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Best Fun things to do in Northeast Minneapolis, MN

Best Fun things to do in Northeast Minneapolis is one of the most popular areas in Minnesota’s largest city. As an up-and-coming spot, the area (commonly referred to by locals as just “Northeast”) has seen a recent boom due to a number of new breweries, restaurants, apartments — not to mention the numerous art galleries and studios abound. With convenient access to downtown just across the Mississippi River, Northeast is one of the most popular neighborhoods for locals and visitors alike. If you’re interested in exploring this quirky, artsy and unique pocket of Minneapolis, read on for some of the top fun things to do in Northeast Minneapolis. 

The History of Northeast Minneapolis 

Northeast Minneapolis has a rich history dating back to the start of downtown Minneapolis. Like much of the city, the area started as a flour milling hotspot due to its proximity to the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls. The first commercial mill opened on the east bank of the river in 1848 in the area known as St. Anthony. In 1872, St. Anthony became officially part of Minneapolis. The area continued to grow along the river, with numerous industrial developments like sawmills, rail and factories taking advantage of the river’s location and power. Northeast was known as an industrial, blue-collar neighborhood before developments like condos and a neighborhood revitalization effort breathed new life into it. Northeast was also a popular area for immigrant communities to settle, particularly Eastern European and Polish families. Many of these influences are still felt in the area today. 

Northeast Minneapolis Today

In a nod to the area’s rich industrial history, many of the old factories, warehouses and storage have been converted into artist studios, retail locations, and apartments and condos. As such, Northeast has a number of historic buildings that give the area a unique charm. 

Over the past 30 years, the area has also seen a boom in restaurants, shopping and galleries.

Today, it’s a popular area for foodies who want to explore the many ethnic restaurants that have found a home in Northeast.

It is also perhaps best known as the city’s main arts hub. As mentioned, many of the old buildings have been turned into artists’ collectives and galleries, making it a centralized spot for Minneapolis’s artists to live, work and play. 

Fun things to do in Northeast Minneapolis

Northeast Minneapolis offers a wide range of things to do for those who are interested in a long weekend in the city. If you’re planning a trip to Minneapolis, here are some spots in Northeast to put on your must-see list. 

Arts in Northeast Minneapolis

  • When visiting the area, one of the top spots to experience the arts is the Northrup King Building, which claims to be the largest art complex in Minnesota. The massive building is home to over 350 artists and small businesses where you can peruse and purchase some of the city’s amazing art.
  • Located in another historic building that used to manufacture caskets, the Casket Arts Community now houses over 150 artists and art-based businesses. Check out their website to see events and openings for the best times and dates to see the galleries. 

Restaurants and Breweries in Northeast Minneapolis

  • Along Central Avenue in Northeast, you’ll find a diverse mix of restaurants whether you’ve got a specific craving or want to try something new. Some favorites include Sen Yai Sen Lek for tasty Thai food, Chimborazo for unique Ecuadorian fare and Maya Cuisine for authentic Mexican. 
  • To try out some Eastern European fare from the settlers that helped make Northeast what it is today, stop into Kramarczuk’s for classic sausages, pierogies and cabbage rolls. 
  • If you’re a craft brew fan, you’re in luck. Northeast Minneapolis is home to dozens of some of the best breweries and taprooms in the Midwest. Some local favorites include Dangerous Man Brewing, Indeed Brewing Company and Bauhaus Brew Labs. But with so many to choose from, you can also peruse the full list of breweries (narrowed down by region) with this handy search tool from the Minnesota Craft Brew Guild.

Other Entertainment in Northeast Minneapolis

  • Experience some of the old school charm in Northeast by wandering along the Mississippi River. In St. Anthony Main, you’ll find quaint cobblestone streets with great views of the downtown skyline. Enjoy cocktails on the numerous picturesque patios along the street, or catch a show at the St. Anthony Main Theatre. 
  • Looking to get some time outdoors? Visit Boom Island Park for hiking and biking trails, and even a boat launch for a unique ride along the Mississippi. 
  • Team with the top flight crew in Northeast Minneapolis, Inflight Pilot Training and fly an airplane (under direction of a professional flight instructor, of course). With their Discovery Flight offering, you get the chance to take control of the yoke yourself and explore the Twin Cities metro area from thousands of feet above.


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