I was born and raised in Minnesota. I only moved to Nevada a month and a year ago. I probably have been to every spot worth a mention in Minnesota. I will not be including dinner/lunch food spots because there are way too many but I did just have to mention a few of my favorite dessert shops, hehe.
If you ever find yourself stuck in Minnesota for whatever reason (maybe for business or college?) or maybe you live there but never know where to go or what to do; I’ve got some fun (exclusive to Minnesota [because that makes it more fun]) suggestions for you! These were my favorite spots to hit while I lived there:
BALLS Cabaret – The Southern Theater
“BALLS Cabaret is the longest-running, weekly, midnight cabaret in the history of human kind (as far as we can tell).” –The Southern Theater Website
There are a variety of artists who come to perform every Saturday night at midnight. Hosted by Leslie Ball–she is very much a crowd pleaser. Her voice is welcoming, loud, theatrical. She always sets the crowd into the perfect mood, she applauds and praises all performers whole-heartedly and genuinely. I was introduced to this theater by K’s mom and dad who have been going for years and years. The first time I went to a show here I was in 9th grade, maybe 8th grade? I’ve been countless times since. There are comedians, singers, writers reading their stories, poets, musicians, actors doing little plays, all kinds of artists showing off their talents, and it’s always different. Sometimes the same comedian or singers will be there but I always thought it was interesting to see how their performances differed each night. The BEST part is that it’s free to attend though you should donate $5 if you have it!
When: Every Saturday at Midnight
Cost: Free ($5 donation recommended)
Where: 1420 South Washington Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Acme Comedy Co.
Every Monday night they have an Open Mic Night, it’s free to attend but you do have to be 18+! These comedians are hilarious! Some of them are amateurs and some of them have their own time slots that are usually paid entries but MOST of them are very funny. The first time I went to this Comedy Club, my friend’s boyfriend paid for us both to get in on a Halloween night show, where they supposedly had the professional comedians only. I fell asleep during that one! I suggest the Open Mic Nights but they do have more popular comedians the rest of the week that aren’t free!
When: Every Monday at 8:00pm
Cost: Free (must be 18+, don’t forget your ID)
Where: 708 North 1st Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Mall of America
There was a time in my life for many years in a row–I went to Mall of America on every single Sunday of every week, no joke. Even if it was just to walk around and not buy anything. I loved walking around that mall, people watching, and admiring all the new fashions and gadgets!
When: Open everyday, hours vary
Cost: Free to explore (it’s probably best that you bring some money, though!)
Where: 60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425
Fairs & Festivals
The Minnesota State Fair
All Minnesotans attend this fair at least once a year, some of them go every single day that it’s open. Seriously, even when we say “ah, not this year. It’s getting too expensive.” Everyone still goes once a year. It’s a summer tradition. 2017 was my first year that I can remember without my corn on the cob, turkey leg, and deep fried Oreo!
When: Every summer, August 24th-September 4th
Cost: Entrance ticket prices change every year (on their website right now you can buy pre-sale tickets for $11 so I imagine it will be much more than that at the gate)
Where: 1265 Snelling Avenue North, Saint Paul, MN 55108
It is a tradition for almost everyone in my family, on both my mom’s side of the family and my dad’s side of the family to go to Valleyfair every summer. Either together or separately; I think everyone in my family goes to this fair once a year! They seem to make a new ride every other year here, we’ve noticed, which makes it that much more exciting! It’s not only an amusement park with thrilling roller coasters and great food but it also has a huge water park with seriously scary water slides.
When: Every May through Late October/Early November
Cost: General admission (currently it’s on a holiday discount): $35-$45
Where: 1 Valleyfair Drive, Shakopee, MN 55379
Festival of Nations
Boyfriend and I attended this lovely festival two years in a row; in 2015 and 2016. If I still lived in Minnesota I would still attend every single year. This festival has all kinds of arts and crafts from a ton of different countries (even little ol’ Cambodia!). They also have food stands that feature popular dishes from each country. Everything is priced fairly and the food is made in smaller portions so you can try more of the different foods! We’ve gotten a caricature drawn of us here and our picture taken “in front of the Great Wall of China” (a backdrop). There are so many different things to do, you’ll want to spend hours here, trust me!
When: May 3rd-May 6th, 2018
Cost: $11 per adult (18+), $8 per child
Where: Saint Paul RiverCentre – 175 Kellogg Boulevard West, Saint Paul, MN 55102
French Meadow Bakery & Cafe
“French Meadow began in 1985 as the first certified organic bread bakery in the U.S.A., baking traditional organic, yeast-free bread that was as delicious as it was healthy. As a pioneer in organics, we opened the popular Uptown Minneapolis cafe in the early 1990’s by customer demand, and have been serving deliciously natural, local, organic food — including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan — ever since.” –French Meadow Cafe Website
There are 3 locations:
1. 2610 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408
2. 1662 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105
3. In the University of Minnesota Wellness Center (for those of you in Minnesota for college!)
Izzy’s Ice Cream
“Today, Izzy’s is a Twin Cities institution that provides memorable experiences for thousands of visitors every year. With more than a hundred flavors to choose from customers can explore the unique combinations of fresh fruits like peaches and blackberries, local ingredients like Summit Oatmeal Stout and Wild Country maple syrup, and ingredients from around the world like Dutch-processed cocoa and Bourbon vanilla. Whether it’s the smell of a waffle cone cooking as you enter the shop or the variety of samples you enjoy before finally deciding on a flavor, in every visit, you’ll experience an Izzy.” –Izzy’s Ice Cream Website
Never have I ever had better ice cream than the homemade stuff they make here. They even bake their own cones.
There are 2 locations:
1. 1100 2nd Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55415
2. 2034 Marshall Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104
You will never enjoy another cheesecake if you try the ones they make here. They are spectacular, too delicious for words.
Where: Victoria Crossing, 850 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105
Snuffy’s Malt Shop
All Snuffy’s locations have the same vintage interior design, giving them that cool retro atmosphere. They are known for their old-school burgers and malts. I don’t see anything that special in the burgers but the malts……oh my gosh, THE MALTS!!! They are fantastic. The absolute best around–still have NOT tasted a better one or one that has even come close! They have all kinds of different flavors and not one will disappoint.
1. 1125 Larpenteur Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55113
2. 4502 Valley View Rod, Edina, MN 55424
3. 244 Cleveland Avenue South, Saint Paul, MN 55105
4. 17519 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka, MN 55345
Any of the 10,000 Lakes
Minnesota is called “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” for good reason. The best part about the lakes is that almost all of them have bicycle and walking trails, picnic benches, playgrounds, grills. They are all awesome equipped with endless outdoor activities! No matter where you are in Minnesota, you’ll be able to find a lake nearby for a picnic or maybe even a swim. In the winter, you can walk on the layer of ice, ice skate, play hockey, or ice fish.
Where: 637 First Street, Taylors Falls, MN 55084
Hidden Falls Park
Where: 1415 Mississippi River Boulevard South, Saint Paul, MN 55116
Featured Image by Matt Jones