Be a Tourist in Your Own City

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When we went to New Orleans in February, part of the trip was to see our friend Javad. When he was available, he was happy to tag along with us! Not only could he introduce us to some of his favorite haunts, but he also had the opportunity to do things he’s been meaning to do since he’s moved there. He also loved discovering new areas!

That got me to thinking about how many things in the Twin Cities I have not yet done. There is so much more to discover! So upon return, I promptly bought a few guidebooks.

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The Moon Minneapolis & St. Paul Handbook is your basic guidebook. However, the other two guides intrigued me the most! I’ve already been thumbing through and tagging walks in the Walking Twin Cities book. There is a lot of history of which I was unaware!

We love to take walks around our twin cities like we’ve done in Nordeast Minneapolis, around Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles, around St.Anthony Main and the Stone Arch Bridge. We also tried to find the Hidden Falls. So Walking Twin Cities will guide us through many other parts of the Cities.

And the Take a Hike: Minneapolis & St. Paul book offers hikes within two hours of the Twin Cities. Can we say, “Roadtrip!”? It also notes when dogs are allowed and when they are not. Family stay-cay with the pooches!

Most of the walks I’ve marked off in the books are three to four miles long. We had intended to do our first walk a couple of weekends ago, but the weather ended up bitterly cold and rainy.

Then, I noticed a simple one-mile walk in the Theatre District. The route was near a restaurant for which we needed to use a Groupon! “That’s it!” I thought. Since it was downtown Minneapolis in an area which we are familiar, I figured we’d just follow the guide loosely.

On our walk, we stopped here:

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According to the guidebook, Gluek’s is the oldest restaurant in Minneapolis! I recall being here many years ago, perhaps for a bachelorette party, but never on a Sunday afternoon like this one. I didn’t take a look at the menu, but it’s supposed to be trans-fat-free. {The food on the menu, not the menu itself.} I got a midgie beer! A 4 ounce-er for just $1.50. So cute!

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Gluek IPA

Gluek’s {pronounced Glicks} has a German feel to it. You’ll find a few German beers on tap in addition to the Gluek brews {made by Cold Spring Brewery; we were not impressed} and some other local suds on rotation.

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Afterward, we stopped at Mason’s Restaurant Barre, located right next door. It was not in the guidebook, but Rob wanted to “check a box.” Apparently, Mason’s got its name because it is housed in what once was a Masonic Temple.

I recognized the name of this restaurant not for that reason, but because I thought I’d seen ads for a girls’ night of martinis and manicures there in the past. But maybe I’m mixing it up with someplace else. I have, however, seen Mason’s listed as a venue for Paint Night, a paint and sip company that hosts events in restaurants all over The Cities.

I was having trouble choosing a cocktail because there were two that interested me.

But Rob helped make the decision for me because I got one and he got the other!

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Besque – lavender gin, elderflower liqueur, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice cherry bitters & Bluegrass Beer – Bulleit bourbon, dark beer, MN maple syrup, cherry bitters

Mason’s has a list of “boozy beers” such as the Bluegrass Beer we tried. They are essentially beer cocktails, if you will. I was glad that I ordered the Besque because I liked it better. I was hoping for a bit more lavender flavor, though.

We sipped our cocktails alongside a bowlful of Homemade Chips with Hot Ham & Cheese Dip. I preferred to order the Warm Blue Cheese Dip, but the Hot Ham & Cheese one seems to be their signature. Why mess with someone’s specialty? Yes, for the record, it did taste just like hot ham and cheese!

Rob said that these could perhaps be the best homemade chips in the Twin Cities.

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Homemade Chips with Hot Ham & Cheese Dip

Don’t let that photo fool you. That was a massive bowl of chips. It’s the biggest I’ve ever seen served in a restaurant before. If ordering it as an app, split it with at least three other people.

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The book’s walk takes you past our historic theaters as well as First Avenue – our famed nightclub. It’s a great place to see local as well as famous bands. Since we’d been there dozens of times, we strolled in the other direction to end our tour at one of our faves:

Union Rooftop

It didn’t matter that it was a cold spring day in Minnesota. Once you are on the Union Rooftop, that suns shines through the glass-top roof {which retracts in the summer} leaving you feeling like you are in the tropics. The staff wears sunglasses. We noticed that our bartender was getting a little sunburned, too.

I got my magical burrata, which was every bit as good as I remembered.

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Caprese Salad – heirloom tomato, fresh basil, burrata 9.95

Rob ordered the Sausage Flatbread, which I would recommend to anyone. The sausage was excellent, the crispy pieces of brussels sprouts gave a unique texture and those little peppers just popped in your mouth! This is one-of-a-kind.

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Fennel Sausage Flatbread – goat cheese, crispy brussels sprouts, sweety drop peppers $13.95

So it wasn’t a true walk; but it was fun to discover some new places. We are excited for many more walks to come.

P.S. –> Not all of the walks will include cocktail and dining stops. Stay tuned to hear a bit about our first St. Paul walk from one of the books!

Have you ever done a local tour or bought a guidebook for your hometown?

Cheers~
Carrie

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2 responses »

  1. Ohhh how fun! My husband is from Minneapolis so we go back to visit his family every so often and I love exploring! You’re right though, sometimes you have to be a tourist in your own city! We did a food tour in our neighborhood and it was so fun!

  2. Pingback: St. Paul’s Mounds | Season It Already!

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