I Heart My City: Cynthia’s Minneapolis

Downtown Mpls.jpgHey there, city-lovers! Cynthia Farrell writes to us from chilly Minneapolis, Minnesota, and tells us why her city is much more than just a frozen tundra.

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Minneapolis is My City
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The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Minnehaha Falls.

When I crave Neapolitan-style pizza I always go Punch.

To escape the airplane noise over my house I head to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in the southwest suburbs.

If I want to take a walk in the woods, summer or winter, I go to Fort Snelling State Park, right in the city.

For complete quiet, I can hide away in a cabin up on the North Shore of Lake Superior, only a 3-4 hour drive away.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the Mary Tyler Moore sculpture on Nicollet Mall.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Café Maude it has to be the house cut fries with truffle fontina fondue.

Spoonbridge and Cherry.jpgPatina is my one-stop shop for great gifts, from the serious to the kitschy, and for just about anyone on your list.

Locals know to skip the Mall of America and check out the local shops scattered throughout the city instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Fat Lorenzo’s for cheap Italian.

For a huge splurge, I would go to La Belle Vie for dinner.

Photo ops in my city include the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the best vantage points are on the southwest side, with the Basilica of St Mary in the background, or from the pedestrian bridge across Hennepin Ave.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Nicole Kidman: can come across as quite cold, but is probably quite lovely.

The most random thing about my city is the Milwaukee Avenue Historic District, two blocks of nearly identical houses that were used for immigrants (especially railroad workers) in the late 1800s, and are still private homes today.

My city has the most non-chivalrous men.

My city has the most as-fashion-forward-as-you-can-be-when-wearing-a-parka-temperature-rated-to-20-below women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves getting outside and doing anything to enjoy a nice day, from biking to walking to skating to windsurfing to kayaking… the possibilities are endless!

My city’s best museum is the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota (and it’s free!).

My favorite jogging/walking route is around Lake Harriet.

For live music, check out First Avenue, of course.

Pizza Luce is the spot for late-night eats.
Lake Calhoun.jpg

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read vita.mn or City Pages.

You can tell a lot about my city from the people in the skyways

during the lunch hour on weekdays. The skyways–a.k.a. the gerbil tubes or habitrails–connect the buildings in downtown Minneapolis above street level.

You can tell someone is from my city if he or she is a passive aggressive driver–they won’t cut you off, but they won’t let you merge either.

In the spring you should be excited, because it only lasts for two weeks. And wear galoshes to get through the mud.

In the summer you should go outside and enjoy the fabulous weather, just like everyone else – just wear your bug spray!

In the fall you should go on a fall color drive. North Shore, Bluff Country, Northwoods, Mississippi River Road, even right in the city, you’ll get amazing color anywhere you go.

In the winter you should accept that it is what it is and buy some snowshoes, skis, or skates and get out and enjoy it.

A hidden gem in my city is the Peace Garden near Lake Harriet.

For a great breakfast joint try Hell’s Kitchen.

Don’t miss the three art festivals in Uptown, Powerderhorn Park, and Loring Park, all on the same weekend with buses to shuttle you around.

Just outside my city, you can visit Red Wing, a lovely little river town.

The best way to see my city is in the summer, on a bike, riding the 50+ miles of trails around Minneapolis, especially around the Chain of Lakes.

If my city were a pet it would be a hamster: very active when it’s warm, curls in a ball when it’s cold, and loves its habitrails.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in a state of denial, as I’d be miserable not living in a city.

The best book about my city is the Twin Cities Bike Atlas.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is the theme song to the local channel’s outdoor show, Minnesota Bound.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss The Bakken Museum.

The skyways–or at least the sheer volume and length of them–could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because Minneapolis is an incredible place to live and play, but most people only think of it as the frozen tundra. Yes, it is cold here a good portion of the year, but the summer and fall make it worthwhile.

Photos: Cynthia Farrell


  1. Narconon Arrowhead
    July 15, 2009, 11:40 am

    I don’t get away from the drug rehab I work at very often but one of the first things I will do is go to Minneapolis to shop at all shops including the Mall of America.

  2. MsQuarter
    March 16, 2009, 11:28 pm

    Hell’s Kitchen is amazing! My friends and I practically order one of everything every time we go because we can’t make up our minds!

  3. Marty Leistikow
    March 10, 2009, 3:56 pm

    Nicely done, Cynthia! As a writing teacher, I commend you on your vivid details and well-chosen specifics. As a Minneapolis-lover already, I didn’t need to be convinced, but if I were one of those folks with an anti-cold-weather bias, I would probably take a second look.