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These 3 Minnesota neighborhoods have underrated nightlife, according to a new survey

This south-central Minnesota city makes list of underrated nightlife spots in U.S.
This south-central Minnesota city makes list of underrated nightlife spots in U.S. 03:32

MINNEAPOLIS — If you're heading out for a night on the town, there are obvious locations in the Twin Cities. The North Loop in Minneapolis and West Seventh Street in St. Paul quickly come to mind.

But what about those underrated neighborhoods, the ones only locals really know about? There's a few in Minnesota that landed on a countrywide list.

Wealth of Geeks, a pop culture and lifestyle website, surveyed 3000 people to find the country's Top 100 Underrated Nightlife Neighborhoods.

Three from Minnesota made that list.

Downtown Mankato landed at No. 23. Further down the list is St. Paul's Lowertown at No. 84. The Historic Southwest neighborhood of Rochester was ranked No. 93.

WCCO reached out to Visit Mankato to get the rundown on what to do downtown so people could craft an ideal night out.

First, you need to know where to visit in the city's downtown district. Ashlee White with Visit Mankato said the City Center neighborhood is a great place to start. It's on the east side of the Minnesota River and is the city's main entertainment district.

It features the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center, which hosts concerts and sporting events, like the NCAA Frozen Four. City Center also has a large number bars and restaurants for a night out.

From City Center, hop north across Main Street and you reach a five-block stretch known as Old Town. It spans Riverfront Drive and is described as a mix of art, history, music and culture. White said it's also great for shopping at unique small businesses. Old Town is just a short walk from the Vetter Stone Amphitheater, perfect for summer concerts along the river.

Based on some of White's suggestions, here's a potential plan for a night out. If you're looking for fun, start at Flask, located at 100 E. Walnut St. It has an energetic atmosphere, vibrant menu for food and drinks and has board games if you want to get playful with your friend group. 

If you want fancy, try Number 4 Steakhouse at 124 E. Walnut St. Enjoy upscale ambiance and well-crafted cocktails. After your meal, grab a seat at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater. Upcoming concerts include the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on June 21 and the Beach Boys on July 9.

"I think a lot of people don't realize what we have and when they come to visit," Ashlee White of Visit Mankato said. "They get to experience the bars and the restaurants and the nightlife and they just didn't maybe expect it." 

White also created a list of suggestions:


  • Pub 500 – A Mankato staple serving up hearty fare like pulled pork sandwiches, plus a large selection of beers.
  • Wine Café – A wide variety of wines from around the world. You'll often find live music or karaoke here. 
  • Flask – A Mankato hotspot for fun cocktails, delicious food and a unique atmosphere. Provides a fun selection of board games for those looking for some competitive entertainment with their friends. 
  • Nolabelle Kitchen + Bar – Great for cocktails and fantastic farm-to-table menu items sourced from local ingredients.
  • Number 4 – An upscale option with well-crafted cocktails and menu items ranging from pasta to steaks and seafood.
  • Locale Brewery – Delicious taproom serving up approachable beers made with Midwest ingredients. 
  • Za's Pizza – New pizza joint that serves up pizza by the slice, making it a must-visit spot for a late-night snack after a fun night out. 

Nightlife & Entertainment

  • Mankato Playhouse – A wonderful musical dinner theater experience in the heart of downtown. Upcoming musicals include "Sleeping Beauty" and "Drowsy Chaperone Jr." 
  • Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center and Vetter Stone Amphitheater – The two venues host many live concerts, festivals, and cultural events throughout the year at both the event center and outdoor amphitheater. Upcoming highlights include Ribfest, which takes place the first weekend of August and Bend of the River Festival taking place in September. 
  • Live Music & Trivia – Many of our bars and restaurants have live music or trivia nights throughout the week. Check out the calendars at places like 507, Loose Moose Saloon, Ummies, Rounders and more.
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