Things to Do in Minneapolis

Peter Wong/

Across the Mississippi River from St. Paul, the Twin Cities' cosmopolitan metropolis comes alive with new shops, restaurants and nightlife rooted in the area's hot cultural scene.

Martin Patrick 3, a block-long mens­wear and lifestyle shop on an industrial street in Minneapolis’s emerging North Loop neighborhood, a couple walkable avenues north of the downtown skyscraper hub and a few streets west of the Mississippi River, is cool. So much so that the store could belong in New York or London or Hong Kong—how did it get here?

It happened organically. Around 2005 owner Greg Walsh, 48, started selling trinkets—­watches, playing cards, decanters—­­at his Walsh Design Group’s interior design store until his accessories business outgrew its first space, then its second. Now expanded a third time, Martin Patrick 3 (212 N Third Ave.; 612-746-5329) is an impeccably curated sensory overload: There’s a Filson jacket and a J.W. Hulme Co. leather briefcase and a Far­ibault wool blanket and Marvis toothpaste and vintage cuff links and…a taxidermy duck! It’s still Minnesota, after all.

I had been tipped off to Martin Patrick 3 by Veronica Clark, the model-esque pro­prie­tress across the street at new women’s clothing boutique D.NOLO (219 N Second St.; 612-584-3244), a sort of mini Barneys Co-Op. It’s a raw space where Rag & Bone and Helmut Lang some­how look at home against a chopped-fire­wood installation. “We’re a supportive com­munity,” Clark says of her dozen or so neigh­boring shopkeepers.

That includes brothers Eric and Andrew Dayton, heirs to the city’s late, great Day­ton’s department store, who run menswear shop Askov Finlayson (200 N First St.; 612-206-3925). It’s in the same warehouse as their impossible-to-get-a-reservation-at Nordic res­taurant, The Bachelor Farmer (50 N Second Ave.; 612-206-3920), and underground cocktail den, Marvel Bar (612-206-3929). Along with chef Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery (112 N Third St.; 612-343-7696) and Bar La Grassa (800 N Washington Ave.; 612-333-3837), the Daytons were among the first to spur the area’s now booming restaurant scene, which includes favorites like the smartly designed Borough (730 N Washington Ave.; 612-354-3135)—and its basement speakeasy, Parlour—and lobster haven the Smack Shack (603 N Washington Ave.; 612-259-7288). The culinary options will get even better when homegrown chef Gavin Kaysen, formerly of New York’s Michelin-starred Café Boulud and winner of a James Beard Rising Chef award, relocates this winter to open a North Loop restaurant called Merchant.

The reinvention of Minneapolis as a bastion of hip is actually a citywide phenomenon. In the North Loop, the energy was jump-started when the Jean Nouvel–designed Guthrie Theater moved to the neighboring Mill District in 2006, which shifted real estate and retail development north, and then especially when the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field opened in 2010 and pushed it west. And in the formerly quiet Northeast neighborhood­—on the same side of the Mississippi River as the University of Minnesota’s shiny Weisman Art Museum, Frank Gehry’s precursor to the Guggenheim Bilbao—there are exciting new restaurants like Brasa Premium Rotisserie (600 E Hennepin Ave.; 612-379-3030), chef Alex Roberts’s chicken spot that’s housed in an old garage, of all places. The new life here is due in part to a 2011 law known as the “Surly bill,” which allowed small breweries like Surly Brewing Co. (4811 Dusharme Dr.; 763-535-3330), in nearby Brooklyn Center, to operate taprooms. Now Northeast watering holes, including Dangerous Man Brewing Company (1300 Second St. NE; 612-236-4087), cater to brewery hoppers cycling from taproom to taproom on the city’s ever-popular 200 miles of bike trails.

Close to the city’s Chain of Lakes, in LynLake, an up-and-coming neighborhood anchored by the just finished 171-unit luxury Lime Apartments building, the taproom trend continues this summer with the opening of the Lyn-Lake Brewery (2934 Lyndale Ave. S; 612-224-9682). And down Hennepin Avenue from the Herzog & de Meuron–designed Walker Art Center (1750 Hennepin Ave.; 612-375-7600), one of the country’s top contemporary art museums, and chef Tim Mc­Kee’s fine-dining stalwart La Belle Vie (510 Groveland Ave.; 612-874-6440) is chef Becker’s new Burch (1933 Colfax Ave. S; 612-843-1515), a steakhouse–pizzeria–dumpling­ house (trust us, it works).

Though the more things change, the more things stay the same. After scouring Martin Patrick 3 on a spring day, I walked over to Askov Finlayson to buy the store’s signature item: a winter hat with its trademark label, North. Like I said, it’s still Minnesota, after all.

Elsewhere in the Midwest

The Detroit Metropolitan Airport is getting a little facelift in McNamara Terminal’s Central Link area this summer with the opening of the Estée Lauder Beauty Boutique. This is not the average duty-free shop. Besides more personalized service from expert beauty advisors, expect a range of offerings from the company’s portfolio: travel-sized skin care products from Estée Lauder and Clinique; on-the-go makeup palettes from Bobbi Brown; fragrance sets from Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan. There will also be services designed specifically for travelers, like La Mer’s complimentary Arrive Hydrated treatment.