A good song is one thing that my beloved home town does not have! But there are so many reasons why I love this place that I hardly know where to begin. I’ll spare you all the fantastic things about GA here because ANYONE could tell you those. I’ll tell you, instead, why I love this neck of the woods and how I hope you might enjoy it. Lots of these items require a car, but the bus will get you there too. Here are a few of my favorite things:
- The Guthrie Theatre. Oh sure, great if you want to go see a play (I’m going to M. Butterfly in May, looks like A Doll’s House will be there during GA). But even if you don’t have time or money for that, go in anyway. Take the escalator up to the rooms that jut out over the river, hang out in the amber room or go out on the patio. The views are spectacular. (818 South Second Street, about a fifteen minute walk from GA).
- All kinds of great theatre . Mu Theatre, Asian American. Mixed Blood Theatre, promoting cultural pluralism. Penumbra Theatre, African American. Or for good comedy, check out the improv or plays at Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop.
- Minneapolis is the most literate city in the country. Check out the downtown library (300 Nicollet Mall, about a twenty minute walk from GA). You’ll either love or hate the architecture, but check out the kids’ room or the teens’ room for pure enjoyment.
- Minneapolis is the most bike friendly city in the country. (OK, we duke out both of the above with Portland and Seattle, but we win both categories some of the time). There is a 50 mile bike path right in the city. Rent a bike by Lake Calhoun and enjoy! Nice and flat, too.
- Minneapolis has great restaurants. Some of my favorite downtown spots: Spoon River, right next to the Guthrie, if you’re a local foodie. Or Brenda’s, run by the same woman. Hell’s Kitchen for a fantastic breakfast. Murray’s Restaurant and Cocktail, for a blast from the past.
- Lakes. There are a slew of them right in town, great for canoeing or kayaking, swimming, or the great Minnesota activity: Walking around the Lake. “Where should we meet?” means, “Which lake should we walk around, yours or mine?”
- Bookstores. Some of my favorites are Native American author Louise Erdrich’s, Birch Bark Books, local celeb Garrison Keillor’s Corner Books (in St. Paul—great poetry section), one of the few remaining lesbian oriented bookstores, True Colours.
- Multicultural diversity. Yes, the Scandinavian presence is here. But Minneapolis also has the largest Hmong population, Somali population, and Native American population of any city in the country.
- The Mississippi River. The river runs through both Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you have time to stay a day, drive down the river to Maidenrock/ Pepin/ Stockholm Wisconsin, where the river widens out into Lake Pepin. For my dime, the most beautiful place in the world. You can see the cabin where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born, too. And eat at the Harborview Café in Pepin.
- Brand new ballpark. If you stay over till Monday night, there’s a game. I’m going to a game in May. Apparently the food can be quite good—walleye sandwiches and wild rice soup, along with the usual fare.
The best part of any hometown is the people. Folks here tend to be pathologically friendly and helpful—Minnesota nice is not just a joke. In that spirit, I deeply hope you will enjoy your time here!