Sandwiched between the Mississippi River and the Hiawatha light-rail transit line sits Seward, a once-seedy area that’s now one of the most vibrant, artsy, and liberal neighborhoods in Minneapolis. To get a taste of this socially and environmentally conscious neighborhood, stop by Birchwood Café on East 25th Street, a favorite local hangout. One of Seward’s greatest perks is its location: It’s close to the University of Minnesota and downtown, and it borders the river, the Midtown Greenway (an old railroad line converted into a bike path), the light-rail line, and Interstate 94. This centrality gives it some urban edge and diversity, visible on Franklin Avenue, a largely commercial street that’s home to Seward Café, Seward Co-op, acclaimed arts venues such as The Playwrights’ Center and Northern Clay Center, and ethnic restaurants with cuisine ranging from Argentinean to Ethiopian. You can still find single-family homes here in the $200,000s (with higher prices by the river), and there’s an abundance of cute, early-20th-century bungalows. There are also a fair number of rental units in the area.
It is actually hard to find a home in Seward, which at the end of the 1990s developed a hip reputation. Housing here ranges from deteriorated student digs that appear to be held together by colorful paint jobs, to two blocks of gentrified railroad workers' houses (circa 1880) located on Milwaukee Road, and now listed on the Historic Register.