The 10 worst places in Minneapolis
Summertime in Minneapolis — what could be better? You can ride your bike to the farmers market, drink a summer shandy on the beach, and maybe buy a T-shirt that says "I [PICTURE OF MN] MINNEAPOLIS" in huge letters to show the world your unbridled passion for the greatest city of all time. (Locally printed by an aspiring EDM artist or some shit, of course.)
All right, now it's time to get your organic ice-cream cone smashed in your sunburned face by reality: It's not all smiles here in Minneapolis. Regardless of the shining sun and typically temperate weather, sometimes this place still totally sucks. Rather than having your summer delusions ruined, we'd like to help you avoid some of the city's most disturbing and festering hellholes by presenting you with a list of the 10 worst places in Minneapolis, in no particular order.
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10. The intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street
People don't understand that the most dangerous part of Minneapolis is actually this intersection and the nearby blocks after 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. This is the place where you will get shoulder-checked by a dude in a crisp, button-up white shirt because you got too close to him as you tried to sidestep some glittery vomit. Make it past the first boss of this sinister level and you'll probably be hit by a car and then called a homophobic insult after it happens. It's too bad we can't just lock all of these people up on the outdoor patios and keep them there until they start eating each other.
9. The Skyways
Whatever happened to secret passageways being gateways to awesome dungeons or, at the very least, being home to an oily brigade of anarchist mutants? In Minneapolis, what should be one the coolest and most progressive parts of the city turns out to be a confusing labyrinth reminiscent of a Brooklyn Center mall — only you don't get to throw shopping carts down an escalator or get eaten by a minotaur. Plus, it allows already awkward and shy Minnesotans an opportunity to avoid any chance of interacting with the average proletariat on the street — the people who have no business inside the tunnel of solitude as they're not searching for designer clothes or a $75 haircut.
Dinkytown was always plagued by chest-beating bros and two-shot wasteoids tripping over each other, but at least at some point there were places to hang out at that you weren't ashamed to be seen in. Whatever character was hardly in Dinkytown to begin with is now rapidly being fed to demons and transformed into one of the three major drugstores or a corporate sandwich shop. Seeing as how half the people who move to Minneapolis for school come from rural areas where people navigate according to where the Walmart is, it's fairly fitting to witness the area cruelly shapeshift into a giant strip mall in central Ohio.
7. Block E
Block E is actually better than it has ever been, and that's because it's closed. When it was open it was famous for its movie theater, where the employees were as lifeless as the "coming soon" cardboard cut-outs they stood next to. I'm also 90 percent sure that every other business in Block E was a Hooters.
6. West Calhoun
This vast disarray of parking lots and aging yuppie run-off businesses should just be annexed into St. Louis Park.
5. First Avenue
You know your street is fucked when the coolest thing about it is an Army Surplus Store where the owner screams at you to leave. If Minnesota ever brings back the death penalty, hopefully they will decide to hold all public executions at Sneaky Pete's (or make it vague to "one of the bars on this strip"), as the people in this area are already soulless and dead anyway.
To your right: A trash-burning plant
4. Royalston Avenue/10th Avenue North
Remember the first time you went to Golden Valley, when you were in search of an obscure synthesizer or a special decorative butter dish for your aunt? You could see the store from the highway, but when you got off the exit, suddenly your car fell into a giant pile of spaghetti and lit on fire. Then a horse took a dump on your body. This is a fairly accurate metaphor for this horrible nightmare attached to Olson Memorial Highway. With roads jutting in every direction and pissed-off downtown commmuters who would furiously drive their cars over a resurrected Jesus Christ if he were there, this entire stretch of road sucks. However, if you're able to ignore the smell of the fish importing company, the extremely torn-up and neglected pavement, and the fact that there's a sidewalk on only one side of the road, you can capture a glorious sight: terrified Twins fans realizing in their Prior Lake brains that the Big City is actually scarier than they imagined it from their pontoon boats.
3. Kmart on Nicollet
The Kmart blocking Nicollet should be brought to trial for committing a hate crime. Cutting up the street and demanding that gigantic parking lot sure paid off well for you greedy pricks, didn't it? The only good thing about that block is the occasional presence of Taco Taxi and Tacos El Primo trucks in the parking lot.
2. The Lyndale/Hennepin/Walker Art Center clusterfuck
Without a doubt, this is one of the worst fucking places in the city. Here you'll find a mishmash of scrubby medians, poorly timed lights, apprehensive drivers entering and exiting freeways, and cops busting poor people in the most appealing and logical place to panhandle. For cars, lanes mysteriously appear and disappear. Lines on the road are nonexistent. If there's a crash, no one has any idea that there are streets to the left and right that they should pull off on and let other people pass. If you are on a bike, you can travel down the ill-conceived fading-green-painted path as you watch assholes make right-hand turns without even glancing your way. In the other direction is the dog shit of city planning, as you are forced to either dismount your bike to walk past Rudolph's or choose certain death and martyrdom by continuing to bike into traffic like a salmon swimming upstream into a nuclear power-plant wastewater pipe.
Photo by Nick Vlcek
1. Hidden beach
Hidden Beach may be the most confusingly stressful place in Minneapolis that also features an abundant supply of hammocks. A recent experience at the fabled hangout could be best described as going to a tiny music festival filled with the cool people from high school that were way into ecstasy before they got hooked on meth and started stealing things. On the way out, there was a tie-dye shirt bro carrying a young girl who had overdosed on oxycodone. As her friends caught up with the ailing couple, one of them tried to sell a friend acid amid the crisis. Actually, come to think of it, this Hidden Beach incident might be the most interesting thing I've seen happen in public in weeks. So, strike Hidden Beach off the "worst of" list because it's perhaps the only place in Minneapolis (outside of a punk show) that has any sort of semblance of culture and honest humanity.
Follow Drew Ailes on Twitter at @CountBakula.
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