See the lakes on foot and visit the city's top museum.
You may not think of February as the best month to visit Minnesota, but if you wait until summer you’re missing out. From January 26 to February 4, Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, host The Great Northern Festival, a 10-day outdoor event packed with local winter traditions, and this year culminating with the Super Bowl. Here, how to spend game day weekend like a local.
Where to Stay
Book a room at The Hewing Hotel, a Nordic-inspired hotel located in a former warehouse in the heart of the progressive North Loop neighborhood. The Hewing is all about the details: Walk into the lobby and you’re greeted by a log fireplace and plush leather chairs. The rooms feature custom blankets from the local Faribault Woolen Mill and the walls are a mix of exposed brick and Scandinavian folk prints. At the in-house restaurant Tullibeeeven your morning coffee arrives in a wool koozie.
Or for another standout boutique option, check into Hotel Alma. The bright and airy rooms are outfitted with natural white oak beds, cotton linens, and custom textiles. It’s also situated above Restaurant Alma, widely regarded as one of the best in the country.
Start your day at the downtown location of local favorite, Penny’s Coffee, for a matcha latte and a bowl of the five nut oatmeal made with walnuts, pecans, pistachios, toasted hazelnuts, and peanut butter. After fueling up, put on your cold-weather gear and go for a run around the Lake of The Isles, Lake Calhoun, or Lake Harriet. This urban chain of lakes is surrounded by historic Kenwood neighborhood homes and offers breathtaking views of the Minneapolis skyline. Each loop is around three miles but they easily connect if you want a longer route.
Finish at the nearby Lyn-Lake neighborhood where you can warm up with lunch at The Lynhall. This new counter-service market includes a coffee counter, bakery, café, and a 1200-square-foot studio kitchen. Order a chai tea or cappuccino with oat milk, then grab a table while you wait for your food. The selection of open-faced sandwiches is difficult to choose between (the chicken salad with preserved lemon and roasted grapes is a favorite), but the assortment of grain salads and the potato-and-cauliflower salad with pickled mustard seeds are equally delicious.
Spend the afternoon exploring the North Loop neighborhood. Stop in at Wilson & Willy’s for chic outdoor clothing and home goods from local makers, like the black wax duffel bag from Duluth Pack. Nearby you’ll find high-end men’s shops like Shinola and Martin Patrick 3, plus gorgeous tableware, goat hair dust brushes and Turkish linens at The Foundry Home Goods.Don't miss Askov Finlayson, a trendy shop known for their iconic North Hats. Then, head to the café at their sister spot, The Bachelor Farmer, for a cup of the silky butternut squash soup.
If you’re not in the mood for shopping, visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art in the southern part of the city. The expansive museum is neighbors with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and just steps from Eat Street, where you'll find a stretch of great family-owned ethnic restaurants, bakeries, and adorable cafés like The Copper Hen. While perusing the galleries, don’t miss the extremely comprehensive Chinese and Southeast Asian Art wing. The Pillsbury and Dayton families have donated items from their personal collections.
Before dinner, go check out the Luminary Loppet, a Minneapolis tradition where cross-country skiers and pedestrians can see 1200 candlelight luminaries lining the Lake of the Isles. Swing by the tent party to grab some hot chocolate before walking through the ice forest installation and the illuminated ice pyramid.
Finish the night at Hai Haiin Northeast Minneapolis, the new Vietnamese-inspired restaurant from the duo behind the ever-popular Hola Arepa. Start with the banana blossom salad with cabbage, shrimp, and pickled onions, then order the turmeric and coconut milk rice flour crêpe with shiitake mushrooms, which is wrapped in lettuce and topped with fresh herbs.
Whether or not you’re staying at Hotel Alma, breakfast at Café Alma is a must. Try a slice of their homemade toast topped with white bean hummus and za’atar or their creamy fruit smoothie with almond milk. If you’re in the mood for something a little more indulgent, opt for the famous “walnutella” spread.
After breakfast, head over to Angry Catfish Bike & Coffee Shop near Lake Hiawatha where you can rent fat bikes and ride them down the frozen Minnehaha Creek. The helpful staff at the shop will provide you with a map and suggest an appropriate route for your ability level. If you'd rather spectate, head over to the Uptown Loppet Village near Lake Calhoun to catch all of the finalists in the snowshoe, fat bike, cross-country, and dog sled races cross the finish line.
Before the big game at US Bank Stadium, grab an early dinner at Martina in Linden Hills. This sleek Argentinian restaurant from chef Danny Del Prado has an incredible line-up of fresh pastas, like the sea bolognese with squid ink pappardelle, but the wood-fired meats and seafood are truly jaw-dropping. The giant tiger prawns topped with chimichurri resemble long elegant langoustines and the octopus is served over tomato jam. The roasted carrots are also exceptional, served with a zesty carrot reduction, fresh herbs, and a sprinkling of puffed farro.
If you don't have tickets to the Super Bowl, head downtown to Randle’sto watch the game. The sports bar is owned by legendary Vikings defensive player John Randle and you won’t miss any of the action.