Taking a moment to celebrate the Mill City’s remarkable riverfront renaissance …
THE RIVERFRONT Mill District is far and away the best thing to happen to Minneapolis in decades. Right in the heart of the milling district that brought Minneapolis into being, Jean Nouvel’s dramatic glass-and-metal Guthrie Theater cantilevers toward the Mississippi River … and mirrors the historic Washburn A Mill complex next door.
On warm weekends, it’s a splendid place to make a day of it. You can do it by bike, segway (rent at st. Anthony Main on the east side of the river), or horse-drawn carriage (ditto).
But an ambling walk is best of all. Circle up the grassy knoll known as Gold Medal Park overlooking dazzling river vistas. Take in the vibrant, organic, funky-artsy Mill City Farmer’s Market on the plazas and courtyards between the Guthrie and the Mill City Museum. Walk through Mill Ruins Park, Minneapolis’s very own Stonehenge, its charred limestone walls part of the Mill City Museum on the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill (which grew into General Mills.) Then head across the Stone Arch Bridge, taking time to gape at skyline views, passing boats, and Great Blue Herons.
One of the pleasures of this walk was always to repair for lunch and a Surly Furious al fresco at Pracna On Main, but the historic restaurant/pub–which dates to 1890–closed in early 2015, reportedly to reopen later in the year. Also great for vibe and view is the Wilde Roast Cafe just a couple of blocks up the cobblestone street. Or return to the other side of the river for dinner at Spoonriver restaurant next door to the Guthrie (owner-chef Brenda Langton–Minneapolis’s own Alice Waters–also is the force behind the Mill City Farmer’s Market).