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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Four neighborhoods, four secret gems near UMN

Drinks, art, theater and other entertainment are available in the University’s surrounding neighborhoods.

Food and drinks, music and the arts are available to students in the University of Minnesota’s surrounding neighborhoods of Como, Prospect Park, Cedar-Riverside and Marcy-Holmes.

Minneapolis culture is rooted in the unique and local bars, shops, infrastructure, art, concert venues and restaurants that make up the heart of the city. These four gems are emblematic of that change.

Marcy-Holmes: Minneapolis Cider Co.

Beginning as just an idea in a University entrepreneurship class, Minneapolis Cider Co. expanded into a real product and years later, a cidery.

Co-founder of Minneapolis Cider Co. David O’Neill first discovered and fell in love with cider while studying abroad in the United Kingdom. For O’Neill, who had never enjoyed beer and wine, cider was the best of both worlds.

According to O’Neill, hard cider is a fermented fruit that tastes great with food, similar to wine. Like beer, hard cider comes in many different flavors and is less alcoholic than wine.

O’Neill and the other co-founder, Jason Dayton, picked an industrial building as the site for their cidery in May 2019. Customers do not get the typical bar experience at the cidery, O’Neill said.

Minneapolis Cider Co. has board games and pickleball courts as well as weekly trivia and open mic nights.

In a factory in Marcy-Holmes, O’Neill said his company provides an experience and products you can not find anywhere else around Minneapolis.

“We’re able to make really interesting products and offerings that I would just say is pretty unique,” O’Neill said. “This is not some chain. This is our creation. We were born and raised here.”

To mix with the cider, Minneapolis Cider Co. sells charcuterie and cheese boards, crepes, pastries and desserts. For drinks besides cider, cocktails, wines and liqueurs are available.

When THC beverages were legalized last year, Minneapolis Cider Co. created a new THC beverage, Trail Magic, in less than three weeks. O’Neill said the ability to experiment with cider and THC has been a great experience.

“We’re super grateful and appreciative of just the fact that we’re given the opportunity to get to do what we think is super cool and make these cider products and have THC products,” O’Neill said. “I had no idea that we would be able to get to do this.”

These products are sold in the cidery, online and some local liquor stores. O’Neill said in the future, he hopes to sell all these products in every nearby liquor store.

O’Neill said he hopes Minneapolis Cider Co. helps people forget about their problems and connect with others.

“Hopefully, we have an atmosphere that allows folks to just kind of forget about whatever's going on [in their lives],” O’Neill said. “I really hope that we can accomplish that with our space here.”

Cedar-Riverside: Theater in the Round

Local actors and directors, lesser-known productions and a stage centered in the middle of the audience give Cedar-Riverside’s Theater in the Round a unique experience.

Across the street from the University’s Wiley Hall, the community theater aims to provide good experiences to everyone regardless of theater background

Alex Church, who was both a director and audience member at Theater in the Round, said the theater is a great place for not just actors and directors but also audiences.

“It’s really a place that in many ways is doing theater as a public service,” Church said. “Both for giving people the opportunity to express themselves through the art forms that theater allows you to, but also for audiences to experience empathetic stories and innovative artistry in an accessible way.”

Traditional theaters have audiences looking in the same direction with the actors only facing one direction. Theater in the Round puts the stage in the middle of the audience which makes productions feel more interactive, according to Church.

Church said the design of the theater makes the audience feel more connected to the story.

“They were able to really find a space with us,” Church said. “It felt like the audience was a part of the production in a way that I think if we did it in a [traditional theater], it would be very different.”

Another aspect separating Theater in the Round from other theaters is how they focus more on unknown plays rather than famous ones.

“Community theaters really focus more on the joy of a particular story that's familiar,” Church said. “Theater in the Round is asking people to place that same joy in lesser-known stories that are not as familiar, but also could be really engaging.”

For aspiring actors and directors, Theater in the Round is an excellent place to get started, according to Church. Even if you are unfamiliar with theater, going to a production will be a great time, Church said.

“It's a really great and accessible place to both try and work at if they themselves are an artist, or also just to take in something,” Church said. “Take your date, take your mom, take grandma and grandpa.”

Prospect Park: ‘Seeds of Change’ art mural

An art mural on the old Schneider Drug Store building has given the building a new set of makeup.

The mural, named Seeds of Change, depicts a diverse group of women blowing white dandelions surrounded by nature with Prospect Park’s iconic Witch’s Hat Tower in the background.

Alyssa Johnson, the artist behind Seeds of Change, worked for around a hundred hours on the mural during the summer and finished it in September.

Johnson said she hopes her piece encourages people to think about how they impact the people around them.

“It’s an open-ended question of what seeds are you planting? What kind of future are you hoping to create,” Johnson said. “Hopefully in an open-ended way, encouraging people to think a little bit more cautiously about how their choices are affecting the world around us.”

The building, which now houses two shops that provide tech support for seniors and THC edibles, may see the mural expanded during next summer. If the building’s owners ask her to, Johnson said she wants to expand the piece by painting a garden full of native plants.

The mural itself reflects the local area. Prospect Park’s nature, infrastructure and people are all reflected in the mural, according to Johnson.

“[Diversity] is not going away and it's beautiful,” Johnson said. “It's a beautiful thing we celebrate. We have so many cultures that are coming together.”

Como: Como Backdoor

As house shows disappeared during the pandemic, Como Backdoor has worked to bring musicians and music lovers together again.

Como Backdoor is a house show venue where bands come together to play music to a crowd of people in the basement of a house. From indie to death metal, Como Backdoor is not limited to one genre of music.

Karsten Mink, who has played shows there with his bands Barnacle and Mystery Meat, said Como Backdoor promotes not just the music but also the social aspect of house shows.

“It's about the music, but it's also a social time for people too,” Mink said. “With music not playing, it's a lot of just people catching up, hanging out in between sets and even during sets you always find like a group of people just talking outside.”

Separating Como Backdoor from other venues, Mink said the management is more responsible than many other venues. While house shows can be dangerous for minors, Mink said he has never seen any issues with Como Backdoor’s all-ages shows.

Anyone who is into local music and house shows should go to a Como Backdoor event, Mink said. The local music scene has developed since the pandemic and venues like Como Backdoor are contributing to that culture, according to Mink.

“The Minneapolis-St. Paul house show scene right now is something that’s really special and just the local music scene right now in general is something that's pretty special,” Mink said.

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