There's no shortage of smaller American cities attracting attention these days for cutting-edge art and architecture. But Minneapolis, it's fair to say, is leading the pack. Celebrity architects have already completed expansions of important local arts institutions (Herzog & de Meuron at the Walker Art Center; Michael Graves & Associates at the Children's Theatre Company), and three more major openings are on the way this year: Jean Nouvel's Guthrie Theater, Cesar Pelli's downtown public library, and Michael Graves's addition to the Institute of Art. (Frank Gehry has also announced plans for an addition to his 1993 Weisman Art Museum.) The design boom is at the heart of a wider revitalization of the city, as seen in booming neighborhoods like the Mill District (home to the Guthrie, as well as new condos, shops, and restaurants), and hotels catering to style-driven travelers. The sleek Graves 601 Hotel (no connection to the architect) began the trend in 2003. It will be joined early this year by the first outpost of New York's Chambers hotel, which will have Modern art installations and a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, and next spring by the Ivy Hotel + Residences from Starwood's Luxury Collection. Children's Theatre Company 612/874-0400; www.childrenstheater.org. Graves 601 Hotel 866/523-1100; www.graves601hotel.com; doubles from $189. Walker Art Center 612/375-7622; www.walkerart.org.
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