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After stints at magazines highlighting Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Liz Gardner was ready for something new — but not yet willing to stray from Minneapolis. Instead, she co-founded creative firm Bodega Ltd. with partner Josef Harris, and their budding portfolio features many of the city’s hottest and most innovative establishments. Below, Gardner shares what visitors shouldn’t miss in her home city.
A neighborhood worth checking out is:Downtown Minneapolis’s North Loop is the hot spot, and it’s also where Josef and I live and work. Our building was a turn-of-the-century candy factory, nestled in what the former warehouse district of the city. There’s a lot of new food and retail popping up all around us, including must-see spots such as The Foundry Home Goods for shopping and Marvel Bar for a nightcap.
Tourist activities that are actually worth the hype are:Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden — they are all they’re cracked up to be. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, though technically in nearby St. Paul, is pretty great, too, especially if you visit in the winter and need a tropical boost. Last but not least, Mill City Museum gives a worthwhile nod to our flour-mill heritage.
For foodies who love Instagram, check out:Upton 43 restaurant, one of our favorite projects for Bodega Ltd. It is stunning. Able Seedhouse + Brewery pulls Japanese burnt wood and concrete furniture into its new brewery, and the beer’s good, too. Tattersall Distilling has craft cocktails on tap, and guests can watch the distilling process under a crystal chandelier.
If you’re seeking inspiration, look no further than:Minneapolis Central Library. With an amazing selection of books and stunning architecture, it may be one of the most overlooked places in the city.
Favorite hidden gem of Minneapolis?The Monte Carlo. It’s old school: Waitresses wear traditional uniforms, bartenders wear vests and ties, and you can’t wear a hat at the bar. It’s likely you’ll see a crew of gentleman in their 60s at a large table in the back.
Minneapolis is home to a vibrant arts, culture and dining scene. // © 2016 Meet Minneapolis/Creative Commons user Minneapolisorg
The Walker Art Center’s Cargill Lounge // © 2016 Meredith Kessler
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory hosts popular flower shows during every season. // © 2016 Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Learn about Minneapolis’ flour mill heritage at Mill City Museum. // © 2016 Minnesota Historical Society
Upton 43’s brunch menu includes dishes such as Smorrebrod covered in gravlax and fried oyster. // © 2016 Upton 43
Able Seedhouse + Brewery’s design includes concrete furniture and Japanese burnt wood. // © 2016 Brandon Werth
Watch the distilling process under a crystal chandelier at Tattersall Distilling. // © 2016 Sam Kovar
Minneapolis Central Library is located in the city’s downtown area. // © 2016 Creative Commons user minneapolisorg
It’s Friday night. Where to?Head to St. Genevieve, a beautiful Parisian-influenced restaurant, for a glass of bubbly, and then Corner Table for wine and more hospitality. End the night at Norsten Bar at The Bachelor Farmer — Jon Palmer will make you the best martini of your life.
What makes Minneapolis a special place to visit?Winters can be long, but that breeds creativity. Also, because of the industrial heritage of the city, a lot of people make things. These factors add up to a vibrant culture with exceptional food and dynamic arts, theater and music — our city’s Scandinavian roots just don’t really lend to us shouting that from the rooftops.