Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Why Minneapolis is Great: Reason 2
Reason 1 was the lakes. Reason 2 is the riverfront. When I last lived here 10 years ago, the Whitney Hotel (now the Whitney Landmark Residences) was the only thing happening near the mills. We cyclists were overjoyed with the opening of the Stone Arch Bridge back in the early 90s to non-auto traffic. You could ride your bike on the parkway, but if I recall correctly it was incomplete (as you headed down river toward the U.) But otherwise, there wasn't a whole lot going on here.
Now this part of town is a true Minneapolis treasure.
There's the amazing mill architecture--and it's great that we've got the Mill City Museum to show and tell the story of the area, but you also get the bonus adaptive reuse of random mill buildings and warehouses into stunning lofts. The North Star Lofts are my favorite.
Second, this area has some of the most innovative and funky parkland in the city. Going to Mill Ruins Park is like embarking on an historical scavenger hunt or archeology dig.
Climbing to the top of Gold Medal Park is like being King of the Hill--where you preside over the Guthrie Theater, downtown, and the Mighty Miss.
As if these two parks weren't enough, the land along the river banks is all park too--complete with the aforementioned trails.
All of these things bring people to the river--which is in and of itself a remarkable asset. It's the Mississippi--the father of US waters--right here in MPLS! Standing on the Stone Arch Bridge, looking down at St. Anthony Falls or off at the skyline, it doesn't take long to realize that this is a pretty stellar place to live.
images: Riverfront @ U of MN; North Star Lofts homepage; Mill Ruins Park at wikipedia; Gold Medal Park @ oaala.com; Pedestrians on the Stone Arch Bridge @ MNDOT.