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The official Writercon hotel is the Radisson Plaza Minneapolis at 35 South 7th Street, Minneapolis. Starting with that as a mapping location will help you figure out if a place of interest is close or not.
However, many of the closest options are connected via skyway (which is a second-floor glass-enclosed bridge between buildings). So, the street address is less than helpful. Instead, this guide will refer to the building names and streets you are crossing. Use this skyway map for reference.
For starters, there are choices on our very own hotel's block...
This is the Radisson's in-house restaurant on the ground floor on 7th street. It serves everything from breakfast to late-night drinks daily, at a fine-dining price point.
Hours: Breakfast: Daily 6:30am-11am Lunch: Mon-Fri 11am-5pm Dinner: Mon-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-11pm Brunch: Sat-Sun 11am-2pm
Room service is available daily at our Minneapolis, Minnesota hotel from 6:30am-11pm.
D. Brian's Deli
This American grill, sandwich, and salad chain location is on the same floor as Writercon's meeting rooms (directly adjacent to them).
Hours: M-F 6am-2pm (coffee), 10am-2pm (deli)
There's a food court in the basement. It's got a fair selection of what you'd find at a grocery store deli department. There's also Leeann Chin's (chain Chinese food), pizza, ice cream, Starbucks, etc.
Hours: Macy's is open 10-8 daily except Sunday 12-6; food vendor hours may vary
Macy's 12th floor
There's an all-you-can eat salad bar with a wide selection, which includes soup and bread for around $10, as well as cook-to-order Deli, Pasta, Grill, and Mexican stations.
(Also, if you go down to the ground level and out to the left, on the same block as the hotel there is Chinese food and Candyland, followed by a shoe store, liquor store, and Taste of Thailand (warning, all their curries have shrimp paste, but other dishes can be made veg/an if you specify no fish oil.)
Cross 7th street from Radisson Plaza/Macy's and you reach City Center, which has a number of fast-food options. Jamba Juice, skyway level and ground floor, is a chain smoothie place. The ubiquitous Starbucks is on the ground floor. There's a Greek place on the skyway level, and a very Americanized Chinese chain called LeeAnn Chin's.
Cross Hennepin from City Center to reach this bit of suburbia in downtown. Some chains such as Applebees and Panchero's Mexican Grill, a movie theater, and a few chains that might interest people:
Burgers and pizza, full bar, dueling pianos and singing. There's a cover charge Friday & Saturday after 7pm.
More bar food. You'd come here for bowling, arcade games, DDR, etc.
Cold Stone Creamery
Chain ice cream, back in the corner near the movie theater.
You can't get to this from the skyway level; for some incomprehensible reason you have to go down to the street and around the corner. This sub sandwich chain (similar to Subway) is on 6th between Hennepin and 1st.
If you exit the hotel and turn right, heading down the block to Nicollet, and then turn right on Nicollet, you will find many restaurants along that street, including a tequila bar, a fondue place, an Irish pub and then shortly thereafter a British one, a Panera, a crepe place, etc.
Vegetarian & Vegan
If you're looking for great vegetarian fare, Pizza Luce (especially good for vegans) and Moose & Sadies are both blocks away in the Warehouse district. Bombay Bistro is nearby and has a lunch buffet with vegetarian options, too.
119 North 4th Street
Moose & Sadies
212 N. 3rd Avenue
820 Marquette Avenue
Other Casual Dining Options (Uptown/Lyn-Lake Area - Requires Travel)
Common Roots Cafe - Lyndale Ave S and 26th St. (on the Route 4 bus) - a coffee/tea house which also has a full menu, a good place for people with dietary restrictions, staff is very helpful, and the food is excellent
2558 Lyndale Ave S
Galactic Pizza - Lyndale Ave. S., between 28th St. and Lake St. (Rt. 4 bus)
2917 Lyndale Ave S
Uptown Diner - Hennepin Ave. S. and 26th St. (Rt. 6 bus)
2548 Hennepin Ave
Pizza Luce II - Same thing as the one in the Warehouse District downtown, but if you're in the Lyn-Lake area anyway, this one on Lyndale and 32nd St. might be more convenient (Rt. 4 bus, get off at 31st, because the bus turns there, and walk 1 block to 32nd)
3200 Lyndale Ave S
Kinh-Do - Hennepin Ave. S. and 28th St. (Rt. 6 bus)
2755 Hennepin Ave
Tao Natural Foods - Super healthy food, very good and fresh - a good option for those with dietary restrictions, because they can adapt accordingly, and brown rice is one of their staple offerings. Kind of a "hippie diner" vibe, if you know what I mean, a very peaceful, quiet place to hang out. As you might guess from the name, it's not an "I'm in a HURRY!" kind of place, which is probably why I like it. Hennepin and 22nd (Rt. 6 bus)
2200 Hennepin Ave
Sebastian Joe's - ice cream and goodies, basically - Hennepin and Franklin (Rt. 6 bus)
1007 W Franklin Ave
Looking for something else? Try searching these guides:
Wedge Co-op - A good choice for people with food allergies; they have a hot and cold deli, and loads of local and/or organic produce. Lyndale Ave. S., between Franklin and 22nd (Rt. 4 bus)
2105 Lyndale Ave S
Kowalski's - a bit pricey, but they have an extensive salad bar, hot foods bar, and deli, as well as organic and conventional produce - Hennepin and 25th (Rt. 6 bus)
2440 Hennepin Ave
Lund's - less pricey than Kowalski's, with a good deli selection. Open 6 am - midnight.
University between Hennepin and Central
25 University Ave. SE
Hennepin and Lake, about a block west of Hennepin (Rt. 6)
1450 W Lake St
If you're arriving Thursday during the day, you'll see an extension of the Minneapolis Farmers' Market set up on Nicollet, the street between the train and the hotel. That's only there Thursday, so carpe shopping. (The Mill City market on Saturday/Sunday is a mile walk from the hotel; don't try to walk to the Lyndale market mentioned on the Minneapolis Farmers' Market page linked above. You would go through a questionable area.)
Any supplies you need during the con can be served by Target (two blocks from the hotel at 9th & Nicollet). It's not a "SuperTarget," but it has basic groceries including basic packaged/refrigerated/frozen items. It doesn't have much in the way of fresh food; get that at the farmers' market if you require more than Hospitality may have. Target hours: M-Fr: 8am-10pm, Sa: 8am-10pm, Su: 10am-8pm
Shopping Around Town
Many local emporiums might prove to be exciting shopping choices for Writercon attendees. Google is your friend, and there's no way I can provide a guide that will cover all the bases, but here are a few shops people might enjoy.
The Source: Comics, board games, all manner of gamer stuff. Out in a suburb of St. Paul; requires a car.
1601 Larpenteur Avenue
Big Brain Comics: Decent selection, knowledgeable staff. Over a mile from the hotel, but the #7 bus goes right there from 6th & Nicollet (southbound on 6th).
1027 Washington Ave S
Dreamhaven: New and used science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and media books, comics, and graphic novels. Less than a mile from the 38th street light rail station.
2301 East 38th Street
Uncle Hugo's & Uncle Edgar's: The oldest independent science fiction bookstore in America, founded in 1974, and the most complete mystery bookstore in the Twin Cities metro area. Founded in 1980. The #5 bus goes there, but there's a construction detour so 'ware.
2864 Chicago Avenue South
Smitten Kitten: Cozy, woman-owned sex toy store. Take the #4 bus from Hennepin south/westbound.
3010 Lyndale Avenue South
Sex World: Tacky as hell, but entertaining sex emporium. Walking distance from the hotel, but be careful over there in the dark. Do not walk alone.
241 2nd Ave N
Crafty Planet: "Saving the world one stitch at a time." Craft supplies in Northeast Minneapolis. Nearby, but probably easiest by car.
2833 Johnson Street NE
Bella Lana: Knitting specialty store about a mile from the hotel (down Hennepin across the river). The #6 and #4 going to the right on Hennepin (towards 6th, not 8th) will take you there.
21 Fourth Street SE
Surdyk's: wide selection of nice liquor as well as excellent high-quality candies, cheese, and the like. Also on the northeast side of the river. Right down Hennepin. The #6 and #4 going to the right on Hennepin (towards 6th, not 8th) will take you there.
303 East Hennepin Ave.
Fast and Furless Vegan Emporium: Vegan products of all sorts. Close to the Hiawatha line's Franklin stop, but be careful walking in this neighborhood.
2615 E Franklin Ave
Also, there is a lot of retail nearby in the Uptown area. Take the #6 bus south/westbound on Hennepin and get off at the Uptown transit station at 28th. Walk down Hennepin two blocks to Lake Street and enjoy.
Mall of America
If you leave the hotel and get on the train headed for the airport, but instead of getting off 26 minutes later at the airport you stay on the train for a couple more stops, the last stop (35 minutes from when you got on in downtown) is the Mall of America. Returning on the train from the mall to the airport is just as easy.
You can walk around Mall of America with your bags, or check them into lockers at the mall. Lockers come in three sizes and at three price points ($5, $7, and $10). The transit station is under the East parking garage, and the East side lockers are inside the mall in the center hallway of the east side on levels 2, 3, and 4.
There are several Guest Services desks at MOA; inquire with them if you need help finding lockers.
Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden - with the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture!!! - Hennepin Ave., across from Loring Park (take the footbridge over Hennepin; crossing at the intersection is rather a pain) - the garden is free (last time I checked) and open during daylight hours
Minneapolis has a ridiculous number of bars; these are just a few of the interesting ones.
Nye's Polonaise Room - Polka bar with piano karaoke and Polish food.
112 E Hennepin Ave
The Gay 90s - immense, sprawling, and you'll be dodging bachelorette parties, but there's something here for everyone.
ADULTS $5 (FRI-SAT-SUN after 9pm)
MINORS ($5 WED, THUR) SUN ($10) after 9pm
408 Hennepin Ave
First Avenue – Legendary nightclub, what with Prince and all. “Your downtown danceteria since 1970.” Two blocks from hotel up 7th street.
701 First Avenue North
Ground Zero - pounding industrial music, cage dancers, and the like.
15 4th St. NE
U Otter Stop Inn: Seriously tiny dive bar with terrible booze and an awesomely huge karaoke selection (for your nightly singing enjoyment)
617 Central Ave SE
If you just want a cuppa, Starbucks, Caribou, and Dunn Brothers are all over the place. There's a Starbucks in City Center and a Caribou in Gavidae. The Dunn Brothers (which is at least a local chain) on 3rd Ave & 2nd St is pretty nice, but it's a bit of a hike.
In/near downtown, walking distance from the hotel:
1229 Hennepin Ave (at 13th St)
On the south side of Loring park.
329 West 15th Street
You'll need to head down to South Minneapolis for the trendy indie coffeeshops:
The Bad Waitress: this is down Nicollet from the hotel, but don't walk. It's too far anyhow, but there's a sketchy area between the hotel and here. The location itself is fine. The 18 bus goes here, but not if you're by yourself or if it's dark.
2 E. 26th St.
Muddy Waters: go down Hennepin (left from the hotel) until it splits off to Lyndale. The #4 bus goes that way.
2401 Lyndale Ave. S.
Spyhouse: straight down Hennepin on the #6 bus into Uptown.
M-F 6:30am - midnight; SA-SU 8am - midnight
2404 HENNEPIN AVE S
(612) 377 2278
Other coffee shops you may want to check out (Uptown/Lyn-Lake area - requires travel):
Common Roots Cafe - Lyndale Ave S and 26th St. (on the Route 4 bus) - ALSO has a full menu, a good place for people with dietary restrictions, staff is very helpful, and the food is excellent
2558 Lyndale Ave S
Caffetto - on 22nd St., half a block west of Lyndale (Rt. 4 bus)
708 W 22nd St
Tea Garden - actually a tea house, but they might also have coffee, don't remember - Hennepin Ave. S. and 26th St. (Rt. 6 bus)
2601 Hennepin Ave S
To see gentlemen in various states of undress, visit the Gay 90s (at Hennepin & 4th) on Friday or Saturday night after 10pm and look for the “Adonis Men” strip review.
There are a number of strip clubs in that feature ladies in such a state. Don't choose one at random unless you like them gritty; the ones below are fairly classy as this sort of thing goes.
The Seville - burlesque style; locally owned. Three blocks from hotel up 7th street.
15 Glenwood Ave N
Schiek's Palace Royale - shiny and a bit plastic; a chain club.
115 South 4th Street
Rick's Cabaret - a little less plastic, but still a chain.
300 S. 3rd St.