Hotel at a Glance: The Commons Hotel
The Commons Hotel, a self-described "geek-meets-chic" hotel, has garnered praise from a handful of travel publications and even earned a spot on Fodor's 2013 list of the World's Top 100 Hotels. The quirky hotel sits on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, which overlooks the Mississippi River just a few minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Thanks to its campus location, it's just steps from top-notch cultural institutions including the Weisman Art Museum and the Bell Museum of Natural History.
- Complimentary drinks: Be sure to try the free apple cider in the lobby
- Grab a bite at the Beacon Public House, where chefs craft small plates with charcuterie and caprese cheese curds, larger plates with brick-roasted chicken, and desserts such as table-side s'mores.
- In-room amenities: 42-inch flat-screen TV with HBO, Caribou coffee and single-cup coffeemaker, refrigerator, and free WiFi
- Year around events at Target Center and just minutes from Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, home of the Minnesota Wild
Downtown Minneapolis: Thriving Performing-Arts Scene near Idyllic Lakes
Downtown Minneapolis is more than just the geographic epicenter of the city—it’s the cultural heart too. Sports venues home to the Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins neighbor the lively nightclubs of the Warehouse District and the neon-lit marquees of the Hennepin Theater District. In recent years, the city’s arts scene has gotten a lot of attention, and for good reason: Minneapolis has more live theater shows per capita than any other US city except New York. Additionally, dozens of eclectic galleries complement the wide-ranging exhibits at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which showcases everything from Japanese woodcut prints to turn-of-the-century European advertisements.
To navigate downtown with ease, step into the Skyway, the city’s ingenious solution to harsh Minnesota winters. The Skyway is a network of indoor, aboveground tunnels connecting a slew of buildings downtown. A popular stop along the way is Nicollet Mall, a shopping thoroughfare were cars are not allowed. This is where you’ll find the iconic statue of Mary Tyler Moore tossing her 10-gallon Stetson into the air.
Nicknamed “The City of Lakes,” Minneapolis has 22 natural bodies of water within the city limits. A 10-minute drive from downtown brings you to the picturesque Chain of Lakes, which are surrounded by 12 miles of walking and biking paths.