I think I will forever have a special place in my heart for Minneapolis. After having my Bachelorette Party here I feel a certain kind of connection, you know? Well maybe you’re a dude and you don’t know, but Bachelorette Party or not, the land of 10,000 lakes is a beautiful place that has something to offer everyone! “Ok, so there are lots of lakes and people with a really cute accent, but what else?!”
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you anything about the Unicorn Poop, though we would imagine it to taste something like rainbow sherbet (yum!), but what we can tell you about is everything else! My girlfriends and I ended up renting an AirBnB house (use our link for $25 off!) and thoroughly enjoyed staying in, cooking dinners together, renting a movie, going to hot yoga (they all LOVED this…) and going out for a night on the town!:
Oh and we can’t forget about the roller coaster riding that happened at Mall of America! I think it was even more fun than we had all anticipated:
Once all the bachelorette glitter had settled I was sad. It was so nice to be around my best friends again, living in a real house, sleeping in a real bed, showering in a real (HUGE) shower, cooking in a real kitchen… and I had forgotten how fun it was to be with other girls! I’d been missing that female camaraderie for a while living the van life, but once my mister returned and we hopped back into our van I couldn’t help but be excited about what we’d discover together next.
Yes, those are actual fireworks that we actually saw in REAL LIFE! If you can plan to be in Minneapolis for the Annual Aquatennial Celebration along the Mississippi River, DO IT. This firework display is one of the top 5 in the Nation and it tops the city’s already impressive 4th of July extravaganza!
Needless to say, the fireworks were out-of-this-world, the weather in July was amazing, the possibilities endless and the good food EVERYWHERE. Here is a small collection of some of the best things we discovered while exploring Minneapolis that made us fall in love with the place!:
1. Surly Brewing – grab your friends, grab a fresh and frothy brew, and hang outside in the awesome biergarten as the sunsets or make it an all day event! They also have delicious food. The Farro Salad with avos, smoked salmon and a soft boiled egg was INCREDIBLE (sorry, I ate it all before we could snap a photo).
2. Get acquainted with the city’s world-class biking trials by biking along the Midtown Greenway and the incredible trails that loop around Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake of the Isles. Bonus: Go for a swim in one of the many lake beaches, the water is actually warm!:
Lake Calhoun is the largest of the three, it’s where the young people go “to see and be seen,” and rent kayaks, SUP’s, canoes and more. This was my favorite lake beach! Notice the Bachelorette crown and veil, it paired nicely with my visor 🙂
Lake Harriet. With free 6:30 yoga at the bandshell every morning of summer (except for Sundays) and with The Bread and Pickle right next door serving up great breakfast, lunch and dinner options, coffee, wine, and ice cream from 7am – 9pm, it was the perfect place to start and/or end a day of exploring the lakes. Here‘s a great article on finding free yoga in Minneapolis.
Lake of the Isles, the most serene of the three, is a great place to SUP and kayak around, it also links through to Lake Calhoun if you want to double up on the fun!
3. Are you down for a completely unforgettable, completely mouth-watering, soul-satisfying experience?! Visit the Sassy Spoon for a completely gluten-free feast of deliciousness!This delicious hidden gem, which once started as a food truck, is dedicated to serving up a menu rich in healthy fats, high-quality, organic proteins and lots of locally sourced, organic fruits and vegetables. Tamara, the mastermind in the kitchen, also a holistic registered dietician, gives first-timers and loyal patrons alike endless reasons and dishes to keep coming back for. Drew ordered the goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in thick-cut Berkwood Farm bacon to start… I’m pretty sure he would eat these EVERYDAY if he could:We then shared two entrees: the signature Miso-Braised Pork, which was a moist and tender, salty, savory, slowly-roasted pulled pork masterpiece. We stared at each other in silence as we ate the first, second… last bite. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Our second dish was the creamy, coconutty, vegetable-loaded Chicken Curry with a fried egg on top, because at the Sassy Spoon you can add an egg, or a serving of the Miso Pork, to ANYTHING, and when that’s an option you really can’t pass it up:
Drew and I were swimming in between bites of creamy, coconutty heaven and a savory, salty wonderland. We both noted how we had never been able to enjoy a Thai dish alongside some good ole southern cookin’ and quite honestly, we had been missing out! With nothing but one goat cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped date left, we were sad to see this delicious “date-night” come to an end:
Luckily Tamara surprised us with 2 gluten-free cookie dough balls for dessert! Moist, soft and loaded with crunchy semi-sweet chocolate morsels, it was the perfect ending to a wonderful evening:
4. through 10. Visit the shops lining the streets of Uptown, get 2-for-1 Moscow Mules at Hammer & Sickle, grab a coffee or tea at one of the best spots in town, see a theatre show, eat at one of the many rooftop cafes (we ate at Stella’s), go out downtown and eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, dessert and REPEAT, at the irresistible French Meadow Bakery and Cafe:
A champion in organics before there even was such a thing, French Meadow began baking organic yeast-free bread in 1985 and is officially known as the first Certified Organic Bakery in the USA! Pretty cool right?
We were lucky enough to meet Steve, the kind and charismatic owner responsible for this “tasty little oasis of thoughtful and healthy living.” After getting to know a bit about each other, Steve sat us out on the romantic patio located on the side of the cafe, which ironically used to be the old loading dock. Drew ordered a local brew, I ordered a kombucha, we opened the menu and prepared to have our minds blown.
I can’t tell you the last time we went to a restaurant and were served 2 baskets of fresh bread, one completely gluten-free. Minds blown #1. Then, we ordered The Prince Edward Island Mussles, served in the most indescribably savory, treasure-filled broth that I could have bathed in with a straw. Weird, but true. It was THAT good. Minds blown #2:
We had to sit back and really let the deliciousness that was happening in our mouths settle. With smiles still on our faces our waiter brought out our entrees:
Drew ordered one of the most beloved dishes, the Wild-Caught Miso Salmon served atop a pillow of organic garlic mashed potatoes, sandwiched between a mixture of perfectly sautéed greens and fresh herbs. It was spectacular. Inspired by the sound of salmon I went with the highly-regarded Zen, topped with a beautiful salmon filet:
The fluffy brown rice paired with the house-made hummus and guac (OMG), with the steamed kale, savory salmon, roasted tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds, and all the while I still had my gf bread to layer and scoop with!:
Minds blown, right then and there. Everything about our meals was exquisite. The dishes were artfully constructed and the tastes complimented each other so well. With a little bit of leftovers to look forward to the next day and just enough room for dessert, we wondered if we could survive a 5th mind blowing. With not much contemplation, we decided to take our chances and ventured inside to drool over our dessert options. We made sure to get a good look at every one. Debating between fruity or chocolatey? Cake or tart? Before we could completely make up our minds, the baker had sliced up 2 of their very best, the moist and spongey almond-cake layered Vanilla Berry Cream:
Oozing with just the right amount of chocolate buttercream, topped with ganache, whipped cream and fresh berries, it was divine. Then there was the irresistible, coconutty-creaminess of the Toasted Coconut. White-chocolate custard covered in coconut, spread across layers of their incredible almond cake, we couldn’t help but love both!
Not only did we survive having our minds blown 5 times, but in the process we discovered one of the best places in Minneapolis!
11. Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA):
The Mark Mothersbaugh exhibit was a thought-provoking collection of extraordinarily creative… things!
Bonus: FREE everyday! This museum is open until 9pm on Thursday and Friday nights.
12. Especially if it’s summer, get outside and go discover Minnehaha Park!:
Is that not beautiful? We were so stunned when we came upon this place and shocked that we hadn’t read anything about it in the guide books or online! This little wonderland exceeded our expectations in every way possible.
We biked over from Uptown one afternoon expecting to see a cool little waterfall, and what we discovered was an awesome place to hangout, listen to live music, hike to the base of stunning Minnehaha Falls, enjoy delicious sea food and, just in general, have a blast. We even ran into some friends from LA that had just recently moved to MN! You know how people say, “It’s a small world?” Well, I think to think of it as a huge world where small people, who were meant to meet, do 🙂
Thank you “Mini” for being so hugely irresistible. We hope to return to the land of funny accents again soon.