Best Neighborhood - 2011
If you're among those who think that Uptown (by which we mean the immediate Lake and Hennepin area) just ain't as cool as it used to be, the place you really want to hang out is a half-mile or so east, around the intersection of Lake and Lyndale. While Uptown may have gone mainstream, Lyn-Lake retains its neighborhood funk. It's easy to become a resident; there are plenty of duplexes and apartments for rent, many just rundown enough to be affordable without crossing the line into scary. Parking is pretty easy, the neighbors are mostly friendly, and the business district can't be beat. Shopping options are abundant: cool used duds at Tatters and Buffalo Exchange, sex toys at Smitten Kitten, plus shops for cell phones, beads, shoe repair, and more. For entertainment, check out up-and-coming indie-rock bands at Cause, drunken karaoke singers at the Country Bar, or bluegrass musicians at Dulono's, as well as some higher arts at the Jungle Theater and Highpoint Center for Printmaking. And oh, the food. You could dine out every day for months without leaving the neighborhood—sushi at Fuji-Ya, stir-fries at the Saigon, chef-driven fare at the relocated Heidi's, brewpub eats at Herkimer, and hearty dishes at It's Greek to Me are only a few of the choices. We're also compelled to mention Moto-i, the only sake brewpub outside of Japan, and the delicious Sonny's Ice Cream made at Crema Café a few blocks south. Your walk to Lake Calhoun will be a bit longer than from Uptown proper, but that's a tradeoff well worth making.