Wandering through Linden Hills: Choose your own adventure

Photos by Janelle Nivens
Photos by Janelle Nivens

Treasures abound in the Linden Hills neighborhood for locals and visitors alike: bustling business districts, historical landmarks, parks, schools, beautiful homes, and places of worship. Exploring the neighborhood on foot is a great way to spend a couple hours — or an entire day.

A recommended route is to walk a 4-mile loop around the neighborhood using the boundaries designated by the City of Minneapolis: West 36th Street and Lake Calhoun on the north, William Berry Drive and Lake Harriet on the east, West 47th Street on the south, and France Avenue on the west. Due to a private golf course, two lakes, and the absence of accessible sidewalks in some areas, the walk route includes a couple of slight modifications to the official boundaries.

Choose your own adventure by starting at any one of the four sides of the neighborhood. Complete the entire loop at once or break it down into smaller pieces. Optional tours include popular points of interest and hidden gems. The directions assume you are walking clockwise around the neighborhood.

LindenHillsWalkingTour-map

Neighborhood exploration tips

Beyond the typical advice given for walking (wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen, stay hydrated, etc.), these tips will help you get the most from your time exploring Linden Hills (or any urban neighborhood for that matter).

Pace yourself

Walk at a pace that allows you to take in your surroundings. While you are certainly getting exercise, the point of these walks are to slow down and experience the neighborhood.

Sense and savor

Use all of the senses — sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Look up and down. There is a lot to see above and below your sightline. Take deep breaths. Smell the flowering trees or the burning wood fireplaces. Walk without listening to music or podcasts so you can hear the birds chirping, kids playing with one another, or music playing from passing cars. Pay attention to how the ground feels beneath your feet. Taste the food and drink at local cafes and restaurants — oh, and always stop at lemonade stands.

Select a theme

Based on your interests, choose a couple of things to be on the lookout for during your walk. Perhaps you have an interest in architectural details on homes and you want to pay attention to door styles. Maybe you’re a dog lover and will note all of the dogs you see looking out windows or hanging out on porches. Book lovers may want to be on the lookout for Little Free Libraries.

Research in advance

Before exploring a neighborhood, consult the City of Minneapolis website for historical landmarks: minneapolismn.gov/hpc/landmarks/

Never pass up a public restroom

This is possibly the most important piece of advice. Public restrooms are often few and far between. Make use of the ones you do encounter!

Hidden gems

Hidden gems in the context of neighborhood walks can be anything from a little known trail to front yard sculptures and art installations. Neighborhood gems are subjective. What may stand out to one person as outstanding will fail to impress another. Gems may also be temporary or seasonal. As you walk through Linden Hills, take note of your discoveries and compare with others.

Learn more about Linden Hills neighborhood

Download self-guided walks: lindenhills.org/history/

Attend Linden Hills History Study Group events: facebook.com/LindenHillsHistoryStudyGroup/

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Boundary loop route directions and highlights

Plan on spending three hours to walk the entire boundary loop and optional tours.

Northern Border

Distance: approximately 1 mile

Starting point: West 38th Street and France Avenue South

Directions: Walk east on West 38th Street, turn left (north) on Abbott Avenue South (walk on the east side of Abbott as the sidewalk ends on the west side). Turn right (east) on West 36th Street. At West Calhoun Pkwy cross West 36th Street and join the pedestrian trail. Turn right (heading southeast) on the Grand Rounds trail which runs parallel to West Calhoun Parkway. Follow this trail to Richfield Road.

NorthBorderWebHighlights:

— The Forest School of Minnesota, a nature immersion preschool

— Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun)

— View of downtown Minneapolis skyline

— Shoreline Habitat Restoration Project Platform at West 36th Street & Lake Calhoun Pkwy

— Bakken Museum (technically in West Calhoun neighborhood)

Optional tour: Homes and a bridge

At West 36th Street and Zenith Avenue South, walk south on Zenith. Take a left at West 38th Street and take the trail to cross a footbridge. Continue on the trail and return to West Calhoun Parkway. Walk east to continue on the Boundary Loop on the eastern border OR walk north to return to the start of this optional tour at West 36th Street and Zenith Avenue South.

Highlights:

— Take note of the eclectic mix of home styles on Zenith Avenue

— Pause on the bridge to enjoy wildlife like birds and turtles attracted to the area thanks in part to the work of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and individuals like Cynthia Krieg. The bridge was dedicated in 2000 to Cynthia in 2000 who died after serving the community and making a lasting impact.

Eastern Border

Distance: approximately 1 mile

Starting point: Richfield Road and William Berry Parkway

Directions: Walk south on William Berry Parkway using the Grand Rounds pedestrian trail. Follow the grand rounds trail to West 42nd Street and walk west. Turn left (south) to walk on Linden Hills Blvd. Follow Linden Hills Blvd to 43rd Street and cross the street to continue on the sidewalk that curves. At 43rd Street turn left to walk south on Upton Avenue S until 47th Street.

EastBorderWeb

Highlights:

— Como Harriet Streetcar Line

— Lake Harriet Bandshell, Bread & Pickle, and sailboats in the warmer months

— Front yard art installations on Linden Hills Blvd

— Shops and restaurants at 43rd & Upton.

— Historic landmark: Fire Station #28 at 2724 West 43rd Street

— Historic landmark: Lake Harriet Park Picnic Pavilion, and Women’s and Men’s Rest Buildings in Beard’s Plaisance Park

Optional tour: William Berry Woods and Chadwick Cottages

At the unmarked intersection of William Berry Parkway and Linden Hills Parkway, follow the trail through the section of William Berry Park known as William Berry Woods on the west side of William Berry Parkway. Stay on the paved path until you exit the park at West 39th Street and Richfield Road. Walk west on West 39th Street to Thomas Avenue S. Turn left (south) on Thomas Avenue South until W 40th Street. Turn left (east) on the south side of W 40th Street. At Queen Avenue South, turn right to walk south using the sidewalk on the east side of the street. At 42nd Street, turn right (west) to continue the Boundary Loop route or turn left (east) to return to your starting point via the Grand Rounds trail.

Highlights:

— Historic landmark: Chadwick Cottages at 2617 West 40th Street.

— Keep your eyes peeled for deer roaming in William Berry Park.

— Front yard art installations

Optional tour: 43rd Street Business District, Library, Park, and Trolley Path

At West 43rd Street and Upton, walk west on the north side of West 43rd Street until Zenith Avenue S. Turn left (south) on the west side of Zenith Avenue S. A few feet before reaching 44th Street, take a left (west) onto the path. At Xerxes Avenue South, turn left to walk north until 43rd Street. Turn right (west) to walk on the south side of West 43rd Street and return to Upton Avenue South. Continue the Eastern Border of the Boundary Loop route.

Highlights:

— 43rd Street Business district

— Historic landmark: Linden Hills Branch Library.

— Linden Hills Farmers Market on Sundays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

— Trolley Path Gardens maintained by the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council to “create a sustainable and beautiful native plant landscape that provides habitat for birds and butterflies.”

Southern Border

Distance: approximately 1 mile

Starting point: West 47th Street and West Lake Harriet Parkway

Directions: Walk west on West 47th Street until France Avenue South

SouthernBorder

Highlights:

— Southwest High School

Western Border

Distance: approximately 1 mile

Starting point: West 47th Street and France Avenue South

Directions: Walk north on France Avenue South until West 38th Street

Note: the sidewalk abruptly ends at W 39th Street. For a more accessible route, you may choose to walk the final block of the western border on Ewing Avenue South which is one block to the east.

Highlights:

— 4609 France Ave. S. – “Hope House”

— Restaurants and businesses at 44th and France Avenue South

WesternBorder

Optional tour: 44th & Beard Business district and Waveland Park

At W 44th Street and France Avenue S, walk east on West 44th Street. At Beard Avenue South, turn left to walk north until Motor Place. Turn left (west) on Motor Place and cross Chowen Avenue South to Waveland Park. Walk through Waveland Park Triangle to Ewing Avenue South. Walk west on Ewing Avenue South and turn left at Waveland Terrace and walk west to France Avenue South.

Highlights:

— Shops and restaurants at 44th & Beard

— 3514 Motor Place: a purple home with a turret and a sailboat wind vane

Waveland Park

— Little Free Libraries at 4400 Beard Ave. S. and 4317 Ewing Ave. S.

Photo Scavenger Hunt

As you explore the neighborhood, try to find as many of the following items as possible. Take a photo and share on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #LindenHillsWalk.

— Dog or cat in a window or doorway

— Tile roof

— Little Free Library

— Statue (guardian lion, gargoyle, etc)

— Welcome to the neighborhood sign

— People sitting on a front porch or balcony

— Flag

— Flyer or advertisement stapled to a light pole

— Lemonade stand

— Collector’s car

— Mural

— Historical marker or dedication/memorial plaque or paver

— Windvane

— For rent/for sale sign

Share your adventure

Take photos on your Linden Hills journey and share them on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LindenHillsWalk. Invite friends and family to join you in person or through social media.

Special thanks to Scott Nivens, Jean Grossman, and Rebecca Noran for walking this route with me and providing feedback.

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