Guide to the Twin Cities

Sure, snow might coat the ground for what feels like three-fourths of the year, and it’s hard to meet someone who hasn’t been fishing or played hockey at least once. But in this great land o’ lakes, the array of activities for our highly coveted leisure time is more than expansive. So, is there more to do in the Twin Cities than the rest of the country suspects? In the words of (more than care to admit it) Minnesotans, yeah, you betcha!

For the almost three million people residing in or around the Twin Cities, great theater, food, shopping, and museums litter the streets. Take, for instance, Downtown Minneapolis’s Hennepin Theatre District. In the heart of the city, three renowned stages—State, Orpheum, and Pantages—have been drawing audiences since the 1920s; snow or shine. The theaters are conveniently surrounded by restaurants for every mood, including Bellanotte, The Capital Grille, Cosmos, Manhattans and Mission—all so perfect for a night out, you could spend a week sampling the shows and menus in this one stretch of Minneapolis alone.

But if it’s your intellectual palette you’re looking to satiate, any one of the museums scattered throughout the cities should do the trick. Walker Art Center offers modern art, with bigwig exhibits of Picasso, Kahlo, and Warhol, just to name a few. On a warm evening, head outside to the museum’s Sculpture Garden for a glimpse of the infamously huge spoon and cherry, or for a game of minigolf among the art. Or hop on a Metro Transit bus, and check out the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a cultural tour of the world; the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul for a homier experience; or the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum—best-known for its glimmering architecture compliments of Frank Gehry.

To get your body moving, skate, don’t walk, to the Depot Ice Skating Rink in Minneapolis. Formerly a train station, this indoor facility features open skating and rentals November through March. For those willing to brave the cold, a daytrip to Duluth for some of the state’s best ski slopes is just the ticket. When you’d rather just watch physical exertion, the Metrodome is sure to please with a Twins, Vikings, or Gophers game any time of the year.

Shopping fiends can pick up the latest finds at the Galleria in Edina when you’re feeling fancy, Calhoun Square in Uptown when you want hip, and the Mall of America if you just can’t decide.

Those times it’s a more family-friendly outing you’re looking for, the metro area and its suburban sisters offer a bevy of choices, with the Vali-Hi Drive-In nestled in Lake Elmo; former military outpost Fort Snelling off the highway in St. Paul; or if you’re up for a drive, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.

With so much to do in the great metro, it’s hard to know where to start. Well, maybe with shoveling the driveway—many months, anyway.

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