Skip to main content

Minneapolis hopes for big impact from tiny 'parklets'

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Some new, but small, community spaces called "parklets" have popped up in a few locations in Minneapolis. As part of a pilot program, the city has installed three of these mini parks in busy commercial areas to encourage people to have a seat, relax and perhaps visit a nearby small business or restaurant.

"Parklets are a really simple, but extraordinary way to transform public space," Council Member Lisa Bender said Tuesday as she visited one of the parklets as they were officially unveiled, according to the Star Tribune.

Parklets are basically an extension of the sidewalk into the street. The Minneapolis parklets take up about the same space as two parking spots.

The parklet surface is a modular wood platform, and there's room in each one for a few tables and chairs as well as several planters, according to KARE 11.

Here’s a time-lapse video showing one parklet being installed at 212 3rd Ave. N.

The new spaces are available for anyone to use, but nearby businesses are sponsoring each one of them -- meaning they're responsible for keeping them clean and watering the plants.

The three parklets are located on Emerson Avenue outside Juxtaposition Arts; on Third Avenue across from Monte Carlo Restaurant; and on Nicollet Avenue outside of Spyhouse Coffee.

They will stay up through October, then be put away for the winter and return again in spring. But they may be in different spots next year; they'll be rotated throughout the city to different locations, according to officials, who add they may begin taking applications from businesses who want to sponsor a parklet next year.

Parklets may be new to Minneapolis, but it's a trend that's taken off in other big cities in North America in recent years. An article on the website calls them the "next big tiny idea in urban planning."

The parklet "movement" began in San Francisco in 2005 as more of an art project. Artists from a studio fed a parking meter with coins good for two hours, unrolled some grass sod in the parking space and put a potted tree on top.

Gradually the idea of having more permanent park-like areas took shape, and the first official permanent parklet was installed in San Francisco in 2010. Now that city has nearly 50 of them. Some other popular cities for parklets are Philadelphia, Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Next Up


New Raptor Center data shows 'substantial drop' in bird flu patients

However, the virus remains a serious health threat for birds.

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 6.16.34 PM

Suspect kills himself after shooting woman and baby at Fargo restaurant

The suspect was found dead in a stolen vehicle in Minnesota.

CK Kyle Kasio

Charges: Guest stabbed three men as they slept in Albert Lea

Investigators believe the suspect is related to all three victims.

Kandiyohi County Courthouse

2 charged for fentanyl overdose death of 19-year-old

The-19-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose last month.

storm, severe weather

Severe thunderstorm watch: Hail, 65 mph gusts, tornadoes possible

The watch is just north of the Twin Cities metro area.

Lake Minnetonka

The staggering rise of Minnesota's most famous lakes this spring

Imagine dumping Lake Minnetonka into Lake Superior 47 times.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota Senate shoots down latest marijuana legalization attempt

The bill didn't receive the required votes for further consideration on Wednesday.


Minneapolis wants to use $1M in federal cash to plant 200,000 trees

The goal is to have these trees planted by the year 2040.

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 12.54.22 PM

MOA theater to debut wrap-around, 270-degree movie screen

The new technology will expand the movie screen onto the side walls of the theater auditorium.