Minneapolis closes downtown street for first Warehouse District Live

As the Minnesota Twins take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field, Minneapolis is taking a swing at bringing a little liveliness to downtown.

The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District and the City of Minneapolis to block off a block of First Avenue between 5th and 6th streets on weekends for Warehouse District Live.

Organizers say there will be food trucks, picnic tables and free entertainment to create a more welcoming space for people on foot.

"We're providing more space for people to do the things they want to do: eat, drink, hang out, talk with their friends, have some fun. So that's the idea. The idea is by closing this off and creating an enhanced entertainment district this space can breathe a little bit as the entertainment district it is," said Ben Shardlow, with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District.  

In addition to concrete and metal barriers blocking the road, organizers say there will be police officers, a full security team working the perimeter of the block, as well as community outreach groups like Mad Dads and 21 Days of Peace, to make sure the space is as safe as possible. 

"It's less an effort to sell people on the idea that they should come downtown and it's a recognition that people are downtown and we care about providing a great experience for them while they are here," said Shardlow.

Nearby businesses hope providing more space for people to have fun downtown is a homerun for them.

"It's been a rough couple of years since COVID and George Floyd and I think a lot of people in the suburbs have been nervous about coming downtown and hopefully if we give them a reason like this it will bring more people back downtown," said Marcus Dorn, manager at the Loon Cafe.

Warehouse District Live will run from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights through the end of October.