Minnesota native and self-described travel addict Shanna Schultz makes a habit out of exploring the world—and of sharing tales of her adventures on her blog, There and Back Again Travel. But, not one to forget her roots, Shanna is also passionate about the things that make the Midwestern U.S. unique (check out her musings on A Midwest Travel Companion). Here are a few of her favorite things about her half of the Twin Cities.
Follow Shanna’s story on Twitter @thereandbackmn.
Minneapolis Is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Moto i, a sake brewery and restaurant in Uptown. They have great happy hour specials and a lovely rooftop patio. And, if the weather is cold, there’s nothing like a cup of warm sake to warm up your insides!
Spring is the best time to visit my city because everyone who lives here is happy and light-hearted because we haven’t seen anything green and growing in six months!
You can see my city best from the Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater. The cantilevered lobby juts out 178 feet (that’s half a city block) over the Mississippi, providing a spectacular view of the river and downtown Minneapolis.
Locals know to skip the Mall of America and check out Uptown instead. It is a great area to experience local culture with a lot of independent shops and restaurants.
Candyland, a local company that has called the Twin Cities home since 1932, is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs. If you are looking for more goodies to carry home, stop by nearby Hell’s Kitchen for an excellent meal, after which you can stock up on their legendary homemade peanut butter and other stellar condiments to fill your suitcase.
My city’s best museum is the Walker Art Museum because of the vibrant, fresh, modern art and the great sculpture garden and artist-designed miniature golf course there. The garden contains the famous “Spoon and Cherry” sculpture, affords great views of the city skyline, and is right across from Loring Park, another pleasant place to escape the urban bustle.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s to look into where the light-rail train can take you. It provides easy access to various parts of Minneapolis, as well as to and from the airport and Mall of America.
The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Great opportunities for walking, canoeing, picnicking, and soaking up the sun (yes, we do have sun in Minnesota) with a great view of downtown.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they know what hotdish is.
For a fancy night out, I head to Hennepin Avenue! You can eat a great dinner at Fogo de Chão (or one of the many other great restaurants there), catch a play at one of the restored historic theaters, and finish up your night with a creative cocktail and some tapas or dessert at the rooftop bar at Solera.
Just outside my city, you can visit Cannon Falls and Red Wing via the Cannon Valley Bike Trail, a paved, relatively flat path that runs along the beautiful Cannon River just south of the Twin Cities, connecting the two historic towns. A great way to do the trail is to ride one way the first day, stay at a bed and breakfast, then ride back the way you came the next day.
My city is known for being cold and snowy, but that’s only part of the story; it’s really hot and humid in the summer.
The best outdoor market in my city is the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
Hell’s Kitchen is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Little Tijuana is the spot for late-night eats.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read City Pages.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I check out a free movie or concert in one of Minneapolis’s awesome parks (sometimes there are even food trucks selling some of the city’s best culinary creations).
To escape the crowds, I go hiking and picnicking at Minnehaha Falls Park. It is conveniently located on the light-rail line and easily accessible from downtown. As a bonus, and as the name conveys, this park contains an iconic Minneapolis waterfall that makes for a great photo opportunity.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Prince because it is funky, creative, and just a little bit different.
The Mill City Museum is my favorite building in town because it was once the world’s largest flour mill, and the museum tells the story of how Minneapolis was shaped by the river and the flour industry. In fact, one of Minneapolis’s nicknames is the Mill City.
The most random thing about my city is that Minneapolis has eight miles of enclosed skyways connecting most of its major buildings. In the winter, the skyways are a great place to sit and watch the Holidazzle Parade (get there early to stake out a good seat).
In the spring you should visit the Macy’s Flower Show, an annual tradition, held each year in the department store’s eighth-floor auditorium. Thousands of winter-weary Minnesotans come out of the woodwork to bask in the joy of seeing the return of colors in nature other than white.
In the summer you should act like a local by having a picnic or going out walking, biking, or rollerblading around Minneapolis’s Chain of Lakes. Minnesotans love their lakes, and hanging out around these popular urban waterholes is a beloved local pastime in those brief months of summer.
In the fall you should take an overnight trip up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to see the spectacular scenery made even more beautiful by the addition of stunning fall foliage.
In the winter you should go ice skating at the Depot, a restored train station right in the heart of downtown.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss catching a play at the Children’s Theater Company. Offering high-quality plays that appeal to children and adults alike, this is a Minneapolis gem!
The best book about my city is Shaping Minnesota’s Identity: 150 Years of State History, by Steven Keillor, brother to famous Minnesotan and local storyteller Garrison Keillor.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Minneapolis,” by Lucinda Williams.
In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it’s a cultural hotspot, a foodie mecca, and a great place to get a heaping helping of hotdish to keep you warm in the winter!