Neighborhood Spotlight: Uptown Minneapolis’ Chain of Lakes

With the beautiful weather we had this past weekend, my husband and I decided to throw the stroller in the trunk and the toddler in his car seat and head down to Uptown’s Chain of Lakes to walk around Lake Calhoun. It’s honestly one of my favorite summer activities. For the three-mile walk, my husband and I get to chat while our son gets to point at airplanes, wave at puppies (so many dogs!), and eat a snack.

Lake Calhoun

The place was hopping on Saturday, as is typical on any 70-plus-degree day. People flock to the lakes; you’ll find groups grilling hot dogs, playing beach volleyball, tossing a Frisbee or throwing a football, sun bathing, scaling the playground, running, biking, walking, windsurfing, or just sitting and gazing at the lake.

Stella’s Fish Cafe

My husband and I (sans toddler) also love renting kayaks and paddling our way from Lake Calhoun under Lake Street and into the calm waters of Lake of the Isles. At Wheel Fun Rentals on the north side of the lake, you can also rent canoes, bikes, pedal boats, and paddle boards all for reasonable hourly rates. Just a short walk up Lake Street brings you to the center of Uptown, where you can find great rooftop patios at Stella’s and Uptown Cafeteria, catch an indie flick at the Lagoon, or shop local stores like Magers & Quinn or others inside Calhoun Square.

Lake Harriet
All photos by Todd Buchanan

If you want a bit quieter stroll, Lake of the Isles’ nearly three miles takes you winding around a fairly affluent part of Minneapolis. Take in the huge homes and when you hit the north side of the lake, head up Franklin Avenue and grab a delicious ice cream cone from local favorite Sabastian Joe’s. While I’m a mint chocolate chip girl myself, I can’t resist the Pavarotti packed with caramel, bananas, and chocolate chips.

Lake Harriet, to the south of Lake Calhoun (grab a Nice Ride bike and loop all three lakes for a 13-mile workout), offers music at the bandshell (starting at the end of May), picnic-perfect fare from Bread & Pickle, rentals at Wheel Fun, and beautiful blooms in the Lyndale Park Gardens. Get great home cooking at Zumbro Café (the Eggs Benedict is delicious) and shop for kids books at Wild Rumpus, both located in the Linden Hills neighborhood to the west of the lake.

So, if you’re visiting the Twin Cities in the summer and want to get a true picture of why we’re annually considered among the most healthy, fit, bike-friendly, and best places to live, head to Minneapolis’ Chain of Lakes. It’s a gorgeous area filled with relaxed locals having fun; grab your sandals and sunglasses and you’ll feel just like one of the crowd. You’ll never want to leave. Promise.

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