The Nokomis neighborhood in South Minneapolis has a population of more than 40,000 people, who no doubt find the area as interesting as we do. It’s surrounded by the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport, Veterans Memorial Park, and Interstate 35W. Many people know of the Nokomis area for its main attraction, which we’re sure you’ve heard about or visited at least once – Minnehaha Falls. Sound familiar? Well, there’s much more to this family-friendly neighborhood that you need to read about.
The first place you should visit is the neighborhood’s namesake, Lake Nokomis. During the winter, the lake is a haven for winter sports aficionados and it attracts hockey enthusiasts and ice fishers alike. Each year, for a weekend in mid-January, the lake is overtaken by the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Established in 2007, the annual tournament draws both local and international players and celebrates the very sport for which Minnesota is known. If you love hockey and don’t mind hanging out in sub-zero temps, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on this event!
If you’re like us and prefer to admire the lake’s beauty from a distance, be sure to bundle up and go for a walk around the frozen terrain. Take a moment to admire one of the many picturesque bridges. You might even catch a glimpse of some brave ice fishers like the guys seen above!
Right next to the lake, you’ll find the Nokomis Community Center. Because of its stunning view of the lake, it’s a favorite location for special events, including wedding receptions! The center offers a full range of recreational programs for every age group, including athletics, cultural and fine arts, music and dance, and community celebrations. Click on the link above if you’d like to see the center’s hours, times, and upcoming events!
Nearby, you’ll find the Aqualand Aquarium Center. Family owned since 1966, its prime location makes it a favorite neighborhood destination for families with young children. If you’re feeling nautical (and want to feel like you’re in a tropical getaway rather than a frozen tundra), make sure to visit the Aquarium. Aqualand is especially known for its selection of tropical fish!
Feeling artsy? Well then you should definitely check out the Museum of Russian Art. At first glance, it may look more like a church than a museum (the building was originally a chapel), but don’t be deceived by its appearance. In 2013, Star Tribune named it as one out of the city’s Best Museums To Take Out-of-Towners, but even if you’re a local who just wants to entertain yourself with a little Russian culture, there’s no better place to go.
Speaking of entertainment, Nokomis has a lot more to offer! For example, the retro-inspired Parkway Theater provides a large selection of movies from diverse backgrounds for you to choose from. Described as the “Neighborhood Cinema,” the Parkway celebrates the community’s independent filmmakers from all ages and backgrounds. You can read more about them here.
If transportation is a big concern for you, don’t worry because Metro Transit has got you covered in this neighborhood. The centrally-located transit station, which is serviced by multiple bus lines and the Metro Blue Line, is located right next to Oaks Station Place, Oak’s Properties’ newest apartment community. Talk about convenience!
If hunger strikes then you’re surely in luck, because Nokomis is home to the world-famous restaurant, Matt’s Bar, known for its “Jucy Lucy” hamburger (and no, that’s not a typo – with all that cheese, there’s no room for an “i” in Matt’s burger!). Opening in 1954 as a neighborhood joint, Matt’s Bar has since grown to be one of biggest must-eat places for out-of-towners and serves as a regular hangout for locals. The “Jucy Lucy” itself has an exciting story; make sure to read more about it on Matt’s website.
If you decide to take a walk to burn off some of those calories from Matt’s (which are so worth it, in our opinion) then be ready to stroll past some of the cutest houses around. Consisting of mainly traditional and cottage-style homes, you might feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint New England town, rather than being located just minutes from the hustle and bustle of a big city. Adding to the cozy, small-town feel is the fact that you’re likely to run into professional dog walkers, escorting 6 or 7 dogs like it’s no big deal. See this adorable picture for woof-proof!
If shopping is your preferred form of cardio, then you’re going to love the small shops on Chicago Avenue. While in the neighborhood, we had the chance to talk to some local business owners like Jake Sanders, proprietor of the family business, Shop in the City. He told us about the shop’s humble beginning in 2002, and how it has grown into a community favorite. Jake and the rest of the team currently remain active in the Nokomis community by participating in fundraisers and giving charity donations. Many of the surrounding businesses have similar stories, either being family-owned or having been around for many decades.
Because of its wide array of activities and abundance of single-family homes, Nokomis is a great place to live. For families looking to settle down in a safe community, then this is the right place. Served by elementary schools such as Wenonah, Keewaydin, and Hale, Nokomis provides a great, safe environment for kids to grow up and thrive.
Last, but not least we have Minnehaha Falls, a magnificent 53-foot waterfall, located in Minnehaha Regional Park. The name originates from the Dakota language with “Mini’ meaning water and “haha” meaning waterfall; because of the second half of its name, it is sometimes referred to as the “Laughing Waters.” This park offers a great place to admire one of nature’s most powerful and awe-inspiring forces. During the summer, you’ll often find couples taking wedding pictures under the park’s gazebo. During the winter, it’s just as majestic when the water freezes and turns the falls into a frozen fantasy.
So, dear reader, this is where we end our post. Feel free to contact us with any questions about the neighborhood, or let us know if we missed one of your favorite local hangouts! Make sure to check out the rest of our neighborhood features to find the right match for you.