Welcome to Uptown
Uptown is a unique part of South Minneapolis, or more specifically Southwest Minneapolis. It's named after Chicago's Uptown district, and it's centered around the Uptown Theater/Theatre (originally called Lagoon Theater), one of the oldest theaters in the Twin Cities.
Uptown is a popular retail area that also has a plethora of nightlife and cultural events. Traditionally, it had been known as a place where artists hung out as immortalized in Prince's song called, obviously, Uptown. He even owned a store in the are back in the '90s called New Power Generation. Calhoun Square was built in 1980, and it helped spur the retail surge of the area.
The demographics of the area have shifted so these days, it's teeming with professionals who want to live in an area that has everything you could possible want within walking distance. From grocery stores to restaurants to libraries to nightlife, Uptown has it all.
Then and Now
Before Uptown existed, there was the Lakes Area, consisting of various lakes in Minneapolis. As Minneapolis started expanding, a retail area to the east started to grow. As noted above, this area revolved around what was then known as the Lagoon Theatre (on the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Lagoon Avenue), which was a theater hosting vaudeville acts.
The Lagoon burned down in 1939 which prompted the community to rebrand itself. It patterned itself after Chicago's Uptown and called itself Uptown. When the Lagoon was rebuild, it was called Uptown as well, and an identity was born.
Uptown went through many growing pains in trying to figure out what it wanted to be as a community. It has always relied on being commercial, including being an important part of the streetcar system in the early 1900s. It became known as a haven for artists in the '70s, and now it's primarily a place for young professionals.
28th Street to the north, Dupont Avenue to the east, 31st Street to the south, and Lake Calhoun to the west.
Lyn-Lake, East Isles, Lowry Hill East, ECCO, CARAG.
Here is an online source that speaks to the crime levels and statistics:
Bryant Square Park (3101 Bryant Ave. S, 612-370-4907) is known for its amphitheater and various sporting facilities such as a basketball court, a soccer field, a softball field, a hockey rink, and an ice-skating rink. There is a wading pool for the kids as well.
Mueller Park (2509 Colfax Ave. S, 612-230-6400) is a friendly neighborhood park that has plenty to do. It has a half-court basketball court, a wading pool, a playground, and plenty of other amenities. Sometimes, movies are shown in the park, too. The park was once home to famed Minnesota writer, Maud Hart Lovelace.
Agra Culture Kitchen & Press (2939 Girard Ave. S, 612-315-3349) is committed to the whole food theory which means serving dishes with the freshest ingredients possible. They also believe in responsibly-sourced food as well, and they have a passion for providing delicious nutritional meals. They have plenty of vegetarian options. Try their chorizo burrito and a Carrot Zinger (juice) for a satisfying lunch. Located in The Walkway Luxury Apartments.
Amazing Thailand (3024 Hennepin Ave, 612-822-5588) offers delicious Thai food. The ingredients are fresh and flavorful, and they're open well into the night when those late-night Thai cravings must be satisfied. Try their golden pumpkin as an appetizer, followed by crispy pork belly, sai oua, or Sriracha fried rice. Have the durian with sticky rice for dessert if you're feeling particularly adventurous.
Amore Uptown (1601 W Lake St., 612-826-0250) offers traditional Italian fare in a restaurant that has an old-world feel. The service is friendly and welcoming, and the food is plentiful and tasty. Plus, wine! Pasta and wine is a classic combo, and they do it really well. They have rooftop dining if you're in the mood for something romantic. Try their spaghetti pomodoro or one of their pizzas.
Barbette (1600 W Lake St., 612-827-5710) is a French Brasserie whose mantra is serving good food all day long. They have partnerships with several local farms, and they're generous in their charities (to organizations and arts) as well. Have a ham and gruyere omelette for breakfast or Steak Helene as an entree. Sip an espresso or a fine red wine as you enjoy the contemporary atmosphere that surrounds you.
Chino Latino (2916 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-824-7878) is a hip, trendy restaurant that focuses on upscale tropical street food. It's face-paced, noisy, and festive--yet, family-friendly. The dishes are meant to be shared, and they range from Filipino seafood paella to what they call Sushi Loco, and the Brazilian looks mighty tasty, too. Sip a Chino mojito as you dine, then finish off your dinner with the Chocolate Flandango.
Darbar India Grill & Bar (1221 W Lake St., Suite #106, 612-822-3300) serves authentic traditional fare in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Fresh ingredients and a friendly, knowledgeable staff are their hallmark in dishes ranging from samosas to naan to vindaloo. They also have plenty of tasty vegetarian options as well. Located in Uptown Row.
Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que (3001 Hennepin Ave., 612-822-9900) has been an institution in Minneapolis for over twenty years. Everything is made from scratch, and they have hundreds of awards to prove they're great at what they do. Georgia chopped pork, Texas beef brisket, and Sweetwater catfish fingers are just a few of the meats you can order. There are plenty of sides, of course, including creamy coleslaw and garlic red-skin mashed potatoes. They do their meat right, and their sauces are eye-popping. Located in Calhoun Square.
Giordano's (2700 Hennepin Ave., 612-444-3143) is famous for their Chicago-style pizza, which makes sense since the original Giordano's is in Chicago. Flaky double crust. Handmade stuffed pizza. Flavorful and plenty toppings. A Giordano's pizza has it all. If you're not in the mood for pizza, they have sandwiches and salads as well, but really, it would be a shame to visit and not at least try the Chicago classic.
Hoban Korean BBQ (2939 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-345-7214) serves traditional Korean food in a relaxed atmosphere. They have been around since 1989 (first in Eagan), and they pride themselves on their authentic Korean fare, which is plentiful. Green onion pancakes, rice bowls, hot pots, noodles, tempura, and so much more. There is something for everyone, and no matter what you are craving, you are sure to find something to suit you.
India Palace (2546 Hennepin Ave., 612-377-5000) serves traditional Indian food in a bright and comfortable atmosphere. They have lamb, chicken, beef, and vegetarian dishes, and they have balti curries as well. Sip on a mango lassi as you dine, then finish off your meal with a helping of kheer.
Isles Bun & Coffee (1424 W 28th St., 612-870-4466) was opened in 1993, and they've been serving warm, homemade buns with inches of frostings and cups of coffee ever since. They are known for their classic cinnamon rolls and puppy dog tails, but they also have rustic cakes, scones, and cookies. Couple it with a cup of piping hot coffee, and you have yourself a great start to the morning.
Libertine (3001 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-877-7263) has a rooftop, and they're not afraid to use it! You can be all chic as you sit up there, sipping on your Canadian tuxedo or munching on a duck ravioli. If you're more in the mood for games, they have Beer Pong under the stars! They also have (inside) a Nintendo 64, Risk, a Ping-Pong table, Skee-Ball, Foosball, Pinball machines, and a plethora of board games.
Mesa Pizza Uptown (1440 W Lake St., 612-206-3026) has been serving pizza since 2011. They have pizza by the slice, pizza by the pie, all different kinds of meat pizzas, and vegetarian pizzas to boot. You can dine in or you can have it delivered, and you'll have every pizza need met here. From the traditional pepperoni to the more adventurous guacamole burrito, they have it all.
Namaste Cafe (2512 Hennepin Ave., 612-827-2496) is welcoming and hospitable, and they believe in sustainable practices. They offer Nepalese and other Southern-Asian fare in a tranquil atmosphere, and they support local artists at the same time. From spicy fried potatoes to squash curry with bison, every dish is guaranteed to be a delight to your taste buds. They have plenty of vegan and gluten-free options as well.
Rinata (2451 Hennepin Ave., 612-374-8998) is a cozy trattoria that includes house-made pasta and pizzas, and they have wine and cocktails, too, of course. They put an emphasis on excellent food and exemplary service, and they do it all in an intimate space. Try the fennel sausage pizza or the pappardelle coupled with a Merlot or Chardonnay perhaps. Finish your meal with a satisfying tiramisu or house-made gelato.
Roat Osha (3001 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-377-4418) is a Thai restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere and a variety of tasty dishes. There are American influences on their food, but it's still Thai at its heart and soul. Try the cranberry cream cheese wontons as an appetizer, followed by mango salmon, pad pak raumid, or one of their several noodle dishes. Try the fried Thai bananas for dessert. Located in Calhoun Square.
Sencha Tea Bar (2601 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-377-1700) prides themselves on their loose-leafed tea. They have a variety of teas, and they are sure to find something to please everyone from the traditional tea drinker to the person more interested in unusual flavors. They carry Taiwanese bubble tea as well, so if you like tapioca pearls in freshly-brewed tea, this is the place for you.
Spyhouse Coffee (2404 Hennepin Ave., 612-377-2278) has been serving coffee to Uptowners since 2008. The style is early American, complete with tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a plethora of Americana. Their mission is to bring you the most exciting coffee in a variety of flavors on a daily basis.
Stella's Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar (1400 W Lake St., 612-824-8662) has all the seafood you could ever want, and they are more than happy to serve it to you. They are a modern and casual restaurant that believes in sustainable food, and a wonderful eating experience. They have the surf, ranging from their titular Stella's crab cakes to Maine lobster bisque, to sushi, to tuna poke. They also have plenty of surf as well, so you can mix and match to your heart's content.
Sushi Tango (3001 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-822-7787) is the place to go if you want some sushi and a drink while watching a game. They have a variety of sushi, sashimi, and nigri, including the Centipede and the Taekwonroll. They have sake and plum spritzers as part of their drink menu. they offer other fare as well, such as tempura, bento boxes, noodles, and fried rice.
The Lotus Uptown (2841 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-259-7292) is a contemporary-looking restaurant that serves traditional Vietnamese food. Try the spring rolls, pho, and the com tam for an authentic experience, or try the jalapeno cream cheese wontons, pineapple stir fry, or the egg roll salad for something a little different.
Uncommon Grounds (2809 Hennepin Ave., 612-872-4811) is located in a renovated 1877 Victorian House and has an old-timey feel to it. It's cozy and comfortable, and it has a welcoming atmosphere. It's one of Minneapolis's oldest coffeehouses, and it's a great place to hang out for the night with friend--or you can make new ones while chatting with some of the regulars. Come for an excellent cup of java and one of their private label desserts; stay for the company
Bobby Bead (2831 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-879-8181) sells, you guessed it, beads! All different kinds ranging from Czech glass beads to handmade Bali silver beads & findings in a variety of colors. They also have threading needles and other accessories, and they are prepared to provide for all your beading needs.
Cal Surf (1715 W Lake St., 612-822-6840) is a board shop that has skateboards, snowboards, and all the necessary accessories and clothing. They have been around since 1988, and they are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year. If you need the gear--any gear, and I do mean any--to ride the Halfpipe, you will find it here.
Fifth Element (2411 Hennepin Ave., 612-377-0044) is a hip-hop store that was established in 1999 and has been going strong ever since. They have vinyl, CDs, cassettes, digital copies, and box sets. They have accessories such as button packs and magnet packs. They have art supplies, clothing, DJ tools, DVDs, and a variety of other products. You'll be able to spend several hours just happily browsing through everything they have, or you can shop in their online shop as well. They also have a blog in which they interview artists, reviews albums, and so much more.
Floyd's 99 Barbershop (1220 W Lake St., 612-822-2240) is a neighborhood barbershop in the traditional sense in that people go to get a cut and shoot the breeze. It has a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff, and they offer services ranging from haircuts to shaves to waxing. You'll feel like a new person once you're done.
Guns N' Needles Tattoo (2401 Dupont Ave. S, 612-998-5997) is an artist-owned and operated tattoo shop that believes in scrupulous professionalism and fun. They are committed to creating the perfect tattoo for you, and they have several artists who offer a variety of styles. Whether you're looking for a spur-of-the-moment small tattoo or a more labor-intensive big piece, they are fully equipped to handle it.
Jon Charles Salon (1221 W Lake St., 612-724-2444) believes in putting the client first, and they have made lasting relationships with their clients. They have invented their signature EuroShine Blowout that will guarantee you leave looking stylishly your best. They have a variety of products, such as Oribe and Kerastase, and you will walk away feeling pampered. Located in Uptown Row.
Lamere Cycles (2659 Dupont Ave. S, 612-326-4183) sells carbon bikes that are customized to your particular taste. They build each bike by hand because they're bike enthusiasts and because they want believe if you're going to buy a quality bike, it should be perfect for you. They have a staff that is knowledgeable and eager to build you the best bike possible.
Magers & Quinn Booksellers (3038 Hennepin Ave., 612-822-4611) is an independently-owned new and used bookstore, and it has been in operation since 1994. The owner is a former import/export businessman, and that stoked his love of books. The store has a wide variety of books, of course, ranging from art to rare and collectibles, and they have staff picks as well if you're having trouble deciding.
My Sisters' Closet (2741 Hennepin Ave., 612-886-2891) was started by two sisters who always had a dream of owning their own second-hand clothing store. They combined one's love of vintage clothing with the other's love for high fashion, and they sell a nice mix of both. They sell clothing including hats and jewelry, and they sell on consignment if you have any old clothing that is still wearable, but you're ready to send off to a new home.
Penzeys Spice (3028 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-824-9777) is the store to bring spice to your life. They are passionate about their spices, and they want to share that passion with you. They have Garam Masala, plenty of different kinds of garlic, and several other spices. They have gift boxes and other fun items such as towels (what they call super-hero capes), shakers and mills, and magnets. They also have books of their recipes and gift cards.
Saint Sabrina's (2645 Hennepin Ave. S, 612-874-7360) is a tattoo/piercing shop that will razzle your dazzle and accessorize your body with eye-catching tattoos or piercings. Established in 1993, they are eager to help you find the perfect tattoo/piercing for you.
Tibet Store (2835 Hennepin Ave., 612-872-8800) offers a meditative atmosphere so you can shop in a peaceful move. They sell Tibetan and Himalayan arts, crafts, jewelry, singing bowls, and more. They have clothing and handbags as well, and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They started out of a desire to tell the stories of Tibetan refugees, and they are committed to that mission.
Two Wheels Bike Shop (1014 W 27th St., 612-735-7345) sells revamped '80s bike with the option to personally customize. Feel like riding a hot pink and neon green bike with fluorescent yellow streamers waving gaily behind you? Try this shop! If not, you'll find something else that will knock your socks off. Enjoy the beautiful Minnesota weather riding a stylish bike.
Lake & Irving Bar + Restaurant (1513 W Lake St., 612-354-2453) is a neighborhood gastropub with a focus on culinary quality. They serve classics such as eggs & bacon, but they also have more unusual fare such as Furikake chicken and a Kalua pork sandwich. They offer a variety of wine and cocktails, and they have specific happy-hour and late-night menus as well.
Nico's Taco and Tequila Bar (2516 Hennepin Ave., 612-345-7688) is a bright and colorful cantina serving authentic street tacos and agave tequilas. The atmosphere is festive and the service is friendly. Of course they serve more than tacos. They have flautas, carne asada, and tostadas, too. They have elote, tamales, and pozole as well. They have margaritas, but they also have other cocktails and draft beers as well.
The Fremont Restaurant & Bar (1300 Lagoon Ave., #100, 612-345-4172) is a sports bar/burger joint that doubles as a dance club late at night--complete with a DJ. They have tater tot poutine, their signature Fremont Burger, and all kinds of baskets. They have bottle service, cocktails, and brunch, too. You can also reserve the space for parties as well.
The Pourhouse Uptown (2923 Girard Ave. S, 612-354-3575) is a Prohibition-themed bar that is a lot of fun. They have 50 TVs and a 25-foot HD projection screen, so you can watch any sports game in style. They have loaded totchos, funnel cake fries, and several cleverly-named bowls, burgers, and desserts. They have plenty of libations as well, of course, so enjoy a Poison Apple as you watch the game.
Troubadour Wine Bar (2827 Hennepin Ave., 612-871-4073) wants to serve you wine in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. They have a small menu of food, mostly meats and cheeses, but their wine menu is vast and varying, and they have craft beers as well. They have live music every night, so this is a great place to go with your friends for a fun night out.
Uptown Tavern & Rooftop (1400 Lagoon Ave., 612-824-3333) has 30 craft beers and all sorts of event nights ranging from Beer Tappings to Paint Nights. If you need something to munch while you sip your beer, try their Surly cheese curds, The Uptown Hipster burger, blackened tilapia wrap, or the stuffed French toast. They also book parties, so make sure to make your reservation for a special event.
William's Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar (2911 Hennepin Ave, 612-823-6271) has been a popular Uptown hangout for over 50 years. They have a 98-foot bar, 75 tap beers, and free peanuts and popcorn. They have a game room with pool tables, dart boards, and other games. It's a great place when you want to have a good time hanging out with your friends.
Community Arts & Recreation
Calhoun Beach Framing (1517 W Lake St., 612-920-5979) has been serving the Uptown community for more than 20 years. They have a design team staff who are all artists, and they are eager to work with you to create the perfect frame for your works of art. They also have a gallery in which they display paintings, pottery, and sculptures.
Bryant Square Recreation Center (3101 Bryant Ave. S, 612-370-4907) is part of Bryant Square Park. It has a computer lab, a craft room, a meeting room, and an all-purpose room. Outside, there is a skating rink, an amphitheater, a playground, and other amenities.
Isles Studio (1311 W 25th St., 612-999-4680) sells items that are based on the natural world, including artifacts, collectibles, and gifts. They sell furniture, pillows, books, and skulls, to name a few. They also provide services such as interior design, rentals, and styling and staging.
Lagoon Cinema (2061, 1320 Lagoon Ave., 612-823-3020) is known for showing independent and arty films, and of course more popular movies as well. Its name is iconic in Uptown because the original Lagoon Theater was what Uptown was built around, and it was established in 1995. Whether you want to see the latest Oscar winner or the newest avant-garde experimental film, this is the place to go.
Magnetic Originals (3001 Hennepin Ave., 952-939-4150) sells art that uses magnet vinyl as the canvas, vibrant colors, and has natural/mystic themes. The artist is prolific, and he -has a passion for what he does. He also sells artistic supplies such as pencils, so it's the perfect place to visit whether you want to buy a piece of art or the supplies to create one yourself. It is located in Calhoun Square.
Phoenix Theater (A Project of Arts Nest) (2605 Hennepin Ave., 612-377-2285) is a small theater that features a variety of performances, community events, and educational classes. In addition to putting on plays, they offer Monday Night Mingles and The Story Studio workshops. Arts Nest is committed to supporting fledgling artists as well as art professionals.
Uptown Theatre (2906 Hennepin Ave., 612-823-3005) is a historic theater that was originally called Lagoon Theater, then changed to the Uptown Theatre. The Uptown Theatre burned down in 1939, was rebuild, and the community leaders decided to make it the center of their city. Thus, Uptown was born, and the theater is still one of the high points. The theater shows independent, foreign, and classic films, and they serve you cocktails, beer, and wine to sip and enjoy while you watch the movie.
Uptown Art Fair (intersection of Hennepin Ave. and W Lake St., 612-823-4581) is a nationally-recognized juried art fair held annually by the Uptown Association. It features over 350 artists from around the world in 12 different media, and no matter your taste in art, you are sure to find something you like. There is a Youth Fair that features artists between 8-18 as well, so younger artists can have exposure for their work as well. Different kinds of music is played all day long, and there is a variety of food to buy from 25 different food vendors (and beverages, too!). There is plenty more to do, including swing dancing and family activities, and there's plenty to see such as the Kitchen Window Culinary Arts Competition. The Uptown Art Fair has won several prestigious awards.
Uptown Transit Station (2855 Hennepin Ave.) is conveniently located and makes it easy to access Uptown from across the Twin Cities.
Jefferson Community School (1200 W 26th St., 612-668-2720) is a community pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school that focuses on nurturing and supporting children to bring out their passion and creativity. They have grants that support art residences, a native language fluency site (Spanish), and they have programs that concentrate on sciences. They believe in working with the family and keeping their students' parents engaged in all aspects of the school.