Midwest Living Review
Although you'll find a few chain retailers (Talbots, Chico's and so on), the majority of merchants in University Square are locally owned specialty retailers: Think Dale of Norway sweaters at The Nordic Shop and cute, cute, cute gifts for kids and moms at Baby Clementine. Even familiar bookstore giant Barnes and Noble has a local vibe, housed in a historic old Art Deco theater. This downtown shopping venue is a great complement to Peace Plaza, the former stretch of First Street that now is a pedestrian-only area. It's within easy strolling distance of the Mayo Clinic and several hotels, connected by a skyway system. University Square is more than shopping. It's a lively gathering spot, especially in summer months. From June to September, it hosts live music at Thursdays on First. More than 100 food and crafts vendors show up for the weekly event, selling fresh farm produce, local crafts, warm crepes and other food-cart favorites.