It’s no secret that I call the Twin Cities home, so if you’re in town this week for the IMGDC, there’s a better than even chance that I can be convinced to come out for a jaunt around town.
For those of you new to the area, here are some tips:
I can tell you that from the convention center, you’re literally within walking distance of some of the best (and priciest) restaurants in all of the Twin Cities, including some pretty famous steak houses (Manny’s, Murray’s, The Capital Grille, M&S Grill). If you’d prefer just some good hot sandwiches, I highly recommend Lyon’s Pub, 8th Street Grill, or Gluek’s Pub. I’ve spent a lot of time a little farther down Nicollet at Xeno’s (get the Linguini Nero) and Brit’s Pub (Scotch Eggs, Cod and Chips, and a nice tall ale, if you please).
I actually work in downtown, near City Center right now, practically next door to the IDS, if anyone is up to getting together for lunch any of the days you’re here. (The IDS Center is the tallest building in Minneapolis, and actually the tallest structure aside from Chicago’s Sears Tower in the midwest U.S..)
A couple of things to know about Minneapolis and surrounding areas. We’re having a fairly typical Minnesota spring, which means that the high was 45 degrees today, but it’s expected to plunge back into the 30’s tomorrow and Saturday, with snow and even possible rain showers likely for the next few days.
If you come from a warmer clime, I’ll warn you now that just because you see locals walking around in light sweaters or hoodies (or even T-shirts and sandals when we the mercury heads north of 40), doesn’t mean you should. If you’re not used to cold weather this time of year and you intend to go outside, you should probably dress warmly and wear some good shoes (needs to stand up to slush/ice/wet).
The good news is you don’t have to walk outside if you don’t want to. Every building downtown is connected through an elaborate “skyway” system. You can walk from one end of downtown the other and never leave 70 degrees if you don’t want to. If you get lost in the skyways (it’s easier than you might think), just ask anyone you see for help.
If you’re a smoker, prepare to be out in the cold, though. There’s a statewide ban on smoking in any public building – including bars and restaurants.Minnesota State Sales Tax is 6.5%. The downtown zone in Minneapolis tacks on another 0.5%. Everything is taxed except for unprepared groceries (snack foods and restaurant dishes are still taxed) and clothing. That’s right – clothing is free from tax in Minnesota…
…and for those of you who like to shop, you might want to consider jumping in that rental car or hopping one of the LRT’s from downtown and taking off to see the Mall of America. Over 500 stores within the largest mall in America, including an indoor amusement park and underground aquarium. Most stores are open till 10 PM throughout the holidays.
By the way, you’ll see all sorts of posters showing a giant spoon with a cherry on it (and it’s one of the most photographed locations in the city). It’s the “Spoonbridge and Cherry” in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, attached to the newly redesigned Walker Art Museum. It’s a short 10 minute bus ride out of downtown, just on the edge of the Kenwood neighborhood in the artistic Uptown area of Minneapolis (which is actually where I live).
And speaking of Uptown, if you thought the collection of resturaunts and bars in downtown isn’t enough for you, Uptown is chock full of all sorts of places to wet your whistle or eat your fill.
…but that’s a whole other post of its own.