Up until recently, Minneapolis’ North Loop was solely for industry.  If your idea of a perfect afternoon is listening to railroad tracks clattering beneath iron wheels while you walk around produce warehouses, I fear it’s rather too late to experience that in the North Loop.  If you’re searching for shopping leisure, however, you’ll find this neighborhood brimming with excitement.

Make an appointment in advance if you would like to go to Maison Spring, one of the Midwest’s premier interior design boutiques.  They import luxurious fabrics, wallpapers, and linens from Europe for discerning Americans who would only have the pinnacle of class in their homes.  At Maison Spring they prescribe to pioneering designer Le Corbusier’s philosophy that “the home should be the treasure chest of living.”

If you’re a bibliophile, you must have been to James & Mary Laurie Booksellers when it was open on Nicollet Mall.  A veritable Library of Alexandria, the shop has recently relocated to the North Loop where it still offers more than 120,000 volumes of individually selected fine books along with classic records and antique maps and prints.  I found an autographed copy of Fifth Business there, which was fortuitous because that novel’s author is regrettably unavailable to sign his books any longer.

Oscar Wilde said that “Looking good and dressing well is a necessity.  Having a purpose in life is not.”  If you agree with him as wholeheartedly as I do, then you’ll love Atmosfere, an industrial-chic men’s fashion store.  True to its name, Atmosfere emphasizes atmosphere and creates a fascinating one with its decor fashioned from salvaged barn materials.  They specialize in preparing men who are about to go to the altar.  On that note, North Loop Wine & Spirits provides that most essential thing for a healthy, long-lasting marriage.

If you’re looking for more casual wear, visit Jumpwings, Minnesota’s oldest and largest military store.  They have fine American-made jackets, sweaters, and boots for sale as well as the camping and boating gear all red blooded Minnesotans can’t do without.  Jumpwings also boasts over 40 colors of parachute cord, perfect if you have over 40 parachutes at home and are having trouble accessorizing them.

We healthy and beautiful Minnesotans pride ourselves on being able to go everywhere on our bikes.  Should your bike fall short of our expectations for it owing to some wear or tear, then the experts at One on One Bicycle Studio and Cafe will get it up and running and beautiful for just the right price.  More than a workshop, One on One also has new bikes and clothing for sale, and will even feed and caffeinate you as well.  And if you’re one of those technocrats who insists that cars are better than bikes, just answer one question: can you pop a wheelie in your car?  Case closed.


If you’re a fine cook, then Cooks of Crocus Hill has a location in the North Loop for all of your Le Creuset, Wusthof, and Nordicware needs.  If you are not a fine cook, Cooks of Crocus Hill will help to get you there with a variety of classes tailored to your needs.  I took one of their classes and now consider my bread puddings the greatest on either side of the Mississippi.

This only scratches the surface of the variety of boutique shopping our North Loop offers.  You can also find jewelry, paper goods, cosmetics, women’s clothing, bridal and party supplies, and myriad restaurants in that compact and scenic neighborhood.  With this all next to our downtown and beautiful riverfront, the North Loop is a great downtown getaway no matter what you’re after!


By David Scheller