Weekend Getaway: Minneapolis
Fall semester is in full swing and it’s starting to feel like you’re doing the same thing every week. Class. Study. Drink. Hangover. Poor Theme Party Costume Choice. Homework. Switch things up by taking advantage of a long weekend or your fall break (if you’re that lucky) by checking out our Weekend Getaway guides. We’ve already covered Boston, Toronto , Austin and Savannah. Now, let’s hit up the midwest!
In a non-resident biased opinion, the city of Minneapolis is a diamond in the rough of cornfields and lots of suburbs we know as Minnes-ooooah-ta (yes, the accent exists). But contrary to popular belief, not everyone eats lutefisk and lefsa for dinner and it is only a desolate tundra for four months of the year.
In reality, Minneapolis is a rich destination filled with over 10,000 lakes, 22 regional trails, 330 metro parks, rich cultural amenities, 90,000 miles of shoreline (that’s more than California and Hawaii combined), world-inspired fare and fabulous boutiques.
Why is Minneapolis a perfect destination for fall break? Besides the beautiful assessment of changing leaves, farm-fresh ingredients and no sales tax on any apparel, Minneapolis is a rich city for creative force, entertainment and trendy shops and bars. Oh, and we have hot dudes on our baseball team like this. Meow.
So tighten up your overalls and let’s start exploring. OK, I’m kidding. Keep your jeggings on and let’s play.
(First and Foremost) Pop Your Minneapolis Cherry: By visiting Walker Art Center museum and taking silly pictures next to the Spoonebridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Spend a leisurely afternoon sightseeing and visit The Walker Art’s Center 20.21 for great Asian-influenced California cuisine and a quick bite to eat.
Best Neighborhoods to Bar Crawl: An outer city bar neighborhood called Northeast is a fabulous destination for hipsters and is rich in its Polish and German roots. Bars like The Bulldog serve five different kinds of hot dogs, tots, and 40 different kinds of beer. A great late night destination in Northeast is Gasthofs - they have an outdoor tent and a very Midwest-welcoming atmosphere. The cobblestone streets house horse-and-carriage rides to the Stone Arch Bridge with a beautiful view of the city skyline. East down the river provides another great neighborhood called Dinkytown. Since it’s right outside of the new TCF Bank Stadium (home of the Gophers!) you can bask in the college lifestyle and sing karaoke at 20-somethings’ favorite Irish Pub, Blarneys.
And if you want to spend $10 dollars on a cocktail, I have the place for you (and I promise it’s totally worth it). This gem is called The Living Room and it’s housed downtown under the W Minneapolis. The kicker? Well, there’s two: 1. They have a drink menu showcasing over 80 cocktails, so you sit with your girlfriends on one of their exclusive glam glam couches amongst the crystals and bubbles. 2. Every baseball team that plays our hometown heroes (i.e. The Twins) comes to this bar on off nights. Um, home run.
Best Neighborhood for Good Eats: My favorite place to get some yummy grubs is most definitely Uptown. The outer-city community houses so many tasty eateries you will overwhelm yourself. For a posh and L.A. inspired restaurant, Chino Latino has a great late night happy hour and Chinese-Latin inspired cuisine. Just down the street from this are two roof top bars called Uptown Cafeteria & Support Group and Stellas Fish Cafe. They both have amazing views of the city and great food and drink specials. (Side Note: Order the Walleye Fritters at Uptown Cafeteria. Wowza).
Flip a Coin for a Free Beer: In Dinkytown, a lovely bar called Burrito Loco serves amazing tacos (Chipotle style), has a great patio and – best of all – gives out free beer if you win a coin toss every Monday night. To top it off, they have a couple (open to play) beer pong tables and a spicy college atmosphere.
Shop till You Drop Save: Since Minnesota does not have sales tax on clothes or shoes, you can justify a hefty shopping spree at the Nicollet Mall on how you’re saving almost 7%! The Nicollet Mall also houses an amazing Farmer’s Market from May-October with local eats. Downtown Minneapolis offers 3 million square feet in retail space and warm skyways to get you there, including an eight-floor Macys. If you feel like venturing out near the airport, The Mall of America simply cannot be ignored. A taxi should only cost about $10 from the city and the over 400 stores inside and Nickelodeon Universe will make it totally worth it.
Minneapolis Freebies: Como Zoo is a great place to catch up on your animal watching. The zoo also has amazing bars nearby, and a quaint Minneapolis neighborhood to take a walk through. You could also hit up the Washington Avenue Minneapolis Central Library for a quiet afternoon. Yes, I’m a dork.
Best Pad Thai Luncheon Destination: Sawatdee is the yummiest Pad Thai restaurant in the city. Not to mention, it’s kid friendly – so that makes it pretty safe for college kids as well (teehee).
Land of 10,000 Lakes: The Minnesota license plate does not lie. Minneapolis is home to many beautiful lakes, rich with gorgeous architecture, clean and busy trails and adorable places to grab something to eat. Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun (personal fav) and Lake Nokomis are all located in the north west portion of the city. On the north side of Lake Calhoun, you can rent paddle boats and catch up on your rollerblading.
Major ‘Must Musts’
Go to a Twins game at the brand spankin’ new Target Field. It’s a beautiful new outdoor park. And on Wednesdays, Target Field hosts ‘student night’ and you can get tickets on the cheap. Before the game, hit up Kiernans for a bomb happy hour (personal favorite, huge glasses full of Blue Moon on tap) and an amazing patio atmosphere. After the game, downtown Minneapolis is a buzzworthy center for after-game (afternoon) or nightlife.
Patina on 50th and Bryant in south Minneapolis. Patina is my favorite shop for glitzy, whimsical and witty gifts. It is jam-packed with accessories, jewelry, furniture and Patina’s favorite picks. Make sure to take out a large portion of your day for this trip – I could spend hours in this yummy shop.
Best Place to Shack Up: The Depot Minneapolis is a perfect place to put your head down every evening. The Depot was originally a train station in the 1800′s (their business peaking in the 1920′s) and now it has been transformed into a beautiful, classic hotel. Inside, there is a 15,000 square foot water-park and a romantic, beautiful outdoor skating rink for the wintertime. Simply lovely!