Strange once-a-year sight on Nicollet Mall

Thanksgiving evening, my friend and I were driving through downtown Minneapolis, when we witnessed one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen:

A parade of cars driving along Nicollet Mall. None of them labelled as official vehicles or anything, just cars, slowly driving along Nicollet Mall.

After I got home, I looked it up and according to the city’s website, Thanksgiving night is the one night a year that you can legally drive your car along the Mall. The website says it’s so you can view the holiday decorations, but I have to say that this year, there’s not really that much to look at, at least not yet. In fact, it was pretty dark along the mall.

2 Comments so far

  1. anonymous (unregistered) on November 25th, 2007 @ 2:32 am

    Historical context:
    Nicollet Ave. downtown was converted to its current restricted-access form in the 1960s. Before that, it was a popular pasttime for families to drive slowly along Nicollet, to see the decorative illuminated holiday scenes, many of which featured moving parts, in the department-store windows. In those days along Nicollet there were several dept. stores, such as Daytons, Donaldsons, Powers, and J.C. Penney, between about 4th St. and 8th St.

  2. Erica M (unregistered) on November 25th, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

    That kinda reminds of when I was really little and my mom would take us to downtown Detroit to Hudson’s (same as Dayton’s) to see Santa and we would ride the trolley.

    I never think of a department store as a destination unrelated to shopping for any reason anymore, Dayton’s/Marshall Fields/Macy’s Xmas display notwithstanding.

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