Nicollet Mall: Shopping, Restaurants, Entertainment and Sights

Downtown Minneapolis' shopping and dining district has much to offer

Gaviidae Common
••• Gaviidae Common, an upscale shopping mall in the skyway system in downtown Minneapolis. Dan Anderson/Contributor/Getty Images

Nicollet Mall is a transit mall in downtown Minneapolis. It has shops, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, arts, and entertainment.

History of Nicollet Mall

Nicollet Avenue has been downtown Minneapolis' shopping district since the beginning of the 20th century when department stores such as the now-defunct Dayton's opened.

Nicollet Avenue's fortunes declined in the 1950s with the nationwide trend of shopping centers and residential neighborhoods relocating to the suburbs. Then, in the 1960s, skyways were built throughout downtown Minneapolis, connecting offices and residential buildings and removing pedestrian traffic from the city streets.

In 1968, in an effort to bring shoppers back to downtown Minneapolis, 11 blocks of Nicollet Avenue were closed to car traffic and converted into Nicollet Mall. Trees, benches and street art were added.

Today Nicollet Mall is a thriving commercial district. Minneapolis Central Library, a striking modern building, anchors the north end, and Peavey Plaza is a busy public space at the south end. There's plenty to see and do in between.


True to a mall, there are many opportunities for retail therapy here. Gaviidae Common, an indoor mall spanning two blocks, is on the east side of the 500 and 600 blocks of Nicollet Mall and has several independent stores, national retailers and designer discount stores. Crystal Court, the foyer of the IDS Building, the tallest Skyscraper in Minnesota, has more shops and restaurants. There's also a Target store.

Every Thursday and Saturday during the summer, a farmers market operates on Nicollet Mall.

Restaurants and Bars 

In addition to many chain restaurants and coffee shops, there are several independent places to eat and drink. Nicollet Mall's most famous tenant, Brit's Pub, is a large British pub with one of the best rooftop patios in the Twin Cities. The Local is an Irish pub one block up from Brit's, D'Amico and Sons is a popular Italian restaurant and Barrio is a tequila bar and Mexican restaurant.


Peavey Plaza is the venue for free concerts on summer evenings and weekends. Orchestra Hall, sharing the same city block as Peavey Plaza, is the home of the Minnesota Orchestra. In December, Holidazzle, a beloved Minnesota holiday tradition, lights up Nicollet Mall.

Getting to Nicollet Mall: Transit and Parking

The Hiawatha Light Rail Line has a stop at the north end of Nicollet Mall. Several Metro Transit bus lines serve some or all of Nicollet Mall. If you're driving, there is plenty of parking in downtown Minneapolis, however, it's expensive.