Have you ever wanted to travel the world, without leaving your own backyard? Well, in Minneapolis you can do just that!

One visit to this hidden gem will have you feeling like you’re backpacking in the African desert, shopping an ancient market in Morocco or dining on the finest cuisine Thailand has to offer.

The best part? A visit here is totally free.

Buckle up, because we’re about to let you in on a little secret only the locals know! 

Scroll to the bottom of this page or CLICK HERE to watch our hidden gems travel guide video for Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.

Cultural Hotspot Celebrating Minnesota’s Rich Ethnic Diversity

Jack and I have been visiting this little hidden gem for as long as I can remember. We love shopping and dining at Midtown Global Market (920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, Minnesota).

When I was a kid growing up in Minneapolis, this old building was vacant. It used to be the Sears tower but it had seen better days. Well, a few years ago the area was revitalized and with it the Sears tower become something very special…a cultural hotspot celebrating Minnesota’s rich ethnic diversity.

We don’t live in Minneapolis anymore, we’re about two hours south…but whenever we happen to be driving through the Twin Cities we try to make it a point of stopping at Midtown Global Market, an amazing market which has stalls selling international food and crafts.

I like it because of the shopping…there are vendors selling clothes, home goods and cute items from all over the world. Jack likes it because there’s a place he says sells the best fried rice in all of Minnesota.Β 

There’s Really Something for Everyone Here!

There’s really something for everyone here.

We filmed our travel vlog pretty early in the morning, so it wasn’t very crowded, but during the lunch hour it can get pretty busy. So plan accordingly…and bring your appetite.

At Midtown you can find Indigenous American, Venezuelan, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, Nepalese, Moroccan, Camdodian, Thai, Italian and classic American food. As if that wasn’t enough to tempt you into a visit, there’s also a coffeeshop, craft brewery and several groceries and delis. 

One really cool place is the Grassroots Gourmet which only serves locally sourced grocery and deli items. Here you’ll find the best treats from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. I was excited to see Spring Grove soda on the menu. If that sounds familiar to you, Spring Grove soda makes an appearance in our crazy travel memoir video called “Is the Old, Weird America Dying?”. Y’all, that video is wild and wonderful and you can’t miss it. Someday we’ll have to return to Spring Grove to visit the soda manufacting plant. The stuff is literally addictive. It’s soooo good.

Our Favorite Place to Eat at Midtown Global Market

Speaking of soooo good, our favorite place to eat at Midtown Global Market is called Sabbai.

They are super friendly and have great Thai and Cambodian cuisine. That’s where you’ll find the best fried rice in all of Minnesota, according to Jack. I tend to have to agree with him. I’ve yet to find better.

It’s so good, we made Sabbai our Valentine’s Day date meal this year. Hehe.

After lunch, we recommend wandering around to take in the sights and do some shopping. When we visited to film this video, I lost track of Jack…who happened to wander into a Moroccan store and ended up buying a fez…and making a friend with the shop’s owner.

Dar Medina is an Incredible Moroccan Shopping Experience!

For an incredible shopping experience, be sure to visit Dar Medina (920 E. Lake St. #141, Minneapolis). It’s like stepping into Morocco…without leaving Minneapolis! 

Located in a section of Midtown Global Market that truly feels like you are in an exotic location, Dar Medina is home to traditionally crafted Moroccan home-goods and more…lovingly made by the hands of artisans.Β 

One thing that really stands out about Dar Medina is how every customer is warmly welcomed. Jack spoke with Mostafa, the owner, who spent nearly two decades roaming his home country of Morocco, working as a nomadic trader. Mostafa learned the ins and outs of local Moroccan crafts and goods before moving to Minnesota and starting his shop. 

He spent a bit of time chatting with Jack about his life experiences, all while fitting him for a handmade fez. A fez is a traditional hat from the Moroccan city of Fez. it’s a symbol of the Ottoman Empire and has a rich history and cultural significance. 

Mostafa was so friendly he ended up giving us his number and said the next time we’re in Morocco he’d make sure his family shows us the sights and sounds…and cooks us a big ol’ homemade meal. I think we’ll have to take him up on the offer. You see, that’s just the kind of folks you’ll meet at Midtown Global Market. It’s an actual slice of Minnesota nice…infused with international flavor.

A Slice of Minnesota Nice…Infused with International Flavor

To be honest with you, I know a ton of locals who make a day out of visiting Midtown Global Market. They have lunch…shop…take a mid-afternoon coffee break while getting some work done on their laptop…then they have dinner. Prices are affordable, the atmosphere is cheery and vibrant and you just can’t beat this global wonderland. That’s why we’re officially naming Midtown Global Market as a true hidden gem. If you’re planning a visit to Minneapolis, this is a must-see and will be fun for the whole family. Or, if you’re a local looking to escape a long Minnesota winter, this is the place for you…travel the entire globe…without leaving your own backyard.

There’s no real point to this picture, other than it’s a dog in a fez…and what’s cuter than that?!? Hehe !!

Know Before You Go

  • There is a convenient and affordable parking garage
  • Elevators make this an accessible visit for everyone
  • Market hours are Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Eastlake Craft Brewery stays open a bit later than the market: until 10:00 PM
  • The coffeeshop is open from 6:30 AM – 2:00 PM weekdays

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