“Minnesota Nice” isn’t just a phrase; it’s a lifestyle. Having grown up around the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / Saint Paul) I can confirm that the general population of Minnesota is generally just extremely nice but not in a sticky-sweet way. People are genuinely warm, friendly, welcoming, and willing to help out, especially around the holiday season when the city is blanketed in snow!
Interested in learning more about Minnesota? Keep reading below.
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Shopping: The Twin Cities are filled with fantastic places to shop and explore! The Mall of America is the most-well known place to go, featuring a full-on amusement park inside! But if you’re looking for a little more boutique-style shopping, head over to the college side. Saint Catherine University (Saint Kate’s) is actually one of very few colleges in the U.S. that offers a tiered nursing program with fully-accredited options for Bachelors, RN-to-BS Degree Completion, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Saint Kate’s University, Saint Thomas University, and Macalester College are all within a square mile of each other, and the shops and restaurants in between are the place to be! Patina is a great boutique featuring unique gifts and household items from games, to jewelry, glassware, most of which is Minnesota themed: but who can resist beer-flavored taffy? Just down the street, on Snelling, is Saint Patrick’s Guild, featuring enough Irish traditional merchandise to bring out the Irish in even my Scandinavian self!
Food: It might surprise you, but Minnesota is home to some fantastic home-style food! But first things first, start your morning out with a Caribou Coffee. Between the Campfire Mocha, the Spicy Mocha, and the Gingersnap Mocha, we just couldn’t decide which was better, and may have had to try one each morning.
For lunch, Groveland Tap on Saint Clair Avenue features a huge beer list on tap but also an amazing food menu with unique burgers, deep fried cheese curds that rival state-fair food, and poutine – highlighting a Canadian favorite: fries, cheese curds, shredded beef, and gravy. If you’ve never tried it, don’t judge because it is just decadent.
If you’re looking for a night out, head over to the downtown area around Target Center where you’ll find Gluek’s restaurant and bar, featuring the biggest soft pretzel I’ve ever seen, beer-cheese dip to dive into, and home-made carrot cake with just the right amount of frosting. If the food isn’t mouth-watering enough, I’m sure the décor will entice you. Ha!
If it’s chilly, brave the cold and walk on over to Kieran’s Irish pub to finish off the night with a hot Irish coffee!
On the weekends, brunch is a necessity and Highland Grill has the best in the city with Chorizo Breakfast Tacos, Chilaquiles, Ciabatta French Toast, and Malted Waffles. After all, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day!
Entertainment: We’ve already mentioned the Mall of America but what you may not know is that it is SO much more than the mall. It houses Nickelodeon Universe, SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, and the Lego Imagination Center.
If concerts are more your style, Target Center is the place for you. Right downtown near all the fun restaurants and shops, Target center has hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Eric Church, PitBull, Enrique Iglesias, and Ed Sheeran. But for the sports fan, it also plays host to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Did I mention they sell deep-fried cheese-curds at the concessions stand? You can also see shows, plays, concerts, and lectures at the Guthrie Theatre, or take in a viewing of Minnesota’s famous radio show A Prairie Home Companion with America’s Story Teller himself, Garrison Keillor.
If you’re looking for a downtown lifestyle without all the hassle, Minneapolis is the perfect place for you! It is easy to get around and there are tons of things to do, but instead of rude New Yorker’s in black suits and sunglasses, you get Minnesota Nice where your homemade-crocheted-scarf-and-poofy-coat wearing colleagues will invite you for a hot dish pot-luck, and send you home with a personal serving of rhubarb crisp.
(And that’s just in the winter! Wait until summer, when the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes becomes an outdoor paradise!
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