The City Pages Best Of issue got me thinking about some of my favorite things to do around this wonderful part of the country. I’m sure I’m missing things (and may change my mind), but here’s an initial shot at a metro area list. Ideas for outstate Minnesota are floating around in my head too.
1. Minnesota State Fair (above)
I write about this every year, so I won’t rehash, other than to say there’s a reason I’ve been to this every year since I was born. Pure awesomeness in so many ways – food, entertainment, people watching and much, much more.
This also gets a lot of coverage on this site, as I’ve now run it 8 times. The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America® earns that circle “R” with fall colors, loops of the Minneapolis lakes, a stretch along the Mississippi River and a great finish down Summit Avenue past the Cathedral and State Capitol. Plus you never forgot your first.
If you like mountain biking, this is my “don’t miss” track for the entire region. I’m relatively new to the sport, but I could ride this every day and not get bored.
A lot of locals say they hate the MOA, but sorry Burnsville Center, you just don’t cut when it comes to shopping on a grand scale. It can be overcrowded at times and I’m not a huge fan of the restaurants, but it’s still the place your visiting relatives and friends want to go when they come to town.
So many good restaurants in Minneapolis, but Kim Bartmann’s Barbette in Uptown continues to be my favorite because of one thing: flat iron steak frites. Mmmm…frites.
I’m not really a bar hopper, but Prohibition’s combination of Foshay architecture and atmosphere, great service, lovely views from the 27th floor and the wonderful ephiphany martini (Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and Duvalleroy Champagne) could turn me into a regular.
Since I grew up in St. Paul, it’s much harder for me to pick one favorite restaurant in that fair city. Therefore I present three: Cecil’s Deli in Highland Park for the hot pastrami sandwich, the original Carbone’s Pizza on Randolph and Ristorante Luci for some of the best Italian food I’ve had anywhere. Rotating daily through these three for the rest of your life wouldn’t be a bad thing.
7. Hockey at the Xcel Energy Center
While this is the State of Hockey, our teams have had their ups and downs lately. One thing is certain, though, the overall hockey fan experience at the X ranks right up there with the best anywhere. Be it the NHL’s Wild, the hockey Gophers or the state high school tournament, I loves me some hockey in downtown St. Paul.
Heading back across the river, the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes is really the crown jewel of the Twin Cities. That’s hard for someone raised in Saint Paul to admit, but it’s true. Whether you run, walk, bike, rollerblade, sail, kayak, swim, drive, ski or skate them, you’ll be hard-pressed to not feel good about it afterwards. All that plus great park facilities and food options too.
My first show at First Avenue was Living Colour in 1993. Somewhere I have a scan of all the tickets from early shows I attended, back when they had cool sparkly ink and you could usually score free tickets to another show each time you left the building. Can’t wait to get back to see the latest enhancements to the room…
Minnesota has a lot of great public golf courses, but there is nothing quite like these two private clubs. If you have the connections, make it happen. Both have history, conditioning, great staff, strong layouts and a day on the course you’ll remember for a long, long time.
Any favorites I missed?Originally published by DK on April 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm