I did not grow up in Minnesota, but in the six years I have lived here, I have fallen in love with this state. The winters can be harsh and unbearably long, but the spring, summer, and fall months make me remember why I have decided to make Minnesota my home. For those of you that are new to either the Twin Cities or even to Minnesota, I want to introduce you to some of my favorite activities, and others I still want to partake in, in the hopes that you fall in love with Minnesota as well.
1. Fall Sporting Events
I can’t even express in words how much I LOVE sports, and I grew up loving Minnesota sports. There is nothing better than heading out to tailgate on a crisp fall Sunday morning dressed head to toe in purple and gold (at least in my opinion). For any football lovers out there, go and get yourself a few tickets, grab some friends, and enjoy a Sunday with the Vikings and without books. Maybe a few of you will even become Minnesota sports fans along the way. Get tickets here: http://www.vikings.com/tickets/index.html
If football isn’t your thing, something else you might enjoy is one of the 33 disc golf courses around the Twin Cities. Even if you have never been before, (trust me, I am not a pro!), it is a fun experience and it allows you to enjoy the fall weather, and hopefully, the colors of the trees when they all start to change. For a list of courses, look here: http://www.discgolfcourses.org/minnesota.html
Even though I am not able to attend the real Oktoberfest in Germany, I always have a great time participating in the MN version of this famous beer festival. Go check out Gasthofzg’s in northeast Minneapolis any weekend evening for some beer, dancing, and live polka music. Just beware of Das Boot!!! Learn more here: http://www.gasthofzg.com/
3. Comedy Clubs
If you find yourself with nothing to do on a given night, or want to try something new with your friends, go check out one of the many Twin Cities comedy clubs. I always find myself impressed with the talent some of the clubs get here in Minnesota. If you are planning on attending because of an event such as a birthday, make sure to call ahead and see if they have any specials available. In my experience you can even get in free if you have a large enough group. Grab some friends, and be prepared to laugh! To check out my favorite club, go here: http://www.acmecomedycompany.com/concerts/splash.html
4. Minnesota History Center
If you want to learn more about Minnesota, or just like museums that includes interactive exhibits, this is a place you should definitely check out. Tickets are very reasonable, and it is a great way to spend a rainy fall day. To learn more, look here: http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/
5. The Bayfield Apple Festival
This is probably the best fall activity I have participated in to date. Even better, it requires you to drive through northern Minnesota and Wisconsin during the prettiest time of the year. Even though this event is actually in Wisconsin, I still thought it should be included on my list. I attended last year with a group of girlfriends, and we made a full weekend out of it. We drove to Duluth on Friday and spent the evening there. We had dinner at a great restaurant and checked out the local bar scene. On Saturday, we had our morning coffee right on Lake Superior, and drove the final leg to Bayfield where we spent the day eating things like apple brats, apple butter, apple chili, and anything else you could possibly think of that could be made with apples, all while looking out over Lake Superior. After stuffing our faces full, we hopped in the car and made our way back to the cities. The drive is about 4 hours if you drive straight there, but in my experience, road trips with friends (or family) never takes as long as it sounds. I promise, it is worth your time!
The event is held from October 7-9, from 10am to 5pm. If you are interested in learning more, please check out this website: http://bayfield.org/festivals_events_apple_festival.php
6. Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze
This event pretty much speaks for itself. It is a great place to bring your kids, and also a lot of fun with friends. If you are able to get there sometime between 10 A.M. and noon, you can receive an early bird special price! The maze and festival is held on 17.5 acres of land in Shakopee, MN, and is open now! To learn more, look here: http://www.twincitiesmaze.com/?gclid=CI20-sukqKsCFQ0CQAodf03e2w
7. Halloween Scares
I am the world’s biggest baby when it comes to all things scary, and I tend to get dragged to these events, fearful for my life, and I always end up having a blast. Here are a few places to check into:
Buck Hill in Burnsville: http://www.frightmares.com/
Scream Town in Chaska: http://www.screamtown.com/
Valley Scare in Shakopee: http://www.valleyscare.com/
The Haunting Experience in Cottage Grove: http://www.hauntingexperience.com/
The Trail of Terror in Shakopee: http://www.trailofterrorfest.com/
8. Soap Factor Haunted Basement
This haunted house is so legendary; it needs its very own introduction. If you like to be scared, this is the place for you! You must purchase tickets for this event, and you must be over the age of 18. For more information, and to purchase tickets, go here: http://www.soapfactory.org/exhibit.php?content_id=136
9. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival has endless entertainment for friends and families. The festival takes places weekends through October 2nd, so get out there and check it out! To learn more, look here: http://www.renaissancefest.com/MRF/
10. Zombie Pub Crawl
If you are new to Minnesota, you are in for a real surprise on the night of October 8th when thousands of zombies will be out roaming the streets of West Bank Minneapolis and Lowertown St. Paul. To explain this event, here is what the creators have to say about it:
“The Zombie Pub Crawl is an event in Minneapolis/St. Paul during which thousands of people pretend to be dead and wander the streets, boozing and dancing and carousing and having the time of their lives. Which, I guess, is kind of ironic, considering everyone’s dead. It’s like a cross between Mardi Gras and a George Romero movie. It began with 150 zombies in Minneapolis in 2005 and has grown every year since, as any zombie mob does. There are many copycat events around the world, but this is the original.”
I couldn’t have phrased it better myself.
If you are trying to save money (who isn’t?), then purchase your ticket/wristband online and bring it to any Ragstock location to get receive 20% off any zombie supplies you purchase there! Get moving though, if you wait until the day of the event, the ticket price doubles! You can also purchase your tickets at Ragstock, but it is cheaper online. There are different options for wristbands depending on which city you will spending your time in. Tickets go on sale September 24th!
The wristband gives you drink specials at every bar included in the crawl, plus entrance into any of the black parties along the crawl. There is more than enough information on this event to have an entire blog post devoted to it, so check out the website for more information!
To learn more, view the itinerary, but tickets, and see pictures from previous years (costume and makeup ideas everyone!), go here: http://zombiepubcrawl.com/2011/
11. Brewery Tours
I don’t know why I only do brewery tours in the fall, but it always feels like the right time for it! I find the process extremely interesting, and the free sample beer at the end doesn’t hurt either. J No two breweries are the same, so I encourage you to get out and try a few!
A few of my favorite breweries in the Twin Cities:
Summit Brewing Co. in St. Paul: http://www.summitbrewing.com/
Surly Brewing Co. in Brooklyn Center: http://www.surlybrewing.com/
And if you feel like taking a trip to New Ulm, check out the August Schell Brewing Co. The second oldest family-run brewery in the US, and the oldest in Minnesota: http://www.schellsbrewery.com/home.php
12. Local Music Scene
I am a huge music junkie and have to admit I spend more money on music than any normal person ever should. The Twin Cities attracts a very diverse group of musicians, and the venues we have available are absolutely outstanding. If you are looking for lesser known artists at some of the more intimate (and amazing) venues, then you should check out some of the upcoming shows at these venues:
First Avenue: http://first-avenue.com/
The Fine Line Music Café: http://www.finelinemusic.com/
The Varsity Theater: http://www.varsitytheater.org/
The Cabooze: http://www.theaftermidnightgroup.com/locations-venues/cabooze
I hope that you find something in this list that interests you, and in the process, come to love living in this state just as much as I do.
This post was written by McKinzie Hopkins, a 3L and Student Government Treasurer at UST School of Law.