Spin the Globe
Update: July 1, 2021
This area of Minneapolis is working to rebuild its community after the events and unrest following George Floyd's death. The community continues to stay resilient and hopeful. In addition to supporting local businesses in this area, you can help by donating directly to the We Love Lake Street fund.
This stretch of Minneapolis’ famous Lake Street is rich in culture, history, food and shopping. It’s a hub for small and local businesses, attracting a variety of ideas and people from all types of backgrounds. East Lake Street is commonly known as the best place to find the most authentic cuisine from all over the world. The ever-changing nature of this street can make it a full treasure trove of entertainment and enjoyment.
Where to Shop
Both Midtown Global Market and Mercado Central have a substantial amount of shopping options in addition to their excellent food courts (see below), including apparel, jewelry, art, groceries, books, alcohol, and a wide variety of home goods. Lake Plaza is another food court and bazaar catering to the Latinx community, with 84 food and retail vendors.
The Midtown Farmers Market is open May through October, Saturdays and Tuesdays. On hand is fresh produce, eggs, chicken, honey, maple syrup, flowers, spices, bread, sauces, jams, jellies, arts, crafts, and a variety of ready-to-eat food. There’s also live music!
Hymie’s Vintage Records, has been operating on Lake Street through thick and thin since 1988. Here you’ll find a selection of records from every type of genre at some of the most affordable prices in town. Forage Modern Workshop sells trendy and vintage home décor and furniture, like rugs, baskets, pillows, lighting and art. Nostalgia Zone Comic Books has an excellent collection of comic books, toys, and pop culture items. It’s your typical old fashion comic book store, covered wall to wall with fun stuff. You never know what you’ll discover at every twist and turn of this shop.
Longstanding Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace is a family-run Scandinavian shop filled with quality imports and one-of-a-kind creations by local Nordic artists. Stop by their meat market first for all kinds of food items from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, then head over to the gift shop to view and purchase a selection of crafts, jewelry, clothing, kitchenware, books, and more!
Things to Do
The Hook & Ladder Theater is an independent, artist-driven, multi-use event center located in the historic Firehouse #21. It's operated by Firehouse Performing Arts Center, a non-profit that helps to host a wide variety of art including live music, comedy acts, culinary experiences, and theater. As a partially solar-powered venue, The Hook is also committed to sustainability through hosting zero-waste concerts and events.
The Trylon Microcinema is a 50-seat movie theater run by volunteers that typically screens B movies, cult films, career retrospectives, of famous directors and the like.
The Danish American Center has plenty of activities and events related to Danish living and culture. Events throughout the year include sausage making classes, seasonal art fairs, and an annual Christmas dinner. For more history and culture, the Somali Museum of Minnesota has a collection of over 700 pieces of craftwork, paintings and sculptures. They also offer educational programs about traditional Somali culture.
Murals & Public Art
The murals in this part of the city really tell a story about the residents and the culture that fills East Lake Street.
1527 E. Lake Street.
The Family Partnership commissioned the BIPOC artist collective City Mischief Murals to create a large-scale mural for the east facing exterior wall of the Building for Better Futures resource center. This mural is meant to reflect and celebrate the diversity and strengths of families in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods, and provide a welcoming presence for families and individuals accessing services at The Family Partnership. Lead Artists/Co-organizers: Thomasina TopBear and Holly Miskitoos Henning, Lead Artists: Charles Garcia, Joy Spika, and Rony Lopez, Artists: Simone Tincher, Gala Ingram
419 East Lake St.
207 East Lake St.
211 East Lake St.
323 East Lake St.
1600 East Lake St.
A nice mix and Mexican and Somali inspired street art to reflect the strong immigrant communities who live in this area.
On the corner of E. Lake and 12th Ave. S is Plaza Centanario, where a regal bronze statute stands of the Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata. A gift to Minneapolis from the Mexican state of Morelos.
Where to Eat & Drink
Dominated by Latinx and East African fare, the eating options along East Lake Street are literally staggering (because you’d be in a walking food coma if you tried to sample them all too quickly).
The deliciousness at Somali/Middle Eastern Hamdi Restaurant, includes a wildly popular goat dish which often sells out, so plan for lunch or an early dinner. Quruxlow is a no frills, super authentic Somali food spot, and Hufan Restaurant and Cafe is a family run place with delicious East African flavors, including unique offerings like goat and camel meat platters. Try out one of their refreshing fruit smoothies as well.
There’s great Mexican cuisine up and down Lake Street, but that glorious path was largely paved two decades ago by Pineda Tacos, serving great value plates of tacos, tortas and burritos. It’s not on the menu, but if you want the biggest burrito you’ve ever seen in your life, order the “burrote.” Sonora Grill took Lake Street’s Mexican scene to the next level with chef-driven, Latin fusion takes on tacos (“carmelos”), sandwiches (“bocadillos”), meat skewers (“pinchos”) and a variety of seafood dishes. A local favorite, Taqueria La Haicienda is the place to check out for the most authentic Mexican cuisine. They are consistently on lists for top tacos in the city. Try their signature al pastor taco, which consists of tender pork strips with pineapple and onions. Taqueria y birrieria las cuatro milpas is a hidden gem for authentic dishes from Jalisco, Mexico. They're famous for their birras tacos, a fried, juicy, cheesy taco made from a meat stew that is served with a consomé broth for dipping. And last but certainly not least, Taco Taxi is a beloved fast casual spot with a simple menu of Mexican staples. Their family recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and are sure to hit the mark.
(If you're looking to really get in on the food scene check out this East Lake Mexican Restaurant Tour by Eater Twin Cites!)
To satisfy any sweet cravings make sure to visit La Michoacana Purepecha. They serve naturally made frozen ice cream treats and more with a vast selection of flavors.
Midtown Global Market has well-executed Mexican, Middle Eastern, Italian, Indian, Korean, Moroccan, Chinese, East African, a brewery, ice cream and baked goods all under one roof. Be sure to make a stop at Manny's Tortas, which is a staple at the market. Their Tortas come in variety of meats to choose from and selection of delicious toppings. Mercado Central is the place for a number of great authentic taco, burrito, pupusas, tortas, juices and grocery/bakery options. The best part is you can find it all in the same building.
Authentic and flavorful Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan food can be found at Himalayan Restaurant. Many attest that the buffet is among the best deals in the city.
The Hi-Lo Diner does many things well, but you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a “High Top” (various selections, all piled onto fried pastry dough for a savory-sweet result that will make you scream for more).
Urban Forage Winery & Cider House’s taproom is open Wednesday through Sunday evenings. They host trivia every Thursday and wine tours/tastings every Sunday.
The Schooner Tavern is classic Lake Street, because it's one of the oldest pub houses in Minneapolis. Along with a wide variety of imported, specialty and craft beer and wines, this place has tons of fun including bar bingo, pull tabs, pool, and live music shows. East Lake Brewery is located inside Midtown Global Market and focuses on creating hop-heavy ales and award-winning sour beers. Enjoy the friendly service and relaxed atmosphere inside or out on their patio.
You’ll find Dogwood Coffee beans in a lot of restaurants and cafes in Minneapolis, but one of their store front coffee bars is off of East Lake Street. Dogwood takes care to focus on the roasting process and the result is one of the smoothest cups of coffee you’ve ever had.
Getting to and Around East Lake
(Starting point of Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet)
From downtown, getting to East Lake by car ranges from 15-25 minutes, depending on where you’re headed. Free street parking can be found on or just off Lake Street along most of the strip. A few spots may require a short walk.
A variety of Metro Transit buses run from downtown to points along Lake Street, including Route 4, Route 5, Route 9, Route 14, and the Light Rail Blue Line.
Traveling east and west along Lake Street is a snap on the Route 21 bus, which runs every 6-9 minutes.
Public Transit Routes:
For more information on route options from your point of interest, visit Metro Transit's website and for information on other transportation options in the city, visit our Maps & Transportation info page.
See More of Lake Street
Known as the mid-line of Minneapolis, Lake Street stretches all the way through east and west of the city limits. East Lake is just one section of this popular and energetic street. Check out more of what to see and do along Lake Street with these travel guides:
Sweet Tooth Tour
Fish Tacos Tour
Music & Books Tour