Minnesota Mini-Trip In A Nutshell

On Friday we headed to Minnesota for a mini-trip to sample a little of what Minnesota has to offer. We didn’t go far from the Twin Cities but were very busy during our two days in the state.
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It was nice to get away from New York’s hot and humid weather for the milder weather in MN.
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I enjoyed our trip to Minnesota but didn’t love how everything seemed so spread out. I’d say that everything we wanted to do required a 15+ minute ride each time. With a rental car this wasn’t a big deal but if you don’t drive, this could be a big problem.
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Here are some of our highlights (in no particular order):
  • Seeing a Twins game at Target Field
  • Eating Jucy/Juicy Lucys
  • Visiting the Mall of America
  • Tour of the Minnesota State Capitol
  • Wandering around the Minneapolis Sculpture Park
  • Our stay at the Radisson Blu
Target Field

I was looking forward to our visit to Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. The first thing I noticed was that Twins fans are very loyal. The stadium was pretty busy despite them not playing very well and most fans wear team gear- jerseys, shirts, hats etc.

Outside the stadium are statues dedicated to various Twins greats. Inside, the stadium is open with views of the field all around. We bought seats in the top deck behind home plate. The views were excellent from above but the seats were a bit uncomfortable and tight which is to be expected in most ballparks.

I was a bit disappointed to not see much in terms of kid- friendly attractions. The only thing (which isn’t even geared towards kids) would be the humongous, gold glove just outside the gates. Besides the game, the food really stood out. We enjoyed an interesting and tasty burger (goat & lamb blend) from Andrew Ziimmern’s AZ Canteen and some enjoyable local food from State Fair Classics.

Jucy Lucy from Matt’s Bar

I’ve written about my love of burgers before so it’s no surprise that another reason to go to Minnesota would be to sample a local style burger, the Jucy (Juicy) Lucy.

We visited two places in two days. 5-8 Club serves a Juicy Lucy, while Matt’s Bar serves a Jucy Lucy. Rumor has it that a sign was created for Matt’s which left out the “i” in juicy so they just went with the incorrect spelling.

We arrived early at each place and both were already busy. Luckily we didn’t have to wait for a table. I found both burgers to be really tasty due to the cheese. If the burger was ordered without cheese, I’m not sure that it would be worthy of a visit. I didn’t really prefer one over the other. To me they were pretty much the same in taste and appearance.

I plan to write a full post about my burger tasting experience.

The soon to be made over entrance
I’ve heard a lot about the Mall of America and always wanted to see it for myself. The mall is massive and we stuck to mainly visiting the first floor. We didn’t do much shopping since many of the stores could be found at home. We stopped by the LEGO store which has 8 massive models made from LEGO pieces. Lucas enjoyed seeing the models and some of the sets available for sale. Another fun stop was at the Peeps store. It was fun seeing all of the colors Peeps come in as well as all of the products they sell associated with them. My favorite part of the visit was tasting lots of flavors of Mike & Ike’s.
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The most impressive part of the mall is the huge Nickelodeon Universe theme park. You can see just how large it is when looking at it from the second floor. There are lots of rides and roller coasters going by overheard as you walk around.  Lucas loved meeting SpongeBob and Squidward. It was awesome to see how happy he was seeing these characters although he’s never seen the show. It was one of the highlights of our trip! I enjoyed finding home plate and a chair that Twins great Harmon Killebrew once hit with a home run. (MOA is built on the grounds of the old stadium).
Minnesota State Capitol

I try to visit state capitols whenever I can so I had to check out the Minnesota State Capitol. The building is amazing from the outside but the tour was a bit on the boring side. The best part of the tour was getting access to the roof. We didn’t go to the top of the dome but it was still awesome and had great views. While there, Lucas and I decided to do some jumps outside. I’ll share more in a future post!

Spoonbridge and Cherry

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was on my list of places to visit but almost got skipped. Luckily, we were chatting with a local couple while on line in an ice cream shop and started talking about things to do in the area. They both recommended the sculpture garden so we put it back on our list.

The MSC is a great place to go to wander around and relax. It was busy but not crowded by any means. I can’t say that we loved most of the sculptures but how could anyone not love the Spoonbridge and Cherry, shown above! There is also a really cool Artist-Designed Mini Golf course at the park. It looked like a lot of fun but there was a long wait plus we didn’t think it  would be a good idea with an active toddler looking to get his hands on everything.

Radisson Blu Mall of America

When I heard that Radisson was opening it’s second Radisson Blu in the U.S. in Minnesota, I immediately set aside my two free nights for a visit. The hotel is connected to the Mall of America which was definitely convenient. The hotel is beautiful and modern inside. The lobby has lots of interesting accents and our room was really nice. If you don’t plan to visit the Mall of America, it’s probably not the best location to stay at. However, everywhere we went was give or take only a 15 minute drive. I’ll talk more about the Radisson Blu Mall of America in a future post.

That’s all for my recap of our visit to Minnesota. Keep checking back for more about the trip in future posts.

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