Where to stay in Minneapolis for first time: 4 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Minneapolis as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Minneapolis for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Minneapolis for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Minneapolis and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota, United States. It is located in the southeastern part of the state, along the Mississippi River. Together with the neighboring city of St. Paul, Minneapolis forms the “Twin Cities,” which are the core of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area.

Minneapolis has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous theaters, museums, and music venues. The city is known for its support of the arts, and it has a thriving music and theater community.

The city is home to several professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Vikings (NFL), Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), and Minnesota Twins (MLB). The city has also hosted major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four.

It is home to the University of Minnesota, a major research institution with a strong academic reputation. The university’s campus is located along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Minneapolis has a rich history, with its growth linked to milling and timber industries in the 19th century. The city played a significant role in the development of the flour milling industry and was once known as the “Mill City.”

Is Minneapolis safe to visit?

Yes, Minneapolis is generally safe to visit. But, like any city, it has areas with varying levels of safety. Common crimes are petty theft, pickpocketing, robberies, and assault. Downtown and the North Loop are generally safe. 

The city gained attention in 2020 due to civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, and there were instances of protests and demonstrations. It’s essential to always prioritize your safety by staying aware of your surroundings and taking common-sense precautions.

Where to stay in Minneapolis for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Minneapolis for first-timers and tourists are Downtown Minneapolis, North Loop/Warehouse District, University of Minnesota, and Mall of America. Remember that crime can happen anywhere, so it is essential to exercise basic safety precautions to reduce the risks.

Downtown Minneapolis is a great base to book your accommodations if you want a central location, proximity to major attractions, and ease of access to public transportation. 

The North Loop/Warehouse District, located just north of Downtown, is a trendy and upscale area with a mix of boutiques, art galleries, and excellent dining options. The University of Minnesota area is vibrant and diverse but may appeal more to those who enjoy the energy of a college campus. 

The Mall of America area is ideal for shopping enthusiasts and those looking for entertainment options. This area is also a convenient base for easy access to Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport.

During my trip to Minneapolis, I stayed at the 4-star Loews Minneapolis Hotel. It had a prime location on First Avenue North in central Downtown Minneapolis, within walking distance from Nicollet Mall and Target Center. Room was spacious with a comfortable bed. Breakfast was lovely with a reasonable price.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Minneapolis for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Minneapolis first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Minneapolis first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Minneapolis, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Minneapolis have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Safe areas to stay in Minneapolis for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis is a popular choice for travelers who want a central location with access to a variety of activities. It is a vibrant and central area, with lots of accommodation options for all budgets.

One unique feature of Downtown Minneapolis is its extensive skyway system. This network of enclosed pedestrian walkways connects buildings and allows people to move between them without going outside, which can be especially convenient during the winter months.

Downtown is home to various cultural attractions, including the Guthrie Theater, Mill City Museum, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and the Walker Art Center. You’ll find a range of artistic and entertainment options within walking distance.

The area offers a diverse culinary scene with numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes. Nicollet Mall is a popular street for dining and shopping.

If you’re a sports fan, Downtown Minneapolis is close to sports venues such as Target Field (baseball) and U.S. Bank Stadium (football). The area also hosts concerts, events, and theater productions.

The city is located along the Mississippi River, so you can take a stroll, go for a jog, or simply relax by the water.

Downtown is well-connected with public transportation options, including buses and light rail, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.

Consideration: There might be homeless people around the area, plus noise due to its central location.

Best places to stay in Downtown Minneapolis for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): The Chambers Hotel, 5-star hotel centrally located on South Marquette Avenue, downtown Minneapolis, close to major sights like Target Field, U.S. Bank Stadium, and Minnesota Orchestra. It is right off the LRT. Easy to reach by tram from the airport. It has 24-hour front desk, onsite parking, a sun terrace, and a fitness center. 

Luxury ($$$): The Chambers Hotel, 5-star hotel, conveniently located on Hennepin Avenue in central Downtown West, easy access to the skyway which leads to the Target Center, Target Field, U.S. Bank Stadium, and Mississippi River. You can find many restaurants, theaters, and entertainment options nearby. 

Mid-range ($$): Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District, 4-star hotel located in Downtown East close to the river, U.S. Bank Stadium, Guthrie theater, and Mill City Museum. It has free bikes, 24-hour front desk, onsite bar/restaurant, and onsite parking.

Budget ($): Hampton Inn & Suites – Minneapolis/Downtown, popular 3-star hotel in a prime location, in the heart of the theater district. It is linked to the climate-controlled Skyway, close to Target Field and  First Avenue. It has a fitness center and a good complimentary hot breakfast.


2. Warehouse District/ North Loop

The Warehouse District and North Loop are adjacent neighborhoods in Minneapolis known for their trendy and historic atmosphere. They are great bases for those who want central location, easy access to the downtown.

This area is characterized by historic warehouses and industrial buildings that have been repurposed into trendy lofts, shops, and restaurants. The area retains a unique blend of old and new.

The area has become hubs for craft breweries and distilleries. Beer and spirits enthusiasts can explore various tasting rooms and enjoy locally crafted beverages.

Baseball fans will appreciate that Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, is located in the North Loop. If you’re in town during the baseball season, catching a game can be a fun experience.

Both neighborhoods are located near the Mississippi River, providing opportunities for scenic walks along the riverfront and enjoying outdoor spaces.

Best places to stay in Minneapolis in Warehouse District:

Mid-range ($$): Element Minneapolis Downtown North Loop, 3-star good value for money hotel, in a safe, secure building, conveniently located on North 6th Avenue,  10 mins walk from Target Field. The hotel has free bikes, private parking, a fitness center, a business center, and family rooms.

Mid-range ($$): TownePlace Suites by Marriott Minneapolis Downtown/North Loop, 3-star hotel located in the North Loop Neighborhood, offering self catering accommodation, outdoor pool, family rooms, and good breakfast. Good base for a Twins game. Close to many restaurants, bars and clubs.

Mid-range ($$): Sonder at SECOND & SECOND, 3-star good value for money condo hotel in North 2nd Street, near the trails and Mississippi, 20 mins walk from Minnesota Orchestra. Rooms come with a  well-equipped kitchen.


3. University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota area is situated near the eastern bank of the Mississippi River and is known for its vibrant and energetic atmosphere, largely influenced by the presence of the university campus. 

The University of Minnesota area hosts cultural attractions such as the Weisman Art Museum, which features a distinctive Frank Gehry-designed building and a diverse collection of art.

TCF Bank Stadium, home to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, and Williams Arena, home to the basketball teams, are located in this area. If you’re a sports fan, catching a game can be a fun experience.

Adjacent to the University, Dinkytown is a popular commercial district with shops, bookstores, and restaurants. It’s a hub for students and visitors alike.

Best places to stay in the University of Minnesota area:

Mid-range ($$): Graduate Minneapolis, 4-star boutique hotel located at the University of Minnesota. It is  connected to Top Golf and 2 blocks away from TCF Bank Stadium. Lots of restaurants and coffee shops nearby.

Budget ($): Home2 Suites By Hilton Minneapolis University Area, 3-star hotel located 10 mins walk from TCF Bank Stadium, featuring an onsite restaurant, a 24-hour front desk, and padi shuttle services. 

Budget ($): Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis – University Area, 3-star hotel close to the TCF Bank Stadium and the Univercity. It has free private parking, which is a bonus for those who travel with a car. It also has an indoor pool, buffet breakfast, and a fitness center.


4. Mall of America

The Mall of America is one of the largest shopping and entertainment complexes in the United States and is located in Bloomington, a suburb of Minneapolis.

 Beyond shopping, the Mall of America is home to various entertainment attractions. Nickelodeon Universe is an indoor theme park with rides and attractions suitable for all ages. SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium provides an underwater adventure with a variety of marine life.

The Mall of America is easily accessible by car, and there is ample parking available. Additionally, the mall is connected to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport by light rail, making it convenient for travelers.

Minnesota does not have sales tax on clothing items, which can be a significant perk for those looking to shop for apparel at the Mall of America.

Best places to stay in Minneapolis in Mall of America:

Mid-range ($$): Cambria Hotel Bloomington Mall of America Minneapolis Airport, 4-star good value for money hotel located in Bloomington, a short drive/15 mins walk from Mall of America. It has an indoor pool, 24-hour front desk, free airport transportation, and a business center.

Mid-range ($$): Radisson Blu Mall of America, 4-star hotel in Bloomington, adjacent to the Mall of America, 10 mins taxi ride from Hyland Ski Snowboard Area. It has free transfer service to Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport.

Budget ($): Element Bloomington Mall of America, 3-star good value for money accommodation in a convenient location, within walking distance to the Mall of America. It has free bikes, fitness center, an indoor pool, and a 24-hour front desk.


In conclusion, Downtown Minneapolis, Warehouse District, University of Minnesota, and Mall of America are the best places to stay in Minneapolis for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas to book your accommodations, but it is important to always stay alert wherever you go.

You can continue reading about other popular cities near Minneapolis in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Minneapolis. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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