A friend of mine ran this marathon in October 2012, and so a group of us went with her to cheer for her and support her. It was her second time running it and she always loves it--she says you get to see the whole city and some really pretty areas. So if you're a marathon runner, why not give this one a try?
On the other hand, I actually really enjoyed going as a spectator. As someone who's a pretty terrible runner herself, it was encouraging to see people of all shapes and sizes completing the marathon. Some people ran for different causes and wore crazy costumes as well. We just went to the end part, but I understand that you can stop at different points along the way if you prefer. People watching at the end are very excited and hold up signs with crazy or funny sayings on them, and it's just a fun thing to be a part of. Then at the end it was interesting to see the logistics of how the race was run, how we warmed up our friend with space age-looking sheets, the vendors giving out free samples to the runners, etc. It's definitely an interesting thing to watch, so give it a try if you're in Minneapolis at the time the race is happening. The capitol building is a pretty area to look around while you're waiting for your runner to finish too!
Skiing in Minnesota is quite popular, but due to the topography, the better resorts are in the north. If you are confined by time or are not an expert who requires the added technicalities of the larger hills, there are a couple options closer to Minneapolis.
In the metro area, if you are novices, you could consider Hyland Park or Elm Creek (both are listed in this link). Public transport is possible.
Buck Hill (Burnsville MN) is right off the interstate and will within the metro area. The hill is very small, but perfect for beginners and those who rely on public transport.
Afton Alps (Hastings MN) is just east of the cities. Its a bit larger and has all of its runs paralleling the same revine. Public transport is not possible to my knowledge.
Trollhaugen (Dresser WI), Powder Ridge (Kimball MN) and Welch Village (Welch MN) are about equidistant from Minneapolis, but are much closer than Duluth and places like Lutsen. Regardless, I do not know of any public transport to these hills, you should call and inquire if they have shuttles.
Equipment: All resorts will offer equipment rentals if you need, but you need to provide your own clothing.
The Minnesota Twins played and won their first game at Target Field against the Boston Red Sox on April 12, 2010. The ground seats just under 40,000 with exceptional visibility for fans and a central, location in the downtown Warehouse District of Minneapolis.
This game was a sell-out (local rivals and being a Sunday afternoon) and the only tickets ($25) available were standing only, so we had to stand around for two hours before the game started.
My second baseball game and I am starting to get a better understanding of the game, shame the home fans didn’t get the result they wanted.
Minnesota Twins 3 Milwaukee Brewers 4
On a beautiful Sunday morning in late April Karen and I discovered the 193 acre Minnehaha Park and found it to be a great place to take a hike. The trees were just beginning to leaf out and the forest floor was covered with early spring wildflowers. I took pictures of my favorites: bluebells and wood anemones (see photos).
Wide graded trails wind along Minnehaha Creek and a paved pathway suitable for both hiking and biking also leads several miles along the Mississippi River to Fort Snelling Historic Site. We did not have the time to hike all the way Fort Snelling, but we did drive there for a visit and found it very rewarding. Since Fort Snelling is actually in St. Paul and not Minneapolis I will post my tips for the fort on my St. Paul page.
Equipment: A comfortable pair of walking shoes and a sense of adventure - with appropriate dress for the weather.
It is possible to circumnavigate by bike Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet, which are all interconnected in the Grand Round course.
Equipment: Rollerblade, trail bike, and walking are all possible in the Grand Round National Scenic Byway.
All throughout the year there are races held from 5K to full marathons around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. This is a great way to see neighborhoods and in the meanwhile you can stay in shape.
Some of the more popular races are The Grand Old Day 5K & 8K, Aquatennial Torchlight 5K, James Page Blubber Run 5K, and the Twin Cities Marathon to name a few. Theres even a 5K in January appropriately called the Frigid 5K, that is run whatever the weather conditions.
If you choose to run in winter dress appropriately. Usually people dress too warm for the winter runs and have to shed the layers they put on. Remember once you start running, your body creates alot of heat. Dress like the temperature is 20 degrees F warmer than it actually is.
Equipment: Running shoes and athletic wear.
Billiards seems to be a very popular sport in Minneapolis -- after watching the Vikins of course! We ran into this emporium at 20th & Central when we were in search of cheap furniture!
This seems to be the place for serious pool players -- no booze is served.
Just south of Minneapolis is a great chain of mountain biking trails along the Minnesota River, near it's connection to the Mississippi River. Six different trails can combine for a nice 39-mile out and back ride, or you can just do as much as you feel like or have time for.
The trails from west to east:
1. New Bridge Trail (2.2 miles, out & back, gravel/dirt/grass)
2. Bloomington Ferry Trail (13.7, scenic woods, challenging dirt singletrack, river raft/stream/tree crossings)
3. River Valley Rover (9.3 loop, dirt singletrack in the woods and some paved roads)
4. Bass Ponds Loop (3.2 loop, gravel trail around hidden ponds)
5. Fort Snelling State Park Trail (4.0, wide gravel and dirt singletrack, woods and marsh land)
6. Mendota Trail (8.7, wide gravel trail).
Combining these trails will give you a good variety of trail types and scenery. It's hard to make it through these trails without meeting deer on or near the trail. Sometimes you can stop and gaze at each other just a few feet apart. I've also been startled by a racoon that darted out of the tall brush next to the singletrack right in front of me. You'll see plenty of birds and whatever else decides to come out of the woods for you.
The book "Falcon Guide: Mountain Biking the Twin Cities" will give you more detailed information on these trails and more around the Twin Cities. It's a nice small paperback that you can take with you on your ride.
Equipment: --I have a Schwinn S-20 dual suspension bike. Dual suspension is very nice to have if you want to do anymore than just road riding.
--Always wear a helmet, you might need it when you least expect it. One time after riding many miles of risky trails without falling, I stopped to read a sign and somehow I caught my foot, leaned the wrong way, toppled over and smacked my head on a wooden sign post. I'm just glad no one saw that, hehe. Another time, it was getting dark and I was going maybe 10 mph down singletrack and there was a big tree branch across the trail about six feet high, so I ducked under it. Little did I know, there was another branch right behind it that I couldn't see, and as I was coming out of my duck, smack! I hit that thing so hard, I was woozy and stunned for a little while, but somehow I was ok. I expected my Bell Paradox helmet to be trashed, but couldn't find a mark. Helmets feel weak, but they can take a beating.
--Padded gloves are good, and handle bar extensions for changing hand positions. Don't keep your hands in the same place for too long, or they'll "fall asleep". One time after a long ride without remembering to move my hands around, my hands and lower arms were numb for days.
--Shorts with butt padding make your ride much more comfortable. Also, seats with the deep grove along the center are nice, especially for guys, because riding a lot with a regular seat can do bad things to your fellas down there. I have the Serfas RX saddle, which is comfortable and looks much better than the factory saddle.
--Bring plenty of water. I have the Camelbak H.A.W.G. hydration pack, a great way to bring plenty of water (3 litres, through a hands-free hose) and enough gear for a weekend trip. An extra bottle in a bike frame mount is good too. You can also bring food like energy bars for longer rides.
--A portable pump, tools, tire patch kit, and cell phone will come in handy when you have problems miles into the wilderness. A cycle computer is fun to moniter speed, distance, etc. with.