Minneapolis–Saint Paul (Twin Cities) Guide
Initially established as a trading and transportation hub at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, Saint Paul (St. Paul) was founded in 1849 as the capital of Minnesota, growing with the railroad boom. By the late 19th century, it was a major industrial and commercial center for the Midwest. Across the Mississippi, Minneapolis emerged in step with St. Paul, also tripling in size from 1880s following the completion of a wrought iron bridge connecting it with the East. Following the bridge’s replacement in 1926 by the steel-reinforced concrete Robert Street Bridge, several other road crossings have been constructed to stitch together a conurbation, now known as the Twin Cities. As of 2021 census, St. Paul’s population was around 320,000 and Minneapolis totalling at 425,000. The metropolitan area is home to nearly three million people (half the state’s population).
To make the most of this Twin Cities guide for endurance athletes, note a few patterns and features. Facilities are broken into categories according to their running, cycling or swimming focus, with a separate section highlighting quality gym facilities in Twin Cities. Finally, the Sleeping & Eating section towards the end of the guide provides an insight into good places for sleeping and fuelling during your time in Twin Cities. A full directory of Google Map-linked addresses are found in the Directory section.
Orientation & Logistics
While Minneapolis and St. Paul are technically two distinct cities they are, practically speaking, one. The Mississippi River acts as a rough boundary in some parts, slicing North Minneapolis from Northeast, before winding its way South as a diving line between the the two cities.
Northeast (or “Nordeast”) Minneapolis has become a popular area for both intra and inter-city transplants. It blends a bit of old and new, as you’ll find many of the city’s new breweries, coffee shops, and art galleries, as well as the city’s highest concentration of remaining old-school dive bars. Across the river and to the south lies the North Loop neighborhood, where many of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities are located, in addition to lively bars, and quick access to the riverfront trails. Downtown Minneapolis has lost a little of its luster over the years, but it’s still home to Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins, the Guthrie Theater, and the legendary First Avenue music venue.
The southern half of Minneapolis is where most of the city’s lakes (it’s nicknamed the “City of Lakes”) are located, in addition to some standout neighborhoods. At the far southwest corner of the city lies the neighborhood of Linden Hills, which is a quiet area with quaint shops, great restaurants, and it sits just off the edge of Lake Harriet. The best place to eat in Minneapolis is along a stretch aptly named “Eat Street.” Along a four-block stretch along Nicollet Avenue in the Whittier neighborhood, you’ll find everything from German to Vietnamese to Greek to Japanese food. Uptown and the adjacent Lyn-Lake area also has a high density of restaurants, bars, and cafes, and straddles the Midtown Greenway trail.
The other twin, St. Paul, has plenty of neighborhoods to explore as well, in addition to offering access to some of the longer trails that extend well beyond the Twin Cities, including the Gateway Trail to the northeast and the Big Rivers Regional Trail to the south. Spend a little time in St. Paul and you’ll quickly realize that in many ways it’s a college town – with part of the University of Minnesota campus, as well as Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas, and St. Catherine University all tucked into the western part of the city. This means lots of bars, restaurants, and energy, mostly clustered around the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood.
The Highland Park neighborhood, cradled by the Mississippi to the southeast, has a nice golf course, plenty of restaurants, some of the best access to riverfront trails, and borders the beautiful Hidden Falls Regional Park. To the northeast of Highland Park lies West 7th, named after the road that slices through the neighborhood towards downtown St. Paul. Parts of this area feel like a throwback to an older era, with chophouses and bars with cheap beer, and it’s a great area to pregame if you’re heading downtown for a game or a show. Downtown St. Paul is home to the Xcel Energy Center, where the Minnesota Wild hockey team plays, and it’s where most big music acts perform when coming to town. On the eastern edge of downtown lies CHS Field, where the St. Paul Saints (the AAA minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins) play. This is a gorgeous and accessible place to watch baseball, and there are quite a few bars and restaurants within a stone’s throw of the stadium.
Public transit in Minneapolis and St. Paul is serviceable and connected, between the commuter rail, the light rail system, and the many buses of the Metro Transit system. The best way to utilize all forms of public transit in the Twin Cities is to get the Metro Transit App, where you can purchase passes and add fare.
Unlike a city like New York or San Francisco, renting a car to navigate the Twin Cities is not only feasible, but can be an enjoyable way to get around, particularly if the purpose is to explore different parts of the trails, pools, and restaurants of each city. Outside of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, parking is typically available and affordable. Much of the parking surrounding the lakes, rivers, and parks is free.
In the warmer months, getting around the cities on a bike is an excellent option as well. The Twin Cities is very interconnected via its system of bike paths, and most neighborhoods lie along some sort of accessible trail.
Twin Cities visitors and residents truly get to experience all four seasons, for better or for worse. Winter is what the cities are known for, and yes, it’s a fair stereotype. It gets cold, with average winter temperatures hovering below freezing. The occasional cold snap will push the thermometer well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. It also snows, and it usually sticks around. Spend long enough in Minnesota, and you’ll surely hear about the “Halloween Blizzard” of 1991. Sunlight is also a bit limited in the winter, with solstice sunlight hours ranging from about 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
And while winter can tend to linger into the spring months longer than most would like, the spring, summer, and fall months are quite nice. Peak summer temperatures reach well into the 90s, and there’s lots of sunlight. At the solstice, the sun rises around 5:30 a.m. and sets near 9:00 p.m.
The Twin Cities are frequently rated near the top of “fittest cities in the U.S.” rankings, so it should come as no surprise that it is a truly spectacular place to run. There are hundreds of miles of paved paths that cover everything from lakes to rivers to creeks, flat stretches and hilly stretches, and even dirt trails to get in a few miles of soft surfaces.
As a quick aside, the one downside to running in the Twin Cities is limited access to public tracks. Nearly all of the tracks in the area are part of local high schools, and the vast majority are closed to the public. That said, the Macalester College track in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul is open to the public during daylight hours, as long as it is not actively being used by the school.
The best way to get a lay of the land in Minneapolis is to look at the map of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. This interconnected system of off-street trails is a key component to one of the best park systems in the country, providing easy access to great running trails, no matter where in the city you are. While totally connected, Grand Rounds can be broken down and tackled in segments. This helpful table can be used in planning out potential routes across the broader Grand Rounds system.
The city’s most popular route, and arguably the most beautiful, is the Chain of Lakes byway. 13.3 miles long, this Southwest Minneapolis loop wraps around Lake Harriet, Bde Maka Ska, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. Any stretch of this loop is great for tempo runs, with its paved paths with minimal hills. Given the paths trace and connect the lakes, there are a wide variety of possibilities to reroute, lengthen, or shorten a run. For example, for a shorter run, simply run around the 2.8 miles around Lake Harriet.
Another popular stretch for some of the city’s serious runners is the Mississippi River segment. About nine miles of path line the river leading up from the St. Paul border to downtown Minneapolis, providing plenty of tree cover, and stunning views of the river below. For anyone staying downtown, the paths continue North, extending past the city’s old flour mills and breweries on both sides of the river, with skyline views, particularly from the bridges that crisscross the water.
As a remedy for the lack of accessible running tracks, especially in Minneapolis, one excellent substitute location for those looking to let it rip is the Midtown Greenway. This former stretch of railroad is now a 5.5-mile path that connects the river to the lakes (and trails beyond). It’s pancake-flat, well-maintained, and a perfect stretch to throw in some intervals.
St. Paul has some great river running as well, much of which is a continuation of the paths to the south of Minneapolis. South of the Ford Bridge on the St. Paul side, following the Mississippi River road, lies a trail that extends past Shepherd Road and all the way to downtown St. Paul, a stretch of eight miles. For a more secluded stretch of pathway, yet just off the main river trail, Hidden Falls Road offers a great option. This is a wooded area framed by Mississippi River Road and the river itself, and leads directly into the serene Crosby Farm Regional Park. This loop from Hidden Falls Road, around the park is approximately seven miles long.
If you’re looking for some more seclusion and dirt trails, head to Fort Snelling State Park. At the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, and in the shadows of the old military fort, there are miles of tree-covered, winding dirt trails that cover this gorgeous wetland park and the adjacent Pike Island.
Another popular route in the Saint city is the stretch along Summit Avenue, which is infamous for breaking runners with its extended, gradual incline in the latter stages of the Twin Cities Marathon. In the lead-up to marathon season (early October), this segment is full of runners doing some course recon, either running along the dirt trail carved into the grassy median, or along the bike path on either side of the two-way avenue.
If you have a car at your disposal and are looking for hills, off-road trails, or both, head to Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington. This lovely retreat just 25 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, has wood chips, dirt, grassy trails, plenty of long climbing hills, and in the Fall months is home to high school cross country meets. This map can be used to plan out a route, but you can’t go wrong heading out in one direction and just letting the nature trails take you around.
Note that typically the Stone Arch Bridge across the dams of the Mississippi River is one of the most scenic places to run in Minneapolis, but starting in the Spring of 2024, the bridge will be closed for construction through some time in 2026.
If you’re in town long enough to take in a race, there are two organizations to keep an eye on. The first is Twin Cities in Motion, which is the most prominent running organization in Minnesota. Its annual capstone is the Twin Cities Marathon, which is coined “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America.” When the race occurs as the fall leaves are changing color, this rings true. Minnesota Run Series also has an active racing schedule, even in the brutal winter months.
There are a number of running clubs scattered throughout the Twin Cities. In Southwest Minneapolis, Fleet Feet Marathon Sports, a long-standing pillar of the local running community, hosts a Tuesday night community run. Taking place at 6:30p.m. every Tuesday, there are multiple pace groups as well as snacks and beverages back at the store upon return. If Northeast Minneapolis is more convenient, there’s Mill City Running, probably the most well-known running store and club in the Twin Cities. There are multiple runs per week from the store, including an “All are welcome” run on Tuesdays at 6:00p.m., a “Flapjack Friday” run at 6:30a.m. (yes there are pancakes after), a “BIPOC Community Run” at 6:00p.m. every other Thursday, and Saturday morning long runs.
The Saint Paul affiliate of Mill City Running, Saint City Running, also hosts a couple of runs per week. Located on the edge of the Highland Park neighborhood, Saint City hosts a community run on Monday nights at 6:00p.m. and also alternates weeks hosting the “BIPOC Community Run” on Tuesdays at 6:00p.m..
In the Twin Cities, much of what makes for such great running also makes for great cycling, as nearly all of the paths for running have bike-only paths running in parallel. Yet embarking on two wheels allows for exploration a bit further afield.
One of the best rides in the Twin Cities is taking on the full Grand Rounds loop, which is approximately 51 miles of the greatest hits of Minneapolis. Not only will you see the beautiful Chain of Lakes and River byways, but you’ll round things out by riding along the Theodore Wirth, Victory Memorial, Northeast, Downtown Riverfront, and Minnehaha byways. This ride can be started at any point along the route.
There are quite a few ways to take your bike out of the cities for longer rides, including the Gateway Trail that departs from downtown St. Paul. If you take the Brown’s Creek State Trail exit, you’ll end up with a view of the Wisconsin border, directly across the St. Croix River. This 18-mile trail cuts northeast to the riverside town of Stillwater where there are plenty of places for a mid-ride beer, ice cream, or coffee.
To the polar opposite side of the Twin Cities lies another gateway to further exploration. The Cedar Lake Regional Trail and North Cedar Lake Regional Trail extend from the Midtown Greenway and downtown Minneapolis, respectively, merging at a three-way trail intersection. From there, you can head southwest on the nine-mile MN River Bluffs Regional Trail. You can also opt for the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail, a 16-mile long path that takes you along one of Minnesota’s most famous lakes. Otherwise, you can head south on the 15-mile long (poorly named) Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail. This interactive map is helpful in navigating which detours might be taken from the Cedar Trail.
While Minnesota does not in fact have any mountains, that doesn’t mean you can’t still break out a mountain bike and tear up some single-track trails. Theodore Wirth Park on the western edge of Minneapolis has a series of tree-lined, winding, undulating loops that range from one to four miles. These loops vary in difficulty, and are located in close proximity to each other, so multiple loops can be combined to create a much longer route. This trail map is a helpful guide.
For the hill monsters out there, the Twin Cities has a few tricks up its sleeve. There’s the steep, quarter-mile-long hill on Ramsey Street in St. Paul, from Grand Avenue to Summit Avenue. There’s also the longer, more gradual, 0.6-mile-long stretch that threads underneath the Franklin Avenue Bridge on the Minneapolis side of the river. For more of the Twin Cities’ most iconic hills, take a look at this compilation of the hills that locals “die on,” put together by the MinnPost.
There are plenty of group rides for all abilities to hop into, starting with Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota. Named after the first African American cyclist to win a world cycling championship (in 1899), this group seeks to provide a welcoming community for Black cyclists, although all are welcome. From St. Paul, they’re hosting rides on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., and from Minneapolis, they’re hosting rides on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Be sure to follow their Instagram page for the most up to date information on the timing and location of upcoming rides. One of the best breweries in the Twin Cities, Utepils, hosts a Saturday morning ride as well, departing at 10:00 a.m. from the brewery in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis. As a new rider, just make sure to fill out the waiver on their Facebook page, and choose which pace/distance group you’d like to join (there are anywhere from 15 to 35-mile options). Angry Catfish bike shop also hosts group rides from their store (most at 6:30 p.m.), ranging from intense Monday evening training rides, to social rides on Wednesdays, and FTW (Femme, Trans, Women) rides on Thursdays and Fridays.
As it relates to renting a bike while in town, there are a couple of options. In South Minneapolis, close to the Minnehaha Creek trail, is Tangletown Bike Shop. Here you can rent a variety of styles of bikes (mountain, fat tire, road, etc.), at rates that are dependent on the bike and the number of hours needed for riding. In West St. Paul, Capital Deals Bike Shop rents bikes by the day or even the week, with daily pricing ranging from $45-$95 per day depending on the overall quality of the bike. Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling (TCAC) is working to break down barriers to cyclists with disabilities, and offers rentals as well. In order to ensure the proper fit for their bikes, scheduling a fitting is required first, and then you’re free to schedule a ride. All fittings and rentals are subject to “recommended” donations, as TCAC is seeking to avoid creating financial barriers as well.
When it’s indoor swimming season, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board’s (MPRB) first indoor swimming facility at Phillips Aquatics Center is a great option, with daily admission of just $5. The pools are 25 yards long, with a six-lane lap pool, in addition to a four-lane, zero-depth entry pool that’s wheelchair accessible. There are men’s, women’s, and all-gendered locker rooms available.
If you’re in St. Paul, the Capp Center of the Minnesota Jewish Community Center has an indoor, 25-yard lap pool. Lane reservations are typically required for lap swimming, and hours vary depending on the aqua class schedule, so be sure to confirm availability on the website. Reservations are 40 minutes long and can be made up to three days in advance.
For three-quarters of the year, the Twin Cities is a frozen tundra, rendering swimming an indoor sport. But when the thaw comes, Minnesotans are quick to take advantage. In addition to all of the open water swimming available, there are also a couple of outdoor pools as well across both cities. Highland Park Aquatic Center in St. Paul is a big complex, with eight 50-yard lap swimming lanes. Admission is $8, and it is first-come first-served.
Another, perhaps more unique, outdoor lap swimming option is the Webber Natural Swimming Pool in North Minneapolis. As the name suggests, the water is naturally filtered, meaning instead of chemicals to treat the water, the water is cleansed in a large regeneration basin that’s filled with plants and gravel. The pool is typically open June through August, with a designated lap swimming time from 11:30a.m. to 1:00p.m. Reserving a spot during the designated time can be done either at the recreation center or online for just $3 per day, otherwise it’s free during all other open pool time.
Even though Minnesota is a land-locked state, open-water enthusiasts will love the Twin Cities. Of the city’s lakes, most of them have beaches. In Minneapolis, you have beaches on Cedar Lake, Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, Lake Nokomis, and Wirth Lake. In St. Paul, Phalen Lake and Snelling Lake also have beaches.
For more serious swimmers looking to glide through some open water, every Summer from June through August, the MPRB hosts an Open Swim Club. Held at two of the city’s lakes (Cedar and Nokomis), the open swim includes lifeguards, a route marked by bright buoys, and two-hour sessions to swim as long as you please. Unfortunately for visitors, in order to participate, registration for a season pass is required for all swimmers. Typically the registration fee has been in the ballpark of $60. However, if you’re in town for more than a day, this can still be worth it, given there are multiple days per week in which there is swimming available through the club(last year Nokomis hosted four swim clubs per week, and Cedar held two). Be sure to check out the MPRB Open Swim Club’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date information regarding hours, seasonal schedules (including some Master’s swim groups in the winter), registration links, and any other pressing updates.
While the intensity of winter can be an inhibitor to biking and running, it also opens up new opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. When the lakes are frozen and there’s snow on the ground, enter cross-country skiing. This sport has its roots in Scandinavia, and the Twin Cities has continued this lineage. Popular as an off-season training supplement for endurance athletes, in addition to having purists of its own, this sport has found a true home in Minnesota.
In fact, for the first time in 20 years, the Cross Country World Cup is going to be held in the United States, with the Twin Cities as the honorary host. This hype video provides a pretty exciting glimpse at the intensity and pomp around this event. It’ll be held at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, but you don’t need to be a professional skier to get out and experience these storied trails…
Wirth is open for recreational use, and it’s here that visitors and locals alike can rent ski equipment. It’s $13 for three hours with all the required gear (skis, boots, poles), in addition to $20 for a day pass on Wirth’s groomed trails, both of which can be purchased here. There are also natural snow trails – which are less suitable for beginners – with day passes of $8.
If you happen to have your own skis, there are other places around the city to explore, including the Chain of Lakes (Isles, Cedar, and Bde Maka Ska are all connected), as well as Hiawatha Park and Columbia Golf Course (in Northeast Minneapolis).
Skiing is a unique and often beautiful way to experience the city’s lakes and parks during the wintertime. To check out the current snow conditions at Theodore Wirth Park, or if you’re patiently waiting for the first snowfall, you can check in using this handy trail camera, so you know if its time to strap on those boots.
Given the Twin Cities transforms into an outdoor playground in the summer months, the cities are best enjoyed outside along its many trails, parks, and waterfront paths. But in the winter, access to a gym can be quite necessary in order to maintain any sort of training regimen. Luckily, there are a few great options, in no particular order.
The first of which is Alchemy 365. Founded in Minneapolis, they offer a unique class experience that blends concepts from yoga, CrossFit, and HIIT. There are two locations in Minneapolis, in Northeast and North Loop (just north of downtown), as well as one in the Highland Park neighborhood in St. Paul. Importantly, they allow drop-ins. More importantly, they offer free introductory classes for first-time visitors.
For a more traditional gym with free weights, barbells, and plenty of power-lifting, look no further than Los Campeones. Their locations are spread out between the Twin Cities, with two locations in St. Paul and three in Minneapolis. Each location offers $20 day passes in addition to $30 weekly passes, if you’re going to be in town for a longer period.
If CrossFit is your thing, check out The Powerhouse, a community-focused, welcoming environment for anyone looking to continue or begin their fitness journey. They offer a “2 for $20 Class Package” that’s available for first-timers. There’s a location in Highland Park, in addition to one in St. Louis Park, Minneapolis’ closest suburb to the West.
If you happen to be in the cities on a Sunday, the proudly Queer and Women-owned gym Solcana Fitness hosts a free community class every week at 10:30 a.m.
If none of the above suits what you’re looking for, remember that the Twin Cities is big enough that most gyms with a national footprint have a physical presence in the area. Think of Lifetime Fitness (its headquarters is in Minnesota), Anytime Fitness, Core Power, and so on. They’re all there to use as a resource.
Sleeping & Eating
The Twin Cities punches above its weight class when it comes to food and drink. Whether you’re looking for fine dining, a rockin’ brewery, a cafe to work remotely, or a greasy burger, the Twin Cities has you covered.
If you’re looking for a cafe where you can get a cup of coffee without even having to change out of your bike shorts, there are a few options. Northern Coffeeworks is conveniently located just across from its “sibling business,” the bike shop and riding group, Angry Catfish. Near the cycling hotspot where Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River converge, lies One on One Bicycle Studio. And located mere steps from the Midtown Greenway, is Venture Bikes.
There are plenty of other great coffee shops scattered throughout the Twin Cities, including Five Watt Coffee, known for its creative caffeinated concoctions throughout South Minneapolis. Spyhouse is also a popular destination for creatives and remote workers, with a few locations throughout the city. If you find yourself on the North side, perhaps cycling or running along Victory Memorial Drive, take a pit stop at The Get Down Coffee Co. Owned by the serial entrepreneur Houston White, this cafe is known for having good music, eye-catching merchandise, and is bringing quality coffee to the North Side. In St. Paul, located near many of the other highlights of the Highland Park neighborhood, Quixotic Coffee is popular for its cozy atmosphere, good coffee, and treats from local bakeries.
If you need to chase down all that coffee with a pastry, you’re in luck, as there is no shortage of bakeries. Located near Minnehaha Creek, and famously along Mile 14 of the Twin Cities Marathon course, is the long-time neighborhood favorite of Mel-O-Glaze, known for its classic donuts. Butter Bakery, located in the heart of South Minneapolis, is a great place to work remotely while enjoying an award-winning buttermilk biscuit or a bulging chocolate éclair. On the St. Paul side, at an intersection in between the Highland Park and Macalester-Groveland neighborhoods that has been home to bakeries for nearly 100 years, La Boulangerie Marguerite balances churning out classic donuts alongside more refined viennoiseries and other baked goods. For one of the best banh mi’s in the Twin Cities, head to the Vietnamese-French bakery in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, Trung Nam.
Whether you’re in need of sustenance after a night out, or after a long weekend workout, sometimes only a classic diner will do. Like most cities, it’s best to turn to one that’s been doing it for decades. Our Kitchen and its precious few stools, located near Bde Maka Ska, has been famous for its hashbrowns and plate-sized pancakes since the 1940s.
If it’s lunchtime and you’re with a group that has trouble deciding what to eat, there’s no better place than Midtown Global Market. Located along the Midtown Greenway, vendors at this market serve up an array of dishes (and other goods) from around the world, ranging from Mexican tortas, to Nepalese momos, to Moroccan tagines, so there’s always something for everyone.
While the Twin Cities isn’t often included amongst the pizza powerhouses of the U.S. such as New Haven, Chicago, or New York, it isn’t hard to find a truly high quality-slice. If you’ve seen the Netflix series A Chef’s Table – Pizza, you might recognize the name Ann Kim. This pioneering chef has helped elevate the profile of pizza in the Twin Cities, most notably at Young Joni, known for its delicious and creative pies. Other pizza places worth visiting include Red Wagon, Boludo (pizza with an Argentinian flare), and Hello Pizza (another Kim restaurant).
When it comes to higher-end dining, there is quite a variety to pick from, going well beyond French and Italian restaurants. One of the hottest tickets in town right now is Owamni, a restaurant owned by the Sioux Chef team, highlighting and serving Indigenous ingredients from the region. For Mexican cuisine (and a focus on Oaxaca), Colita is a great bet. Khâluna showcases the food of Southeast Asia, and Laos in particular. Argentinian cuisine is showcased at Martina. St. Paul’s Estelle provides a cozy atmosphere while highlighting Southern European Food. And if you are looking for a French-inspired restaurant, Spoon and Stable is frequently rated among the best restaurants in the Twin Cities.
If you’re seeking something not necessarily high-end, but classic and close to the hearts of people from the Twin Cities, perhaps no place is more representative than Matt’s Bar. Matt’s lays claim to the original cheese-stuffed hamburger known as the Juicy Lucy (although they spell it “Jucy Lucy”), perhaps the the most well-known culinary item to come from the Twin Cities. Kramarczuk’s in Northeast Minneapolis showcases the city’s Eastern European heritage through its sausages, pierogis, and cabbage rolls. St. Paul’s Cossetta, a giant, multi-level Italian eatery has been a beloved downtown destination for nearly 40 years. And in West St. Paul, across from downtown, lies El Burrito Mercado, an institution in the neighborhood since 1979 that has become beloved for its tamales, tacos, and its adjacent bakery.
When you’ve worked up a thirst after a run, ride, or swim, there are an overwhelming number of places that can get you what you need. The Twin Cities has become one of the best brewery towns (collectively) in the U.S. Whether its the Bryn Mawr neighborhood’s Utepils and its German-style brews and beer garden, or Pryes on the North side of Minneapolis with its games and riverfront views, or Surly’s massive multi-level beer hall and angry-themed beer names (Furious, Hell, One Man Mosh Pit, etc.), not to mention countless others, Minneapolis keeps the beer flowing. St. Paul also holds its own to the east, with Lake Monster’s creative beers and industrial backdrop, or Bad Weather and its ever-rotating tap list and free shuttles to Minnesota Wild (hockey) games.
A number of distilleries have also popped up as of late, in case you’re looking to celebrate a long session with something a little stronger than an ale. Located right next to Surly Brewing is O’Shaughnessy Distillery, which has gained fame for blending the best of Irish and American whiskey techniques. You can pick up a bottle to take home or spend an evening enjoying a cocktail in its cozy lounge. In Northeast Minneapolis, you’ll find Earl Giles Distillery named after the prohibition-era bootlegger, which hosts social events, tours, and serves pizza to soak up the booze.
As for where to stay while you’re in town, there are a few standouts, including the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis, and the Celeste of St. Paul in, well, St. Paul. The Hewing, located just North of downtown Minneapolis, is conveniently located for trail getaways, as it’s a mere block from the Cedar Trail, and a few minute walk from the Mississippi River. The neighboring area is filled with restaurants and bars, and Target Field is within walking distance as well. The rooms seamlessly combine a rustic feel with modernity, and best of all is the rooftop hot tub and bar with its views of the city skyline.
Celeste offers the convenience of staying downtown as well, as it’s just a few blocks away from CHS Field, the Fitzgerald Theater, the State Capital, and the Mississippi. A true boutique, this hotel has maintained some of the beautiful design from its days as a convent, while incorporating a sense of lightness and airiness. There’s also a cozy cocktail bar that was most likely not there during the convent days.
Fleet Feet Marathon Sports: +1 612-920-2606
Mill City Running: +1 612-378-6001
Saint City Running: +1 651-330-3649
Tangletown Bike Shop: +1 612-259-8180
Capital Deals Bike Shop: +1 651-222-8380
Angry Catfish: +1 612-722-1538
Alchemy 365: (Multiple Locations)
Los Campeones: (Multiple Locations)
The Powerhouse: (Multiple Locations)
Solcana Fitness: +1 612-808-0252
Northern Coffeeworks: +1 612-353-4222
One on One Bicycle Studio: +1 612-371-9565
Venture Bikes: +1 612-377-3029
Spyhouse: (Multiple Locations)
The Get Down Coffee Co: (No Phone)
Quixotic Coffee: +1 701-484-3375
Mel-O-Glaze: +1 612-729-9316
Butter Bakery: +1 612-521-7401
La Boulangerie Marguerite: +1 651-699-9292
Trung Nam: +1 651-229-0887
Midtown Global Market: +1 612-872-4041
Young Joni: +1 612-345-5719
Red Wagon: +1 612-259-7147
Boludo: (Multiple Locations)
Hello Pizza: +1 952-303-4514
Owamni: +1 612-444-1846
Colita: +1 612-886-1606
Khâluna: +1 612-345-5199
Martina: +1 612-922-9913
Estelle: +1 651-330-9648
Spoon and Stable: +1 612-224-9850
Utepils: +1 612-249-7800
Pryes: +1 612-787-7937
Surly: +1 763-999-4040
Lake Monster: +1 612-964-6288
Bad Weather: +1 651-207-6627
O’Shaughnessy Distillery: +1 763-338-0914
Earl Giles Distillery: +1 612-345-5305
Matt’s Bar: +1 612-722-7072
Kramarczuk’s: +1 612-379-3018
Cossetta: +1 651-222-3476
El Burrito Mercado: +1 651-227-2192
Hewing Hotel: +1 651-468-0400
Celeste of St. Paul: +1 651-222-0848
Thanks to professional running coach Sam Renikoff for this guide. Learn more about Sam in this interview.