooftop terrace. The Jean Nouvel-designed architecture is also a site to behold: the facility holds tours (not free) on the third Saturday of the month at 10 a.m.
Guthrie Theater
818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis 55415

Visit the first taproom in Minneapolis
Fulton Brewery opened the first taproom in Minneapolis in 2012. They give free tours most Saturdays, but unfortunately for this weekend, not the third Saturday of the month. Still, you will be doing yourself a favor to pop in, even if just to look around. The Sweet Child of Vine is a classic if you’re looking for some delicious hoppyness.
Fulton Brewery
414 N 6th Ave, Minneapolis 55401

Take in the annual MCAD Art Sale
This event is an annual tradition for me. You can get first dibs on paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media, and even live-drawn anime by extremely talented and creative students by paying for entry on Thursday or Friday; on Saturday, attendance is free.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis 55404

Visit Mia
This always-free museum (except for ticketed exhibitions like Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation, happening now) is about a two-minute walk from MCAD, so you could park once and do both in one day.
Minneapolis Institute of Art
2400 Third Ave S, Minneapolis 55404

Tune in to The Current (89.3)
The Current is a local MPR outlet that features a great mix of new and old music along with local bands. Its Prince coverage is unparalleled, and their hosts are extremely down-to-earth and fun to listen to.

Not-free addendum: Avant Museology
A two-day symposium exploring the practices and sociopolitical implications of contemporary museology is happening on Nov. 20 and 21. Press authors Cary Wolfe and Timothy Morton are heading a session. The event is cosponsored by the University of Minnesota Press, e-flux, and the Walker Art Center. Tickets are $45, or $25 for members.
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55403

—Maggie Sattler, Direct Mail and Web Marketing Manager


1) The World’s Quietest Room. No, really. Like, Guinness award-winning lack of noise. This anechoic chamber boasts a background noise level of -9.4 dBA (for reference, 0 is perfect infant hearing), or more plainly it is 99.99% sound absorbent. Contact ahead of time to see about participating in a tour.
2709 East 25th Street, Minneapolis 55406

2) Orlin Triangle. Small wedges of green space pop up all across the city when a street bisects the grid system. Many of these tiny triangles are legit parks, managed by the park board, and Orlin holds the title of smallest park in Minneapolis, measuring about .01 acres. I don’t recall how big Leslie Knope’s infamous “smallest park” was, but I’d guess Orlin gives it a run for its money.
2200 SE Orlin Ave. SE, Minneapolis 55414

3) The Raptor Center. An animal rescue specifically for birds of prey where you’ll realize that these are the coolest animals you’ve never thought about. There’s a hawk named Casper that’s been there since I was ten.
1920 Fitch Ave., St. Paul 55108

3.5) The Minnesota State Fair. While you’re at the Raptor Center, consider taking a short walk to visit our fairgrounds. It’s not currently fair time, but you can still wander around the streets and pretend you’re exploring an abandoned town, because that’s exactly what it feels like.
1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul 55108

4) The House of Balls. A wunderkammer open whenever the artist-in-residence (Allen Christian) is home, no matter the hour.
1504 S 7th St, Minneapolis 55454

5) Wild Rumpus. I don’t pick favorites when it comes to bookstores, but Wild Rumpus is amazing and hands down the most tourist worthy. It’s a children’s bookstore, but equally magical for adults. Chickens roam about the stacks, cats sun themselves in the storefront window, and all of the scary books are housed in a dark shed in the back (with the tarantulas). They have a well-curated adult section if kids books aren’t your thing, including a badass collection of graphic novels.
2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis 55410

5.5) Moon Palace Books. If I’m going to give a shout-out to Wild Rumpus, then I also need to tell you about Moon Palace, a wonderful, if less animal-filled, bookstore. It’s located on the former grounds of Wonderland, an amusement park in the early 1900s with a particularly unique attraction: premature babies. I promise this is slightly less twisted than it sounds—incubators were a new technology, and by allowing paying visitors into what was known as the Infantorium, the cost of the staff, care, and facilities was paid for, saving the lives of these babies at no cost to their families.
3260 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis 55406

6) Eden Prairie Center. I’m sure you’re wondering why I wouldn’t suggest the Mall of America if I’m going to promote something as universal as a shopping mall, but I have not one compelling reason but two: Mallrats and Drop Dead Gorgeous, which both had scenes filmed here. The interior has changed a bit since the ‘90s, but there is something undeniably enjoyable and singular about the people watching there.
8251 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie 55344

—Molly Fuller, Outreach and Development Manager


1. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota
The art collection of the University of Minnesota resides in a stunning museum on campus, the Weisman Art Museum next to the Mississippi River and the campus student union. The museum was designed by Frank Gehry and is an amalgamation of silver shapes, angles, and spaces; the building has been called “Baby Bilbao” since Gehry worked out ideas for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, at a much smaller scale here, in his first art museum. The galleries of contemporary art now feature the university’s permanent collection, which focuses on American modernist painting; avant-garde Latin American art; a variety of art (from photographs and sculptures to iron pours) inspired by the Mississippi River; and quirky sculptures and drawings based on psychoanalysis’s “talking cure.” Gehry’s Standing Glass Fish is also on display. 333 East River Road, University of Minnesota campus, Minneapolis. 612-625-9494. Parking ramp at museum; ten-minute taxi ride; Metro Green Line. T, Th, F 10–5; W 10–8; Sa, Su 11–5.

2. Walker Art Center and Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis
It’s worth navigating your way through a construction zone to visit the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis’s renowned contemporary art museum and one of the premier modern art museums in the world. The galleries celebrate the Walker’s seventy-fifth anniversary with iconic works from its permanent collection, a “greatest hits” of twentieth-century art from Marcel Duchamp to Kara Walker. The Sculpture Garden is currently closed and very much under construction, but instead you can enjoy Avant Garden on Saturday, November 19, a terrific art gala to support the museum and its educational programs.

Right behind the Walker is Groveland Gallery. Located in the former mansion of a prominent nineteenth-century Minneapolis architect, Groveland Gallery features contemporary regional art, especially by artists from Minnesota. Landscape paintings and abstract works are currently on display in galleries in the mansion and in the carriage house. 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. 612-375-7600. Parking ramp at museum; twenty-minute walk (west on West 15th Street to Hennepin Avenue); five-minute taxi ride. T, W, F, Sa, Su 11–5; Th 11–9. 25 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis. 612-377-7800. Parking lot and street parking at gallery (or park at Walker ramp); half-hour walk or five-minute taxi ride. T, W, Th, F, Sa 12–5.

3. Bockley Gallery in Kenwood
This small art gallery represents many regional artists, including George Morrison, Julie Buffalohead, Jim Denomie, Pao Houa Her, Stuart Nielsen, and Norval Morrisseau. The current exhibition features the art of Frank Big Bear, a longtime Minnesota resident. After visiting the gallery, you can dine at The Kenwood restaurant next door, check out the fine-art prints and cards of Twin Cities scenes at FrameStyles around the corner, or wander a few more steps down the street and visit Louise Erdrich’s bookstore, Birchbark Books. To thoroughly experience the beauty of this neighborhood, continue walking on Twenty-first Street to Lake of the Isles, and complete your visit to Kenwood with a walk around the lake (approximately 45 minutes on a designated walking path), a favorite activity of locals. 2123 West Twenty-first Street, Minneapolis. 612-377-4669. Street parking; fifteen-minute taxi ride. W, Th, F, Sa 12–5. 2115 West Twenty-first Street, Minneapolis. 612-374-4023.
Daily 10–6. 2115 West Twenty-first Street, Minneapolis. 612-377-3695. T, W, Th, Su 8–9; F, Sa 8–10. 2107 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis. 612-374-2420. M, T, W, Th 10–7; F 10–6; Sa 10–5.

4. American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
This museum and cultural center is unique to Minneapolis and its strong Scandinavian heritage. The elegant mansion (often referred to as “the Castle”) was built at the beginning of the twentieth century by the owner of the largest Swedish-language newspaper in the United States. The furnishings and ornate decorations of the home are intact, including elaborate tile stoves in most rooms, a multilevel carved mahogany fireplace integrated with a balcony, a grand staircase, and a stained glass mural. Swedish glass art, woodworking, and textiles are on display, as is a large exhibit on holiday traditions in the Scandinavian countries. The award-winning café Fika offers meals, drinks, desserts, and, of course, excellent coffee. 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis. 612-871-4907. Parking lot next to museum; ten-minute taxi ride. T, Th, F 12–5; W 12–8; Sa 10–5; Su 12–5.

5. Minneapolis Institute of Art
You could spend your entire time in Minneapolis exploring the extensive collections of this fine museum: Mia presents art from all continents, all historical periods, and all genres. Favorites of the locals include Rembrandt’s Lucretia, the Jade Mountain from eighteenth-century China, the Baroque inkstands, Charles Cordier’s Bust of a Nubian or a Kabyle and Raffaelo Monti’s Veiled Lady, photographs by Richard Avedon and Alec Soth, and the re-created rooms (really, wouldn’t we all be more productive if we had our own Studio of Gratifying Discourse?); the decorative arts galleries were Mick Jagger’s preference during his visit last year. Besides its permanent collection, the museum is now hosting a large exhibition on Martin Luther and art relating to the Reformation as well as exhibitions on American and international modernism, masks from Sierra Leone, watercolors by Seth Eastman, and paintings by Liu Dan. 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. 612-870-3000. Parking lots and ramp next to museum, street parking; five-minute taxi ride. T, W, Sa 10–5; Th, F 10–9; Su 11–5.

—Laura Westlund, Managing Editor

Click for a printable version of this guide.

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