Great finds in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Posted March 17, 2010 by Jamie Moore

Minneapolis You've gotta love a city with a sense of humor. When you're as metropolitan as Minneapolis/St. Paul, you could easily put on cosmopolitan airs. But that's not the case here. The Twin Cities deliver whimsical twists at every turn. Eat organic at a bowling alley, find kitschy home decor, and take in a show in one of the city's renowned theaters.

Bryant-Lake Bowl
: This hip retro-style bowling alley, restaurant, bar, and live theater venue in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood is a Minnesota institution. You'd never expect locally sourced organic menu items or a wine-and-beer list this good at a bowling alley. BLB is packed on weekends, but absolutely worth the wait. Try the bison hash ($9) or beans-and-guacamole breakfast burrito with jalapeno fries ($7.25). Monday is Cheap Date Night, when you get two special entrees, a bottle of wine, and a round of bowling for $28.

: Featured in oodles of national and local magazines, Patina defines Minneapolis style. Take one look at the unbelievably affordable handbags and jewelry at one of the six locations in the Twin Cities, and you can't help but say "cute!" in a must-have kind of way. Beware of getting sidetracked: The store also brims with fun gadgets, games, and kitschy home decor.

Guthrie Theater
: With more theater seats per capita than any other U.S. city outside New York, you're bound to find a play or musical that suits your tastes. Drop in at the Guthrie Theater, where plays from Shakespeare to modern classics are held on the three stages. After the show, you can take in the fantastic views of the Mississippi from the Guthrie's Endless Bridge, a cantilevered lobby that extends more than half a block from the building.

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(Photo: Photo: iStockphoto)

Don't Break the Holiday Bank Shopping in Minneapolis

Posted December 3, 2009 by Kate Hamman

MN-MinneapolisStPaul-MallofAmericafacade-DEF It's nearly impossible to mention shopping and Minneapolis in the same sentence without talking about the Mall of America, a shopper's dream come true for the holidays. However, after a long day of walking the mall's four levels at one-half mile each, you may need to revive your spirit and give your feet a break with a spot of tea in a relaxing setting, or an entertaining night at the theater.

Mall of America: If Sears and Disney had a love child, you'd end up with the Mall of America. Located about 15 minutes outside of downtown Minneapolis, the building is so massive that it has its very own zip code. And with more than 520 stores inside, the mall makes it easy to find pretty much anything you're looking for. Navigating the complex, though, may be a challenge. Stop by a mall kiosk for a map, and if you're a serious shopper, purchase a coupon book for $9.95, which offers discounts at more than 200 merchants.

Traditional holiday tea at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: With more than 1,000 acres of gardens, woodlands, wetlands, and prairie, the Arboretum is the perfect place to decompress. Leave the hectic holiday shopping frenzy behind with a piping cup of hot tea, a table full of trifles and treats, a roaring fire, and a serene view overlooking a snow-covered garden. On various afternoons throughout December, you can enjoy holiday tea service for $26 from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Guthrie Theater: Give your feet a rest, and enjoy a show at Minneapolis' landmark theater. Entertaining audiences since 1963, the Guthrie is the place to go for live performances. Summon the holiday spirit with Ebenezer Scrooge during the Guthrie's production of A Christmas Carol. Tickets start at $29. If you're curious about the make-up behind the mask, you can choose from several different tours starting at $5.

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(Photo: Mall of America)

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