Adrienne G., 3L
This post isn’t about a school event, but with a whole new crew due in Rome soon who will write about how great study abroad is, I thought I’d put in a plug for how cool it is living in Minneapolis, especially during the summer.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love Minnesota winters–but I’m a law student so by definition I’m at least part masochist. However, in the summer months, this city comes ALIVE. Worried that Minnesota only has a few months of serious summer? Well, we use ‘em.
A few weeks ago, the main drag through my neighborhood was closed for a street festival: the annual Lynn-Lake “folk” festival. Basically, a few stages featuring local artists, too many food trucks to count, the Summit beer wagon and a juggling pair of truly frightening clown school dropouts. It was utterly delightful.
Yesterday, I got a call from a classmate who asked me, “Adrienne. Do you know a place whose name rhymes with ‘been seen’ on a street that rhymes with ‘bin sale’??” Yes. Yes I do. It’s Urban Bean coffee shop on Lyndale, and they serve a GREAT iced miel. Turns out, he and his girlfriend were spending the day participating in the annual Minneapolis scavenger hunt. It’s a shame I hadn’t heard about if before he called; I knew almost every question he asked me off the top of my head. Caffetto? Yep, Lyndale and 22nd, across from the SA. A store near Lake that rhymes with “Scatter”? Tatters. I bought my favorite pair of boots from that thrift store. Bus to Ichiban on Eat Street? Grab a #17 headed east, take it down Nicollet and get off around Grant. It was a blast just playing along on the phone from my porch!
This is my city. This is where I live, and I love it. And everyone else who lives here loves it too, and that’s why people bother to take a whole day bus-hopping or hoofing across town to get a picture in front of each quirky landmark. I’m sure the scavenger hunt’s $300 prize didn’t hurt, either, but that’s beside the point.
Today I hit up Bob’s Java Hut (which is seriously the only coffee shop I’ve ever seen in my life built for bikers… as in motorcycle gangs…) for a cold press and some people-watching. To my surprise, the entire length of Lyndale was closed to traffic from Franklin to 42nd for Minneapolis Open Streets, an event hosted by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition. Lyndale is traditionally one of the area’s busiest streets, lined with shops, bars, restaurants, co-ops and small businesses. This makes it a high-volume area for cars, bikes and pedestrians alike. The purpose of Open Streets is to take one day to make the Wedge/Lynn-Lake area exclusively available to bicycle/unicycle/skateboard/scooter/foot traffic to enjoy the nice weather, shops and the beauty of the area at a leisurely and healthy pace. I haven’t seen any official numbers, but I’m betting thousands have turned out, and none of them are alike. Today I’ve witnessed dogs riding tandem with their owners in bike baskets, double-seated bike buggies, kids performing skateboard tricks in the middle of the street, skateboarders trailing behind bikes on ski ropes, a bike tricked out like a motorcycle complete with ape hangers and “chrome” done up in tin foil, a man playing the guitar while riding a bike, and even a huge canopied cart hauled by two cyclists with DJ speakers strapped to the back and a dancing Lady Gaga lookalike inside. My favorite group was Flawless Drill Team, a group of young adults, probably students, who danced the length of the course (some 20+ blocks) accompanied by their own outstanding drum line.
Next weekend brings the Pride parade and festival in Loring Park, and regardless of how you feel about gay marriage, it’s the event of the summer. Booths, music, art show, parades, every kind of costume imaginable, and it’s all so colorful! Then, in the beginning of July, the Basilica hosts its annual Block Party, this year featuring artists like Cake, Train, O.A.R., and plenty more. Interested? Proceeds benefit the Basilica of St. Mary. Yep, the biggest party of the year is put on by Catholics.
This brief run-down doesn’t even include events throughout the year, like the Critical Mass bicycle parades for bikers’ road rights the last Friday of the month. Or the Zombie Pub Crawl in the fall. Or Soundset, the huge spring hip-hop festival.
Recently I’ve taken to making daily walks around Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles, and I’ve become a member of the Wedge Co-op on 22nd St. After living in the Twin Cities for only two years and here in Uptown for only 8 months, I’ve embraced everything and it’s embraced me right back, and Minneapolis feels like home like nowhere else has. Maybe it’s the community spirit, maybe it’s the perfect blend of urban and natural landscapes, maybe it’s the artsy-fartsy scene, or unique (hipster!) culture, or maybe I was just mirroring how easily I was adopted into the St. Thomas family from the very beginning. It’s probably a little bit of all of the above. Regardless, it’s wonderful.
I’m sure all urban areas have some sort of community-building and events and such, but I’ve never seen people so enthusiastic about coming together to celebrate something as simple as a good bike ride as I have here, and I’m just in love with it. So whether you’ve lived here for years or you’re just here this week making the move for school next year, get out and enjoy it. It will be snowing again sooner than you think.