42 thoughts on “Downtown”

  1. Downtowns were once necessary to create enough population density to make merchandising possible. One went downtown to buy things not available anywhere else.

    Urban sprawl and the distribution of merchandising negated that. Merchandising has been radically decentralized (geographically and structurally), with the internet totally changing things.

    Downtowns can still thrive if they offer the right blend of unique entertainment venues (theaters and museums), quality dining, niche merchandising plus a lively and appealing general environment.

    Best downtown I’ve seen: Toronto. The Canadians do cities better than we do

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    1. I agree Steve. Shopping isn’t really the focus for me downtown anymore. Whenever I go downtown it’s always for an experience, either to go to a restaurant with friends or to a show or to a concert or to a parade but rarely for shopping. The cost of the parking added to whatever I’m buying makes it more expensive than if I bought it at a mall.

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        1. YA and I do take the bus downtown when it’s for an experience then the added time doesn’t seem like much. But adding the time to take the bus from my house to downtown for what is essentially a shopping errand is hard for me.

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    1. Uptown is an entire neighborhood that includes old residential homes and apartments, a youth culture (it is where every young adult wants to move after departing parents’ home), and businesses. It abuts Lake Calhoun at one end of Lake Street. It has highly desirable residential real estate. Downtown was created by the founders as a business district, and only now has become a residential site.

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  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    The cities I enjoy the most are those that are walkable. I don’t know that downtown Minneapolis is a walkable city like the ones I have enjoyed. For many years now, it has primarily been an employment and sports hub. It only makes sense to access it via bus or train. My favorite things downtown Minneapolis now are my son, 112 Eatery, and the Mill City Museum.

    Great downtowns are made of good restaurants, museums, shopping and people watching that you can walk to experience.

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  3. I remember when I worked in downtown Minneapolis and there was always something exciting and different. The street musicians, Nicollet Mall Farmers Market in summer, interesting food and, of course, shopping! Back in the day when women still wore pantyhose, suits and pumps to work, I loved window shopping at Dayton’s.

    On the occasion I went to the Guthrie was always especially exciting for me. I still get pumped up at the thought of going to a play, but alas, it’s very rare as it’s getting more expensive every day. Downtown is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

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        1. smokers are the newest hot item for foodies

          in reality
          slow cook at 200 or so with wood chips in s pan or basket

          cheese fish meat veggies
          the little electric cookers are like 50 bucks at year end now

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        2. I was hoping you were referring to a little shop – perhaps somewhere along Lake Street – that sold smoked fish, and that I didn’t know about. No such luck, apparently.

          Our friend, David Johnston, who lives on Park Point in Duluth with his sweetheart, Rachel, is an avid hunter, fisherman, wild rice gatherer, and gardener. He and Rachel are great cooks, and it’s always a treat to visit them. He smokes whitefish and makes the most delectable smoked whitefish salad. Hark, I hear Duluth calling!

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        3. Ingebretsen’s on Lake Street smokes their own fish and it’s excellent. Best day to go is Tuesday or Wednesday, I think. It’s not ready on Monday and it sells out by late in the week.

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        4. I have a rule that anytime I’m heading east and drive past Ingebretson’s that I if there’s a parking spot out front, I must stop. Thanks for the tip about the fish, Bill, I didn’t know about that. Do you know what kind of fish?

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  4. Parts of downtown Mpls have good walking – by the river at the Stone Arch Bridge is Central Minneapolis Riverfront Regional Park: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/parks__lakes/central_mississippi_riverfront_regional_park/
    and there’s a nice little farmers market just off West River Road by the Guthrie on Saturday mornings. Then across the Stone Arch Bridge is St. Anthony Main restaurants and some shopping…

    Little one block parks also help a downtown. Right across from Hennepin Cty. Med Center is Elliot Park at 8th St & 11th Ave… a friend used to live kitty-corner. And are people still able to ice skate in Peavey Plaza by Orchestra Hall?

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    1. And there’s also Izzy’s Ice Cream across the street from Gold Medal Park and near West River Road/Stone Arch Bridge/the river. So you can replace all those calories you burn walking.

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  5. I value the city because it represents a progressive-leaning concentration of voters that serve to offset the reactionary tendencies of the rural and exurban areas. And the city, especially the downtown, is the economic engine that subsidizes rural parts of the state and makes them viable, a fact that makes rural resentment of urban expenditures ironic.

    I worked downtown in the ’70s and ’80s, at Dayton’s and Donaldson’s and at three advertising agencies and, as long as I was there anyway, I enjoyed exploring what it had to offer. But that was 30 or 40 years ago and I scarcely recognize the place now.

    I seldom have a reason to go downtown anymore, other than the occasional visit to warehouse district art galleries or some business at the government center. There are good restaurants downtown and entertainment venues but there are good restaurants outside of downtown without the hassle of dealing with traffic and finding parking. Little of the entertainment offered in downtown venues is attractive to me. “Destination” dining is not something we do that often.

    When I think of cities where the scale felt human size and comprehensible—places where we walked from one end to the other— I think of European cities like Edinburgh and Florence. We enjoyed walking in Montreal, though unavoidably there were some down-at-the-heels parts we found ourselves having to navigate.

    I think for a city to be interesting to me, aside from the concerns of human scale, there needs to be a palpable sense of history and substance—stories embodied in the streetscapes. My sense of Minneapolis is that most of that has been erased. It feels soulless. St. Paul has done a better job of maintaining both the scale and the history.

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    1. Good cities are distinct. It saddens me that so much of the US is dominated by franchises and cheap highway strip commerce. A significant piece of any US city is identical to similar strips in forty or sixty other cities. That was one of the things about Portland that left me cold. So much of it was schlocky in just the way bits of Tuscon or Baltimore or Omaha are.

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  6. i love downtown

    architecture is usually the allure or i guess the missed opportunity

    i was in minneapolis when they were knocking down what today would be landmarks to put up the electric shaver skyscrapers of the 60’s

    i love art deco. while i’m not sure i would like to live or work in those small spaces with lots of character and smaller rooms than typical today

    i was downtown this morning at a “shared space” office space and loved it. i am considering getting a home base there

    38th 39th or 40th floor
    just above the top of the foshay tower.

    i love even tough downtowns like prague or buda pest

    minneapolis and st. paul have been described as a small big city and a big small city
    nyc has been said to be s whole bunch of small towns placed right next to each other

    it’s nice to see rapid city and omaha and bozeman coming back

    warehouse districts used to be cast offs now they are high rent

    i’m trying to figure out what will happen to all the strip malls in the burbs
    then again who cares

    go catch a show downtown if you are here long enough

    we do good theater
    arts and brew pubs these days

    enjoy

    time for coffee or wine?

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    1. Driving through downtown recently, I was surprised to discover the Normandy Kitchen is still in business. It’s a real throwback.

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