This past weekend, I was lucky enough to venture to Minneapolis, Minnesota with my lovely mother. I have been here a few times before, each time being in the Winter, and my one Summer experience was moving my sister and her husband into their apartment (still fun, I might add). But this weekend instilled a true appreciation for the state of Minnesota and the wonderful people in it. With that being said, I have come up with a list of reasons why you should visit this wonderful state - particularly in the Summer months.
1. THE OUTDOORS
There is so much to do outside in Minneapolis. Each path is bike, runner, and pedestrian friendly, and stretch for miles. In Minneapolis, they line the entire city, with an access point to each path, no matter where you live in the city. Trails surrounding beautiful lakes, streams, and even the Falls. I recommend walking around Lake Harriet, visiting the Minnehaha Falls, and taking a bike ride on the trails. Each trail is peaceful, beautiful, and unique. Not to mention - it is perfect weather. Very similar to Colorado summers, if you have been lucky enough to venture there during summer as well. Between the gorgeous sunsets, bodies of water, and multitude of trees - what more could you ask for?
2. THE INDOORS
I know, quite the contrast to the previous point, but I realize there are a lot of folks who don’t enjoy the great outdoors like I do. And sometimes weather keeps us inside. Minnesota has just about every store, shop, boutique or restaurant you could possibly want. Depending on where you go in Minneapolis, (Dinkytown, Downtown, Uptown, etc.) there are quite the variety of stores but all within close quarters. This makes it easy to split up from the group you’re traveling with, hit one store, or hit them all!
Do I really need to say more? This store is a blessing to us all.
4. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE
The light rail is also a blessing in this state. After using the subways in New York City, I really was not excited to try another subway-like transportation system. However, the above-ground light rails are quite nice, especially since you can look at the beautiful scenery surrounding you. During the Winter, no one really wants to drive - not even in Minnesota! Luckily, the light rail can take you just about anywhere in the city, all for a very cheap cost. It’s quick, cheap, and you get to avoid traffic AND driving in bad weather. Could it get much better?
5. LOCAL SHOPS
One of my favorite things to do is shop local. There is much more character and passion when it comes to local stores, and it’s really fun to see the personality of each shop owner shine through their own store. Minneapolis has dozens of local shops, all top-rated. From coffee shops to bakeries, they line the streets and each have a unique flare to them. The owners are always very appreciative, too, since you are supporting their own business!
6. THE MALL OF AMERICA
I think this one speaks for itself. Even if you hate malls, you should still try to visit the MOA at least once. There is such a variety, I promise you will find at least one thing you’ll enjoy here (even if it is the Aquarium!)
7. THE FARMER’S MARKET
I love the outdoor farmer's market. It’s the perfect combination of buying fresh and local. Minneapolis offered a beautiful farmer’s market that had everything from Indian cuisine, fresh pastries, Lavender from a French farm, to single-source honey and fresh produce. Not to mention, it’s a walk away from a local park and right next to the Guthrie Theater!
8. IT’S SAFE
Minnesota actually has some of the lowest crime-rates in the U.S., and you can definitely tell when you visit there. For being a large city, I never felt threatened or unsafe while visiting, which I can’t say for most cities I have been to. It’s a place that would be fun to roadtrip to with your friends, or to take your kids.
9. IT’S A COLLEGE TOWN
This might be a strange point, but college towns always bring in a lot of things to do. Not only are a lot of jobs filled because of this, but there are a lot of youthful activities and events that are brought to the city because of the college-aged population as well!
10. IT’S A PERFECT MIX OF CITY AND COUNTRY
Whenever I travel my main priority is to be outdoors, but I also like to do a little “city” stuff as well. Minneapolis provides the perfect set-up to do just that. As I mentioned before, you can hop on a trail from anywhere you might be, or walk around Uptown and get some shopping in. It truly provides the best of both worlds.
11. YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE “MINNESOTA NICE”
Being from Nebraska, I am used to friendly, talkative people. One thing I enjoy about the Midwest, in general, is the friendliness of people. “Minnesota nice” is a unique friendliness. It is genuine, quiet, and kind - but not overbearing. Minnesota natives were honest, to-the-point, and polite, all while being friendly. This is something that everyone should experience on a vacation, and those who are from Minnesota - be proud! You have a wonderful state full of genuine people.
Minneapolis might not be on your bucket list of places to go, or your number one vacation destination, but it is somewhere (I think) everyone should experience. This city, and state, has a lot to offer - especially when it comes to kindness.