Touring the Twin Cities

PC: Melissa Ratter

PC: Melissa Ratter

When someone asks you what the best cities in the United States are, I bet you hear things like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, New York, Miami, etc. If you were to ask me, however, which city you should visit, I’d reply, “Minnesota’s Twin Cities.”

If Minneapolis wasn’t on your radar before, it certainly should be after Super Bowl LII. Personally, my Viking-loving soul was crushed the moment my team lost their game to the Eagles in the playoffs, so to boycott the loss, I didn’t watch the Eagles win against the Patriots. Even though I didn’t watch it, I’m almost positive the Super Bowl must have shown, between commercials, the skyscraper view. It’s seriously stunning! And our brand new stadium brings all the boys to the yard (Skol). 

Okay, okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, having called it home for about four years now (before that I lived about an hour away and would make frequent trips), but it really is a great destination! Let me tell you why. Really quickly though, let’s get one thing straight, Minneapolis and St. Paul are essentially conjoined twins. You can’t really tell where one ends and the other begins. They bleed together and offer tons of fun things to do!

First, two words: winter events. Do Minnesotans have horribly cold winters? You betcha. Do we make up for it by ice fishing, snowmobiling and Ice Palaces? Of course. 

The first Ice Palace carnival was held in 1886 and the palace built at that time contained 25,000 blocks of ice, stood 105 feet tall and was one of the first buildings in St. Paul to have electric lighting. Other competitions in the area include the Red Bull Crashed Ice competition, the US Pond Hockey Championships and Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival. Who wouldn’t want to spend their time in below zero weather on frozen lakes?

Second: if the outdoors is too much for you, we have the Mall of America! 

The Mall of America is the largest mall in America, employing roughly 11,000 employees and containing more than 520 stores (dontcha know). What’s even more awesome is that Minnesota doesn’t have a sales tax on clothing and accessories. If I haven’t convinced you of its magnificence yet, get this: it even has an indoor theme park with more than 30 different rides and indoor aquarium with a 1.2 million gallon tank. Impressed yet?

Third: during the summer months, there are plenty of things to do outside. 

There is the free, yes I said free, Como Zoo and Conservatory. Need something exciting--and cheap--to do with friends? Visit zoo animals! They have gorillas, wolves, sea lions and more. Learn about plants from different countries in the Conversatory next door (literally my favorite place to go in all seasons, since it’s heated in winter). 

When you’re done with that, drive to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the largest urban sculpture garden in the country. And guess what? It’s free. Near that, in the heart of downtown, you can find the Stone Arch Bridge which crosses the Mississippi River. The architecture is phenomenal. 

Don’t forget about all of our 10,000 lakes either! The Twin Cities house more than 20 of them. Many of these lakes offer places to rent canoes, paddle boats and kayaks. If you’re looking for extra fun, rent some jet skis and ride the waves, or my personal favorite, zoom down the Mississippi River. Starting in north Minnesota, the Mississippi River cuts through the United States and ends in the Gulf of Mexico. Although multiple cities are built on this river, St. Paul claims to have more city shoreline than any other city. 

I could boast about my city for hours, but why not  go see this wonderful city for yourself? Spring Break is coming up quickly, fellow students. Minnesotans are known for their yellow and purple blood (Skol), skillful driving in winter and their “Minnesota Nice” spirits. We don’t bite, seriously. Come see us!

Melissa Ratter is a senior studying language arts education.