Photos by Eliesa Johnson and Caitlin Abrams
Marty Mathis Clothiers
Marty Mathis Clothiers
The serpentine eight-mile gerbil cage is full of fantastic fare. The 69 city blocks it covers include access to the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, a Target store (and Target HQ), and the local MLB, NBA, and, pretty soon, NFL stadiums, but that’s just the beginning. It’s teeming with time-tested everyday treasures (e.g., The Brothers Deli, Andrea Pizza, Allie’s Deli), a host of new lines-around-the-skyway-block places (e.g., Vellee Deli, Bep Eatery, Maison Darras, OneTwoThree Sushi, Juice So Good, Freshii, Simpls, Peace Coffee), and even a gleaming new Walgreens that serves actually palatable made-to-order sushi. Here are some even deeper cuts.
From the State Capitol to Hwy. 280
Skyway Shoe Repair & Dye Services
Hands down one of the best cobblers in the Twin Cities is perched just above the IDS Crystal Court.
801 Nicollet Mall, 612-338-1467
Thrivent Financial’s Collection of Religious Art
Arguably the world’s largest corporate religious art collection is just around the corner from where county residents go to argue speeding tickets. With more than 1,100 pieces spanning nine centuries, the collection includes the likes of Durer, Rembrandt, and Picasso, and it’s part of a free and open-to-the-public gallery tucked inside the skyway-level lobby of Thrivent Financial.
625 4th Ave. S., 612-844-4543, thrivent.com
Museum Louvre It or Leave It
Public home to the bulk of the insanely eclectic collection of Gary and JoAnn Fink, this free gallery has everything from sculptures to photos to paintings by notable 20th-century artists ranging from Max Weber to Thomas Hart Benton.
608 2nd Ave. S., 612-337-1041, louvreitorleaveit.com
Wells Fargo History Museum
Ever find yourself walking through the skyway with a vague yet undeniable yearning to sit in an 1863 stagecoach whilst someone outside of it simulates overland movement? Well, friend, thanks to the Wells Fargo Center’s free skyway-level history museum, you’re in luck. Not only can you sit in its 1863 coach (and there’s also an original telegraph machine and genuine gold nuggets among other curiosities), but a museum employee will even shake it for you so you can feel what it was really like to ride the Oregon Trail . . . even if you were a banker from Boston.
90 S. 7th St., 612-667-4210, wellsfargohistory.com
The spare, affordable, Mediterranean-influenced women’s boutique that calls Ridgedale home hit RBC Plaza nearly a year ago as a pop-up shop, but it seems to be trending more toward permanence.
555 Nicollet Mall, 952-544-6288, kisaboutique.com
Premium Quality Coin
Subtly tucked into the south-facing edge of the Northstar Building since the ’80s, Premium might not look like much from the outside, but gawking at its collection of rare coins and other assorted paraphernalia is a breath of musty air when you’re picking your way through the skyway over lunch.
110 S. 7th St., 612-371-4739, pqcoin.com
Angel Food Bakery & Coffee Bar
More than 50 types of cupcakes, 20-some actual cakes, a fully formed to-go coffee and espresso menu, and a seemingly infinite, always changing variety of donuts (some of which they use as buns on breakfast sandwiches) all 100 percent scratch-made daily? The bakery upstairs from sister shop Hell’s Kitchen is one of the great skyway-connected treats that not enough people know about.
89 S. 9th St., 612-238-1435, angelfoodmn.com
Marty Mathis Clothiers
A throwback men’s custom clothier dripping in dark wood, beat-up leather, and glen plaid, Marty Mathis and the gang have been greeting customers with “a firm handshake and a cold beer” since 1994.
608 2nd Ave. S., 612-341-2833, martymathisclothiers.com
Bep eatery’s fast-casual Pho is one of the new breed of hip Skyway deliverables.
100 S. 5th St., 612-338-5189, bepeatery.com
La Belle Crepe
Owned by a native of Lille, France, this magically teeny (you can literally reach from one wall to the other) French café on the first floor of the Medical Arts Building serves sweet and savory crepes and has a fancy hot drink menu, but it’s the $7-ish bowls of pho and banh mi sandwiches that really make La Belle Crepe worth seeking out.
825 Nicollet Mall, 612-333-1100, labellecrepe.com
Assorted Architectural Gems
The Sculpture Wings is one of the Rand Tower’s many architectural marvels
Sure, many of downtown Minneapolis’s commercial buildings have long been treasured examples of classic architecture, but to experience them from the inside by way of the skyway is even more magical. Check out the Rand Tower for its Instagram-worthy marble spiral staircase and terrazzo floors embedded with stars and crescent moons. The celestial display and bronze Wings sculpture inside are homages to the art deco building’s namesake, Rufus Rand, a former WWI aviator. Also constructed in the ’20s was the art deco Medical Arts Building, worth a tour for its glam gold elevators, coved ceilings, and ornate chandeliers near the old telephone bank in the lobby. Don’t forget the Foshay Tower, another art deco classic, and its lesser-known thrill on the 31st floor, the Observation Deck, for stunning 360-degree views for miles.
The skyway is loaded with the mundane, but it also leads to upscale bars and restos ranging from newcomers like Il Foro, Apothecary (the bar at Loews Mpls.), Foreign Legion, and Constantine (the bar beneath Monello), to time-tested places like Prohibition Bar (atop the Foshay Tower) and Bank (the restaurant and bar on the first floor of The Westin).