02 Aug 3 Things In the City I Love: Minneapolis
Minneapolis is truly an underrated city–living there (and moving away) made me appreciate what a unique city it really is and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Although I do not miss the brutally cold winter, the winters are just as beautiful and entertaining as the summers. Minneapolis is a lot more than just one city–it is made up of many distinct neighborhoods and suburbs, which along with St. Paul, are referred to as “The Cities”. Areas such as Stillwater, Wayzeta, Minnetonka, Uptown, NE Minneapolis, Dinkytown, Grand Ave, Minnehaha Falls, St. Anthony and Main, the list could go on, are all worth a visit and each has something unique to offer, and because they are so spread out it makes renting a car a great idea.
The first ever indoor mall, The Southdale, was built in the suburb of Edina, and love it or hate it, the Mall of America is not far away either. The skyway systems in both Minneapolis and St. Paul were built to shield residents from the cold winter weather, and they are quite the site to see–there is almost an entire world located in paths connecting the buildings–pretty much anything you need can be found without ever having to take a step outside. Many festivals and outdoor events are held throughout the cities as well–the MN State Fair is always a main attraction with its endless supply of interesting deep-fried foods, music events such as the Basilica Block Party and Rock the Garden are held every year, Grand Old Days celebration in St. Paul is not to be missed, art festivals and outdoor movies are never far away, and the Winter Carnival in downtown St. Paul is home to a park full of ice sculptures and when the conditions are right, an ice castle.
Now for my top three things in the city I love:
1) The music, theater and museums: The arts and culture scene plays a large part in the cities character. There is art everywhere from the many artist lofts, to locally owned boutiques to excellent museums. Next to New York, Minneapolis is home to more theater seats per capita than any other US city. Broadway shows and concerts are always being held. On any given night, you can pretty much guarantee there will be some type of live entertainment. Many of the music venues are small and intimate, which makes it a lot of fun when your favorite touring bands are in town, as Minneapolis is a major stopping point for nationally touring acts. First Ave, in downtown Minneapolis, and The Varsity, in Dinkytown, are two of my favorite venues to catch a show.
2) The Lakes: Minnesota is home to over 10,000 lakes, and in the summer they come alive. The chain of lakes in Minneapolis consists of Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake, which are essentially a string of lakes running through Minneapolis that are great to bike, kayak or walk around. There are endless walking paths and bike trails throughout the area making it great for a quick stroll or a great outdoor exercise session.
3) The Ju[i]cy Lucy: Pick a side between Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club by testing out their famous Ju[i]cy Lucy burgers. There is a feud between the two establishments about who was the original creator and who serves the best one–this burger contains a pocket of hot molten cheese on the inside, and wow, they are delicious. The feud even goes as far as to the correct spelling of the name–Matt’s says “Jucy” and 5-8 sticks with “Juicy”. One difference between the two is Matt’s only has one type of cheese, and the 5-8 lets you select the type of cheese you want. Try them both and be your own judge; although, I have to say, I am a Matt’s fan all the way.
Even though Minneapolis is a destination that is not on many traveler’s radar, it is definitely a city that does get enough credit. I would suggest checking it out and all the unique areas and activities it has to offer!
This completes my submission for the “3 things in the city I love” contest by Traveldudes, Wimdu.co.uk and Velvet Escape. Check out the contest page for more information about the great prizes and how you can enter too!