Thursday, February 18, 2016

The ‘WeDo’ West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District Offers Passersby the Opportunity to Stop, Look and Listen

When I visit a city, for business or pleasure, I like to walk.  I like to look at architecture, public art, gardens, parks, shops.  When you walk, you notice things that you miss driving a car, or even as a passenger in a taxi or a bus, such as the decorative carving on an old building, the tiny figurine shop nestled between a bakery and stationery store, the statue of a local judge who was important to the community.  When you walk, you can get an ice cream from a street vendor or a cup of coffee at a walk-up window.  You can step into a café that has an interesting menu or drop into a pub that has live music.  You can sit on a bench to people-watch and pet all of the dogs that go by.

While multiple visits to a city allow you to branch out into lesser known neighborhoods, every city should have at least one district for the first-time visitor as well as the repeaters.  These are areas where you can spend a couple of hours between meetings or spend an entire weekend.  A place that, without having to plan ahead, will surely have something to interest you.  A place within walking distance of your hotel, or a one-stop destination to park and explore on foot.

There are the well-known districts like Times Square in New York, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, River Walk in San Antonio, Beale Street in Memphis and the French Quarter in New Orleans.  And the lesser known, but equally interesting Santa Fe Old Town, Cleveland Warehouse District, Savannah Historic District and Dallas Arts District

Happily, Minneapolis has recognized an area of the city already full of theaters, restaurants and other art, music and entertainment venues.  Officially launched last November, the West Downtown Cultural District (“WeDo”), largely through the efforts of an alliance of arts organizations within the cultural district, including GPM’s client the Hennepin Theatre Trust, promotes the area as a whole, as one of varied and interesting activities.

The approximately two-mile corridor on either side of Hennepin Avenue runs from the Mississippi River to the Walker Art Center, and includes everything from the sculpture garden to Target Field and from the Brave New Workshop comedy club to the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts.   In between are restaurants and clubs, coffee shops, big and small theaters, galleries, great old buildings, green spaces, benches and a really big mural of Bob Dylan. How great is that?

Next time you go to a Timberwolves game at the Target Center or see a Broadway show at the Orpheum, go early for dinner and/or stay late for coffee and dessert.  Walk a few blocks.  It may be a little cold now, but there are plenty of places to stop and get warm.  And if you don’t have any plans, check out the WeDo website for events, or just wander down and explore.   You won’t be disappointed.  

No comments :

Post a Comment