Edit ModuleShow Tags

Northern Spark To Light Up the Night June 13


Keetra Dean Dixon, Swing Hall, Swing All, Northern Spark 2012. Photo by Jayme Halbritter.

When I became a mom, my definition of “staying up all night” took on a completely different meaning than it did when I was up all night with friends. Suddenly, staying up all night was not a good thing. Staying up all night meant feeling fuzzy-brained the next day, and putting my pants on backwards, and daydreaming about/obsessing over sleep, because when you have a baby—there's no promise of a good night's sleep in your immediate future and you start to worry that you'll never sleep through the night again.

But now that my kids are 5 and (almost) 8 and the entire household is getting some much-needed shut-eye, I’m more likely to stay up until 4 a.m. hanging out with friends (ok, I did that one night last year when vacationing with college friends in Mexico, but hey! I did it!), and definitely more intrigued by events like Northern Spark, the Minneapolis dusk-to-dawn public arts festival happening June 13 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The festival presents a way “to see the city in a new light” (to quote northern.lights.mn, the nonprofit organization behind the event). It’s “friendly crowds, ambitious art projects, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, a night of amazing experiences.”

Not only are there hundreds of artists’ projects—many site-specific—at multiple venues, including a light show at Northrop Auditorium and an interactive installation at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, but a “remarkable range of sound and music projects” including an audio mix-up at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and performances by Adam Levy and The Professors, Mill City Opera, Cloud Cult (outdoors on the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza!), and Brian Engel (of Hotpants and Hipshaker fame). Most events are free, but there is a fee for the pancake feed, hosted at Aria at the close of the festival (pancakes courtesy of The Bachelor Farmer and Al’s Breakfast). Tickets for the pancake breakfast are $25 at the door.

Northern Spark consists of different zones to check out: Zone A is the Minneapolis Convention Center, Zone B is Peavey Plaza, Zone C is Mill City and Mill Ruins Park, Zone D is the Walker Art Center, Zone E is MCAD and MIA, and Zone F is the University of Minnesota (Weisman Art Museum, Northrop, and The Bell Museum of Natural History). Tips on “making the most of your night hike” include wearing comfortable shoes, bringing weather-appropriate gear, traversing the festival by bicycle (just remember your helmet and headlamp), bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated, and packing snacks (for when you’re not stopping at a food truck). You can even bring your kids. According to my friend Kirsten, “It might not seem like a family-friendly event, starting at 9 p.m., but seeing the number of families strolling throughout the city in the middle of the night was almost magical. Many of the exhibits and activities were totally appropriate for children, and felt like a really special way to show your kids that the night and the city are a really safe and creative place.”

I’ve worked in Minneapolis for a decade, but have I ever wandered the city at 3 a.m.? No. I think this would be the perfect way to remedy that, all while having fun, feeling safe, taking pride in our incredibly creative community, and supporting local artists. I can justify staying up all night for this (even if it means having to take a nap on Sunday—if my kids will let me).

For more information, visit northernspark.org.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Hit the Road for a Fall Weekend in Alexandria, Minnesota

When fall comes around in Alexandria, Minnesota, the leaves aren’t the only things that are colorful. The fall festivals and events in Alexandria brighten up the first chilly months and give life to the city that lives on the lake during its summer.

Lantern Light Festival Celebrates Chinese Culture at Canterbury Park

Shakopee is the temporary home of dazzling lanterns illuminated in lights, Chinese performances, and a unique family-friendly experience.

Get Ready for a Sweat Fest

ALTR’s fitness classes in Minneapolis' North Loop are a high-octane thrill ride with a one-way ticket to shredded

Photographing the City on Your Lunch Break

Local photographer Wayne Moran leads afternoon tours through picture-perfect Minneapolis

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: October

Help out mothers and children dealing with homelessness, fight against cancer, and contribute to a north Minneapolis bakery with the Cookie Cart.

Best Minnesota Town Last Call for Votes

Help one of these 10 cities advance to the finals for a chance to win a party in their town, $50,000 toward an advertising campaign, and an editorial feature in Minnesota Monthly magazine.

New Fall Drinks at Tattersall Harvestival

The NE Minneapolis distillery features four apple-based drinks to celebrate autumn

Small Press, Big Impact: Graywolf's 2nd Literary Salon

Graywolf invited writers Layli Long Soldier, Carmen Maria Machado, and Danez Smith to the stage to challenge the status quo

New Places to Shop and Eat at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

MSP Airport's revamp just bumped it up to 6th best in North America—now with indoor food trucks, local brews, therapy dogs, and a golfing simulator

From Writer to Mid-Wife: St. Paul Writing Workshops Highlight Strength in Vulnerability This Month

Leading workshops through October, St. Paul author Ellen Sue Stern on the healing of writing

DNR Predicts Unusually Vibrant Fall Colors: Find the Best Spots

The MN DNR is predicting an especially colorful fall season due to ideal summer weather conditions. We found five spots around the state—including Lanesboro and Lake Superior—with great autumn views.

Duluth Indie Bookstore Celebrates Opening

Zenith Bookstore opens in the face of Amazon and free two-day shipping—because this Duluth retired couple knows that people love shopping small

What It Means to Light Up the St. Anthony Lock

A colorful light show fills the now-defunct lock with its own history

Save the Date for Unveiled Bridal Show September 17

Unveiled isn't just a bridal show, it's a fun and memorable experience.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags