Minneapolis combines the Dakota word for water (mine) with the Greek word for city (polis) — a fitting name for a city with so many of Minnesota's 12,034 lakes. As the state’s largest city, Minneapolis combines the buzz of urban life with the neighborliness of smaller towns. Residents enjoy cultural and recreational opportunities in beautiful natural surroundings.
Both Minneapolis and nearby St Paul attract young people from the rural areas stretching hundreds of miles in all directions, making the Twin Cities the buckle of the northern farm belt. As with much of the Midwest, you will feel very welcome.
The Twin Cities are home to much of the cultural life of the region, with many stages for theater and dance performances, an opera company, and symphony orchestra; also museums, film festivals and art-house cinema screenings. See our events and experiences listings for details.
The Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport is about 16 miles from downtown Minneapolis and 12 miles from downtown St Paul. The Light Rail service of Metro Transit will whisk you to downtown Minneapolis in about 25 minutes for $2.25. Remember to buy the ticket at the station machine before boarding. Taxis can also get you to either city.
A car is the most convenient way to get around. Buses traverse most of the city, and Light Rail Transit is a quick way to get to the top local tourist magnet, the Mall of America. For Minneapolis public transportation see Metro Transit
Neither Minneapolis nor St Paul has a “gay neighborhood” per se, though both have communities centered around their respective downtowns.
In downtown Minneapolis, four Hennepin Avenue bars, Gay 90s, the Brass Rail, the Saloon, and Gladius, are easily walkable between 4th and 11th Streets. Bar 19 is to the south on 15th, near the Convention Center. Jetset is a 15-20 minute hike, northwest of Hennepin. The Minneapolis Eagle/Bolt complex is 6 blocks east of Hennepin down Washington Avenue. Hennepin is also the location of several theaters. See our map.
Local Media & resources
Lavender Magazine has gay news, articles, and reviews. They also sponsor some excellent pride events all summer.
KFAI (90.3FM), with Fresh Fruit, the longest running Queer radio show in the country, covers a lot more ground with This Way Out, Gays Without Borders and Queer Music Heritage, among the many gay programs they air. Listen online too.
City Pages is the local weekly for general listings, news and reviews.
Twin Cities Daily Planet brings together local people, including those of the gay community, to create a diverse online media alternative.
Quatrefoil Library (1619 Dayton Avenue, St Paul) is one of the oldest gay lending libraries in the country. Drop by for information on the local gay community. Along with so many gay and independent bookstores in America, A Brother's Touch and Query have closed.
For locations and website links to businesses listed below, see our Minneapolis-St Paul gay map & listings pages.
The gay hotel at the Saloon closed recently, but there are three large gay-friendly downtown hotels at the center of everything:
The Graves 601 Hotel (601 First Ave N; 612-677-1100); the Marquette Hotel (710 Marquette Ave; 612- 333-4545); and the Millennium Hotel Minneapolis (1313 Nicollet Mall; 612-332-6000) right by the Convention Center.
If you're coming to town for Twin Cities Pride look for special accommodations deals through their website.
Bars and clubs -- Minneapolis
19 Bar (19 West 15th St) gay Loring Park neighborhood bar, oldest in town, mixed crowd, no drama, jukebox, pool games.
Bolt Video (513 Washington Ave) at the Eagle complex, latest videos, showtunes and movie nights, special parties.
Bolt Underground (501 Washington Ave) Eagle's dance club, industrial vibe, bear, leather, fetish, underwear nights, 4th Friday 18+ Goth night .
Brass Rail Lounge (422 Hennepin Ave), newly renovated, Wednesday male strippers, VIP room, piano bar, shows.
Minneapolis Eagle (515 Washington Ave S) leather, bears, buff guys, dancing, pool table, year-round smokers' patio.
Gay 90s (408 Hennepin Ave) big six- bar complex, dance floor, shows, drag, dining, 18+ dance nights.
Jetset (115 First Street N) Manhattan-style lounge, cocktail bar, karaoke, hip-hop and house music, tarot; 18+ Fridays and 21+ Saturdays.
Lush (990 Central Ave NE) new, sleek, modern decor, live entertainment, eclectic food menu; before-the-clubs crowd.
Saloon (830 Hennepin Ave) dance club, video bar, Sunday amateur shower contests, Latin nights, 18+ nights, Friday shower dancers, food.
Gladius Bar (1111 Hennipin Ave S) and Tickles (1032 3rd Ave) closed this year.
Bars and clubs -- St Paul
Burger Moe's (242 West 7th St), quality burgers, beer and cocktails, big patio, gay-friendly mix - espcially at Lavender, first Thursdays of the month event.
Camp (490 North Robert St) video, dance and piano cabaret bar, hot bartenders, mixed upscale crowd.
Town House (1415 University Ave) piano bar, drag shows & cabaret, line-dancing, neighborhood hangout, mixed crowd.
Coale's (719 N Dale St), and Rumours / Innuendo (213 E 4th St) have closed.
Cafes & Restaurants
Check with many of the bars that serve food. A sampling of a few more follows, among the great diversity of options around Minneapolis.
Fusion (2919 Hennepin Ave) Uptown neighborhood bar/lounge/restaurant, chic vibe, sushi, eclectic menu of food and drinks.
Global Market (920 E Lake St) international market-place, many restaurants and bars with world-wide choice of cuisines, arts and crafts, early to late hours.
Haute Dish (119 N Washington Ave) classic midwest cuisine (and others) interpreted with madcap ingenuity; full bar.
Hell's Kitchen (80 S 9th St) all-day breakfast, gospel brunch, dinner, Bloody Marys, happy hours; real food, prepared from scratch.
Jakeeno's (3555 Chicago Ave S) pizza, pastas, dips, wings, salads, Italian bread sandwiches, and deserts - since 1975.
Kindee Thai (719 S 2nd St) traditional Thai cuisine with modern flair, across from Guthrie Theatre and Mill City Museum.
Mercado Central (1515 E. Lake St), Latin marketplace & cultural center, includes Mexican & Salvadorian restaurants, coffeeshops, a tortillería & a taquería, Latin grocery stores and more, open daily.
Om (401 1st Ave N), a contemporary approach, blending many of the cuisines to be found throughout India, using fresh local produce.
Subo (89 S 10th St) Filipino and southeast Asian dining, bold exotic flavors, tapas-style for group-sharing, vegan-friendly options.
Talk Town Diner (2707 E Lake St) classic diner fare with creative spin, brunch, adult malts, many beer varieties, affordable wines.
Uptown Cafeteria (3001 Hennepin Ave) American-International comfort food, weekend breakfast, cocktails, rooftop city views.
Wilde Roast Cafe (532 E Hennepin Ave) Victorian look, breakfast daily (late on weekends), sandwiches, lunch, dinner, beer, wine, community events.
Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing, so shopping is a big tourist attraction here.
Cockpit (2321 Hennepin Ave S) is a luxury leather clothing, accessories, and BDSM gear retail store.
Mall of America, minutes from the airport, is one of the world's largest retail centers; over 520 stores, 50 restaurants, 14 movie screens.
Rainbow Road (109 W Grant St) has new-release DVDs, thousands of gay titles and erotic films, clothing, cards and pride items.
For contact information, website connections and locations of all the above, see our map and listings section.
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