The SRCCON Guide to the Twin Cities

A guide to eating, drinking, sightseeing, music, museums, and more in Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Courtesy of Jeff Guntzel with excellent additions from MaryJo Webster, Matt DeLong, Justin Heideman, Andrew Stevenson, CJ Sinner, and Will Lager

What’s In the Guide

How to Get Around

There are two train lines in the Twin Cities. One runs through Minneapolis and the other runs from Minneapolis to St. Paul. Mercifully, they are connected. The MetroTransit trip planner is a reliable way to determine if your destination is near a train stop. Many of the places listed here are.

There is also a bike sharing system called Nice Ride that has over 100 stations throughout the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Stations are usually pretty close to many of the attractions listed below, including right behind the McNamara Center. Passes are $6 for 24 hours or $15 for a month, you get bikes for 60 minutes at a time before additional fees accrue.

Delicious places— In the neighborhood

Bun Mi Sandwiches (Vietnamese)
0.2 miles
604 Washington Ave SE

I know, I know--it's Bánh Mì. See what they did there? You know what else they do? Delicious.

Caspian Bistro 0.3 miles
2418 University Ave SE

Persian market and Middle Eastern cafe. Has great service, is delicious.

Punch Neapolitan Pizza
0.1 mile (visible from McNamara)
802 Washington Ave SE
2.1 miles
210 East Hennepin Avenue

Fabulous pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven at 800 degrees for about 90 seconds.

The Village Wok
0.2 miles
610 Washington Ave SE

A U of M institution serving Chinese food in "Cantonese, Shanghainese, Sichuan, Hunan, and Peking styles."

Day Block Brewing Company
0.3 miles
1105 Washington Ave SE

Reasonable beer and food—also, on occasion, live music.

Haiku Japanese Bistro
0.2 miles
620 Washington Avenue Southeast

Surdyk’s Northrop Cafe
0.5 miles
84 Church Street Southeast

If you can't get to the full-stack Surdyk's (vast liquor and cheese selections with fantastic sandwiches), their Northrup cafe will do just fine. Good coffee, too!

Annie’s Parlour (malts & burgers)
0.6 miles
313 14th Ave SE

Malts! Malts! Malts! Also... Burgers! Burgers! Burgers!

Purple Onion (coffee shop/cafe)
0.7 miles
1301 University Ave SE

A great place to set up shop with a laptop, coffee, and something eggy.

Shuang Cheng (Cantonese)
0.7 miles
1320 4th Street South East Minneapolis

You love Cantonese food and you just need somebody to point you to the good stuff. Right over here, stranger.

Surly Tap Room
1.0 miles
520 Malcolm Avenue Southeast

Surly makes really good beer right here in Minnesota. Really good.

Beyond the campus

Foxy Falafel
1.8 miles
791 Raymond Ave, St. Paul

Just off the Raymond Avenue stop on the Green Line (3 stops east of Stadium Village). Excellent falafel and shwarma. Lots of vegan, vegetarian and organic options. Great gluten-free cookies. Serves alcohol.

Brasa Premium Rotisserie
1.9 miles
600 East Hennepin Avenue

Lip smacking, finger dripping Southern cooking.

Afro Deli (Somali/Ethiopian)
2.0 miles
1939 5th St S

The Somali Steak Sandwich! The Somali Steak Sandwich! The Somali Steak Sandwich!

Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop
1.9 miles
303 East hennepin Avenue

Select a picnic place (Gold Medal Park? The Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden?) and head to Surdyk's to pick up cheese, crackers, sandwiches, fancy fizzy drinks, and desserts. You'll never forget Minneapolis.

Urban Growler Brewing Co.
2.4 miles
2325 Endicott Street, St. Paul

This is a 10-15 minute walk from the Raymond Avenue stop (3 stops east of Stadium Village). It’s a little off the beaten path and surrounded by warehouses but worth a visit.

A woman-owned and operated craft brewery that makes damn good beer and features a small but strong food menu. Two taprooms and a nice patio.

Izzy’s Ice Cream
2.1 miles
1100 South 2nd Street

Izzy's ice cream is so, so, so good. And it's right next to Gold Medal Park and the Gutrhie Theater.

Acadia Cafe
2.2 miles
329 Cedar Avenue

A bazillian beers (er, 28) on tap + great food.

Harriet Brewing Co.
2.6 miles
3036 Minehaha Avenue

Beers brewed on site. Picnic tables, live music, and food trucks. A delightful spot.

Bauhaus Brew Labs
2.7 miles
1315 Tyler Street Northeast

There are <a href=""many breweries in Minneapolis, but this one is perhaps the most picturesuqe. Great german-inspired beer, outdoor games, music, and usually have food trucks.

Peace Coffee
2.8 miles
3262 Minnehaha Avenue

If going out of your way for good coffee is a thing you do, it's worth doing it for this place. The specialty drinks are bananas.

112 Eatery
2.9 miles
112 North 3rd Street

Oh crap. This place is a supernatural kind of good.

Fasika (Ethiopian)
3.4 miles
510 N Snelling Ave

There is no shortage of Ethiopian options in the Twin Cities, but there is an emerging concensus around the greatness of Fasika.

Matt’s Bar
3.9 miles
3500 Cedar Avenue

This is the place you go for the local novelty food: The Jucy Lucy (yes, that is how they spell it). It's also where, not too long ago, POTUS went for the local novelty food. Here's the thing: This novelty is also a legitimately great burger. And Matt's a legitimately great dive.

Khyber Pass Cafe (Afghan)
4.9 miles
1571 Grand Avenue

The chutney sampler--oh my. And anything with lamb in it.

Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar
5.4 miles
4208 South 28th Avenue

If you like your coffee snobs humble, this is your place. This is fussy coffee at its fussiest, and it is a beautiful thing.

Heyday 5 miles 2700 Lyndale Avenue S

Dinner or Saturday/Sunday brunch, try to make a reservation just in case.

Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater
5.25 miles
810 West Lake St.

At the heart of the walkable LynLake area—food, drink, bowling, and shows.

5.5 miles
1432 W 31st St.

Sea Salt (Seafood)
6.4 miles
4825 Minnehaha Avenue

Let's be honest--this is Minnesota, so we are also talking *lake* food. But you know what? Lake food is delicious and you'll be eating it at an outdoor table within earshot (and from some tables within eyeshot) of Minnehaha Falls. And the whole thing is just a short walk from a lightrail stop.

Ha Tien Market

7.4 miles
353 University Avenue West, St. Paul

Just off the Western Ave station on the Green line. This has the best banh mi, the other one is good but this is better, and it’s a full Vietnamese grocery as well.

Beautiful places

Guthrie Theater
2.2 miles
818 South 2nd Street

The Guthrie was built for plays, but anybody can walk in anytime and step out onto their "Endless Bridge" which overlooks Mississippi River and the ruins of the city's flour milling industry.

Gold Medal Park
2.2 miles

Gold Medal Park is a lovely picnic spot. Its right next to the Guthrie, which means you can also get in on the magic of the Endless Bridge. It's also right by Izzy's Ice Cream (see above). Seriously--it is your destiny.

Minnehaha Falls
(Minneapolis) 5.2 miles
4825 Minnehaha Avenue

A waterfall, hiking trails, and a great seafood restauraunt. Oh, and you can rent those crazy four-person bikes and pretend you are in the things-are'splendid montage of a romantic comedy!

Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden
4.5 miles
1750 Hennepin Avenue

You know that giant spoon with a giant cherry in it that appears on postcards and special broadcasts from Minneapolis? This is where it lives. And that is fine--it's kind of cool. But there is so much more at the Walker Art Center's sculpture garden. And they've got artist-designed mini-golf!

University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
26.4 miles
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN

If you need a quiet place for a stroll, or just want to sit and think while surrounded by pretty growy things, you might think about the arboretum. It's a rental car thing for sure. There is a pretty insane LEGO exhibit there now. And then there is a Prince perk: To get there you have to drive by the compound he calls Paisely Park (which is also where he holds his occasional 2am concerts). If we're being honest, it is not aging well. But Prince!

Mississippi River via Padelford Riverboats
Dr Justus Ohage Blvd, St Paul
9.7 miles

A river boat ride on the Mississippi between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Lake Calhoun
3000 E. Calhoun Pkwy
5.7 miles

You can rent bikes, pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards for lake-splashing enjoyment.


These bookstores are vetted. There are plenty more that could (and maybe should) be on the list, but you can’t go wrong with any of these (unless, of course, if you hate science fiction and decide to truck it out to Uncle Hugo’s). Two things worth noting: Common Good Books is Garrison Keilor’s bookstore (Wait! Come back!) and Wild Rumpus is a bookstore for kids that has LIVE ANIMALS running around. And we’re not just talking about bookstore cats. There are chickens!

The Book House
0.7 miles
1316 4th Street Southeast #201

Big Brain Comics
2.2 miles
1027 South Washington Avenue

Midway Books
3.6 miles
1579 University Avenue West

Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore
3.9 miles
2864 Chicago Avenue South

Once Upon a Crime Mystery Bookstore
4.8 miles
604 West 26th Street

Common Good Books
4.9 miles
38 Snelling Avenue South

Dreamhaven Books & Comics
5.2 miles
2301 East 38th Street

Magers & Quinn
5.4 miles
3038 Hennepin Avenue

Wild Rumpus
7.6 miles
2720 West 43rd Street


Like the bookstores, these record stores are vetted! Three things worth noting: Fifth Element is the record store of the Minneapolis Hip Hop collective Rhymesayers (Atmosphere, Brother Ali, P.O.S.), Electric Fetus is a super gross name and a really great store, and Treehouse used to be called Oar Folkjokeopus and was sort of the uniffial HQ of Twin/Tone records, early home to Minneapolis bands like The Replacements, Babes in Toyland, Soul Asylum, and The Jayhawks. It’s also where the guys from Husker Du met.

Barely Brothers
1.8 miles
783 Raymond Avenue

Agharta Records
2.3 miles
2512 University Avenue

Hymie’s Vintage Records
2.7 miles
3820 East Lake Street

Electric Fetus
3.4 miles
2000 4th Avenue South

Treehouse Records
4.8 miles
2557 Lyndale Avenue South

Fifth Element
4.6 miles
2411 Hennepin Avenue South


You can find the multiplexes easy enough. These are the special theaters. Oh, and the Riverview puts real butter on your popcorn!

St. Anthony Main Theatre
1.9 miles
115 Southeast Main Street

Trylon Microcinema
2.7 miles
3258 Minnehaha Avenue

Riverview Theater
4.1 miles
3800 42nd Avenue South

Museums and Art!

Weisman Art Museum
0.7 miles
333 East River Parkway

Walker Art Center
4.5 miles
1750 Hennepin Avenue

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
3.5 miles
2400 3rd Avenue South

Bell Museum of Natural History
0.4 miles
10 Church Street Southeast

Mill City Museum
1.9 miles
704 S 2nd St.

Does a really great job of telling some of the key history of Minnesota—the flour industry. Plus you can get a great view of the city, St. Anthony Falls ,and the Mississippi River from the top of the museum. Also great for children!

Intermedia Arts
5 miles
2822 Lyndale Avenue S

Soo Visual Art Center
5.2 miles
2909 Bryant Avenue S Suite 101

Highpoint Center for Printmaking
5.4 miles
912 W Lake St

Live Music!

Cedar Cultural Center
2.1 miles
416 Cedar Avenue

Patrick’s Cabaret
2.8 miles
3010 Minnehaha Avenue

The Triple Rock Social Club
2.3 miles
629 Cedar Avenue

Turf Club
2.4 miles
1601 University Avenue West

First Avenue & 7th St Entry
4.2 miles
701 North 1st Avenue

Khyber Pass
4.9 miles
1571 Grand Avenue

4.3 miles
2528 Nicollet Avenue South

Festivals and Events

Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Twin Cities Pride Festival and Parade

Fun for Kids!

Minnesota Children’s Museum
7.5 miles
10 7th St. W., St. Paul

Essential, especially toddler through about age eight.

Como Zoo
5.9 miles
1225 Estabrook Drive, St Paul

Small, but really nice, zoo; a conservatory; a really cool historical carousel (to ride!); and an amusement park called Como Town that has rides and a splash pad. The rides are geared toward younger kids (toddler through middle school). Como Town and the carousel cost money, but the zoo is free (they ask for donations, however).

The Works Museum
14 miles
9740 Grand Ave S., Bloomington

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
16.8 miles

The Raptor Center on the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus
4.5 miles
1920 Fitch Avenue, St. Paul

Tamarack Nature Center
20 miles
5287 Otter Lake Rd, White Bear Township

Just Because…

Ax-Man Surplus Store
3.2 miles
1639 University Avenue West

The most freakishly delightful surplus store this side of the Mississippi. Not military surplus, but *everything* surplus. People walk through the aisles making joyful sounds. For real.

House of Balls
2.2 miles
1504 South 7th Street

Just trust...

Walker Art Center’s Artist-Designed Mini-Golf
4.5 miles
1750 Hennepin Avenue

Exactly what it says. And no windmills allowed. (For weather-related and course closure information, call 612.375.7697.)

Day Trips

Franconia Sculpture Park
47.5 miles
29836 Saint Croix Trail, Shafer, MN

There is a house suspended from wires, a sculpture made of boom boxes that reaches towards the heavens... Many of the sculptures are welded, formed, and banged together on site. It's sprawling and it's amazing.

Duluth (Lake Superior)

150 miles

It's a 2.5 hour drive, but it's a great little city on a really big lake. If you are a Dylan person, he was born in Duluth and lived there at 519 N. 3rd Ave. E. until he was six. Or maybe you are a Prince person...

Purple Rain locations, because Prince

Have you watched that movie lately? If so, you've probably already clicked that link.

More Lists

City Pages, “Best of…” lists for 2015

This covers a lot of other ground, especially in food and entertainment.