Happening Hubs: What Not to Miss in Minneapolis

In today's mobile workplace, deal making and hand shaking may take you all over the world. So what's happening in travel hubs between business meetings and convention sessions? From major metropolises to unsung cities, we've got some advice for what to do – and what to miss – on your next business trip in some of the U.S.'s "happening hubs".

“Minnesota nice” isn’t just a colloquialism – Minneapolitans really are that friendly. This Midwestern hub is filled with hardy people who persevere through long, freezing winters. Of course they’re nice – they want a hug to warm up!

Minneapolis is a city I know and love – from trendy eateries like the Butcher & the Boar to a local microbrew with friends at Kieran’s, there are plenty of things to do and see on your next business trip to my fair city.

Getting around

Within the downtown area, you can walk almost everywhere. City planners smartly built street-covered skyways, which protect you from the elements in the colder months – of which there are many. In the summer, you can rent bicycles and pedal past the downtown sights in delightfully warmer weather. The Metro Transit light rail service is clean and efficient, but it doesn’t extend very far out of the main drag that connects the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport to downtown. Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs are so stretched out that the best option is to simply rent a car. But if you’re staying in one spot only, call a cab – taxis are clean and safe in Minneapolis.

What to do between meetings

Most business travelers coming for big events will visit the Minneapolis Convention Center in downtown, where most of the other big hotels are centered. Luckily, this area is close to some uniquely Minneapolis finds, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden outside the Walker Art Museum. The Stone Arch Bridge spans the Mississippi River, and I recommend strolling over it to St. Anthony Main on the riverfront for a casual dinner, or to unwind after a long day of meetings. If you have time, get outside and walk around one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, like nearby Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles or Lake Harriet.

Best spots for business

If you need to take clients out to eat, or you’re just looking for a place to close some deals, consider a lunch at Zelo, Café Lucrat, Murray’s, Oceanaire or Vincent.

With an extra day, you should…

If you have extra time, consider taking in the architecture and performances at the world-renowned Guthrie Theater. Between plays, concerts and special events, it’s a great place to spend a few hours with the arts – and with locals. It’s hard to talk about Minneapolis without mentioning the Mall of America. It’s the biggest shopping mall in the United States and cultural experience unto itself. But if you’re not in the mood for the mall – try the Uptown shopping district at 50th and France, and the Shops at the Galleria, both in nearby Edina. One major benefit to shopping in Minnesota: no tax on clothing!

Quintessentially Minneapolis

If you want to get into the real vibe of Minneapolis, go for lawn bowling on the rooftop patio of Brit’s Pub. There’s a rather serious lawn bowling league and a tournament each year, but visitors are also welcome give the gentle sport a try over a pint, weather permitting!

Live music is big in Minneapolis – try Polka, the Fine Line, or Dinkytown for shows from a variety of genres, from rock to country. The Dakota Jazz Club also has world-class jazz and amazing food – highly recommended for a night out.

Finally, you’ve probably heard him on the radio, but Garrison Keillor and his “Prairie Home Companion” show tape live in St. Paul. If you have time, it’s a great opportunity to hear some Minnesota lore and visit Minneapolis’ beloved twin city.

Have some info on happening hubs you'd like to share? Tell us in the comments below!

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