I can’t really tell you how many times I have flown through Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Airport. Pretty much every time I have flown home for the past six years and then some. So it’s a lot. And as much as I like the airport, I thought maybe I should check out the city of Minneapolis itself. I had been hearing really good things about the city for the past few years. It’s really bike friendly, smart, headquarters to some major companies, has an art and food scene. It’s in the battle for cities to move to, so when I was booking a ticket to head home for a long weekend, I added a long layover in Minneapolis to finally see what it is all about.
I arrived in the early evening on a Wednesday and my friend, Mitch, picked me up at the airport. We went to his place to dump stuff off and headed out to dinner. He lives closer to Uptown, in a really nice neighborhood near the Lake of the Isles. I could easily see myself running or biking along the lake on a regular basis. It was so nice. We walked along the gorgeous lake on our way to Roat Osha, a Thai place.
Roat Osha was delicious, one of Mitch’s favorite go-to spots. We enjoyed some delicious cocktails and shared a couple appetizers and dishes. The Jalapeno Cream Cheese Wantons were so good. As was the entree dishes, but to be honest, I can’t remember what we had. We went back and forth so many times before deciding that all I can tell you is that it was really good, and it sounds like you really can’t pick something bad on the menu. They asked us how spicy we wanted our dishes and got the spice level just right. Would definately add this place to my list of go-to spots if I lived in Minneapolis.
After dinner we walked over to The Lowry for a drink on the way home. I loved this place, the design and decor were great and so were the cocktails. Mitch introduced me to the Dirty Derby. Which is bourbon, grapefruit juice and honey. Really any drink with grapefruit juice is going to be a good drink to me. This drink goes down maybe a bit too easy and my love of bourbon drinks continues on.
The next morning, I headed over the river to SE Main Street for a meeting/interview at one of the cities larger firms. Originally this trip was just going to be a fun, check out the city trip, but I figured now I should mix some business with pleasure. It was a nine am meeting and for some reason, I forgot to eat breakfast so by the time it was over, I was starving. I walked along the river on SE Main to
The Wilde Roast Cafe. They have a large outdoor seating area and the weather was a perfect early summer day. I ordered a massive latte and enjoyed their special smoked Gouda hash browns with a Morning Sammy. Who can resist avocado on a breakfast sandwich? Not me. As I enjoyed my breakfast, I contemplated my next move, I needed sunglasses.
My sunglasses broke going through security at Laguardia. To be honest, they were probably ready to break. Still annoying since it was super sunny, I was planning on being outside most of the day and my eyes like to water a lot in sunshine. Around the corner on Hennepin Avenue, there was a line of boutiques that I figured might have some sunglasses. The street was also lined with bars that looked like they would be pretty fun and bunch of cute cafes.
I ended up in gh2, an adorable consignment store with a large sunglasses selection. They were more than I would normally pay for sunglasses given my track record, but I really liked multiple pairs and I didn’t want to spend all of my day looking for sunglasses. As I was trying to decide which pair to get, I overheard the girl working there saying that the glasses were from a woman who had an eyeglasses shop that was closing and these were the trial pairs or something, that were supposedly designer. I am not good with names at all, I recognized 7 for all Mankind, but that was it. I later googled Jason Wu. These were not cheap sunglasses by any means. I love them and they now rest in a hard case when not on my head. No more tossing them around and hopefully no loosing them.
Once I was outfitted with sunglasses, I went to pick up a Nice Ride bike, the cities bike share. I spent the rest of the day running around the city on a bike, just like I love. I went along the river a lot. I went over the famed Stone Arch Bridge, through the Mill District on my way to the University of Minneapolis to check out their campus. I also had to find a stadium postcard to send to Kurt. I also checked out the School of Architecture building. It looks like they have some pretty sweet projects going. Maybe I should go back to school…
I went back over the river to check out Target Field where the Twins play. I had multiply people tell me that I should have gone to a game, they were playing at home Wednesday and Thursday, but I really don’t care that much for baseball. Seeing the field was enough for me. If I move there, I’m sure I will see plenty of the Twins. It is right downtown, which is a nice change from Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, and is a pretty nice design. After the game, you can just wander to the bars near by or over the Warehouse District, which I wanders through next. There are some adorable shops and restaurant/bars down there.
I had a late afternoon meeting with a friend of a friend to learn a bit more about the city and about firms doing the kind of work I want to do at Birchwood Cafe. I had a cooling root beer float that was perfect after one of my longer rides. The neighborhood that it was in, south of the university, was really cute too, I would definitely like to explore it more. After the meeting, I biked back to Mitch’s to meet him and we drove out to his softball game in Como Park. He was late getting back from a work trip, so he missed the game, but we shared a beer with the team before heading back to Minneapolis for a little party.
One of his friends owns an adorable boutique, Motto, which was celebrating it’s one year anniversary. They had delicious cocktails, a food truck and sweets by Sugar Wood. I couldn’t find a website for them, but oh my god do they make some delicious treats! I ate one too many. The food truck, which I didn’t take a picture of, or note the name of, was making up some awesome hot dogs. I had the Bulldog which was a hot dog topped with pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, and some sort of spicy mayo mixture. So good. So very good. After the party, we went over to Cafeteria, a bar and restaurant near by with a rooftop. everyone was on the rooftop and it didn’t look like the guys were going to get to watch the basketball game, so we went back inside to enjoy a few drinks and hang out.
The next morning was all I had left for time in the city. Mitch needed to go to work and I also needed to do some work, so he dropped me at Spyhouse Coffee. It was a spacious adorable shop. I tried their Spygirl latte which has lavender in it. Really good. I was able to finish some work before needed to get a move on if I was going to visit one more recommended restaurant and catch my plane to South Dakota. I walked back home, called a cab and hauled my suitcase to Hell’s Kitchen downtown. It was so good. I debated having another breakfast, but ended up going with the Ham and Pear Crisp sandwich with sweet potato fries. Now I need to go back and try the other 100 items on the menu.
From downtown, I was able to take the Metro to the airport. The ride is only a couple dollars and takes about 45 minutes to get to airport from downtown. The route goes through several neighborhoods and past the Vikings football stadium. The thing I liked most about the Metro was the bike racks on board and they were being used! Hurray bikes!
I think I did quite a bit in the short time that I had in Minneapolis and I really did like it. I am actively job searching there, so if you have any recommendations, let me know! Stay tuned for my thoughts on Denver.