So you've decided to take a bike-friendly vacation in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Were you drawn in by the area's stellar mountain bike trails? Or was it our world-class system of paved bike trails, like the Midtown Greenway and Grand Rounds Scenic Bikeway? Well, whatever brings you here, you're in for a treat. For a bike-friendly vacation it really doesn't get much better than the Twin Cities.
If you can pull yourself away from the bike trails, bike art galleries, and bike festivals, you'll also find the Twin Cities to be a top destination for food, drinks, shopping and entertainment. And as bike lovers, we try to support bike-friendly businesses whenever possible – not just at the local bike shop. But in a region as dense with restaurants, cafes, breweries, and entertainment as the Twin Cities, how do we find those local cyclist hangouts? It’s not like there’s a bike-friendly flag for businesses to hang from their doors, right?
While there aren’t flags per se, there is a telltale sign: bike parking! For your average business, there aren’t too many ways to visually indicate to people on bikes that you value and prioritize our business – but by offering customers extraordinary bike parking, that message comes across loud and clear. So as you’re planning your next vacation to the Twin Cities, rest assured that you’ll find world-class bike parking at these destinations:
In 2010, the Birchwood Café installed the first on-street bike parking in Minneapolis. Today they have dedicated parking for over 30 bicycles (plus a Nice Ride station) all just a few steps away from their front door. Plus they serve up some of the tastiest food and beverages in the city – all made with sustainably farmed, locally sourced ingredients. The Savory Waffle is a personal favorite, and changes its ingredients based on the season. YUM.
This award winning brewpub is bike friendly almost to the point of absurdity. Not that I’m complaining or anything. In addition to their stellar on-street bike parking, Northbound has ample bike parking on their sidewalk, and hosts semi-regular happy hour bike rides. Relax on their shaded patio with a delicious scratch-made meal, some top-notch beer, and the joy that comes from supporting a business that’s just as invested in bike parking as we are.
Named for the old Boneshaker bicycles of yore, this volunteer-run bookstore offers free bicycle delivery on special orders, and operates a bicycle book trailer for events. Their shelves are filled with progressive and radical literature, non-fiction, poetry, zines, and yes even an entire section on bikes. Boneshaker Books is a must visit for bicycling bibliophiles.
Unlike a lot of the bike parking on this list, the Seward Café didn’t get theirs from a catalog – they built it themselves. Lining an entire side of their building, these bike racks are a loving hodge podge of steel pipes, rebar, and even a few discarded bike frames. After you lock up, enjoy some of the Twin Cities’ finest vegan sandwiches and baked goods on the dreamy back patio.
There are two kinds of bike security. First there’s the physical, hardened-steel security of a good rack. And then there’s the mental security of knowing that even if 500 other people show up on bikes, there’s still plenty of bike parking available. Hundreds of baseball themed bike racks line the perimeter of Target Field, offering people arriving on bikes an almost limitless supply of places to lock up before enjoying the game. And because Target Field is located just off the famous Cedar Lake Trail, you can almost completely skip the downtown traffic. It’s like a red carpet rolled out just for people biking and walking!
Since opening in 2014, Sociable Cider Werks has made biking a big part of their image. Their ciders are named for bike parts, like the Spoke Wrench and the Fat Bike; their logo features a buddy-bike (a Sociable); and as of this summer, they’ve got some truly world class bike parking to match. And because Sociable is located right in the heart of the unofficial Northeast Minneapolis brewery district, it's the perfect starting point for a day of biking to all the breweries and distilleries in the area.
Actually, you might want to make that two days.
For over 25 years, All My Relations has presented a diverse range of contemporary American Indian fine art from their intimate space in South Minneapolis. Located in the heart of the American Indian Cultural Corridor along Franklin Avenue, All My Relations provides a space for artwork that skewers, challenges, and reframes the narratives surrounding Native Americans. And, fortunately for visitors, they also provide ample space for bike parking.
Surly has always been a bike friendly company. They've sponsored countless bike events in the Twin Cities, and remain the beer of choice for many impromptu Minnesota summer bike rides. So when Surly opened their Destination Brewery in Minneapolis, we expected them to have a good deal of bike parking, you know? Well they really outdid themselves. It's hard to imagine how many bikes it would take to fill this massive stretch of bike racks. And for the forgetful among us (who, me?) their gift shop even lends out donor locks for visitors – a nice touch, and an easy way to entice road riders off the nearby Dinkytown Greenway for a pint.
Another South Minneapolis gem, the Trylon Microcinema is the definition of retro cool. Self defined as a "revival cinema with 90 rocker seats, a 20 foot screen and a pair of 35mm projectors all for classic movies," this is miles away from your average movie experience. Because showings include a dazzling variety of overlooked, underrated, cult-classic and just plain weird movies, you'll probably want to check their website before heading over. Then again, maybe don't. Vacations are the perfect time to get weird!
Located in a converted movie theater that is both right next to the Midtown Greenway and one of the city's busiest car corridors, LynLake Brewery could have gone either way with their parking. So when they made the bold decision to remove two primo car parking spots to make way for a massive bike corral under the marquee, it made a big statement about their priorities. And they boast an incredible line-up of beers, bike wheel chandeliers over the bar, and a bustling rooftop patio. Shut up and take my money.
When you’re with a group, making decisions about where to eat is hard. Save yourselves an argument and just head to the Midtown Global Market to enjoy a variety of delicious food from around the world! Check out the Korean street food and craft cocktails at The Rabbit Hole, or drop into Safari Express for a sambusa and the Twin Cities’ finest (only?) camel burger. Or sidle up at the bar of Eastlake Craft Brewery with some Taco Cat, the Twin Cities’ only taco restaurant also offering bike delivery. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it at the Midtown Global Market. And that includes bike parking.
In the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul you’ll find local favorites Kopplin’s Café and their neighbor, Izzy’s. Lock up your bike out front, or turn the corner to dock your Nice Ride, and then relax with some of the region’s finest coffee and ice cream on the shared sidewalk patio. Watch panting cyclists crest the Marshall Hill from the comfort of your chair, and take in the thriving street scene of this hip St. Paul neighborhood hub.
Take one part old grain bin, one part organic brewery, and one part intimate taproom, and you've almost captured the magic of Bang Brewing. Almost. This St. Paul taproom has limited hours so mid-week visitors are out of luck, but for anyone smart enough to plan ahead you'll be greeted by two great big bike corrals and one of Minnesota's most unique taprooms. You're gonna want to plan ahead.
Looking for a bike- and family-friendly destination in St. Paul to enjoy on the cheap? Como Park is where it's at. Enter through the botanical conservatory and take in the lush greenery cultivated from around the world. And if you get sick of plants, head over to the zoo, or the Como Town amusement park, or the nearby lakeside restaurant, Como Dockside.
Although it's probably best known for fried foods on a stick, adorable baby animals, and those infamous butter sculptures, the Minnesota State Fair also boasts a well-earned reputation as a bike-friendly event. Their closely guarded bike check (think coat check but with bikes) has space for a few hundred bikes and is conveniently located about five feet away from a ticketing booth. Skip the traffic, skip the stress, and coast into what is essentially the State Fair's only VIP parking area. Go easy on the Spam Curds, though. You still need to bike home, remember?
Many distinct craft breweries have popped up in Minnesota recently, and although they all offer a unique experience to the customer, they all share one thing in common: Summit Brewing was making delicious craft beer since before they were born. Craft beer history buffs can book a 90-minute tour of the facility, or for a lower-intensity visit just head over to the beer hall for a pint.
Located in the historic Lowertown neighborhood and home to the St. Paul Saints, the row of bike parking at CHS Field is the perfect home base (hey) for enjoying a baseball game and exploring the area. After the game, bop into the nearby Bedlam Theatre for a dance party, theatrical production, and some food or drinks. And for a truly meow-tstanding time, rig up a cat carrier and ride to the Internet Cat Video Film Festival.
Of course, this isn't even close to a comprehensive list of bike-friendly places to go in the Twin Cities. We left out a whole lot of great destinations to keep the information digestible. Guess you'll just need to plan a vacation and find out for yourself!