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An Insider's Guide to Lively St. Louis Park

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An Insider's Guide to Lively St. Louis Park

By Caitlin Hannah

Just a short distance from Minneapolis lies the bustling suburb of St. Louis Park, a growing city that has become a destination for dining, craft beverages, shopping and outdoor recreation.

Exterior view of The Local, showing tables and shares on the sidewalk in summer

Where to Eat and Drink

In the heart of St. Louis Park is the Shops at West End, a popular outdoor shopping and entertainment area where diners can find several restaurants. If you're looking for brunch, try the Hope Breakfast Bar, known for sweet and savory breakfast dishes, like carrot cake pancakes and pimento cheese scramble. As a bonus, proceeds go to community members in need. For lunch and dinner, enjoy Japanese fusion at Raku, Mexican at Rojo Mexican Grill, or The Local, a lively Irish pub. Cap your night off with a round of drinks at Punch Bowl Social, a cocktail and mocktail bar that also serves up party food and offers entertainment like giant Scrabble, bowling and private karaoke rooms.

Nearby, in the Texa Tonka neighborhood, is Revival, serving southern staples as well as a cheeseburger that always makes the lists of best burgers in the Twin Cities. Next door is Angel Food Bakery, with delicious donuts and cookies. Across the street: Wok in the Park, a fresh Asian bistro popular with locals. Try the Pho in the Park or the summer rolls, and be sure to ask about the daily Puffs in the Park, their rotating featured wontons.

Favorites like Mill Valley Kitchen, Hazelwood Food and Drink, Honey & Rye Bakehouse, McCoy's Public House and Bunny's Bar and Grill line Excelsior Boulevard. And in the Walker Lake neighborhood, your four-legged friends are welcome at The Block Food & Drink, with a "paw-tio" area designed for diners and dogs.

Interior of Copperwing Distillery on a busy evening

If you're looking to explore Minnesota's craft beverage scene, St. Louis Park offers multiple places to sip, including Copperwing Distillery and Dampfwerk Distillery, which are just steps away from one another, and Steel Toe Brewing.

Where to Shop

Show your love for Minnesota at Sota Clothing, where you can find sweatshirts, hats, T-shirts and other gear to proclaim your #OnlyinMN pride. Before you go, snap a photo with their popular mural on the side of the building. You can find more clothing, as well as accessories and home décor, at the Shops at West End. Looking for outdoor gear? Hoigaards, Orvis and Michael Lynne's Tennis Shop in the Miracle Mile shopping area will outfit you for skiing, snowboarding, tennis, fishing and more. Seeking a sweet – or sparkling – treat for someone special? Max's Jewelry in the Excelsior & Grand area combines jewelry and fine chocolates made by designers and chocolatiers from around the world.

Two women looking at a red blazer on a rack in a clothing store.

Things to Do

Learn all about the history of radio, computers, telephones, television and more at the Pavek Museum. This museum has over 12,000 square feet of exhibits showcasing vintage electronics and exhibits highlighting the importance of Morse code and the role of radio and television in popular culture.

Flash forward to the future at REM5 Virtual Reality Laboratory, where you can rent a private room for your group and participate in a variety of virtual reality experiences that rotate frequently throughout the year. Recent experiences have included Spider-Man: Far From Home and Everyday Golf, for example. While in your pod, you can order a variety of food and drink to enhance your experience.

A young couple paddling a canoe

If you're looking to get outside, the Westwood Hills Nature Center has 160 acres of marsh, woods and restored prairie. The area is beautiful throughout the season and provides a home to deer, turtles, fox, mink and owls. Don't miss the water garden, interpretive center and a new playground set to open in summer 2022.

Events

September is a busy month for events, including the SLP Art Fair, which hosts local artisans, food trucks, live music and more at the Recreation Outdoor Center (locals call it "the ROC"). The MinnesoThai Street Food Festival at the West End Festival Site (on Gamble Drive, just south of the Shops at West End) celebrates the rich traditions of southeast Asian cultures with fire dancing, live music, authentic Thai street food and merchandise booths. It even includes a blessing from Wat Promwachirayan's Buddhist monks.

A 10-day Twin Cities Film Festival takes place in October at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre. Attendees can choose from more than 100 independent short and feature-length films – including a variety of documentaries, dramas and comedies – and they may even spot a celebrity or two in the audience.

Where to Stay

With St. Louis Park's proximity to Minneapolis, it's a great spot to stay whenever you're in town to catch the excitement of pro sports, concerts, plays and other downtown attractions. Many of the hotels are located within minutes of one another and offer easy access to the West End shopping area and major highways for access to other areas of the Twin Cities. Examples include the AC Hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton Minneapolis-Park Place, the SpringHill Suites and the TownePlace Suites.