Even though I have worked downtown for 7.5 years, Minneapolis kind of intimidates me. I’m a St. Paulie girl at heart, and to me, Minneapolis is like that gregarious, energetic, trendy girl who talks fast and walks fast and has everyone dazzled by her charm, while I am the laid-back, in-no-hurry, play-it-safe common-sense girl who only raises her hand when she knows the answer is right.
Little by little, though, I’m becoming friends with Minneapolis. Take Northeast Minneapolis, for example. It’s genuine rather than pretentious, open-minded, hardworking, sometimes traditional and sometimes trendy, artful, and welcoming. All good qualities in a neighborhood (and friend).
Just last weekend, we had friends visiting from Huntington Beach, and they wanted to go out. They have two boys (1 and 2), we have two boys (2 and 5), so it took us about 1.1 seconds to agree to a night on the town. The California couple hadn’t been out in downtown Minneapolis since New Year’s Eve of 2006. We briefly considered going to a restaurant on Nicollet Mall, but then decided to head to Northeast instead.
It was a good choice.
On the way there, I explained to Colleen that Aveda’s headquarters are in Minnesota, and the Aveda Institute is a historical landmark, built in the 1920s.
We didn’t have time to stop, but if it had been earlier in the day, I would have loved to introduce our friends to Bibelot, Pacifier, Parc Boutique, and I Like You. I don’t always do it as often as I know I should, but I do believe in supporting independent shops and buying local.
And how can you talk about Northeast without mentioning the Stone Arch Bridge? Some of the best views of the Minneapolis skyline can be seen from there (and it’s also a romantic hot-spot for proposals).
We reminisced about some good times at Nye’s (polka!) and Gasthof’s (the boot!) before enjoying an excellent patio dinner at Eli’s East (I highly recommend the quinoa salad with a Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine). Our friends commented that the menu was “just like one you’d see in California.”
After dinner, we went to Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, with one of the most impressive patios around—right on the Mississippi River. We only sat outside for a few minutes before the rain came, then moved inside where a band was playing in a very tiki-oriented ambiance.
“Do you have a bar like this in California?” I shouted to Colleen over the music.
She shook her head no. “I love it, though!”
Score another one for Minnesota, and for Northeast.