Review: The 7 best Targets for UMN students

From St. Louis Park to Dinkytown, here’s a guide for UMN Target shoppers.

by Maya Marchel Hoff

Who knew the joke sparked by moms on Facebook, “go to Target to pick up a few things, but leave having spent $200,” would remain painfully true.

As Minnesota’s famous one-stop shop for nearly every human need, Target is a prime source of, in an odd way, comfort. With inflation and supply-chain issues, shopping trips have quickly complexified — but fear not, Twin Cities shoppers, those who intend on keeping a closet full of Wild Fable and a pantry stocked with Good & Gather still benefit from a variety of nearby options.

After a concerningly deep dive into Yelp and Google reviews, asking the opinions of many Twin Cities Target shoppers and personal experience with running around to almost all of the locations in the metro area, here is a closer look into some of the area’s local Targets.

Dinkytown Target
Location: 1329 5th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
One of the most established landmarks in Dinkytown is, for better or worse, the Dinkytown Target. Built specifically for University of Minnesota students, this location is technically express-sized but still offers some necessities. Considering that the Dinky Target is one of the only grocery stores in the University area’s food desert, there aren’t nearly as many grocery options as there should be. Another low point is the eyebrow-raising expenses imposed on often-broke, often-carless students. All of that aside, the Dinky Target’s accessibility is unmatched for students, and it serves as a handy reference point when describing any area within a four-block radius of the store.

Downtown
Location: 900 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Perhaps the least traditional Target in the cities, the downtown location is a whole experience. Walking into an open atrium at the entrance, riding escalators and having access to the Minneapolis skywalk system definitely alters the classic Target experience. Although it is well-stocked and organized, the double floor layout can be confusing if you are in a rush. Even if you take the short bus ride from campus or manage to park in the Target garage, this location is catered toward the office drones who roam the skywalks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so the Downtown Target closes its doors at an inconvenient 6 p.m.

Lake Street Target:
Location: 2500 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Recently remodeled in late 2020, the Lake Street Target has a varied reputation. Civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020 brought this Target into national headlines and Twitter memes before a temporary closure due to extreme damages. Even before the closure, this store had multiple complaints of disorganization and minor chaos. Using the recent reopening in November 2020 to regain its footing, the Lake Street Target recruited local artists to cover the outside in vibrant murals, rebuilt an open grocery section shrouded in natural light and improved the floor layout. With a well-stocked grocery section, fewer crowds and close proximity to public transportation, the Lake Street Target may pleasantly surprise you.

Quarry Target
Location: 1650 New Brighton Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55413
It felt like a given to start with the infamous Quarry Target due to its size and proximity to the University. Shopping at this Target is like asking for Sprite and getting Sierra Mist: close enough, but not as good as the original. The Quarry Target’s reputation for being perennially picked over and understocked is in part due to its location in a heavily populated area. The recent renovation, however, only complicated the issue these last couple of months. With tampons placed by the children’s shoes, a relocated Starbucks and a haphazard grocery area, it’s stressful just trying to pick up a few essentials without getting lost. All hope’s not lost quite yet for the Quarry Target. New elements of the renovation will include a new boutique-like beauty section and more personal checkout stations.

St. Louis Park Target
Location: 3601 MN-100, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Definitely worth the 20-minute drive from campus, the St. Louis Park Target achieves hidden gem status through its well-stocked shelves, minimal crowds and overall consistency. No, it’s not as big as other Super Targets in the Twin Cities, but the St. Louis Park Target wins bonus points for its proximity to Trader Joe’s and a Half Priced Books.

T1: Roseville Location
Location: 1515 County Road B W Roseville, MN 55113
Opening its doors in 1962 as the first Target ever, the Roseville location, cleverly nicknamed “T1,” is a hub for both city and suburban shoppers. Although this Target is a 15-minute drive from the University campus, its size and selection make up for it. As a Super Target, this location has more variety, a separate liquor section and a Starbucks. The grocery section is its best trait, containing a deli, a bakery and a large produce selection. Because of its established history and wider product diversity, T1’s one glaring downside is the overwhelming crowds.

University Avenue Target
Location: 1300 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104
Not as close, but definitely bigger than the Quarry location, the University Avenue Target is one of the best options available to University students. Sitting on the light rail’s green line, the University Avenue Target is surprisingly well organized and not too picked over. It’s a Super Target, so expect a Starbucks, a separate liquor store and an extended grocery section in addition to optical services. The home goods section steals the show at this location, where items like ultra-soft blankets and vibrant mugs are more abundant than in other stores. The only area consistently lacking is the dry goods aisle in the grocery section, where they’re almost always clean out of instant meals and spices.