I’ve finally reached that mildly thrilling point in parenting where much more often than not I don’t have to schlep a stroller around town when I’m out and about with the kids. But even those for whom a stroller is still a daily staple might find they don’t need it in the Linden Hills shopping district of Minneapolis. These storefronts are, in most cases, just a stroll across the street from one another. If it’s possible for you to visit on a weekday, there is convenient street parking a block or less from crafts, critters, books and treats. Here’s how my preschooler and I spent a couple of hours on a fall afternoon:
Note: While we were sad to lose Creative Kidstuff (bringing our original list down to four), there is still plenty to do in Linden Hills Neighborhood. Our new #5, lists seven more ideas for fun in the greater Linden Hills area (because our preschoolers are now grade schoolers and we can walk them further).
1. Great Harvest Bread Co., 4314 Upton Ave S
Open: Mon-Fri, 6am-6:30pm • Sat, 6am-5pm • Sun, 9am-1pm
Stop for: Fresh bread and other baked goods. I was astonished by the sample size of cinnamon roll I was given (seriously, it was so large I felt guilty that it filled me up), and for a second score, a cup of their great coffee is only $1.25 if you bring your own mug. A small children’s play nook at the front of the shop holds space to munch and read together.
Plan ahead: Several Great Harvest locations offer tours of the bread-making process. The Linden Hills location usually offers them to groups only, but you can try calling them at 651-929-2899 to see if it would be possible to tag along on their next 15-30 minute tour.
2. Heartfelt, 4306 Upton Ave S
Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm • Sun, noon-4pm
Stop for: Seasonal drop-in crafts are available every day of the week – get an idea of monthly crafts here. Or, you’re welcome to browse the shop for inspiration and spend some time playing — my preschooler loved peeking out at me from the treehouse and setting up the fairy house display.
Plan ahead: Preschool classes have moved to a new monthly festival format! September’s Autumn Festival will be held Sept. 28 & 29 at 10:30am and will include crafts for both caregiver and child, a snack and other seasonally-appropriate activities. Cost is $18/pair, additional kids $10 each.
3. Wild Rumpus Books, 2720 West 43rd St
Open: Mon, 10am-5pm • Tues-Fri, 10am-8pm • Sat, 10am-5pm • Sun, noon-5pm
Stop for: Slip through the little purple door and find an independent bookseller that also happens to house a menagerie of critters – can you find the chinchilla, ferrets, kittens and birds? Plus, “recycled” books are just a buck to take home.
Plan ahead: Wild Rumpus holds “Tail Time” stories at 10:30 each Monday. Crowds can accumulate, so the best plan is to get their early to grab a good spot.
4. Dunn Bros. Linden Hills, 2814 W 43rd St
Open: Mon-Fri, 6am-8:30pm • Sat-Sun, 6:30-8pm
Stop for: Decent fare with a kids nook of toys and books to entertain your youngins. We included this location on our list of Kid-Friendly Twin Coffee Shops/Cafes and maintain that it’s an option if you’re looking for a place for kids to move around while you grab your cup of coffee, but I was disappointed to find today that the play space was poorly kept up. The shop does have good choices for an a la carte kids lunch.
5. More to Do When Visiting Linden Hills:
When thinking of Linden Hills neighborhood, we tend to think of the quaint little shopping district where you will find the stops above, the full neighborhood actually has a great deal more to offer. Linden Hills Neighborhood borders the Chain of Lakes on its east side and stretches west to France Avenue. While visiting, you may want to check out these family-friendly locations:
- The Bakken Museum – Okay, so technically, this falls just outside the border of Linden Hills neighborhood, but its so much fun to visit.
- Como-Harriet Streetcar Line – Who can resist the inexpensive treat of a ride on the streetcar?
- Festivals – You may want to time your visit around one of these neighborhood festivals.
- Winter: Lake Harriet Kite Festival
- May: Linden Hills Festival
- August: Corn Feed
- Summer: Woofstock
- Early December: Reindeer Day
- Lake Harriet & Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska) – Take a walk around the lakes that Minneapolis is famous for or plan your visit around a summer concert.
- Linden Hills Farmers Market – Farmers Markets are fun way to get to know a neighborhood.
- Linden Hills Library – Maybe its the book geek in me, but I love exploring new libraries.
- Linden Hills Park – The park and library are near each other and not a very far walk from the shopping district. Grab some sandwiches and check out a book. Then enjoy a picnic at the park.
This article was originally written in 2016 by Anne Kingston and updated as needed.