I was pleasantly surprised with Minneapolis in the state of 10,000 lakes. Minneapolis sure did have a lot of lakes itself.
I tagged along for my husband's on-sight work trip to Minneapolis from a Monday to a Thursday. While most of his days were full of meetings and networking with his coworkers, I had ample time to take full advantage of the city and explore on my own. Here's what I did and what I liked...
After checking into the hotel and unpacking, we ventured into the indoor shopping plaza with an outdoor feel located attached to our hotel for some lunch.
Lunch was Sotti, a Mediterranean style fast-food restaurant and it was delicious for being fast foodish.
We spent the remaining hours before dinner relaxing and getting ready.
A shuttle picked us up around 6:00 to take us to Birch's on the Lake, a gastropub and brewery specializing in seafood and New American fare, located just right out of the city on Long Lake.
Dinner here was really the highlight of the day. My husband's company had arranged for an all-inclusive, already paid for four course meal with an open bar.
Appetizers and drinks started the cocktail hour portion of the night and then we were led into the dining area for a seated family style meal of salads, fried chicken, ribs, risotti, mashed potatoes, and an option of cheesecake or chocolate cake for dessert. After dinner, we drank some more on the patio outside and watched the sun set over the lake.
Dinner at Birch's was really quite the event and highly recommend putting this restaurant on your list of places to dine in Minneapolis.
I went to bed as soon as I arrived back to the hotel, for I was really stuffed.
I woke up early to make the most of my day entirely alone and up to my discretion.
Breakfast was at People's Organic, located in the attached mall. I got the steel cut oats, and it was all right.
After a quick trip to Target to get some supplies for the day, I headed a few blocks away to catch the metro.
*A quick note about the metro. It was pretty easy to navigate. I purchased a ticket for $2 to be able to ride unlimitedly for two hours, but I never had to show my ticket. On the way to my destination, there were no problems. On the way back, I felt uncomfortable, not necessarily unsafe per say, but highly uncomfortable. A lot of what I assume were homeless or drug addicts were onboard with some questionable behavior, including one guy leering at me. Being the only woman onboard, I was ready to get off. But overall, the metro is a cheap and easy way to get around.*
I took the metro to Minnehaha Park. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I took a walk to Minnehaha Falls, rented a quad bike from Wheel Fun Rentals and rode it around the park for an hour, and finally ended my time at the park by eating lunch hand drinking a beer at Sea Salt Eatery, located inside the park.
After a quick pitstop back to the hotel, I changed into my bathing suit and headed by Uber to Lake Harriet where I ordered ice cream from Pickles and sunbathed on one of the lake's two beaches.
My last adventure for the day was dinner and beer at Pryes Brewing Company located near the Mississippi River in the Warehouse District. I ordered the Riverside beer and the goat cheese pizza, both which were delicious and refreshing.
After a jammed packed day, which I mostly spent entirely alone, I went to bed early.
I woke early again to do a run near the Mississippi River by Mill Ruins Park and across the Stone Arch Bridge. I had an avocado, egg, and tomato toast for breakfast at Dunn Brothers Coffee.
Afterwards, I rented a bike from Nice Ride. Nice Rides are located all throughout the city. All you do is download the app, scan the barcode on the bike, grab and go, and return to any location throughout town. I rode the bike all along the path by the river and it was a really enjoyable ride. I had the bike for about an hour, and the entire trip cost me $8.25.
I had a quick shower and then wandered down to Target Field for a Twins day game at 12:10. James was able to meet me at 1, and we had another MLB ballfield down. I had delicious street tacos for lunch at the ballpark. The game was pretty uneventful, but we liked the stadium.
After the game, James had more work events to attend to, so I made my way to Caribou Coffee to read and have a few snacks.
For dinner that night, plus ones were able to attend dinner. We had an outside dinner at Owamni by the Sioux Chef, a restaurant specializing in Indigenous cuisine. The restaurant was located near where I ran and biked earlier in the day and featured views of the river. The food was beyond good. Again, we had an open bar and a multi-course meal of bison meatballs, gazpacho soup, and some type of potato and trout dishes. 5 stars for me.
We hung out by the hotel bar afterwards and then called it a night.
We were technically checking at 11, but we had the whole day until our flight. I started out with an early run and then a bagel breakfast at People's Organic again.
We showered, packed up our luggage and Ubered to the Mall of America in Bloomington, near the airport. If you aren't into shopping, the Mall of America is still a sight to see. There's a whole mini theme park plus an aquarium, comedy club, escape room, Crayola Factory, and many more novelty exhibits and shops. We ended up eating lunch at Crave, and then I got two of the best cookies I've ever had at Baking Betty's. They were goat cheese and jam and a sea salt nutella. You can order online, and I'm thinking of doing that.
We headed to the airport, thus ending our trip to Minneapolis.
I really enjoyed Minneapolis. The city is easy to get around, whether you are taking public transportation, renting a bike, or walking. The weather was pretty nice in the summer. The food was good. And there was plenty to do.
If I had more time, I would have visited Lake of the Isles and rented a kayak with Paddle Share, a unique concept of simply reserving a kayak and then grabbing it from a locker. I also would have loved to explore more of northern Minnesota and visited one of its bigger lakes.
Overall, Minneapolis gets an A.