Essential E’s of Minnesota

This vast midwestern state offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities and excursions in its cities’ rich culture and natural scenery.

With this guide, you will have plenty of places to start your exploration and discovery of this amazing state!

Eats

Don’t be fooled, Minnesota has a large variety of restaurants that provide a broad range of foods for you to discover.

While there is a huge selection to choose from, we have narrowed down that list for you and given the top essentials of Minnesota to fit your circumstances!

Spoon & Stable by jpellgen

Worth the Trip

Any visitor naturally wants to discover the authentic restaurants of the state and its cities. First on the list of essentials that give you a true taste of Minneapolis, Spoon and Stable. This restaurant is run by a team of first-rate chefs that provide a provide aesthetic and authentic dishes from a French-inspired menu. Whether you are looking for a brunch, dinner, dessert, gluten-free, or vegetarian option, Spoon and Stable provide eloquent tasty options. Adjacent to Minneapolis, St. Paul also has a multitude of restaurants that have a unique Minnesota flavor like Young Joni.

This unique Korean-styled pizzeria and cocktail bar has many tasty treats. You can try pizzas such as their Korean BBQ or Amalfi Coast pizzas. Or, try a drink at their hidden bar such as the ‘I Love New York T-shirt or ‘Single and Ready to Mingle’ cocktails. Or visit The Naughty Greek, located between both these metropolises, for an authentic Greek cuisine experience! Farther south, a great restaurant to check out in Rochester is Chester’s Kitchen and Bar. This modern, trendy American-styled restaurant has delicious menu selections for any time of the day.

Earlier in the day, Chester’s serves excellent omelets and other breakfast dishes while later through the day they server a variety of dishes their Fish and Chips or Lobster Mac and Cheese being among just a few of the options. Farther north, Dovetail Café near Duluth, allows visitors to receive a comfortable, relaxing experience with coffee and brunch-time options. Finally, in St. Cloud, you can experience the classy menu that Jules Bistro provides as well as the jazzy atmosphere. This collective listing of restaurants will all provide a memorable memory for your taste buds of your time in Minnesota.

Hell’s Kitchen by Andy Langager

Bang for Your Buck

Sometimes the more authentic finds around the state can be costly. However, there are still many restaurants that give you quality for little monetary quantity. In the metropolis nebula of St. Paul and Minneapolis there are plenty of choices. Tilia, a cozy American cuisine, is highly rated and not too expensive. If you are looking for something beyond the modern, aesthetic restaurant in Minneapolis, visit Hell’s Kitchen. This underground American-styled restaurant serves all-day menu selections with live music.

It’s worth experiencing if you are in the area. Another place in the St. Paul metropolis that has great reviews and even better prices is Stewart’s. This chill neighborhood restaurant has tasty menus in a relaxing soft environment that is perfect for social events or a quick meal solo! Their menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner are limited to certain times of the day so, but between these three menus, there are plenty of yummy choices like their Falafel Salad or their Turkey Rachel sandwich. If you are in southern Minnesota, check out Ichi Tokyo for delicious Japanese cuisine and Sushi Bar. A true treasure of Rochester, this restaurant provides a plethora of delicious food for a reasonable price!

In Duluth, Uncle Loui’s Café provides authentic home cooking all day long in a cozy atmosphere. An alternative fun experience in Duluth is Anchor Bar and Grill. This restaurant’s environment is packing with old fashioned styled memorabilia that gives the place a classic and interesting vibe. The great food and low prices make it worth it to add this place to your Minnesota sightseeing checklist!

The Blue Door Pub by Jimmy Emerson

Late Night Bite

Looking for some places that are open later into the night? There are a plethora of choices across the state. Top of the list, the award-winning Pub, The Happy Gnome, is a great destination for those new to St. Paul.  It provides top-rated menus for all times of the day, but it is best known for its quality Gastropub and patio seating that will make anyone’s experience a night to remember. While located in several places in Minneapolis, the original location of The Blue Door Pub is in the heart of the city. This local chain is best known for its tasty burgers and drinks. Its infamous Blucy Challenge dares all its customers to eat 10 Blucy Burgers that their menu explains provides a “collision of culinary creativity and Northern ingenuity.”

As a reward, anyone who completes the challenge receives a free t-shirt. All Burger lovers will find this restaurant worth revisiting! Pizza luce is another fantastic chain to visit in Minneapolis and Duluth areas. Its award-winning pizza dishes are known across the state as the perfect way to spend an evening with friends. Another late-night, American-styled bar is the White Horse Bar. This 4-star restaurant and bar keeps its door open till 2 am and perfect for those near St. Cloud fresh off an all-day shift. The bar has a classy environment and friendly staff that accompanies its excellent food and drink selections. Finally, located in Rochester, The Half Barrel, provides its customers an exceptional food and drink menu for a notably good price. This American bar is located on Rochester’s historic 3rd street and stays open till 1 am throughout the week. It is most definitely worth visiting!

Entertainment

There are plenty of entertainment venues in Minnesota for your more leisurely days. With fun activities and places across the state, there are always opportunities for a day of fun, whether nearby where you are staying or road tripping.

Nickelodeon Universe by Jeremy Thompson

Leisure

When you have a spare day and are looking for something fun to participate in, go no further than Bloomington. This city is full of fun places to check out! Most well-known in the city is the Mall of America.  The MOA has a variety of entertainment experiences like Nickelodeon Universe, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, The LEGO Store and Imagination Center, Rock of Ages Blacklight Minigolf, The Escape Game, and lots more! The Minnesota Aquarium has a 1.2-million-gallon tunnel that contains thousands of sea creatures.

The Nickelodeon Universe is made up of two indoor amusement parks inside the Mall of America featuring fun, thrilling rides that loop through the air! Another one of the Mall of America’s entertainment features a unique, bright course that puts a whole new spin on Mini Golf. Finally, the LEGO Imagination Center has four stories of fun with all kinds of LEGO building pieces for all ages to have funs. Even for adults, this center provides a childhood experience childhood that anyone can experience or relive. Outside of Bloomington and the massive MOA, St. Paul’s Como Park Zoo and Observatory are a great day trip to make as well.

Open every day 10am-6pm; the park has different events being hosted daily such as the Summer Flower Show or Giraffe Feeding. This facility provides a variety of experiences between its park, gardens, zoo, and observatory. In St. Paul riding a riverboat on the Mighty Mississippi is a perfect day of leisure and relaxation! There are many options designed to fit your needs whether you want to dine on the river, do some sightseeing, or go on a themed Margarita Cruise.

Minnesota Vikings by Bjorn Hanson

Sport

Minnesota’s sports culture is hungrier than ever for a championship in their professional sports and eager for success in their collegiate athletics at schools like UM or MSU. The Minnesota Twins (with a current Win-Loss Record of 69-42 this season) are one of Minnesota’s oldest teams that officially changed from ‘The Senators’ to its present title in the 1960’s. Located at Target Field in Minneapolis, the Twins players such as Joe Mauer or Michael Cuddyer are sure to provide you a night to remember. Likewise, the Minnesota Vikings are a team who have visited the Superbowl many times but never been able to take home the title. Located in downtown Minneapolis, the Vikings are a team that is looking to compete this upcoming season strongly.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping to develop their team in a very competitive NBA, both in season and during free agency trading. With strong role players and uprising stars like Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns or more recently acquired players such as Robert Covington and Jordan Bell, the team is set up for a more successful future at the Target Center. Minnesota also provides other professional sports experiences for its fan in the areas of NASCAR and Hockey.

The Minnesota Wild are currently 7th in the Central Division of the NHL. Elko Speedway south of Bloomington provides a lively NASCAR experience for fans that is worth experiencing if you are new to Minnesota! In the world of collegiate athletics, the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University are the state’s top athletic programs for those more interested in experiencing Division I athletic competition.

 

Nightlife

Do you prefer to spend your nights off experiencing the best a city’s nightlife has to offer? No problem, here we have listed the top places to check out. First up, The Living Room and Prohibition bars on the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower provides a tasteful environment with a great view of Minneapolis. The prohibition bar has a 1920’s classic vibe while the Living Room provides the modern bar experience with contemporary infusion and molecular mixology drinks that have become more popular in recent years.

Another unique place to visit in Minneapolis is the Up-Down Arcade Bar. Not only does the bar feature many retro fun arcade games for a fun night of gaming with friends, but provides a great outside space for enjoying their top-notch selection of craft beers. In Rochester, the North Star Bar is a solid bet for the party goer. With pool competitions and live music every weekend, this venue is an experience you do not want to miss out on! Looking to laugh the night away? Say no more!

Minnesota has several late-night comedy bars such as the Minneapolis’ award-winning, a top-listed place for comedy The Comedy Corner. Finally, if you are searching for a place that has live music, comedy, and DJ sets in its set schedule, Club Underground is the place for you! It is highly reviewed and will allow you to experience the city of Minneapolis at night first-hand.

Explore

There is no end of places to explore in Minnesota, known for its beautiful nature and scenery. To list all of the ways to explore and discover, Minnesota would be very tedious. However, listed below is an excellent foundation of places to start your exploration of the state.

Chippewa National Forest by Rich Hoeg

Go Outside

In Minneapolis, the first spots to check out is the Minnehaha Falls with is scenic cycling, hiking, and wading pools! A second place to visit is the Sculpture Garden that contains a variety of statues and modern art. Gooseberry Falls near Two Harbors is another scenic view of Minnesota’s many natural waterfalls across the state. The 1600-acre park hosts scenic nature and wildlife as well as campgrounds for visitors. Driving alongside Lake Superior is always a fun, spectacular experience traveling north of Duluth.

If you decide to take this drive, you will eventually arrive at Tettegouche State Park located near Silver Bay. This park has scenic lakes, waterfalls, and rock climbing available that is worth the drive! Other available activities near Duluth or Lake Superior include helicopter, train, and floatplane tours of Minnesota’s landscapes. There are also many parks crowding the northern parts of Minnesota. Some of the best parks in the state to include are top-rated state parks like Pine Island and George Washington State Forests or Chippewa National Forest.

Cathedral of St. Paul by jpellgen

Culture

Beyond Minnesota’s beautiful sites of nature, there are plenty of points of culture to visit as well.  The Cathedral of St. Paul shows visitors beautiful architecture and vibrant music that takes you back in time to the beginning of the 20th century. Another incredible structure to see is Minnesota’s state capitol building. There are free tours to view the beautiful interior and legislative sessions that give you a better view of the function of the Minnesota legislature.

To experience the technical side of St. Paul, visit the Mill City Museum to view their different exhibits such as the flour tower elevator, water and baking labs, its observation deck on the roof, or the nearby riverfront area. Another thing to check out is the Minneapolis Skyway System. Started in 1962, its popularity grew through the years and evolved into a system of connected buildings that has a current length of 8 miles. This popular network of tunnels over the streets of Minneapolis, lead users to places like Target Field (home of the Minnesota Twins), Orchestra Hall, and Foshay Tower. Lastly, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is another fantastic place to tour. They have plenty of upcoming events marked on their calendar and a wide range of art to experience and observe.

X Games by jpellgen

Party Like a Local

There are plenty of events to be involved with while in Minnesota as well. Last week, August 1-4, the U.S. Bank Stadium hosted the X-games and music festivals. Starting on August 22 to the beginning of September, St. Paul hosts the Minnesota State Fair with live music, shows, food, rides, and new attractions. There are concerts regularly hosted in Minneapolis in the Target Center too. For example, 21 Pilots will be performing in Minneapolis October 24th.

They are always concerts being held in the metropolis areas, and if you enjoy the concert experience, this is something you don’t want to miss out on in the center of Minneapolis. Another great place to check out if you are not as close to the capitol is Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park. They have a calendar of events scheduled all year long for endless fun. In the upcoming weeks of August, this venue will be hosting events like the Wild Waters Music Fest, Grill Wars, and Art in Bayfront Park event.

With all the opportunities, places, and events in Minnesota, we hope you can take advantage of these top-of-the-list recommendations we have provided for you in this blog!

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