I'm in Minnesota. It's amazing.
I'm not even really sure where to start on why I like it here so much, but I guess I can begin with biking. This city is designed with bikers in mind. Due to the plethora of bike trails, I have literally gone all over St. Paul, Minneapolis and even the suburbs via my bike. Beyond even the myriad designated biking lanes along the major streets, there are actual highways set up for bikers. I've hopped along the Midtown Greenway which connects to the Kenilworth Trail, Cedar Trail and a few others too, which can literally get you as far west as Lake Minnetonka (Like 10-20 miles I guess), and as east as Wisconsin. Along the Midtown Greenway there are exits and entrances just like a regular car highway. It's awesome! And even better, there are places you can store your bike, take a shower, have a cup of coffee and walk to the Uptown Transit station (which will connect you via buses anyway in the city).
Aside from this perk for bikers, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are very densely populated. Everything is very close together, yet it's not difficult at all to escape downtown and suddenly enter a moment of serenity while walking around a tranquil lake. It's really amazing how one moment you can be fighting busy city traffic and the next you can be sitting in the middle of a park and feel like you own it.
On Monday I hung out with some friends at Bryant Lake Bowl, a restaurant-slash-bar-slash-bowling alley. I impressed them with a competitive bowling score of 76 (ha!) and quickly learned that maybe bowling isn't my sport of choice.
Tuesday my friend from Ohio, James, and I explored the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, which was simply amazing. We then dined at Bombay Bistro, which has the absolute greatest Indian food I could have asked for (almost all vegetarian, too!). We then perused around Uptown, which is Minneapolis' trendy arts district. We argued over if it was better than The Short North, which I sat it is, he says it isn't. Regardless, they have a North Face store, Urban Outfitters, tons and tons of original local restaurants and it seems to go on forever. (Unlike the Short North which is a few blocks of galleries/restaurants).
After dropping James off so he could take a nap, I met up with my friend Sean at Chino Latino, an incredible restaurant that serves enormous portions of Mexican and Asian food. The restaurant itself was beautiful! After dining there (for four hours, literally), we explored St. Paul and I'm amazed at how it gets such a bad rap! St. Paul is a beautiful city, and I'm excited to learn more since most of the things I've done have been Minneapolis-based.
Wednesday I hit up the Birchwood Cafe, a great local restaurant that serves vegetarian and vegan food. It was so sweet! It reminded me a lot of North Star Cafe, just far more cheaper. (In a good way. Is it me or is North Star way overpriced?)
After breakfast I did a four-hour bike ride all around town. It was snowing, but luckily it didn't stick so basically the ride was just cold but doable. As previously stated, I did everything via my bike! It was simply fantastic!
That evening I met up with my friend Kevin for dinner at Spill the Wine, which was a beautiful restaurant with delicious food. They even had a great happy hour--$15 bottles of wine! After a great dinner, we headed over to the world-renowned Guthrie Theatre, which was awe-inspiring to say the least. We saw The Gentlemen of Verona and what a perfect performance it was. I absolutely loved it.
The interesting thing about The Guthrie is not only its three theatres, numerous restaurants and countless bars, but actually the massive structure that makes up the building. The architecture is just breath-taking! And to make it more impressive, there is a bridge called "The Bridge to Nowhere" which lets visitors view the St. Anthony Falls. Although I had heard of them, I had no idea what I was in for. I can't even begin to describe what a site it is--simply incredible. I was astounded by the falls!
After dinner we met up with Kevin's boyfriend, Kareem, and had drinks at the Minneapolis Eagle. It was great-- 3-for-1 special! Talk about a cheap night out!
That's been the trip so far. I think the world of this city and I can't wait til I'm packing my bags and moving out here! :-)
Oh, and PS, can we talk about Galactic Pizza, the pizza joint that delivers pizza in waay coolz space gear? Seriously. I couldn't make it up.