Northeast will never be Uptown. I've heard it called the new Lyn-Lake, but it's pretty rare that I've heard Uptown. Unless we're talking about some old, romanticized version of Uptown where everything was a little gritty.Counterpoint: Does anyone else feel like Northeast has an outsized reputation? Not overrated really, but I feel like people talk about it way more than they actually go to it. Northeast has been "the new Uptown" since like 2004. What's in Northeast? There are a number of not-terrible bars, e.g. Mayslack's, Elsie's, etc., but they're spaced in between single-family houses in a way that pretty much necessitates driving. There are a handful of nice stretches in St. Anthony Main, but that whole Hennepin/Central area is like 50% surface parking, Superfund sites, and otherwise abandoned buildings.
Honestly not trying to be a Negative Nancy about it, but like I said, I feel like I hear way more comments about Northeast being great than I do stories about actual things that happened there.
I don't really know about visiting NE, but I think it's actually a pretty great place for living. I live in Marcy Holmes (technically SE, I know, but right by Old St. Anthony, so I'm close enough), and the neighborhood really is great for a young, single person. I have (almost) everything I need in one very small area: a grocery store (albeit expensive), bank, restaurants (both sit down and fast food), bars, a liquor store, and some specialty shops. I suppose I can't buy clothes in the area, but for that I can always visit a nearby mall or Uptown or one of the few places downtown. It also is just as close to downtown (closer for people in the Old St. Anthony area than many spots in Uptown or South Minneapolis), and because of buses needing to cross the river at limited points, there's quite a bit of transit (I can catch the 2, 4, 6, 10, 17, 25, 61, and many others in mere blocks from my apartment). And another great livability factor: affordability. I've wanted to move to another walkable neighborhood like Uptown or the North Loop for a while. One thing I've noticed is that if you want to be as close to the action as I am now, you either pay more or get less than what I have now. Sure, my price range is available, but Uptown's price-to-quality seems to skew similar units about $100-$300 higher.
As for poor streetlife, I don't think that most of Uptown outside of the Hennepin/Lake core area is particularly impressive either. Uptown is certainly more lively than any area of Northeast, but much of Hennepin is still comprised of single-story structures with lots of parking lots (and anything outside of the core Uptown area necessitates driving much of the time too).