The readers of USA TODAY and 10Best have spoken: Northeast Minneapolis is the Best Art District in America. We beat out areas like SoWa in Boston (No. 2), Station North in Baltimore (No. 3), Heidelberg Project in Detroit (No. 4), and the Dallas Arts District (No. 5), among others, on our way to the top. This likely doesn’t come as a huge shock to locals, but it is a wonderful feather in our cap, and hopefully spreads the word further about the great arts scene we have here.
In the 1980s, artists started gravitating to this area. Today, there are more than 400 who live and/or work here, most of whom occupy historic or industrial buildings that have been repurposed into studios, galleries, and performance spaces. The Arts District is technically bounded by the Mississippi River on the West, 26th Avenue on the North, Central Avenue on the East, and Broadway on the South, with the majority of independent galleries concentrated along 13th Avenue, but the entire walking-style neighborhood with its shops, restaurants, breweries, and more is definitely worthy of exploration.
In the article announcing Northeast Minneapolis’ new title, events like Art-A-Whirl (May 15-17), the region’s largest open studio tour, the Fall Fine Arts Show (Sept. 18-27), an annual exhibition and sale of more than 150 artists’ work, and Art Attack (each November), an open studio event that takes place in the district’s most populated complex, the Northrup King Building, are called to attention. However, there are other ways to get a firsthand look at the artists and their work throughout the year as well. On the first Thursday of each month much of the district opens its doors, allowing the public to visit a number of galleries and studios from 5-9 p.m. Exact locations are listed on the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association’s calendar. On those same Thursdays in the Q.arma Building you’ll find open doors, complimentary beverages and snacks, and artwork for sale. Then, on the second Saturday of the month, the California Building, which was the first studio building in the area, is open for tours and sales. Plus, there are plenty of additional special events that place throughout the year as well.
If you want to spend even more time in this area or are looking for additional ideas of things to do, check out this itinerary detailing 24 Hours in Northeast Minneapolis.