Archive for the ‘A walk and a coffeeshop’ Category

NE Mpls’ cutest block

October 23, 2010

Last weekend, I didn’t have time for a full-blown neighborhood exploration, but I did get to explore one street in particular, inspired by my friend’s apartment location.  I reconnected with Shane, a guy I hung out with about 11 years ago (whoa!) and who moved to Seattle around the same time I did.  We lost touch when he moved back to Mpls about a year later, but we were both eager to see each other and catch up on old times last Saturday.  I picked him up and brought him to a housewarming party of one of my fellow Minneapple in the Big Apple returners.

His apartment is right above the storefront of a vintage store and craft shop I’d heard a lot about, so I was eager to check it out.  It’s in Northeast Minneapolis, which is an area that’s fast becoming the hippest place in town, or maybe where hipsters go to die (like Ballard!) because it’s very residential but peppered with the newest and hippest, while affordable and accessible, restaurants and shops.  Corin and I took a driving tour of it when she was in town and got a major Portland vibe.  The housing stock is older and smaller, as it was the working class neighborhood for factory and mill workers back in the 10s to 40s, when it developed.  There are blocks and blocks of houses, then little main intersections here and there where you find cafes and shops.  Shane’s block is particularly happening, and is home to the aforementioned vintage and craft shops, as well as a bustling coffee shop, pizza place, gift shop, and another restaurant that’s soon to reopen.

Since it was 9pm on a Saturday when I picked him up, I decided to return the next day to take a closer look.

Rewind Vintage is a great little shop with a good array of clothes, jewelry and accessories.  No big scores this visit, but I’ll definitely be back.

Crafty Planet is a most fabulous little craft store, and is probably the only one of its kind in town.  They have a lot of Amy Butler fabrics and patterns, as well as amazing prints on heavier fabrics, bright oilcloths, great yarns, and tons of inspiration.

There’s also a vibrant but tiny coffee shop, called The Coffee Shop, Dabble gift shop, and Amici Pizza & Bistro, which I hear is inviting and yummy.  There’s also an amazing old movie theater called The Hollywood, which has sadly been closed for over 20 years.  In my meeting with the Mpls Planning and Economic Development director yesterday, she mentioned the efforts to grow this into something amazing, and it reaffirmed my excitement about grad school and the idea of being involved in projects like that through my schooling.

I updated my map with this little bit of detail so I can track all my favorite places in the city.  Maybe I’ll stop spending all my money at Target if I can find local and much cuter and unique places to go!

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A walk and a coffeeshop

October 12, 2010

I studied for hours yesterday and needed a break in the middle of the day, so I grabbed one of my books and got in the car to explore a potential neighborhood for future living.  I parked the car across from one of the hip coffeeshops in Uptown, Mpls (which is like Capital Hill in Seattle). 

First, I took a walk to clear my head and check out the vibe of the residential streets.  I crossed Lyndale and Hennepin, which are both main drags in the neighborhood.  As I walked west, I approached one of the amazing Mpls lakes, Lake of the Isles, and the large houses with big yards reflected the proximity to the water.  The main drags were the most bustling, and I found that most apartment buildings were within 2 blocks of these streets, which would make for a nice get up and go feel if I lived there. 

I circled back to the coffeeshop where I sat at a big bar and had an iced tea (it was 85 degrees out!) while reading my policy analysis book.  Music was great, I liked the art, and there was good people-watching. 

I liked this neighborhood, but found that in between the main streets, things get a little quiet and residential for my taste.  I think I’d prefer to live within 2 blocks of a main street to be close to the action.  Here’s a map of the area.
View A walk and a coffeeshop in a larger map

Next weekend, I’ll explore another place, and I can start getting a sense for the feel of the city while I’m stuck in St. Paul for a bit.  My hope is that I find ways to get away from St. Paul on the weekends while studying, keeping myself sane while I stay with the parents, and getting a feel for my top-choice neighborhood for when I can get my own place.  Fun!  I love exploring!

Track my progress here.