As a child, I remember field trips to the Minnesota Zoo. It would often be the last day of class and we found ourselves treated to a pretend space shuttle ride and a feeding frenzy of lions. While it's not exactly how I remember it, the Minnesota Zoo is still a must see for any families. However, the IMAX can be thrilling for all!
PROS: great for family, IMAX
I lived in Chicago and was fortunate enough to see a Monet/Van Gogh exhibit (for free I might add). It was truly breathtaking. So when I moved to the Twin Cities, I was skeptical of this "great museum." While this museum is of American art, it is none the less a pleasure to view on a stressful day. There are many unknown (at least to me) and local artists.
PROS: fine showcase for lesser known artists
CONS: not comparable to other galleries
As a child, I remember visiting the old science museum. It was always a treat, especially the larger-than-life Omni Theatre. So when the new state-of-the-art museum opened, I had to check it out. When I walked in, I turned into that child again, engrossed with the lifelike dinosaur models and exhibits.
PROS: kids especially will love it, Omni theatre
The first time I was in Block E I had a hard time believing a multi-plex theatre could be in downtown Minneapolis. Just finishing a fine dinner, some friends and I decided to catch a movie. Expecting very little, I was quite surprised to find myself in a state-of-the-art theater. It couldn't have been better!
PROS: great location, clean
CONS: may be hard to find, too loud
Amidst the growing metropolis of the Twin Cities lies a hidden treasure, a fine antiquity of American art. The Mann Theatre lies in the Grand Ave strip, but don't let all the specialty stores fool you, Mann is anything but. You feel like you're back in the sixties, whether it's in their large screen, or upstairs in their intimate and cozy screening room.
PROS: good location, fairly cheap, blast from the past
CONS: screen size may not be big enough for some
Let's face it, those that have lived in Saint Paul long enough know that the nightlife scene just isn't as happening as Minneapolis. Enter the Artist Quarter: their mission, to take fabulous jazz artists, as well as students from nearby schools, to give them real experience performing. From blues to jazz to folk, this is music.
PROS: great entertainment by some fine restaurants
CONS: may be hard to find for out of towners
Menard's just finished a remodeling addition and it looks fantastic. I was working on a home project and needed some equipment and materials, and Menards was the place to find it. The guys are very knowledgable and helpful there, and if you time it right, you might be there for a 12% off sale!
PROS: great for home projects, prices are affordable
CONS: hope cement doesn't bother you
If you've ever been to Culvers than you know what you're missing. Right when I walk in my mouth starts watering and I go crazy trying to figure out what to get. My recommendations - go for the Butterburger and top it off with their famous custard. WARNING: this place is not for people on diets!
PROS: great food, family restaurant, always clean
CONS: expensive, unhealthy
The last place I expected to see a YMCA was in the St Paul Skyway in downtown St Paul. So when I received a membership for Christmas, I was curious if it would be worth it. But don't let appearances fool you, as this YMCA has an olympic sized pool, weight/aerobic room, racquetball/tennis courts, and of course an amazingly huge gym with running track.
PROS: fun for everyone, easy to get to (if you're in downtown St Paul)
CONS: can be busy at times, expensive (look for student discount)
As a child I remember going to Aladdin's Castle for my birthday. It was a special treat where I could only bring five friends and we would feast on pizza and ice cream. But the thing I enjoyed most, of course, were the games. I saved up all my tickets to buy a whoopie cushion. Not only do kids have fun playing the arcade games, but they'll feel great when they've won their favorite toy!
PROS: good family fun and food
CONS: can get a little pricey