Updated Aug 30, 2022 - Things to Do

10 things to do around the University of Minnesota

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Photo by Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The University of Minnesota is welcoming droves of Golden Gophers to its campuses over the next several days.

What's happening: The school's Welcome Week starts Wednesday, and thousands of new students will move into their dorms and apartments this week.

Are you a parent staying in the Cities for a few days? A student new to campus who wants to ditch the semi-mandatory school spirit sessions?

  • We rounded up 10 things to do near East Bank, West Bank and the St. Paul campus.
But first, a brief explainer to help you get your footing around town:

East Bank: What most people are referring to when they talk about the Twin Cities campus. It's the largest area of campus and has a little bit of everything.

West Bank: The area of campus west of the Mississippi River and closest to downtown Minneapolis. Primarily arts and social science buildings. The West Bank light rail station is right in the middle.

Dinkytown: The historic student neighborhood directly north of East Bank. A lot of the area is under construction, but it's mostly made up of large student apartment buildings, bars and restaurants, plus the only Target within walking distance.

Como: The quieter neighborhood northeast of Dinkytown, primarily large houses occupied by students and families. The entrance is a little over a mile from the center of campus, but city busses go through most of the area.

Stadium Village: Another neighborhood that begins east of Oak Street on East Bank. Named after the multiple stadiums in the area, including Huntington Bank (formerly TCF Bank Stadium). The East Bank light rail station is located here.

St. Paul campus: The U’s smaller campus a few miles away from East and West Banks, primarily accessible via city and free campus busses. Mostly holds farming and agricultural buildings.

How to kick off the semester:
  • Looking for an easy bike ride? The Dinkytown Greenway bike path is just 1-mile-long and runs through West Bank, Dinkytown and East Bank, ending at Huntington Bank Stadium.
  • Head south on the Blue Line to explore Minnehaha Park, a 193-acre city park known for the Minnehaha Falls near the entrance. Tip: The park's seafood restaurant Sea Salt Eatery is one of the best in the Cities.
  • St. Anthony Main is a short walk from Dinkytown and has stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline and Mississippi River, plus an entrance to the Stone Arch Bridge. Get brunch on the patio at Aster Cafe and see a movie at MSP at the Main, an independent theater that's also the only one close to campus.
  • Dinkytown may be small, but it has a great international food scene. Try Korean hot dogs at CrunCheese, Mediterranean cuisine at Wally's Falafel and Hummus, Vietnamese sandwiches at Bahn Appetit, Hong Kong-style desserts at Mango Mango, and bubble tea at Tiger Sugar or Kung Fu Tea.
  • Al's Breakfast, a Dinkytown institution that's also the narrowest restaurant in Minneapolis at 10-feet-wide, is also a must-try. Prepare to wait in line to squeeze onto one of the 14 stools, but it's worth it just for the experience. Tip: It's cash only.

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