This was my first trip to Minneapolis in over ten years. Not at all as I recall it. Way cooler in some ways, way sleepier in others.
I planned a short one-day trip specifically to check out Brad Kahlhamer’s show at the Minnesota Institute of American Art- it’s MAJOR! More on that below.
In prepping for my visit, I researched the city’s art scene and ended up extending my trip into a full-on 3-day cultural immersion. Extremely worthwhile!
That said, I have to preface this review of my 36 hrs in Minneapolis with a caveat. I am an action junkie. And I love high-energy, hip, emerging scenes, which is why I am going to start with my hotel.
The Hewing, in the North Loop/Warehouse District, is fantastic. I’m a total sucker for this type of hotel. Their lobby is amazing. It’s a vibrant spot where locals gather as much as hotel guests do. Unless you’re a Four Seasons’ fancy-pants kind of person, stay at the Hewing!
- It’s the epicenter of cool (in my opinion). Thank you, Neely Tamminga, for insisting I stay here.
- What I loved most about the Hewing was its vibe, along with its decor, and the location. This is where my tribe hangs out.
- It was formerly a farm equipment showroom, so its proportions are ginormous.
- It’s comfy but rough-hewn, rugged but chic. The custom wallpapers are fantastic, and I especially loved having my coffee in the morning ensconced in one of their window seats (spectacular when a major thunderstorm rolls through town).
- It reminded me a lot of Chicago’s Soho House.
- The staff is exceptional. Thorough, caring, and they have opinions about what you should order (and I love that)!
- There’s a rooftop lounge with glorious sunset views.
- They also have bikes available for hotel guests.
Having the Hewing as my home base (vs. the Aloft where I initially planned to stay), dialed up the quality of my visit immeasurably. And, by the way, I walked past the Aloft on my way to the Walker Art Center, and all I could think was, “Wow, so glad I’m not staying here – or in that part of town.”
So tip #1: choose your hotel wisely.
Tip #2: if you stay at the Hewing, make sure you book directly online and prepay – it’ll save you almost $100 a night.
While almost every aspect of my hotel experience was outstanding, there were a few peculiarities:
- For example, their highly-touted restaurant, Tullibee, had created a special Restaurant Week menu which offered a limited selection of two starters, two mains, and two desserts.
- However, at dinner, they relayed a few specials to us. One was a cheese plate. I said great, I’ll have the special cheese plate as my main. This is where it goes off the rails.
- The specials are only available as add-ons. Therefore you have to order two entrees. If I wanted the cheese plate, I would have to order it on top of one of the mains on the menu.
- To me, that’s bizarre. They did, however, suggest they could simply not serve me the menu entrée, but I would still have to pay for both dishes. Then it just turns into a weird kind of rip off – and I honestly don’t feel that was their intent.
- The second peculiar thing about the hotel is how dog-friendly it is.
- It appears to have become a top destination for professional dog walkers to hang out with their pack of hounds.
- While I was there, two dog walkers took over a few couches for their pooches. I know all my dog lover friends will think this is great, but I don’t want to sit on a couch that has just had five dogs slobbering all over it. But lest that dissuade you, they also have a stellar team of clean-up people who mop and vacuum after dogs have visited.
Those are, however, the only two misses. I would stay at the Hewing again in a heartbeat. And I did stay there again on Sunday night after my flight to NYC got interminably delayed. That’s also when I found out how much better it is to book and prepay at the Hewing. Scroll down for pics.
Also, read on below for more on the Minneapolis Culture Beat as well as other observations from my 3-day stay.