Being a transplant in a new city inevitably means that you will have visitors. Or…at least I hope so.
Dear new person in a new city – I really hope your friends from your former city come to visit you.
Dear former friends of new person in new city– GO VISIT YOUR FREAKING FRIENDS. MOVING TO A NEW CITY IS REALLY HARD, OK?
Fortunately, I haven’t had to be that blunt with anyone yet. I have been very lucky to have many visitors from my former life.
Planning weekend visits is beneficial for two reasons. 1) You get the chance to reflect on all the things there are to do. Suddenly you realize “Wait…this place isn’t that bad. Look at all this cool shit to do!”
And 2) Your friends are equally impressed with all the cool, new shit to do. And suddenly you find yourself bragging about how awesome your new life is, when in reality you spend a lot of nights home alone contemplating why the hell you ever left your old life behind…
Its kind of this self-fulfilling prophecy – tell everyone how awesome and cool your life is, and then all of a sudden, your life actually becomes that cool and awesome. And your friend’s positive reaction to all this cool stuff only validates that. And I’m all like “LOOK AT HOW I RUN THIS CITY! I LOVE MY CITY AND MY CITY LOVES ME!” like I’m Jay-Z throwing down for Brooklyn every damn day.
But anyway…The Minneapolis Pick Six.
The top six places that I have taken my friends and family to show them just how awesome my new life is (without giving away that I miss them desperately and just wish we were all still together…).
And the award for most hipster joint in North America goes to…Bryant Lake Bowl. Craft beer, vegan, organic, locally produced menu, a vintage sign that hasn’t been touched since the 60’s (even though the place opened in 1993..), and an ironically never-renovated eight-lane bowling alley just casually chilling at the back of the bar. Bryant Lake Bowl is honestly the shit. You can bet your ass we are going there if you come to visit me. Doesn’t hurt that it’s only three blocks from my place…so no one has to feel bad about having one too many PBR’s…or rail tequila shots…
Bingo starts at 2. And if you want any hope of sitting down, you best be there by 1. You’ll be sitting next to the North East locals that haven’t left the bar since 1975. Stella will call out the numbers, but don’t you dare give her a $20 for a $1 bingo card. She ain’t got that kind of change. And when you find yourself a little buzzed from their homemade bloodies served in plastic cups, you can order the infamous Smack Shack Lobster Roll. And you will never be the same.
3. Indeed Tap Room
In fact, any tap room is on my list. Tap Rooms are a new concept to me, as to probably most of the world. A couple of years ago, you used to not be able to serve beer in Minnesota at the same place you brewed it. Then one brewery decided that sucked, and the Surly Law was passed. So breweries started adding tap rooms to their properties. “Tap Room Lyfe” is very different than the Minneapolis bar scene. Tap rooms are usually only open til 10 PM, and they tend to feel like big open warehouses. Lots of windows, lots of wooden tables, lots of board games. You can actually hold a conversation with people. And – food trucks normally swing by since the tap rooms rarely serve food. Nothing like sipping a craft brew pint at 4 PM while playing Cards of Humanity over a wooden barrel.
It’s hard to miss the VFW in Uptown. See Photo. The VFW holds all sorts of tantalizing events – Meat Raffles, Two Fisted Trivia (I have no idea what this actually is…), and of course, karaoke. My personal favorite. Karaoke is so popular at VFW that you to have to arrive early just to get your name on the call list! There is nothing sadder than when old man Richard gets up from behind his DJ Station to sing God Bless America at 2 AM…signaling that it is time to GTFO. You have missed your chance to sing Hit Me Baby One More Time.
5. Common Roots Cafe
I am in a serious love affair with Common Roots Cafe. Their slogan is “Don’t compromise your values or your taste buds.” And they aren’t messing around about that. Everything is made from scratch using local and organic ingredients – making for the most orgasmic breakfast sandwich I ever had had the privilege of eating. The staff is so cool that I almsot don’t feel worthy ordering from them – but they do provide great style inspriation like purple hair and white washed jeans. And they constantly rotate the art in Common Roots to feature different local artists – one of which I ordered a custom cow print from. Yes. A painting of a cow. And the artist turned out to be the sweetest woman ever, and now we follow each other on Instagram, so we are basically best friends. Because that’s just how Minnesota works.
6. Lake Calhoun
Now, in my former life in Madison, we all bragged about the lake. But I am sorry to break all you Madison lake lover’s hearts – Minneapolis KILLS Madison in lake life. All the lakes (all 12,000), are lined with walking and biking paths. As opposed to Lake Mendota, where it’s not plausible to traverse the perimeter of the lake due to….well…Maple Bluff. It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 degrees or 80 degrees. If the sun is out, all of Minneapolis can be found walking/running/biking/frolicking on the path at Lake Calhoun. With their dogs. And their babies. And their smiles. Lake Calhoun is the place that makes Minneapolis winter’s worth it.