Destinations: Minneapolis


By B.C. Rausch

Nonstop adventure

Even though we live in paradise, the occasional out-of-town excursion is a treat. From Hilton Head and Savannah, we’re fortunate to have nonstop flight options that afford exploration of many popular North American destinations rich in abundant sights, sounds and flavors. LOCAL Life brings these nonstop cities to you through the eyes and recommendations of local foodies, shopaholics, sports fans and cultural aficionados who will ensure that your next out-of-town adventure is just that — nonstop.

Nonstop flights

Savannah Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) to Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) is seasonal this year on Delta and Sun Country. Service starts in April and you can book now.

Duration: 2 hours, 41 minutes

Airlines: Delta, Sun Country

Those of us “mature” enough can remember Mary Tyler Moore twirling and tossing her hat into the air during the opening of her namesake 1970s TV show. Today visitors to Minneapolis can toss their own caps (especially in a Minneapolis winter) in front of the MTM statue at Nicollet and 7th Streets, two blocks from the Nicollet Mall METRO station.

Just like the show, Minneapolis-St. Paul is a city with unexpected twists and turns. And is it even technically the “Twin Cities?” According to the Minnesota Historical Society, that nickname originally referred to the city of St. Anthony, until it eventually merged with its bigger neighbor. It wasn’t until then that St. Paul remained the nearby major city.

Today St. Paul maintains an older, more historic feel. Its architecture features streets of brick buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s, not to mention the stunning St. Paul Cathedral (completed in 1915) and State Capitol (completed in 1905). Its residents brag about the more friendly and more neighborly feel.

The bigger, bolder Minneapolis is a sprawling metropolis of shiny skyscrapers, trendy young neighborhoods, and uber-urban living. Its residents enjoy their hearty selections of bars and restaurants and the “downtown” vibe.

Where to go

For the best view of the skyline (especially at night), head to Boom Island Park along the Mississippi River. Including one of the area’s only lighthouses, it’s a true hidden gem.

And make sure to take in two other notable attractions. First, retail haven Mall of America, which has welcomed tens of millions of visitors a year since its opening in 1992. With more than 500 stores plus entertainment, lodging, and dining, it’s an attraction all its own.

Second, Paisley Park in Chanhassen was inspired by Minneapolis native Prince and served as his home and studio. Art, music, fashion and culture are celebrated and energized.

Welcoming more than one million visitors a year, Minnehaha Falls may be everyone’s favorite outdoor spot, and it is indeed absolutely incredible in the winter when frozen. For a more serene cascading experience, climb the old masonry staircase to Hidden Falls, revealing a beautiful scene and a cool photo op.

Minneapolis’s Chain of Lakes embraces the shorelines of Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, including the trails connecting them and Lyndale Park. It’s easy to get from one lake to another, with separate paths for running and cycling. The trails wind through beautiful parks and lovely homes and expose spectacular views of the water with the downtown skyline as the backdrop.

Consider taking a private walking tour of the haunted historical city. It begins at the Old Revenue Building above the Mississippi and includes the Fitzgerald Theatre and an introduction to the bootleggers and mobsters who ran the city for years.

After being scared, sweeten up with a stop at St. Paul’s Pearson’s Candy Company. Its salted nut roll, nut goodies, bun and mint patties have been Minnesota classics for more than a century.

Get in the game

For sports fans the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four will be played in the Target Center on Friday, April 1, and the national championship game on Sunday, April 3.

There’s also the full complement of pro-sports teams to root for (or against). All five of the state’s teams have Minnesota in their names, but four play in Minneapolis: the Twins (MLB) Vikings
Timberwolves (NBA) and Wild (NHL). The Minnesota United (MLS) play in St. Paul.

Oh, if you’re spinning the TV dial looking for WJM News, where Mary Richards once worked, we’ve got bad news. That station was fictitious. But you’re sure to find the rest of the Twin Cities truly special. LL

Where to eat and drink

Twenty percent of the Gopher State’s economy is agricultural, and it’s on full display at the Minneapolis Farmers Market (located at Lyndale and Glenwood Avenues). If Minnesota farms it, this is the place to find it—fresh produce, plants and locally made products.

Of course, no trip would be complete without some food suggestions, so we asked a few locals for suggestions that cover all tastes.

Don’t let the hole-in-the-wall, dive-bar aesthetics fool you. 1029 Bar reportedly has the area’s best lobster mac-n-cheese No surprise, it’s been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.”

Like your meals with activity? Betty Dangers has a giant Ferris wheel out front and a mini-golf course indoors that weaves through the restaurant. Watch out for golfers playing through while you’re enjoying Fried Paper Elves (beer-battered baby artichokes), How the Guac Stole Christmas (chunky guacamole) and Almost Jewish and not quite Mexican Holiday Lasagna.

Check out Matt’s Bar for the original (1954) “Jucy Lucy” burger: It’s two patties with cheese in the middle…and that’s just the start.

Psycho Suzi’s is a tiki-bar waterfront lounge and pizza joint that sits on the Mississippi River. In summer the tiki mobile links it with its sister restaurant, Betty Dangers.

More than one long-time local swears by Snuffy’s Malt Shop. Having sampled roughly 60 malts and shakes in the Twin Cities, I’ve found the ‘best’ chocolate malt (optional inclusion of brownies, fudge and Oreos) to be at the Snuffy’s Malt Shop in Minnetonka. You’ll find other Snuffy’s establishments in Edina and St. Paul.

A Baker’s Wife serves up a mouth-
watering selection of freshly baked pastries and delectable tortes, cakes (you can buy by the slice), donuts, cookies and toast. Don’t miss the caramel pecan croissant.

Spoon and Stable is one of the hardest-to-land dining reservations in Minneapolis, but don’t despair: Its rustic-chic bar offers open seating. The full dinner menu is available at the bar, or patrons can order from a lineup of upscale bar snacks. James Beard-award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen is known for combining Midwestern ingredients with French techniques. Drinks include globe-spanning wine, craft cocktails and seasonal beers.

Abdallah Chocolates is a local, family-
owned chocolatier where you can watch them make the chocolates while you browse the vast selection of caramels, milk and dark chocolates.

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