Unless you’re calling on relatives, it’s rare that you might plan your out-of-town sightseeing around a suburb. But if delving into all that the Twin Cities has to offer is on your travel itinerary, you’ll want to go above and beyond the standard tourist destinations. And that means making a stop — or booking a stay — in St. Louis Park.
St. Louis Park is not your typical suburb
Located only minutes west of Downtown Minneapolis, St. Louis Park is as urban as a city suburb can be. This “city burb” or “burb city” is home to bright lights, local culture and big city amenities like great restaurants and conveniently located hotels, all wrapped up in small-town charm.
Beginning life as a village in the mid-19th Century, St. Louis Park was very much a railroad town thanks to the hustle and bustle of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. After experiencing its most explosive growth in the years after World War II, the municipality formally incorporated in 1954 and hasn’t looked back since. In the 21st Century, St. Louis Park remains a vibrant community of nearly 50,000 residents.
Unique cultural offerings
Whether you’re looking for beauty or an opportunity to broaden your horizons, St. Louis Park has much to offer. While you’re here, you definitely won’t want to miss visiting the area’s museums, galleries and other cultural hot spots.
- Sorry, this museum can’t prepare you for a career reading the nightly news. (Don’t you wish it did?) But the Pavek Museum Of Broadcasting (3517 Raleigh Avenue) will help you trace the history of broadcast media through displays of vintage equipment and profiles of broadcasting greats such as Edward R. Murrow and Walter Winchell. These are the personalities and technologies that have shaped the American experience for over a century. You won’t find exhibits this fascinating outside of the Smithsonian!
- The Sabes JCC Tychman Shapiro Gallery (4330 S. Cedar Lake Road) is a community arts and cultural center. They partner with St. Paul JCC to engage the public in exploring Jewish culture through art, film, theater, learning and community programs. In January 2018, the Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival kicks off at Sabes, featuring stand-up comedy, theatrical performances and workshops celebrating the resilient wit and wisdom of Jewish humorists — among them St. Louis Park natives such as filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen and Senator Al Franken.
- Showplace ICON Theatre (1625 West End Boulevard) is a state-of-the-art facility featuring a super-sized movie screen with enhanced digital imaging, projection and sound. Adult moviegoers can reserve seats in a sports-style bar lobby featuring high definition flat screens. The bar serves snacks, small bites and drinks. Every October, the ICON also hosts the Twin Cities Film Fest, a great showcase for new movies, film classics and independent productions.
Be active or just relax
Who says a suburb has to be a quiet place of private homes with only a smattering of opportunities for serious play? St. Louis Park offers a wide range of exciting recreational activities, no matter what staying sporty means to you.
- Bowl your way through Texa-Tonka Lanes, Park Tavern, or Brookview Golf Course & Lawn Bowling in neighboring Golden Valley (200 Brookview Parkway). Texa-Tonka is home to 24 spectacular lanes, buffet options perfect for large parties and late night happy hour appetizer specials sure to satisfy the most dedicated rollers. And there’s nothing quite like splitting an order of Cheddar Waffle Fries over a competitive frame at Park Tavern (a St. Louis Park institution for 50 years and running) or stepping onto the green at Brookview on a spring evening and experiencing this unique open-air variation on an American classic.
- One of the few indoor skating rinks anywhere in the Twin Cities, Roller Garden (5622 West Lake Street) is a historic, family-owned recreation center that’s been in continuous operation for over seven decades. Lace up the family and get ready to zip and boogie across the Garden’s beautiful hardwood maple boards. And, if you need to fuel up at any time, just head over to the snack bar.
- Built in 1926 on land surrounding scenic Minnehaha Creek, the Meadowbrook Golf Course (201 Meadowbrook Road) has reopened after undergoing extensive renovations. Its gentle, wildflower-dotted hills present a layout that’s appropriate (and fun) for players of all ages and skill levels. Tee up on their practice green and perfect your swing, or just stroll its 210 acres.
- Nature-lovers are also invited to roam the fields and enjoy the fauna (deer, foxes and owls, to name a few) at the Westwood Hills Nature Center 8300 West Franklin Avenue). The center’s 160 acres span a variety of landscapes and habitats, from marshes to reclaimed prairie lands. Visit the interpretive center, grab a trail map and start hiking. Admission is always free, and programs for budding naturalists are offered year-round.
You don’t have to head downtown to search out hospitality or a great watering hole. In fact, you’ll find it’s better to stay close to St. Louis Park, where local artisans are innovating in ways that are enterprising, refreshing and delicious.
- Steel Toe Brewing (4848 W. 35th Street) is a small brewery that’s quickly grown into a big interest. Their specialities are handcrafted ales that have won approval from beer connoisseurs across the country. From their proudly unbalanced (read: very hoppy) Size 7 IPA to their malt-forward Dissent Dark Ale, Steel Toe is popular with locals and non-locals alike. Before planning your visit, be sure to check out their seasonal rotators as well. The brewery is open most afternoons (except Monday), meaning you can sample early and often.
- Would you believe three upstart but mild-mannered friends who studied law, engineering and medicine started the Copperwing Distillery (6409 Cambridge Street)? In contrast to the rough-hewn, rustic charm of Steel Toe Brewing, Copperwing trends more upscale. They produce gin, light whiskey, vodka and vodskey. In Russian, “vodskey” simply translates as “vodka,” but at Copperwing, vodskey a distinctly Midwestern concoction, distilled from locally grown corn and coming in at less than 190 proof. As such, it sports more rounded flavors and a slower burn. Copperwing is open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays.
- For an unforgettable night out, sign up for a painting class at one’s of St. Louis Park’s most welcoming local spaces, Brush Studio (1651 Park Place Boulevard). No previous artistic experience is required. And, if you’re still feeling a bit nervous about your ability to successfully follow your workshop leader’s instructions, just visit the on-site bar to chill out with a glass of wine or beer. Who knows? With your senses tingling, you might find the inspiration you need to create your masterpiece.
Immerse yourself in the ultimate metro experience
The more you explore St. Louis Park, the more you discover. Not merely a Twin Cities takeaway, St. Louis Park is an exciting metro getaway — a takeaway in and of itself. On your next vacation, Discover St. Louis Park.