Minneapolis is known as a city of neighborhoods. The newest district on the community scene, East Town, is already gathering plenty of buzz among meeting and events planners. Anchored by the sparkling new U.S. Bank Stadium, the 120-square-block East Town is a fast-growing area with a robust mix of recreation, hospitality and event activity.
“In creating East Town, we’ve combined Downtown East, the Mill District and Elliot Park,” says Dan Collison, executive director of East Town Business Partnership and director of downtown partnerships for the Minneapolis Downtown Council. “Together, we’ve created a new ‘whole’ that is committed to the vibrancy and connectedness of all of the parts.”
“We have so many meeting planners who return to Minneapolis and bring groups here regularly, so it’s important for us to keep our destination fresh and growing,” says Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. “East Town is a tremendous new addition to Minneapolis’ already considerable assets as a top meeting destination.”
Home of the Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium will host major sporting events, concerts, family shows, trade and consumer shows, corporate meetings and events, conventions and private events like weddings. It’s already booked for the Summer X Games (2017-2018), Super Bowl LII (Feb. 4, 2018) and the NCAA Final Four (2019). The stadium has over 66,000 seats in the stadium bowl and 136,600 square feet on the event level/ stadium floor. There are multiple spaces for private events, including the 1,400-personcapacity Hyundai Club, the VIP-level Delta Sky360 Club, Medtronic Club, private cabin suites and Mystic Lake’s Club Purple, which features an outdoor patio overlooking downtown Minneapolis. Even if you aren’t hosting a meeting or event at the stadium, you can still take your group on a 90-minute guided tour of the facility.
Jewel in the City
“We call The Commons our central marquee public feature,” Collison says. It’s a 4.2 acre, public green space downtown bounded by Park Avenue and 4th and 5th Streets, just steps from the U.S. Bank Stadium METRO Blue Line/Green Line station. Landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates designed a natural showplace, with lush plantings of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees, many native to Minnesota. Two hundred new trees have been planted in the space, including honey locusts, elms, oaks and pines. A mature ginkgo and red maple tree were preserved on the site near 5th Street.
On Vikings game days, The Commons will host youth and family-oriented activities beginning three hours before kick-off. It also can be reserved for private events. Private gatherings of more than 50 people require a permit, and, in some cases, a venue fee. Additional permits may be required for items such as catering, beer and wine distribution and tenting.
Wining & Dining
“This is possibly the most beautiful restaurant in Minneapolis,” says owner Dermot Cowley, describing what he calls the “jaw-dropping” décor of McKinney Roe, his latest venture. The 7,000-square-foot contemporary American eatery is on the ground level of the Wells Fargo towers. It features 23-foot ceilings, a floor-to-ceiling bar, and a spiral staircase leading up to a temperature-controlled wine cellar. The space has been designed with private events in mind, Cowley says, noting that 100 diners can be accommodated in the mezzanine, which includes elevator access, a private bar, projection screens, roll-out television carts and a “billion-dollar view” of U.S. Bank Stadium and The Commons.
With seating for 325 inside and 160 on the outdoor patio, the entire restaurant also can be booked for an event. “We’re very flexible to work with when it comes to large events,” Cowley says. “We don’t have a lot of rules—we understand it’s your event, and we’re here to take care of our guests.”
Minneapolis is the first American city with a Radisson RED hotel, Radisson RED Minneapolis. Calling itself “a new hotel philosophy and lifestyle brand inspired by art, music and fashion,” the 164-room property is located two blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium and is connected to the skyway system. The 1,000-square-foot Events & Games Studio has a 74-person capacity. The space is completely customizable depending on the group’s needs; it can be bare bones, nothing but the walls to write on, or furnished with pingpong tables.
Luxury in the City Close proximity to downtown attractions is a big selling point for the 168-room Elliot Park Hotel, which will be completed in early summer 2018. “We’re walkable, approachable and part of the very fiber of the city,” says Corrie Van Oostrum, project manager for hotel developer Wilkinson Corporation. As the newest addition to the Marriott Autograph Collection in Minneapolis, the hotel promises sophisticated interiors, luxurious experiences and a warm, professional staff. The hotel will have more than 3,500 square feet of event space, including private dining space in Tavola Italian Restaurant + Bar, an Italian farm-to-table concept with wood-fired specialties.
OTHER UNIQUE VENUES
+ THE GUTHRIE THEATER has stunning views of the riverfront and Stone Arch Bridge, and boasts three theaters, six lobbies, and six class and conference rooms available for events.
+ THE ARMORY renovation is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2017. As a building included on the National Register of Historic Places, the Armory will stay true to its rich history of hosting large corporate events, trade shows, sporting events and concerts, but will now feature modern must-haves like private suites and underground parking.
+ OPEN BOOK is home to literary and book arts, housing the Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. Founded by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Open Book features rentable meeting and event space, including the intimate Target Performance Hall that seats 200 and Open Book Conference Room.