Weekend in Minneapolis: Football, Fashion & Fun

Typically, the dominating thoughts about Minneapolis are sleepy dairy farms or the endearing local vernacular that extends an extra syllable on the ‘o’ in Minnesota. On the corporate scale, the Mall of America and the Minnesota Vikings duke it out for tourist dollars. One involves the super bowl for men, while the other is more akin to the super bowl for women. With 60 museums, 30 theater venues, 30 classic music groups and 10 dance companies – Minneapolis has certainly proven they have more culture than just yogurt. Enough, in fact, to see a new live performance almost every day of the year. Excellent craft breweries, creative cocktail lounges and eclectic eateries are scattered throughout this midwestern gem, along with cheerful hospitality.

 

STAY

Flying into Minneapolis is a breeze as the airport is in the center of town. For an affordable option that is close to all the action, check into the in Bloomington. The recent $10 million renovation is Country Inns and Suites evident as you stroll through the hotel and admire the indoor pool and spa that makes you feel like you are in a modern country home. Roast a complimentary s'more over the outdoor fire pit or score a chocolate chip cookie from the lobby. Other perks include complimentary breakfast, free WiFi and discount packages for the Mall of America. There is also a free shuttle to mall & airport, or you can walk to the Mall through an indoor walkway

 

 

PLAY

What’s the big attraction of the world-famous Mall of America?  More than 400 stores and no tax on shoes or clothes. There is an instant text message program with live response from a digital concierge who tracks hash tags & live tweets.  #mallofamerica or #MOA (not to be confused with the Mall of Asia). You can use the digital concierge to text questions, make reservations, and hold items or a multitude of other conveniences.

 

 

This is what makes the Mall of America, one of the top four attractions in the country (more than Disneyland). Speaking of theme parks, they have a Nickelodeon theme park inside the mall. Don’t like to shop? No worries, they also have an aquarium, water park, flight simulators, mini golf and the longest indoor zip line in the country (800 feet).

 

 

 

 

After a long day of shopping, stop by the movie theater on the top floor and give your feet a rest. The bonus is a trendy bar inside the lobby that includes two 21-and-over theaters.

 

 

Football fans will want to visit the Minnesota Vikings new stadium (officially called the U.S. Bank Stadium). This 1.8 million square foot structure open in July 2016 - with a first home game in September. The clear roof has ETFE material that is opaque as opposed to a retractable roof. Used throughout Europe, it's a more practical material for harsh weather. The new $847 million stadium will also be the host facility for the Super Bowl in 2018. The Vikings hope to be the first team ever to win the Super Bowl in their own home stadium.

 

 

 

 

With an abundance of live theater venues (2nd largest city in the country for theater seats), the Guthrie Theater has transformed itself into a multipurpose venue for theater, an actor’s conservatory, a training facility and also houses 2 full service restaurants. Born from the vision of Tyrone Guthrie, the 50-year-old showpiece
brings literal meaning to dinner and a show - with stunning views of the Mississippi River. The theater honors the tradition that the "ghost of prior actors permeates in all performances" and even built transparent “ghostly faces” into the inside & outside of the building. Shows range from touring Broadway musicals to local acting student showcases.

 

 

EAT

The Mall of America boasts over 50 restaurants inside with choices to suit any palate. Choose from a quick bite, specialty confections or a more elegant meal at Crave – an American Kitchen and Sushi Bar. Just outside the Mall of America, above the cozy lobby of cocoon pods in the Radisson Blu, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar pares hearty food with local beer and wine. Try the butternut squash apple bisque paired with Finnegan’s Irish Amber beer. Finnegan’s donates 100% of their profits to charity! Taste the warm spinach & cheese curd salad with Schell’s FireBrick Vienna style lager, a local beer started in 1860 by a German and the 2nd oldest brewery in America. The seared wild acres pheasant breast with surly furious ale is also a good pairing. For dessert, savor the cranberry orange walnut caramel tart with summit oatmeal stout.

Inside the Guthrie Theater, you have 2 choices: Level 5 Café (casual and quick) and Sea Change Restaurant (Zagat-rated sustainable seafood restaurant and bar). The high ceilings and large windows of the Sea Change give an open and inviting atmosphere with a creative, fine dining experience. Popular items include the raw oysters and assorted sauces, plus their list of specialty cocktails.

 

 

photos by: Melanie Warner

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