1) For breakfast, head to CARAG’s southern border, West 36th Street. Between Aldrich and Colfax you’ll find three ways to satisfy your morning cravings: classic diner comfort at Our Kitchen, 813 W. 36th St.; a cozy café vibe at Gigi’s, 824 W. 36th St.; or elevated doughnuts at Bogart’s Donut Co., 904 W. 36th St.
Take your pick.
2) After breakfast, hop on a bike.
CARAG is the perfect launching point for a bicycle ride through Minneapolis. Bryant Avenue’s bike lanes head north into downtown and south to Minnehaha Creek. A protected bicycle lane on West 36th Street connects CARAG to Lake Calhoun and the Chain of Lakes biking and walking paths.
Here’s a wintertime alternative: Bryant Square Park’s ice skating and hockey rinks are open as long as the cold weather holds, and skates are free to borrow from the recreation center.
3) Worked up an appetite, yet? If you didn’t hit Gigi’s at breakfast, the array of soups, salads and sandwiches on offer make it a solid choice for lunch.
An excellent alternative on the north end of the neighborhood is Morrissey’s Irish Pub, 913 W. Lake St., where the menu includes both pub standards (fish and chips, bangers and mash) and tasty takes on American bar food (wings, burgers). Morrissey’s tends to draw more of a neighborhood crowd than other Uptown bars, so you’ll feel like a local.
4) Head to Calhoun Square to shop or just browse and you’ll find the Uptown landmark in the midst of its latest reinvention. The 30-year-old urban mall changed hands in 2014, and a recent remodel has added art and interest to the building’s formerly bland interior.
For a different kind of shopping, take a trip through the aisles of Bill’s Imported Foods, 721 W. Lake St. Those in the know choose this hidden gem for Mediterranean delicacies, including a half-dozen varieties of fresh feta cheese, from tart and creamy French to briny, funky Bulgarian.
5) Time for an afternoon pick-me-up. Dogwood Coffee takes brewing a cup super-seriously, and its Calhoun Square coffee bar serves one of the best espressos in town.
6) Digging through back issue boxes at Comic Book College, 3145 Hennepin Ave. S., is a perfectly fine way to kill an hour (or two) in the afternoon. If you prefer guitar heroes to superheroes, head to Twin Town Guitar, 3400 Lyndale Ave. S., for its vast selection of new and used instruments and gear.
7) Libertine in Calhoun Square is a modernized steakhouse, both more hip and less pretentious than that term implies. And it’s fun: Once diners finish the unctuous bone marrow toast appetizer, the halved marrowbone becomes a whisky luge. One shot of Rebel Yell, down the gullet.
Former La Belle Vie chef Tim McKee helped to guide the restaurant through its 2014 opening, and it remains the best spot in CARAG for dinner and drinks.