The 48 Hours Project: Museums, galleries, performance venues

Editor's note: In response to Reuters' disastrous 48-hour travel itinerary, we decided to come up with our own suggestions for folks new to the Twin Cities. The following is the second post in an ongoing series exploring the great things about Minneapolis and St. Paul, with each installment offering a different approach to enjoying our fair cities. This suggested schedule focuses on some of the great theater and arts in the Twin Cities. Come take a look.

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4 p.m. For the start of your trip, head to South Minneapolis, a diverse, understated area that has lots of off-beat local businesses that give you a flavor of what Minneapolis is all about. SooLocal, a pop-up shop operated by local gallery Soo Visual Arts (SooVAC), is a highly recommended visit. The space's rotating programming always offers something new to discover. Since opening in late 2012, the shop has hosted gallery shows highlighting local artists, writers, music, performance artists, and more. You'll also want to stop next door at B-Squad Vintage, which stocks tons of vintage wear you can't find anywhere else.

5 p.m. Afterwards, you may want to travel across the street to El Paraiso, a dive bar/authentic Mexican restaurant that serves killer margaritas. Next, walk a bit further south to Blackbird, a quaint little restaurant on 38th and Nicollet that serves up a variety of foods from different global cuisines. Blackbird's cozy and cheery at the same time, and their wait staff are terrific.

7 p.m. If you travel down 35th street a bit further south you'll reach Chicago Avenue, which has been exploding in the last year with all kinds of interactive arts programming thanks to the Pillsbury House + Theatre's Arts on Chicago project. As you walk down Chicago toward 38th, you'll experience an outdoor gallery of Wing Young Huie's powerful photographs, located in shop windows along the avenue. You can also stop in Wing Young Huie's gallery, the Third Place Gallery, and, if they're open that evening, play a bit of ping pong. 

Jojama Jones at Pillsbury House + Theatre
Jojama Jones at Pillsbury House + Theatre
Photo by Michal Daniel

8 p.m. For your evening entertainment, consider seeing a show at Pillsbury House +Theatre, which produces some of the most provocative, engaging theater in Minneapolis. Productions here include wonderful performances by some of Minnesota's best actors, who present pieces from top-notch contemporary playwrights challenging audiences with different social issues.

11 p.m. For a night cap, make your way over to Uptown. Here, you can take a stroll by Lake Calhoun, which has a pleasant dock to hang out by the water. Finish your evening off at Barbette, where the wait staff is charming, the wine is tasty (and reasonably priced), and the steak fries are to die for.


The 48 Hours Project: Museums, galleries, performance venues
Hell's Kitchen's unique decor makes for a fun breakfast setting


11 a.m. For your second day, having breakfast at Hell's Kitchen (hint: make a reservation) is highly recommended. This place is amazing, as it serves organic, fresh ingredients, with lots of options for those who are vegan or gluten-free inclined. Whether you get the lemon-ricotta hotcakes or the fried plantains, you won't be disappointed.

View from the Stone Arch Bridge
View from the Stone Arch Bridge

1 p.m. After your hearty breakfast, make your way over to the Stone Arch Bridge, which has an unbelievable view of downtown Minneapolis. Soak up the majesty of the Mississippi River and take a selfie in front of the beautiful view. Afterwards, continue on up to 2nd Street Northeast, where you'll find the Soap Factory, a gallery located in a former soap-making factory. The Soap Factory is gritty, a bit dusty, and possibly haunted (they host a fantastic Haunted Basement show each year). They also always have interesting work within the labyrinth that makes up the gallery space.

3 p.m. After your stop at the Soap, take a fun stroll down Main Street, listening to the sound of the river on the one side. You might stop at Aster Café for a quick refreshment or, if you're visiting during the summer months, go up the staircase onto 3rd Avenue toward the Ard Godfrey House, the oldest surviving frame home in the Twin Cities.

For more art-hopping options, start at Midway Contemporary Arts and the Gallery @Fox Tax, and then head further into Northeast on 13th Avenue, where you can visit Rogue Buddha Gallery.

The 48 Hours Project: Museums, galleries, performance venues
Ballet of the Dolls pose for last June's Cabaret Nudista

5 p.m. There are tons of yummy places to eat on 13th, whether you stop in at Northeast Social or Anchor Fish & Chips for some fried deliciousness.

7 p.m. Time to visit the Ritz Theater, a venue that was once an old movie theater, but now showcases challenging, experimental dance. If Ballet of the Dolls are performing, you won't want to miss their show as this dance company always presents raucous and hilarious events. Other groups are also worth seeing at the Ritz, too.

9 p.m. Finish your evening listening to music at the 331 Club, where you'll hear a few of the many local bands Minneapolis has to offer. (And it's always free.)



11 a.m. For your last day, stop in to Al's Breakfast. Here, the food is greasy and hits the spot, and the staff are intentionally surly (it's all part of the show). Al's Breakfast is in a narrow and tiny space, and part of the experience is waiting in line behind the people eating at the counter. The pancakes are well worth the wait.

1 p.m. While you're in the University of Minnesota area, you'll want to go over to the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, one of Minneapolis's most distinctive buildings. Inside is a contemporary art museum. Afterwards, head on over to the Bell Museum and get your fix of science and dioramas.  

4 p.m. All that walking around will probably have worked up your appetite, so finish your trip off in the West Bank with some gigantic hot dogs at the Wienery.

Do you have any favorite things to do that you recommend to out-of-town guests? Let us know in the comments!

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