3 Reasons to Love the Mill District
I've been living in Minneapolis since 2007 and I'm pretty sure I've resided in about every corner of this city (the burbs, uptown, downtown, northeast, etc). Attending college at the Art Institute downtown, the city was my campus to explore. Since then, I don't think I've ever been disconnected from the downtown scene – whether I was going to school, working or living in the heart of the city. I used to dream of living anywhere near the river or being within walking distance of Gold Medal Park; Living in the historic Mill District is an absolute dream come true and really feels like home.
This area has so much to offer and it's only getting better. The following fun facts are probably nothing you have not seen or heard before, but I thought I'd share some personal favorites about this dreamy area I call home.
1. The outdoor scene
This area has some of the most beautiful and extensive trails around - I never get sick of venturing that scenic "Stonearch" loop. How awesome to live in the heart of downtown AND sneak some great views of the historic riverfront. Being steps away from the river, at the drop of a hat, we're able to go for a run, take the dog for a walk, take a bike ride or walk the Stonearch Bridge over to a favorite watering hole. (It doesn't hurt that it's always easy on the eyes either). There's an energy about this place, especially on the warm days when the trails are packed with bikers, runners, families and kids throwing picnics in the park, people walking their dogs or groups of friends exploring the restaurant scene across the way.
2. Walkability & the social scene
The great thing about living anywhere downtown is that you don't have to leave your city bubble if you don't want to (for just about anything!). Put in your 9-5, grocery shop, stock up at Target, work out, grab an after dinner scoop at Izzy's Ice Cream, shop neighborhood boutiques, get your coffee fix, furniture shop, explore oodles of restaurants, see a show, watch a game... all on foot! I could go on, but my point is, it's so liberating to explore by walking - if not by foot, you never have to drive more than a few miles and seldom do you deal with a stressful traffic jam. Between the light rail, buses, Car 2 Go and bikes, traveling is a breeze.
The Mill District is within walking distance to so many great local finds. The Guthrie, one of the most amazing venues with some truly great talent is right in our backyard. If you've never been to a show, you're missing out. If anything, take a stroll through this building for it's stellar architecture and grab a bite at Sea Change - they have a great raw bar and not a bad patio in the summer.
The Mill City farmers market runs during all seasons and people travel into the city to get their fresh produce every Saturday. Between the produce, flowers, food vendors, arts and crafts and even homemade dog treats, there's something for everyone here. I love strolling down here especially in the warm months, grabbing some local eats, a coffee and spending too much money on fresh veggies. Plus, they often have a live band hanging out!
All along the riverfront, you can catch fireworks, movies in the park, impromptu yoga and other countless outdoor festivities like the Stonearch festival, marathons, Northern Spark, Minneapolis Aquatennial, or even catch a "style trolley", fresh-pressed juice or coffee truck while on your morning run!
Within the Mill District and within a few miles, we have access to some of the very best restaurants, bars and unique shops and designer brands and it seems there are new ones popping up every day. I love feeling like I will never get through every restaurant and bar in town because it means I can always go somewhere new!
3. History (and history in the making)
Let's be honest, this area is what it is because of the rich history that it was built upon. The river is still the focal point of this area today and I love that the city has embraced and kept the history alive; not only have the ruins themselves been protected but there is an entire museum built around it.
Original signage from the mills and factories have remained and most are being restored (most recently the Pillsbury's Best sign which was just reinstalled and the Northstar Blankets sign which is currently being restored). Walk around just about anywhere near the water and you can read about the history of the ground on which you're standing. It's cool to be part of a neighborhood and city so proud of it's history.
New life continues to be brought into the many warehouses, mills and factories, being converted into condos or office spaces. In fact, the history and character in my own converted loft was what made it most appealing. Whether you live or work in a conversion building, or reside in a new apartment complex by the river, you're somehow surrounded by the Minneapolis riverfront history. The addition of new architecture such as the US Bank Stadium and the many new residential projects in progress or soon to come blends new with the old and is the beginning of history to come for future generations. It's been incredible to watch the surrounding areas expand so fast.
As a proud Minneapolis resident, I'm excited to see the Mill District hold onto it's history and continue to grow. I hope I've inspired you to explore and enjoy your own stomping ground; it's easy to take your surroundings for granted so take it all in and remind yourself what you love most about your neighborhood.