Location of the Loring Park neighborhood within the U.S. city of Minneapolis
|o Total||0.452 sq mi (1.17 km2)|
|o Density||17,000/sq mi (6,700/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|o Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP code||55403, 55404|
|Area||33.94 acres (13.74 ha)|
|Status||Open all year|
Loring Park, on the southwest corner of downtown Minneapolis, is the largest park in the Central Community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It also lends its name to the surrounding neighborhood. Loring Park hosts several annual events including the Twin Cities Pride Festival and the Loring Park Artists' Festival.
The park contains a small lake (Loring Lake, formerly known as Johnson's Lake) and paths for walking and biking. Originally named Central Park, it was renamed in honor of Charles M. Loring, known as the "Father of Minneapolis Parks."
The park is the site of various cultural, social and political events. It features a playground, biking and walking paths, public art, and a fishing pier. It displays two well-known pieces of public art: the "Dandelion Fountain," a 1975 gift of Parks Commissioner Ben Berger, and a statue of Norwegian composer Ole Bull.
Loring Park was established in 1883 after the passage of the Park Act, the act which first created the Minneapolis Public Parks board. At its time of creation in 1883, the park was named Central Park. A couple of months after it was renamed to Spring Grove Park, but was subsequently renamed back to Central Park in 1883. In 1890 the park was renamed again in honor of Charles Morgridge Loring, who was the first president of the park board in Minneapolis.
Loring Park was purchased by the Minnesota Public Parks board on April 28, 1883. The land was purchased for $150,000 and contained 30 acres of land. A few more pieces of land were added to the park for a total cost of $350,000. This was the first plot of land that was purchased by the Minnesota Public Parks board. Shortly after purchasing the land, the Minneapolis Public Parks board hired George Brakett and Horace Cleveland to design the park and to drain the bog in the lake. They used plants that were brought in from nearby woods to complete the design for the park. They also decided at this time to make the park pedestrian only.
In 1906 the first permanent building in any Minneapolis park was constructed in Loring Park. The heated two-story shelter was donated by Charles Loring and was used as a warming house, recreation center and kindergarten. In 1960, the park renovated the shelter to be used as a space for senior programs. It was the first Minneapolis park to provide senior activities. Loring Park was the first park in Minnesota to have electric lights. The lights were installed in fall of 1884 to be used to illuminate the pond during winter skating season. In 1916 the local General Mills Company provided the park with 91 electric lights.
Loring Park was the center of the case Johnson v. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). This lawsuit was between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Brian Johnson over First Amendment rights. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that MSRB can not ban non-commercial material distribution in the park unless the material violates the law.
Loring Park is the venue for various annual events. The Twin Cities Pride Festival and the Loring Park Artists' Festival are some of the more famous events. Loring Park's location directly across from the Walker Art Museum makes it a fitting venue for the annual Loring Park Artists' Festival and a series of smaller artist gatherings.
Starting in summer 2014, Chipotle has held their Cultivate free music and culinary festival in Loring Park. The 2014 lineup included Portugal. The Man, The Mowgli's, and Grouplove.Walk the Moon, Atlas Genius, X Ambassadors, Anderson East, and Hippo Campus were all slotted to appear at the 2015 festival.Andrew Zimmern and Richard Blais also attended the event, a part of the festival's gratuitous "Chef Demos."
In addition, Loring Park is home to the annual "Winterfest at Loring Park," which in 2016 included horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday crafts and the local Kairos Dance Company. It is hosted by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.
Notable buildings near Loring Park include the Walker Art Center, Basilica of St. Mary, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minneapolis Convention Center, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The park is surrounded by apartment buildings, many dating from the early 1900s, although recent construction in the area has brought many new town homes and condominiums to the area.
Loring Park is locally known for its diverse social environment and as a nexus for many arts and cultural events, boasting over 300 businesses and institutions. The Loring Park District, according to its official site, offers the "quintessential urban lifestyle," a blend of "condominium and apartment living." The philosophy of the district is one of coalescence: it seeks to mix the old with the new, desiring to become quaint and charming through its combining of the modern with the "historic brownstone."