A Peek Behind Our Fetching Facades

Part of the magic of spending time downtown is wandering the streets with no firm stopping place in mind. From Nicollet to 1st Avenue to Nolo, you’re bound to find something interesting, whether it’s Art Deco architecture on a classic building or a new rooftop bar to belly up to. Check out what’s going on inside these curbside standouts, from luxury hotel happenings to the ongoing update of the iconic Dayton’s space.

The Fillmore Minneapolis

There’s nothing like hearing the thrum of live music from downtown as you wander the streets on a night out. Music is back in a big way, and the Fillmore is ready to welcome all your favorite bands and musicians to its stage. The Fillmore, which opened shortly before the pandemic, is inspired by the historic Fillmore in San Francisco. Four chandeliers add a glam edge, and a giant mural of Prince keeps things firmly rooted in Minneapolis music history.

“Featuring 22,000 square feet of flexible design space, including a spacious and upscale 1,850-capacity music hall, intimate VIP lounge, full-service restaurant and bar, and state-of-the-art production under one roof, the Fillmore Minneapolis is an excellent blend of rock and elegance, both classic and cutting edge,” says director of events Sandy Vogel.

Get dinner and drinks at the venue’s Trax Burgers and Bar or a bird’s-eye view of the city from the Fillmore’s VIP rooftop. Or make it an overnight and crash after a show at the Element Hotel, which sits right above the Fillmore. Really into the music vibe? You can also book the Fillmore for weddings and private events. 525 N. 5th St., fillmoreminneapolis.com

Rand Tower Club at the Rand Tower Hotel

Not only does this Art Deco lifestyle hotel bear the name of Rufus Rand, a Minneapolite who flew combat missions during World War I and returned home to run the Minneapolis Gas Company and serve as mayor of Wayzata, but its design and amenities are inspired by him. The lobby bar, Whiskey and Soda, is named after two lion cubs Rand and a fellow soldier discovered during their travels. The hotel’s tagline, “Stay inventively,” was inspired by Rand’s many patents.

“The Fillmore Minneapolis is an excellent blend of rock and elegance, both classic and cutting edge.” Sandy Vogel, The Fillmore Minneapolis

The centennial hotel (made of Minnesota-quarried limestone) sits on the National Register of Historic Places, but you won’t find stuffy, old-school furnishings inside. The Rand Tower Hotel is all about modern luxury for the 21st-century guest. On the fifth floor, you’ll find the Rand Tower Club, a bright and welcoming restaurant and lounge space with a retractable roof for sunny-day dining and drinking nestled in the center of downtown Minneapolis.

“It’s a really gorgeous space, second to none in the city,” says general manager Brendan Mangan. The indoor-outdoor design of the space allows for weather-related flexibility; chill next to the fire or bathe in the sun as you enjoy breakfast and bubbles. 527 Marquette Ave. S., randtowerhotel.com

The Dayton’s Project

The crown jewel of Twin Cities retail, Dayton’s made its triumphant return to Nicollet in time for the 2021 holiday season with The Departments at Dayton’s, a long-term pop-up of local vendors and makers to bring shoppers downtown once more. “As we move forward, we’ll be filling the rest of the lower level, first floor, and second floor with more permanent retailers,” says Cailin Rogers, principal of Alta Via Consulting. A food hall is also in the works for the iconic space, as is the continued expansion of The Dayton’s Project restoration itself—giving both the building and the skyway a bright and welcoming face-lift.

“We are proud of the design efforts to maintain the character of the building while elevating it to epitomize modern-day luxury.” Cailin Rogers, Alta Via Consulting

How does The Dayton’s Project team balance modernity and memory when updating such a beloved building for the 2020s and beyond? It’s all about balance.

“We are proud of the design efforts to maintain the character of the building while elevating it to epitomize modern-day luxury,” says Rogers. “We have preserved and restored many of the favorite areas of the building, including the women’s fourth-floor bathroom, the Oak Grill, and more. You’ll see more progress as tenants come in and make the spaces their own.”  700 Nicollet Mall, thedaytonsproject.com

Four Seasons Hotel

After several years of construction, teasing downtown residents with the promise of pure luxury in their own backyard, the Four Seasons Hotel is ready to roll out the red carpet. With the addition of two new Gavin Kaysen–run restaurants, the Mediterranean-inspired Mara and its more casual sister Socca Café, anticipation for the new kid on the block is at an all-time high.

“Minneapolis, this is your Four Seasons,” says general manager Florian Riedel. “I’m proud to tell you it is one of the very best hotels in our Four Seasons portfolio. It is also uniquely Minnesotan. All colors, textures, and designs—from staff uniforms to the furniture to the artwork throughout the building—all of these thoughtful choices were made with you in mind.”

All 222 rooms offer unobstructed views of the city and the Mississippi, and street-level floor-to-ceiling windows provide a welcoming peek inside the hotel. “It has been designed with great intention to bring the community together.”

The hotel also boasts more than 16,000 square feet of event space, a spa, and both an indoor and an outdoor pool—one you can use almost all year-round. “The outdoor pool is surrounded by an expansive terrace, and with the help of some incredible technology, it is going to be an almost year-round celebration destination,” Riedel says.

Whether you’re planning a staycation, popping by for lunch, or making a dinner reservation, you can expect both delicious cuisine and a calm, relaxing oasis in the middle of the city. According to Riedel, the Kaysen-led Socca Café is “airy and inviting” with locally sourced coffee, lots of gluten-free options, and “fresh twists on familiar favorites.”

Mara, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with an evolving and innovative menu of light, shareable flavors from 22 countries, is an ideal spot to kick back and really enjoy every minute and every morsel. “It has a peaceful, unhurried, calming vibe,” says Riedel. “I feel a great sense of connection and community in this space.”

Touches of green lend an organic, natural feel to the space. Mara also features a temperature-controlled chocolate room—expect other treats that will be handcrafted by the pros.

Patrons can keep the good vibes going at Riva Terrace, the hotel’s fourth-floor poolside plaza. “At Riva Terrace, it’s always happy hour,” says Riedel. “Whether you want to enjoy an afternoon aperitivo, relax around the pool, or dine alfresco under the stars, we have a spot for you.” 245 Hennepin Ave., fourseasons.com

This article originally appeared in the June 2022 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Read more on downtown Minneapolis, 2022 summer-style, sponsored by the mpls downtown council, here.

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