Minnesota in November may not be at the top of your destination list but it should be. We dropped in for a quick visit earlier this month and experienced a whirlwind of music, sports, laughs and great food. You deserve to get to know Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Friday: While the MSP is one of the most modern in the country it also has the distinction of being close to the two cities it's named after. That means you can land, grab your stuff and be in central St. Paul in 15 minutes… and just a smidge longer for Downtown Minneapolis but with the light rail, you can skip the traffic all together. Our destination when we landed was the launching point of the Jucy Lucy (spelling error on purpose), Matt’s Bar in South Minneapolis. You've probably heard about the Jucy Lucy, but if you haven't, well, you take ground beef and you place cheese inside the patty. When it is cooked the cheese melts (and becomes molten hot) and you have yourself a burger revolution. Matt’s is a small railroad style place on the corner and when we arrived after 1pm there was a line out the door. We were seated, ordered the Lucys and a pitcher or three of Grainbelt. The burgers were better than advertised but a few things to know—Matt’s only takes cash and the only reservations they have are those for people who ask to reserve a table, so be prepared to wait for a table, but it is worth it.
After the Jucy Lucys we proceeded on to the event of the night, Blackhawk at the Medina Entertainment Center in the western suburbs of Minneapolis. Blackhawk is a holdover from the comfortable country pop of the mid 90s and a favorite of many upper Midwesterners. Their first album was in heavy rotation in our college house and the years have been quite good to the band. They sounded fantastic and brought us right back to our early 20s, we followed up the concert with late night bowling and then called it an evening (or morning as it was). Leslie's college days didn't involve Blackhawk, so she skipped this.
Saturday: The next day, the more attractive portion of Aktiv arrived in time for us to hit an afternoon Wild hockey game in St. Paul. The Excel Center is a fantastic rink with excellent sight lines and a knowledgeable crowd. The Wild themselves are driving the struggle bus but were able to squeeze out a point before giving up the win in OT to the Carolina Hurricanes. We left St. Paul for the Emery Hotel in Minneapolis and checked in just in time to head to the Target Center for the Twolves versus James Harden and the Rockets. The National Anthem was sung by a fantastic elementary school choir. Nate hadn’t been in the TC for over 20 years and was impressed with the newish upgrades and creature comforts. The Cargo Authority in the base level is an excellent place to start out your evening with multiple food options and tons of drinks. Just be warned there are a LOT of kids there too. We enjoyed the game even though Harden shot 41 times (seriously!!!!). Afterward, we headed to Giulia at our hotel for a late dinner of Brussel Sprouts Caesar and pork chops….Fabulous.
Sunday: The next day was the signature event of the weekend, the three time World Champion Denver Broncos against NFC participant Minnesota Vikings. #pleaseclickthelinks. Before the game we met up with 18 of our closest college friends and brunched it up at Mckinney Roe, a short walk later we were in the US Bank stadium, gargantuan but surprisingly stylish, it is designed for football and is an almost perfect place to watch it. We don’t need to go into the details of the game, but it was close and a lot of fun. After the game it was back out to the airport to hop on our evening flight back to the Mile High.
As an aside, does anyone else think that MSP smells like a Bloody Mary???? Because, I do.