We’re back from our first family vacation as a party of three! We had an absolute blast in Minneapolis working through all of your fantastic recommendations on things to do and places to visit! As with our previous trips to Malibu, Palm Springs, and when we drove Route 66, we basically lived off of reader recs and planned entire days around your suggestions. We were in town for five nights and didn’t even scratch the surface of our master list. Minneapolis, you were amazing.
Thank you, thank you for all of your thoughtful input. We received many requests to pull together a big list of what we did, where we stayed and what we ate (everything!). We received hundreds of recommendations, but many places rose to the top, as they were shouted out over and over again. Consider this a crowd-sourced list of all the things that were a must in Minneapolis, as suggested by all of you!
Where We Stayed
The lovely Melissa (who we also visited while we were in town!), recommended this adorable Minneapolis bunkhouse and we loved every minute of our stay. The bunkhouse featured the most clever cabinet wall we’ve ever seen – even featuring Semihandmade doors by our friends, Chris and Julia. Behind those doors are a kitchen sink, microwave, coffee station and a mini-oven, and there’s a Murphy bed that folds up into the wall to open up the space for activities. We love a well-designed small space around here and the bunkhouse fit the bill perfectly!
The open ‘studio’ layout of the bunkhouse required us to get a little creative with sleeping arrangements. Since there were no defined ‘bedrooms’, we determined that the best course of action was to create a pillow wall in the loft to block noise (and Lucy’s giggly view of us) and place the travel crib (provided by our host) up there. We alternated between sleeping in the bed on the main floor and the bed in the loft, which felt like a secret hideaway in the trees!
The bunkhouse is located in the Kenwood neighborhood, which is full of stunning homes and beautiful parks. We were also a quick two block walk to Lake of the Isles, and we spent most evenings taking a stroll around the water, pointing out our favorite homes (too many to count!) and snapping sunset photos.
Where We Played
The weather was unseasonably warm and sunny so we took full advantage! With the exception of one rainy morning when we headed over to St. Paul for the Minnesota Children’s Museum and ran around in nearby Rice Park, we were outdoors for nearly the entirety of our trip.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was a maze of large scale sculpture (including that famous cherry on a spoon!), and we enjoyed slowly meandering through the paths and resting on the lawn chairs.
We were lucky to catch an early morning rainbow at Minnehaha Falls before the crowds arrived, after which we went on a family hike. It felt as if we had the place all to ourselves, and yes, we grabbed lunch at Sea Salt afterwards!
We also spent some time at Wild Rumpus Books, which must be seen to be truly understood. If you’ve always hoped to visit a children’s bookstore with a pet chicken, chinchillas, a tarantula and some friendly rats, this is the place for you!
Where We Biked
One of the big draws that attracted us to Minneapolis is its’ consistent ranking among the best cycling cities in the country. One of Lucy’s favorite activities is strapping on her little red ‘hehmet’ and riding around in the front seat on one of our bikes, so we brought along a pair of bikes and got to riding on the first day of our trip! As mentioned above, our Airbnb was just two blocks from Lake of the Isles, which is part of Chain of Lakes Regional Park. A car-free paved path winds around the lakes and allows for safe and scenic biking. All three of us thought this was among the many highlights of the trip!
The following morning, we strapped the bikes back onto the car and drove downtown to ride the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, which includes the beautiful Stone Arch Bridge as well as walking paths through Mill Ruins Park.
While not pictured, I was also able to sneak out for a couple of hours during one of Lucy’s afternoon naps for a guided tour of the mountain bike trails throughout Theodore Wirth park. My buddy Josh works with one of the cycling advocacy groups that builds and maintains trails in Minneapolis, so we packed in the greatest hits of the area in one afternoon ride!
Where We Ate
The food. Oh, the food! We were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of amazing food in Minneapolis! We started a couple of mornings at Isles Bun and Coffee, where we demolished cinnamon rolls the size of Lucy’s head and some of the best scones of our life.
During our trip downtown to ride bikes, we stopped into The Bachelor Farmer Cafe for an incredible grain salad and wonderful coffee (and made a quick pit stop to shop at the adorable Pacifier Boutique). Afro Deli was a quick, simple lunch favorite after our jump over the river to the Children’s Museum, a fusion of African and Mediterranean flavors that were completely unique and unexpected.
Hola Arepa was one of the most highly recommended restaurants on our list and did not disappoint! We met a former coworker and his wife there for dinner and had a blast! Local tip – order the El Diablo cocktail, which is no longer on the menu. You will not be disappointed! We were told that Sea Salt was a mandatory stop on our trip to Minnehaha Falls and we don’t disagree. The fish (and veggie) tacos were fantastic.
We also spent an evening catching up with our pal Allison and her adorable family. Our adventure in the Kingfield neighborhood included stops at The Lowbrow for happy hour drinks and Nighthawks for dinner. Keep your eyes peeled for a dad-joke-inspired brewery that our two families will be working on together! (Kidding, maybe.)
Our last dinner in town was Young Joni. Chef Ann Kim recently won the James Beard award for Best Chef Midwest and from what we experienced, the honor was very well deserved. The woodfire pizza crust at Young Joni is somehow crispy and chewy at the same time. We started our meal with house-made Kimchi and street corn, and we kept things simple with a plain cheese pizza. If you find yourself in Minneapolis any time soon, Young Joni is mandatory eating!
As is true with the best vacations, we felt that we had simultaneously been away from our day-to-day lives for ages and for mere minutes. We enjoyed every second of our time in Minneapolis, and we found it to be family, kid and adult friendly. There was something for everyone! Kim made a series of small videos throughout our stay, and I think our love of the city shines through.
Thank you, all, for coming along with us!
PS: If there are any (non-family) images that you would like to see in our Print Shop, we’re happy to accommodate requests. Let us know in the comments!