Mpls. Downtown Thursdays jumpstart post-pandemic reanimation

Photo by Kurt Moses

Happy hours, farmers markets, fitness, music and more will be the highlight of Downtown Thursdays this summer. With more workers returning to office and patrons to events, activities and patios alike, downtown’s reanimation continues each week. 

Downtown Minneapolis has a long list of activities every Thursday this summer.

Thursday events include the Nicollet Farmers Market and Nicollet Makers Market, which will be open for business on the Nicolet Mall from 6 am-2 pm. At Peavey Plaza, MNSpin will be playing live music from noon to 1 pm. There will also be free lawn games from 11:30 am to 1:30 and piano performances from 5 to 6 pm.

The Mississippi Park Connection is offering Upper Lock and Dam tours including 10% off paddle share tickets.  And movies are going to be shown at Target Field Station.

The Walker Art Center is offering its Target Free Thursday Nights from 5-9 pm. There will be special events and activities throughout the summer. 

Downtown Thursdays will also include a wide variety of Happy Hour specials at downtown restaurants including 8th Street Grill, Borough, Boulevard Bar & Grill, Constantine, Cowboy Jacks, CRAVE, Gluek’s, Lyons Pub, Monello, Nolo’s Kitchen Bar, The Loop and others.

 “Downtown is ready for us to fully embrace the experiences and moments we enjoyed pre-pandemic,” said Steve Cramer, president & CEO of the Minneapolis  Downtown council and Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District. “Each week Downtown Thursdays will be a full day of activities throughout downtown—from your morning commute to your after-work happy hour. And there are more activities throughout the week. We have a vibrant, resilient community, and we are ready to dive back into those moments we missed over the past 15 months.”

 “Summer is here, and there is nothing better than enjoying a patio before or after your favorite events,” said Ryan Petz, CEO of Fulton Beer. “We love being part of the downtown community nearby all the fantastic events and venues you can’t find anywhere else. Our taproom is thrilled to see downtown’s reanimation and love welcoming our patrons to enjoy summer together.”

Pre-pandemic, downtown welcomed 218,000 workers daily and millions of visitors annually. Today, with 53,000 downtown residents, over 26% of downtown’s workforce already returned with more coming this summer through fall, and stadiums, restaurants and entertainment venues preparing for full capacity, downtown is ready and able to accommodate its continued reanimation.

“We very much look forward to returning to our downtown office,” said Meike Hengelfelt, CenterPoint Energy strategic marketing manager. “We are so excited to be back in person with our colleagues to work collaboratively but also to enjoy downtown and all it has to offer—the Farmers Market on Nicollet Mall, spending the lunch hour by Peavey Plaza fountains, a summer evening on one of the beautiful downtown patios and so much more. Collectively, we are the ones who make downtown and we look forward to creating new experiences and making it an even better place for all this summer.”

Also downtown Minneapolis this summer

Pianos on Parade presented by PNC Bank returns

Pianos on Parade presented by PNC Bank return this summer with an extended run and includes pianos placed throughout downtown June through August. This year’s pianos are being painted through artist collaborations with Kulture Klub Collaborative, FAIR School, Art Buddies and other local artists to reflect a theme of A Vibrant Downtown. Pianos will be available for the public to share their gift of music, and they will also have more than 90 scheduled performances.

Splash and play at Peavey Plaza

There will be free lawn games every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 am-1:30 pm,  and free vinyasa yoga with the YWCA of Minneapolis on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm.  Pianos on Parade will perform on Wednesdays at 12 pm and Thursdays at 5 pm. And kids can enjoy the fountains and splashpad at Peavey Plaza throughout the summer.

For more information on downtown’s reanimation, a calendar of events, walking tours, and more, visit