At the official edge of the University of Minnesota sits Dinkytown, a few small streets of cafes, clubs, and small stores catering for their academic neighbours.
An old style entertainment venue, the Varsity Theatre, calls these streets home, as do second-hand bookstores, clothing boutiques and all-American diners. Murals can be seen on the walls around this residential community, created to depict the history of the area during its ‘heyday’ of the sixties and seventies, when the music scene and student activism thrived.
Art meets academia on the university campus, home to the Weisman Art Museum. You don’t need to enter any exhibits here to see works of art; the building itself is one. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the museum appears like an abstract painting come to life, a contrast of flowing shapes and sharp lines. Its stainless steel surface steals light from its surroundings: the blue of the sky, the rust-like colours of autumn.
The bridge next to the Weisman connects the two banks of the University of Minnesota, carrying maroon-clad students to and from class while the skyscrapers of Downtown Minneapolis stand sentinel on the far side. Wandering around the campus made me strangely nostalgic. Red brick buildings, the glow of autumn on the trees, students clad in sweatpants and carrying backpacks: it all brought me back to the last time I experienced autumn in America, during my year studying abroad on the East Coast.
Source of nostalgia or not, Dinkytown was a lovely location for some leisurely afternoon exploration in the autumn sunshine, and an interesting alternative to the bustle of Minneapolis‘ city centre.