According to the 2016 U.S. Census, Latinos make up 5.2% of the population in Minnesota (which in 2017 was estimated at 5,576,606). It may be a small presence, but it is there, as vibrant and recognizable as it anywhere else in the world. I recently traveled to Minneapolis in January, all the while wondering, “Is there a Latino culture in Minnesota? And if so, what does it entail, and where can I find it?” Luckily, through a little research, I was able to find some Latino American gems that you must check out when you travel to the Twin Cities.
Consisting of a whopping 35 businesses under one large roof, the Mercado Central in Minneapolis has a variety of Latino-owned businesses catering to the culture. Among these, you can buy pan dulce at Panaderia El Mexicano, pick up some pretty baubles at Joyeria Ashley, or shop for fresh flores at Del Sol Floreria.
Let’s keep it real. When you think of experiencing Latino culture while traveling, most of us think of the food first. The Midwestern state of Minnesota does not disappoint with eateries such as Hola Arepa. The restaurant and food truck brings a taste of Venezuelan cuisine, with their stuffed arepas with Latin-style fillings, to Minneapolis.
Electric Machete Studios
Another way to experience Latino culture is through our visual and creative expression. Electric Machete Studios is “an art and music collective featuring contemporary and experimental work rooted in Latinx and Indigenous art methods.” The St. Paul locale is a fine arts gallery, a print house, has art and music studios, and also houses a boutique.
District del Sol
The District del Sol, located in the West Side of St. Paul, is the predominantly Mexican part of the city. There, you can see beautiful murals representing Mexican culture, patronize several colorfully-painted Latino businesses, and attend the annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
Zinnia Folk Arts
Zinnia Folk Arts is a treasure trove of artisan creations, including Otomi textiles, Mexican silver jewelry, party decorations, and handmade clothing, from seven different regions in Mexico. The Minneapolis store also has a collection of Frida Kahlo-themed items, and one-of-a-kind pieces of folk art.