Uptown Minneapolis: Yesterday's Grunge, Today's Glitz

coup d’etat by tj turner

Neighborhood Character

Hennepin and Lake has been fast evolving since Prince named a song after it in 1980. The bohemian free-for-all that the Purple One depicted has given way to national chains and luxury apartment buildings, with fewer and fewer of the little hole-in-the-wall joints probably best symbolized by the razed Uptown Diner and its ghosts of the Minneapolis music scene. The neighborhood’s holdouts still stoke a brainy, literate culture of book and record shops beneath the rising glitz.

stella’s fish cafe by alex steinberg

The Classics

The gritty, timeless Uptown shows up in the old institutions that largely cluster on or near Hennepin: the cozy, reliable-as-roast-chicken (and just-changed-hands) Lucia’s, Magers & Quinn’s bibliophile paradise bookstore, and the Lagoon Cinema (with screens not much bigger than those at Buffalo Wild Wings, showing the most consistently well-curated films in town). The outdoor classics also endure—from the glistening lakes to the go-go Greenway—and have always constituted half the charm of a neighborhood that attracts both the edgy scenesters and the hardcore outdoorspeople (sometimes one and the same).  

libertine cocktail by tj turner

New Arrivals

The Walkway luxury apartment complex’s hot tub suspended out over Lake Street is the most obvious icon of the new era (along with the glamour-lit patio and artsy fire pit outside Bar Louie’s), full of young singles living like they have no plans to save for a down payment on a mortgage. They’re hanging out at hip dining spots Coup d’Etat and Libertine, shopping in the cold weather months at Columbia and The North Face, and year-round hitting up H&M and MAC Cosmetics. There’s also a new CoCo shared workspace where entrepreneurs and freelancers can punch their individualistic clocks (and make that spending money), and the old Uptown Theatre bridging the gap between ages with a spiffy interior remodel.

By the Numbers

Home Value Change Since 2012: +13%
Median monthly rent (2013): $1,353
Rent for a Three-Bedroom Unit at the Walkway: $3,600

Why Uptown?

Stuart Ackerberg, owner of Calhoun Square

“Uptown has always been an amazing place to be—and I believe it always will be. The culture ebbs and flows—but there is constantly a new generation who ‘discovers’ Uptown and calls it their own. You can’t find any other place like it in the state, maybe even the country. Amazing restaurants, quality shopping, strong entertainment experiences—and then the natural wonders of the lakes? Uptown will never fade away.”


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