View of the skyline and the colorful sky during sunset in Minneapolis

Where to Stay in Minneapolis (Best Areas, By a Local)

It’s a big city with lots of things to do, so it can be daunting to figure out where to stay in Minneapolis. But don’t worry, I’m a local and I’m here to help you find the best hotel and area for you so you can have a great vacation.

Whether you’re there for the convention center, the nightlife or to see a football game, you’ll most likely want to stay in downtown Minneapolis. The downtown area has the most things to do and is the overall most convenient place to stay in Minneapolis.

Where to stay in Minneapolis depends on what you plan on doing there, but before I break down the 5 best areas to stay in, here’s a quick summary of the best places: 

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Best Places to Stay in Minneapolis

View of buildings in Downtown Minneapolis

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Minneapolis? Here are my top picks: 

Ok, let’s do a deep dive of the best areas and neighborhoods in Minneapolis: 

5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, the largest city in Minnesota, is one half of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, also known as the Twin Cities. It boasts both modern city life and historical treasures.

Downtown Minneapolis is a bustling area situated near the Mississippi River, and this is where most of the attractions are. South from downtown, you’ll find a few notable suburbs. The main one is Bloomington, which is next to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and where the Mall of America is located. You can see the layout of all of the neighborhoods in Minneapolis over at this map.

Downtown West

View of cars in the street of Downtown West Minneapolis
View of the Skyway’s enclosed walkways (photo: Sam Wagner / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Overall Location | Best Downtown West Hotels: Hampton Inn and SuitesW MinneapolisAC Hotel by Marriott

Downtown West is in central Minneapolis, so it’s a great place to stay in Minneapolis if you want to be centrally located. It’s home to the Skyway, which is a network of enclosed walkways that connect restaurants, hotels, and shops within walking distance. The Skyway is also heated, which makes Downtown Minneapolis a comfortable place to explore on foot during the winter. 

Staying in a hotel that’s on the Skyway, such as W Minneapolis in Foshay Tower, will make your stay even more walkable. To see other hotels on the Skyway as well as its general route, you can consult this map.

The downtown area offers something for everyone. Theater lovers will want to head to the Hennepin Theatre District, where Skyway Theatre and other entertainment venues lie along Hennepin Avenue.

Art lovers can check out the Bob Dylan Mural and if you’d like to see a concert or classical music performance, Orchestra Hall or Target Center will appeal to you. For shopping, visit City Center, a mall. Nearby, you can also find the Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis Central Library, and Minneapolis City Hall.

Pros of Staying in Downtown West:

  • Centrally located
  • Easy to get around on foot, especially during the winter
  • Has some of the best hotels in Minneapolis

Cons of Staying in Downtown West:

  • Hotels and parking can be pricey
  • Can get crowded, especially at night and on the weekends

📚 Downtown West Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Overall Location
Google Map

Downtown East

View of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis
The historical Stone Arch Bridge

👉 Best Area For History | Best Downtown East Hotels: Sonder at VicinityAloft MinneapolisResidence Inn

Downtown East is an affluent neighborhood overlooking the Mississippi River. It’s home to the Mill District, Minneapolis’s historical district. History and architecture lovers will love staying near the Mill District for the Mill City Museum and Stone Arch Bridge. The Mill City Museum displays ruins of a former flour mill and the Stone Arch Bridge is the second oldest bridge on the Mississippi River.

Downtown East has more to offer than just the Mill District, however. If you’re a Minnesota Vikings fan, you can catch a game in the U.S. Bank Stadium, the home of the football team. The historical Minnesota Armory is now a lively entertainment venue that hosts concerts and events, and Guthrie Theater boasts year-round performances and picture-perfect locations. 

You can also enjoy nature at Gold Medal Park, West River Parkway, and St. Anthony Falls. Plus, it’s near Saint Paul across the Mississippi River, so it’s also a great location for those who want to plan a Minneapolis-St. Paul trip!

Pros of Staying in Downtown East:

  • Lots of historical sightseeing and entertainment
  • Great for families

Cons of Staying in Downtown East:

  • Hotels can be pricey
  • Small area

📚 Downtown East Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for History
Google Map

Warehouse District (North Loop)

View of people watching baseball game in Minneapolis
Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins (photo: Frank Romeo / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Nightlife | Best Warehouse District Hotels: Element MinneapolisLoews MinneapolisHewing Hotel

The Warehouse District, also known as North Loop, used to be a nondescript area full of old warehouses and factories, but now, it’s a vibrant neighborhood known for its lively nightlife. Creative entrepreneurs have transformed the old spaces into innovative restaurants, apartments, and shops. Now, the Warehouse District is a hip place full of local culture.

The Warehouse District is a great place to stay in Minneapolis for bars and live music. The bars in the neighborhood boast some of the best craft beers and cocktails in the metro area. Plus, the Fillmore and the nearby Target Center hold concerts year-round. Baseball fans staying in the Warehouse District definitely will want to visit Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

Pros of Staying in the Warehouse District:

  • Lively nightlife and LGBTQ+ friendly bars with live music
  • Innovative restaurants
  • Walkable

Cons of Staying in the Warehouse District:

  • Can get rowdy and crowded at night
  • Not many accommodation options or luxury hotels
  • Not much sightseeing nearby

📚 Warehouse District Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nightlife
Google Map

Lowry Hill

View of a Spoonbridge and a cherry sculpture in Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
A popular sculpture in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (photo: pinkcandy / 123 RF)

👉 Best Area For Art Lovers |Best Lowry Hill Hotels: 300 CliftonHyatt RegencyHoliday Inn

Lowry Hill is an area northwest of downtown Minneapolis that’s the perfect area to stay for people who love art galleries. The Walker Art Center is a contemporary art center that draws around 700,000 visitors a year, making it one of the most-visited contemporary and modern art centers in the U.S. Visitors should also explore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden next door to the art center. The Minneapolis Institute of Art is close by and displays fine art that spans a 5,000-year period.

For nature lovers, Cedar Lake is a beautiful park where you can fish, canoe or kayak. Lowry Hill is also a great place to stay in Minneapolis if you want to be near downtown without staying there since it’s just southwest of the Minneapolis city center.

Pros of Staying in Lowry Hill Neighborhood:

  • Lots of art and nature
  • Quiet neighborhood
  • Close to downtown Minneapolis

Cons of Staying in Lowry Hill Neighborhood:

  • Not many accommodation options or restaurants in the neighborhood itself

📚 Lowry Hill Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Art Lovers
Google Map

Bloomington

View of the entrance to Mall of America
The Mall of America, the largest mall in the U.S. (photo: Nick Lundgren / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Shopping |Best Bloomington Hotels: AC HotelPark PlaceRadisson Blu

Bloomington isn’t technically in Minneapolis since it’s a suburb south of the city, but it’s worth considering as your area to stay if one of the main things you want to do in Minneapolis is visit the Mall of America. The Mall of America is the largest mall in the U.S. so you can spend a full day there alone. Because the mall is such a popular destination, it can be difficult to find parking there. This is why many hotels offer a free shuttle bus to the mall. But if you do decide to drive, the mall offers free parking.

Because Bloomington is also near the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, the suburb is also a great place to stay if you have a late night or early morning flight. The area also contains many affordable hotels, so your wallet will thank you if you’re on a budget!

Pros of Staying in Bloomington Neighborhood:

  • Cheap accommodation
  • Close to the Mall of America and the airport
  • Quiet neighborhood

Cons of Staying in Bloomington Neighborhood:

  • Not many luxury hotels
  • The area around the mall may be crowded

📚 Bloomington Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Shopping
Google Map

Tips for Staying in Minneapolis

You May Not Need to Rent a Car

A light rail train in Minneapolis
Minneapolis has a robust light rail system (photo: Kate Scott / Shutterstock)

If you only plan on staying in downtown Minneapolis, it might be more convenient and cost-effective to take public transportation instead of renting a car. The light rail is an inexpensive form of public transit that connects downtown Minneapolis to the southern suburb of Bloomington, so light rail stations are plentiful. 

You can even take the light rail from the airport to get downtown. Plus Downtown West is a walkable area especially in the winter due to the Skyway, a set of elevated walkways that connect many of the buildings. Unless you plan on also visiting St. Paul or suburbs, you may not need to rent a car.

Take Advantage of Amenities

Choosing the right location and hotel is imperative if you want to make the most of your trip. Many hotels offer a free shuttle to and from the airport, as well as other Minneapolis attractions like the Mall of America. 

You can also save money by finding a hotel that offers free breakfast and free parking. Parking in the city can be expensive and difficult to find, so you may want to forgo renting a car altogether and walk or take public transit to avoid this.

Monitor the Weather Closely

View of Downtown Minneapolis during winter

The weather in Minneapolis can swing from one extreme to the other during autumn and spring, so make sure you pack accordingly if you visit during that time. Some days may be t-shirt weather and other days there may be snow storms. 

Snow typically starts late October or early November, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping for cool autumn weather. If you’d like to see autumn foliage, the best time to visit Minneapolis is in early October.

Minneapolis is Great for Brunch and Foodies

Many in Minneapolis take brunch seriously. No matter what you want for brunch, from fried chicken to oatmeal, you can likely find it here. The city is also a treasure trove of food in general. There are gourmet options, New American style diners and some things that are Midwest specialties, like cheese curds. One of Minneapolis’s must-try dishes for burger lovers is the Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy), which is a burger with cheese in between two thin patties.

The People Are Friendly

If you like chatting with strangers, Minneapolis is full of friendly people who will help you or chat with you randomly. If you’re visiting a friend’s house in the area, keep in mind the “Midwestern goodbye,” which can stretch up to an hour long. It involves an initial goodbye, then a long round of conversation at the doorway and several rounds of hugs and waves.

FAQs About Where to Stay in Minneapolis

What is the best part of Minneapolis?

The best part of Minneapolis is the downtown area. You can have a fulfilling vacation just by staying in this area alone. Although it’s a bit far from the airport if you’re flying in, downtown is worth the trek to stay in the best area in the city. 

Where should I avoid in Minneapolis?

According to NewsBreak, the most dangerous areas in Minneapolis are Hawthorne, Midtown Phillips, East Phillips, Ventura Village, and Folwell. These areas have crime rates that are 200-600% higher than the national average, so you may want to avoid these areas. Apart from those areas, Minneapolis is generally a safe place to stay.

Is it safe to stay in downtown Minneapolis?

Downtown Minneapolis is a safe place to stay. Like most cities, some areas can be more dangerous than others but these areas are outside of the downtown area. It is generally safe to spend time in the downtown area, especially where tourist attractions are more prevalent. Read our full guide to safety in Minneapolis for more information.

Is Minneapolis a walkable city?

Downtown West in Central Minneapolis is walkable, especially in the winter due to the Skyway, which is a set of enclosed, heated bridges. If a walkable area is important to you, consider staying in Downtown West. You can use public transit to get around if you plan on visiting other areas in Minneapolis. If you’ll be going to St. Paul or on day trips outside Minneapolis, you will most likely need a car.

***

No matter what kind of vacation you like, Minneapolis has something to offer everyone from hip bars to historical treasures. Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the ideal place for you to stay on your trip to Minneapolis. 

The first step to knowing where to stay is to first decide on what activities you want to do, so if you’re still unsure about that, take a look at my guide the best things to do in Minneapolis.

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