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Nicollet Mall - Shopping, Restaurants, Bars, Entertainment and Sights

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Gaviidae Common, an upscale shopping mall in the skyway system in downtown Minneapolis

Gaviidae Common, an upscale shopping mall in the skyway system in downtown Minneapolis

Clara James
Nicollet Mall is a transit mall in Downtown Minneapolis. Nicollet Mall has shops, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, arts, entertainment and sights to see.

Nicollet Avenue has been downtown Minneapolis' shopping district since the beginning of the 20th century, when department stores like the famous Dayton's, and several others, opened on Nicollet Avenue.

Nicollet Avenue's fortunes declined in the 1950s with the nationwide trend of shopping centers and residential neighborhoods relocating to the suburbs. Then, in the 1960s, skyways were built throughout downtown Minneapolis, connecting many offices and residential buildings, and removed pedestrian traffic from the city streets. Nicollet Avenue seemed to be like it would become a historical commercial street.

In 1968, in an effort to bring shoppers back to downtown Minneapolis, eleven blocks of Nicollet Avenue were closed to car traffic and converted into Nicollet Mall, and trees, benches and street art were added.

Today, Nicollet Mall is a thriving commercial district. Minneapolis Central Library, a striking modern building, anchors the north end, and Peavey Plaza is a busy public space at the southern end of Nicollet Mall. And, there's plenty to see and do in between.

Shopping on Nicollet Mall

True to the Mall's history, there are plenty of opportunities for retail therapy on Nicollet Mall. Gaviidae Common, an indoor mall spanning two blocks, is on the east side of the 500 and 600 blocks of Nicollet Mall, and has several independent stores as well as national retailers and designer discount stores.

Crystal Court, the foyer of the IDS Building, the tallest Skyscraper in Minnesota, has more shops and restaurants.

Stores line Nicollet Mall, including Dayton's... I mean Macy's, and a multi-level Target store.

Every Thursday and Saturday during the summer, a farmer's market operates on Nicollet Mall.

Restaurants and Bars on Nicollet Mall

As well as plenty of chain restaurants and coffee shops, there are a number of independent places to eat and drink. Brits' Pub is Nicollet Mall's most famous tenant, a large British pub with one of the best rooftop patios in the Twin Cities. The Local is an Irish pub one block up from Brit's, D'Amico and Sons is a popular Italian restaurant, and newcomer Barrio is a tequila bar and Mexican restaurant.

Entertainment on Nicollet Mall

Peavey Plaza is the venue for free music concerts on summer evenings and weekends. Orchestra Hall, sharing the same city block as Peavey Plaza, is the home of the Minnesota Orchestra.

The Holidazle Parade, a beloved Minnesota holiday tradition, lights up Nicollet Mall on December weekends. And at Macy's, their annual holiday show, an elaborate animatronic show, has been running for almost 50 years and draws thousands of visitors.

Getting to Nicollet Mall - Public Transit and Parking on Nicollet Mall

The Hiawatha Light Rail Line has a stop at the north end of Nicollet Mall. Several Metro Transit bus lines serve some or all of Nicollet Mall.

There is plenty of parking in Downtown Minneapolis, but it's expensive. The Do The Town parking program used to give you free parking on weekday evenings with purchases at participating businesses, but it was cancelled in mid-2011, to encourage using public transit instead.

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