A small town surrounded by a big city, the intimate community of Seward
practically demands involvement in its sponsored events and neighborhood groups, so antisocial resident beware.
One of five neighborhoods in the greater Longfellow
Community, Seward lies southeast of downtown Minneapolis
and is bordered on its east side by the Mississippi River. The University of Minnesota campus lies just to the northeast, across the river. The availability of local goods and services inside this compact area give residents reason to brag. It’s been likened to a borough in New York City: civic-minded, grass-roots oriented, outgoing and infused with a strong sense of identity.
This is an old neighborhood that refuses to retire. After noting community deterioration in the 1960s, concerned individuals formed the Seward Neighborhood Group. With the addition of 40 Block Groups that work to create a forum for the folks on each block to establish relationships and discuss issues, Seward has become a city-wide model of collective neighborhood engagement.
So, whether you’re looking for a safe location where neighbors are on a first-name basis, a place where your shopping dollars keep locals employed or somewhere to raise the children, keep this urban village in mind.
Schools in Seward
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Like all aspects of life in Seward, dining and evening entertainment focus on family-owned business and alternatives to the more conventional city chains and nightclubs. You can find most venues in the region of Franklin Avenue.
Start your day at the Birchwood Café, a small American-style diner where you seat yourself and order at the counter. Open breakfast through dinner, Birchwood serves colossal pancakes with toppings piled on like pizza and uses locally-sourced produce whenever possible. Though residents moan about the chaotic seating arrangements and moderate prices, this challenge proves worth facing when you know your next meal has been sourced from organic farms around the state.
For an ethnic meal option, Himalayan Restaurant offers a changing lunch buffet and a dinner menu of Indian and Nepalese specialties. Yak and goat grace the menu, along with mango lassies that are so big you shouldn’t attempt to drink one alone.
After dinner, you’ve got your choice of dive bars, both hip and humble. Tracy’s Saloon pours cheap happy hour beers and fills up for Tuesday’s Buffalo Wings Night. Though the older generation knows Eagles 34 as a VFW, the bar draws a mixed-age crowd with big band performances and swing dancing under any name. You can play pool or catch a free music gig at the cash-only Hexagon Bar.
Live music and bowling blend perfectly at Memory Lanes & Flashback Café. For a night out, this joint has you covered, with food, cheap beers and post-meal entertainment. Parking and Wi-Fi are free, and the bowling equipment never looks too grungy to use.
History & Culture
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Seward drew early inhabitants with the construction of the Milwaukee Railroad. Community attempts to further develop the area resulted in upgraded housing, remodeled buildings and technological improvements in the schools.
Now boasting a thriving arts scene, Seward has over 250 resident artists and two internationally renowned arts centers. At one of these, the Northern Clay Center, you can wander through the open studio, shop for local art or create your own in a weekly ceramics course. At the Playwright's Center, look forward to new and unusual theater work.
The Seward Art Council hosts the annual Seward Arts Festival, where dance, music and performance art encourage youth involvement and education. Adults will also enjoy the crafts and food stalls.
The Grand Round Scenic Byway follows 50 miles of Mississippi River, passing Minnehaha
Park and the Chain of Lakes region. Joining up with the West River Parkway, this route showcases the city’s wilderness areas and takes you from urban to rural environments within 30 minutes.
The Metro Blue Line light rail runs through Seward, linking the neighborhood with Minneapolis city center in the north, to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and Bloomington’s Mall of America in the south. Stops include Franklin Avenue, and a Park and Ride station in the Howe
neighborhood at the Lake Street/Midtown Station. You can also take the Northstar Commuter Rail, which runs from east to west and stops along Franklin Avenue.
In light traffic, you can reach downtown Minneapolis by car in 15 minutes. If you prefer to avoid the hassle of parking, Yellow Taxi Company and Executive Transportation operate in Seward and offer cabs and shuttle services. Uber, also operates around Minneapolis.
With so many commercial businesses located around Franklin Avenue, it’s easy to complete your errands on foot. Rated one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, Seward is also bike-friendly.
Life in Seward is nearly on par with the city average. While goods and services cost the same here as elsewhere in the city, a range of housing options – including high rise apartments, duplexes, single-family homes
and National Historic Preservation houses – create rent rates for every kind of income. Don’t let the low renter vacancy rates scare you; the median rent for a one-bedroom
unit floats between $700-$1,400, less than the city median.
A trip downtown on the light rail costs $2.25 during morning and evening rush hours, $1.75 in between these times. Choose to drive your car, and you can expect to pay about 1 percent less than the national average on gas prices. Good thing drinks are cheap; a pint of beer at a local pub costs $5 to $6, and drops in price during prevalent happy hours.
Shopping in Seward flourishes along Franklin Avenue. Here, you’ll find a slew of specialty shops – from bicycles and photography to hardware – that provide both goods and relevant information to customers.
The popular Boneshaker Books, staffed by enthusiastic volunteers, stocks an eclectic range of titles and genres intended to provoke new thoughts among readers. The staff excels at keeping customers informed of the latest releases as well making recommendations for an appropriate read, and they also do bicycle deliveries to bring the customer service to a whole other level.
Seward’s appreciation for music appears in its guitar, piano and record stores. At Dead Media, scan the racks for your favorite vinyl and catch in-store performances from neighborhood musicians.
Residents can eat like royalty with all the grocery options in this neighborhood. Though Cubs Supermarket is located in nearby Howe, staying local at specialty markets proves easy. Coastal Seafood runs daily 20 percent off specials; check the website to stay abreast of sales. United Noodles, rumored to have the best Japanese selection in the city, serves as both an Asian market and restaurant.
For more mainstream goods, including organic and dietary delicacies, check out the Seward Community Co-Op. You’ll pay a bit more for local produce (Seward’s is one of the few stores in the city to sell bison meat), so stick to the bulk aisle for money-saving goods. Check the
Co-op calendar for courses in everything from making pasta to raising chickens in your backyard.
The inclusive environment at Matthew’s Park and Recreation Center mirror Seward’s close-knit community. Ten acres of trees – some so old and big you can’t fit your arms around them – share space with an assortment of sporting facilities. Baseball, hockey, skating, volleyball and broomball fields dot the park. In summer, children wade in the pool and scramble around the playground.
Bikers can stretch their legs in the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park. The Winchell trail, once a Native American path, runs along limestone bluffs from Franklin Avenue to 44th Street.
The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway includes both roads and bike trails. The River Gorge Trail is one of the toughest, with a 4/5 rating over a 8.5 mile route.