If I were a betting woman, I’d bet money that you could find pretty much anything you wanted in Minneapolis. Home to major league teams such as the Vikings and Twins, and college sports teams, including the Gophers, Minneapolis
is home to a great number of sports fanatics. With venues like the Metrodome, and the Target Center arena, who can blame them? And don’t even get a Minneapolis native started on the subject of Hockey – this town and this particular sport go waaaay back. Before the Minnesota Wild, the team that currently calls Minneapolis home, there were the North Stars.
If sports aren’t your thing, maybe Minneapolis’ shopping opportunities will interest you. The famed Mall of America is located in Bloomington, MN – a part of Minneapolis proper. The Mall of America is the nation’s largest retail and entertainment complex, and home to over 500 stores, 50 restaurants – and yes, Camp Snoopy (a favorite of kids, everywhere). Talk about a one-stop shop – this mall does it all: from the 14 full size movie screens in the MoA theater to the 1.2 million gallon aquarium, there are three miles of American economy to support all under one roof. Yep that’s right: three miles, as each of the three circular levels of the mall is a mile around. For those seeking a less mainstream approach to shopping, Minneapolis’ Ragstock, Lava Lounge, and St. Sabrina’s are this author’s faves.
You might be the type that gets tired just thinking about shopping – no worries, Minneapolis is also the home of the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. You can see everything from amazing historical artifacts to priceless art by heavies like Vincent Van Gogh, or Pablo Picasso. Walking through the sculpture garden, located outside the Walker Art Center, is another great way to enjoy art at its finest, as well as Minneapolis’ great spring, summer, and autumn weather. Only die-hard Minnesotans appear to enjoy this activity in the winter, and I’d suggest snowshoes!
Nothing like contemplating the wonder of it all over some home brew. Minneapolis is home to many locally owned pubs, including the Chatterbox Pub, which brews its own house ale – and wow, is it gooooood. They have a fantastic menu as well, which includes gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, and more. If you want to try the city’s best burger, head on over to Matt’s and grab a ‘Jucy Lucy’ – a local favorite for thirty years, and counting. This burger has won the city’s highest awards for years and years running; you just can’t beat it.
If wings are your thing, don’t miss out on an opportunity to get some of the best dry rub wings ever cooked up, at The Country Bar & Grill, on Lyndale; Thursday nights they have karaoke, last I checked. When Saturday night hits, it is time for a steak at the C.C. Club after a round of billiards, or pot stickers and a Wondrous Punch down at the Red Dragon (both are bars in Uptown, Minneapolis). Call a cab though, this punch will leave you wandering and unable to drive home safely. Have the cabbie drive you to downtown Minneapolis, where you can catch live music at The Quest, First Avenue, or The Fine Line. Feel like dancing? Better hit the Gay 90s, or Ground Zero. Ground Zero is Mistress Jean’s territory on Thursday and Saturday nights though, so be forewarned.
If you’re repulsed by the idea of drunken dancing and carrying on, and enjoy the drama of a fine theater troupe over that of the local bar, buy your tickets now for the fantastic performances at The Guthrie, or the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. You can talk about the performances over an all-you-can-eat brunch at Joe’s Garage, on Sunday mornings. For those needing a little help with the hangover, Joe’s has some stellar Bloody Marys that go great with their cuisine.
Those seeking a hearty meal while in Minneapolis will most assuredly enjoy dining at Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit, a pure German experience, including fantastic spaetzle, bootfuls of beer, and friendly staff who encourage toasting and merriment. If anyone has room afterwards, or finds themselves wanting some fresh and homemade ice cream, both Sonny’s and Izzy’s are there to service your needs. You can hit either Sonny’s or Izzy’s after your visit to the Aveda Institute too, where you can be pampered like a king or queen, for prices more akin to serf wages.
Do you enjoy the outdoors, historical monuments, or walking alongside a river? Minnehaha Falls and the Ft. Snelling area have so much to offer that I don’t even know where to begin. Dog lovers and their dogs enjoy the largest leash free park that I personally have ever seen, which is accessible from paths along the gorgeous and historically poignant Minnehaha Falls. The leash free dog park has an extremely long spanse of Mississippi riverbank to offer, as well as acres and acres of peaceful woods and hillocks.
If you plan your visit to Minneapolis right, you should be able to enjoy one of America’s most amazing renaissance fares. Held in late August and throughout September, the fair is held in nearby Shakopee and offers much to please the eye and palate. Bring your garb, if you have some, as it is a widely attended event by period costume lovers.
Perhaps I should leave some things for you to discover on your own. There can be no doubts, though: Minneapolis deserves two thumbs up, as it has a little something for everyone.