Exploring Minnesota’s Industrial Roots: Canopy by Hilton

Over the last four years, with my daughter at Carleton College, my husband and I have explored much of Minneapolis, St Paul and the town of Northfield. We’ve seen a lot of changes in ‘the cities.’ A big takeaway, from one I first visited 40 years ago, is that locals don’t say the Twin Cities. It’s just, ‘the cities’

Art exhibit or boutique hotel? Canopy by Hilton Mill District

Mill District, Minneapolis

Another is the growth of the Mill District, ear the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum. The new U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, opened. And 2 historic manufacturing buildings became the latest boutique hotel, Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis | Mill District.

The free Canopy by Hilton bikes

Dog and Family Friendly

The dog friendly Canopy by Hilton evokes its industrial past, with a brick and terra-cotta exterior, exposed brick inside and thick wood beams in guest rooms. If there is an earthquake in Minnesota, this is where I want to be.

The river that the Mill District used

Sleeping well

The lively bar scene and the soaring atrium had me a bit worried. Sound carried up to our 6th floor room. But that solid construction meant thick well that insulated us from any outside noise. And a Canopy feature, a sliding ‘barn door’ could further separate the bath area from the bedroom and make the room even quieter.

Still Some Kinks in the System

Breakfast at Canopy by Hilton
Part of the breakfast at Canopy by Hilton

We used the valet parking and needed the car to pick up another daughter from the airport. We called down and were told the car would be right out. But when we got downstairs, the person manning the valet station was nowhere to be found and there was only one person at the front desk. It took 10 minutes till she was free to speak to us and another 15 minutes until the car was brought out.

The savory side of breakfast at Canopy by Hilton

We had the same problem trying to borrow the free bikes. There was only one person working the front desk, and 3 or 4 people waiting. It was a 20 minute wait till we got the bikes. And, one day our room was never cleaned.

Digital check in worked, and the app even worked on the elevator. You need a key (digital or otherwise) to access your room.

The bed (and canopy) at Canopy by Hilton

Fitting in in Minneapolis

We were happy to explore the Mill District on the bikes, once we got them. So many streets have bike lanes; some shared, some raised and separated from car traffic. Then there are long bike trails, along the river and through the city. But ‘Minnesota Nice’ also offered a Bronx cheer. We rode over to a festival, across a bike and pedestrian bridge. The clearly marked bike only lanes were swarmed with walkers, families with strollers and runners who blithely commandeered the entire space and forced bikers to dismount. Apparently, it’s not only New Yorkers and tourists in NYC who ignore signs.

The river at night

Bring the Dog: Spoonriver

This restaurant, across the street from the Guthrie Theater, has outdoor seating. Every table but ours had a dog. The restaurant has interesting cocktails and lots of vegetarian choices. The owner started the fabulous Mill City Farmers Market, which is on Saturday mornings. Also, during graduation, but we made it there on previous trips.

Spponriver has a changing daily vegetarian special, plus several vegan entree salads, a homemade veggie burger and a charcuterie board featuring the local vegan Herbivorous Butcher.

Milkjam’s ice cream flavors

I tried the local elderberry juice, served in a Negroni, but settled on the unusual and delicious FRED, lemongrass and ginger Infused Deaths Door Gin, pink peppercorns and cilantro. Our group also had a cranberry shrub with gin, (yummy) Manhattan with spectacular Door County brandied cherries and pear ginger martini.

The Guthrie, reason alone to visit the Cities

We loved another restaurant, Saffron, in Minneapolis. It closed, but the owner still runs the delicious World Street Kitchen. And next door, a destination ice cream parlor, Milkjam Creamery, with plenty of unusual flavors and vegan options. And even interesting vegan flavors. You don’t feel marginalized just because you can’t digest lactose (or don’t want to).

The FRED at Spoonriver

Hotel Dining

Canopy by Hilton includes a generous buffet breakfast, with lots of fresh fruit, a few hot dishes, yogurt parfait and pastries. If you are in a hurry, you can get breakfast in a bag: fruit, yogurt and juice.

The hotel is so new that the on site restaurant hadn’t opened yet.

Post graduation

I guess even without a kid in college in Minnesota, we have many reasons to return!

Note: Canopy by Hilton provided a complimentary room. Opinions, travel and huge graduation smiles were all our own.

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