24 Hours in Uptown Minneapolis

When I decided to move to Minnesota for a new job, I had just over four weeks to wrap up my affairs in Madison, Wis. (where I went to college), find an apartment in Minneapolis, and travel back to New England, where my family lives, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because of this tight timeline, I didn’t have the luxury of apartment hunting in-person, but I did have the next best thing: a good friend already living in “the Cities” who was willing to do the hunting for me. I sent her a list of Craigslist ads with the simple instructions of picking the best place. Location was crucial, and she knew way more about the various areas than I did, so I put my full trust in her. This proved to be invaluable—she did not disappoint. As I drove my U-Haul up to my never-before-seen apartment in mid-December, I spotted my new neighbor: Pizza Luce. After that, I knew I was going to be ok.

Stumbling upon this gem location in the heart of Uptown has been the best decision I’ve ever not made. I’ve grown to love the neighborhood and the diverse areas to the north and south. Whether you’re a Minnesota native, or just visiting for a day, here’s my perfect “24 Hours in Uptown” itinerary:

Muddy Waters Brunch

Two words: Breakfast. Pizza. Arrive with a brunch co-captain so you have room to order a side of the Billionaire’s Bacon. Just as the name suggests, stacks of thick-cut bacon drizzled in brown sugar and maple syrup could be reserved for the 1 percent. Thankfully, though, anyone can eat like a king for just $6.

Highpoint Center for Printmaking

I walked by the unassuming Highpoint Center for months before I finally ventured in. This beautiful warehouse is so much more than a gallery—it’s a cooperative for artists of all skill sets and backgrounds, as well as an educational community that seeks to serve and increase appreciation for the craft of printmaking. It’s one of my favorite places to stop by on the weekends, to see what’s new in the rotating gallery (seeing prints made by local children makes my heart sing), and to watch artists devotedly working, learning, and creating in a supportive environment. It’s nothing short of inspiring. The friendly staff is always eager to talk about the classes they offer so you, too, can have an outlet for expression and creativity.

Bryant Lake Bowl

If I ever have visitors in town, this vintage bowling alley, complete with a staff typically dressed in covetable vintage garb, is guaranteed to be on the list. Score is taken the old-fashioned way, with paper and pencil, and bumpers are not an option. Liquid courage is available, as well as a menu of locally-sourced, organic meals and appetizers—delivered right to your lane. Don’t be alarmed if you forget your socks. For just $5, you can add a new, snazzy, colorful pair to your wardrobe. In fact, I make it a point to deliberately “forget” my socks now.

LynLake Brewery

New (and arguably the best) addition to Uptown in 2014, LLB renovated the historic Lyndale Theater, with the vintage marquee sign proudly donning witty puns like “Now Playing: Beer.” With taproom culture on the rise, LynLake competes with the best of ‘em—there’s a stellar rooftop patio overlooking the downtown skyline (complete with firepits, comfortable chairs, and large tables), an interior in line with Minneapolis biking culture (the ceiling is adorned with old bicycle wheel spokes), a relaxed vibe, and places nearby that deliver food. Let’s not forget about the most important aspect of this Uptown staple: the beer. It’s high-quality, unique tasting, and always fresh and cold. 

Lake of the Isles

If you appropriately walk down Lake Street, you will stumble upon two lakes: Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles—humbly connected by a small, narrow passageway, giving Minneapolis its famous Chain of Lakes nickname. Both lakes are about equidistant to walk, but if I had to pick one, I’d opt for Lake of the Isles for a few reasons: The city skyline; the quaint and not-so-quaint mansions lining the perimeter; the reflections that dance on the water during sunset. Even if you find yourself in Uptown in the dead of winter, you’ll still be pleasantly surprised by runners, cross-country skiers, skaters, and  snowshoers making the most of the frozen lake. It’s quintessential Minneapolis, regardless of the season.