Nicollet Mall
USINFO | 2013-08-07 15:48

Nicollet Mall is a portion of Nicollet Avenue running through downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. Working as a pedestrian and transit mall, it is also an upscale shopping and dining district. Along with Hennepin Avenue to the west, Nicollet Mall forms the cultural and commercial heart of the city.

Many iconic Minneapolis buildings line the Mall, notably the IDS Center, the former Dayton's flagship store (now Macy's), Orchestra Hall, and the Hennepin County Library. On Thursdays in the summer, Nicollet hosts a popular farmers' market; in the winter, the Holidazzle Parade lights up the Mall.

The first commercial district in Minneapolis centered on the intersection of Nicollet and Hennepin Avenues, an area known as Bridge Square and (later) the Gateway. As the city grew and the area became more congested, businesses started moving south from Washington Avenue.

By the end of the 19th century, Nicollet Avenue had defined itself as the city's primary shopping street, as department stores such as Powers Dry Goods, Donaldson's and Dayton's all opened on this stretch. Elizabeth Quinlan, the first woman clothing buyer in the country, opened her store in the Young–Quinlan building, also on Nicollet.

The Hiawatha Line light rail system, opened in 2004, has a Nicollet Mall station, and connects downtown Minneapolis to the airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington. The future Green Line to downtown St. Paul will also stop at Nicollet Mall.

As a transit mall, Nicollet Mall has been served by many Metro Transit buses, including several high frequency routes. Aside from buses, only taxis and emergency vehicles are allowed on the two-lane road. Bikes have access during non-weekday rush hours, although this is expected to change in March 2010 when several express bus routes are moved to Marquette and 2nd Avenues in the second phase of the "Marq2" project. Metro Transit has also introduced a free circulator bus along Nicollet Mall that runs from the Minneapolis Convention Center to the Hiawatha Line Nicollet Mall station.
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