By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
13. Attend the Pride parade. Minnesotans are proud of our thriving GLBT community and come out in droves to celebrate equality and love in Minnesota. With more than 300,000 people attending each year's colorful festival, there's always a range of fascinating characters. From rainbow-painted dogs to dancing drag queens, the Pride Parade is a sight to behold for young and old alike.
12. Go ice-skating outdoors. If you cannot stand up on ice skates, you probably weren't born here. When the temperature dips below freezing, a number of local parks flood their baseball fields for wintertime fun. From popular rinks like those created in Powderhorn Park and on Lake of the Isles, to smaller rinks like the one at Van Cleve Park near the University of Minnesota, there's more than enough ice to go around.
11. Hunt for St. Paul Winter Carnival medallion. A tradition since 1952, the St. Paul Winter Carnival's Medallion Hunt challenges participants to solve daily clues found in the Pioneer Press. In order to win up to $10,000 in prize money, one skilled hunter simply needs to register their Winter Carnival button and follow the clues to find a small medallion hidden somewhere in Ramsey County. Easy, right?
10. Spend a Saturday at the CC Club. The CC Club is one of the most iconic drinking institutions in the Twin Cities. The dark, dingy bar has been serving cheap, strong drinks for as long as most Minnesotans can remember. Its convenient south Minneapolis location attracts quite a collection of characters, from Uptown's hipster crowd to regulars that have been closing down the bar for decades.
9. See art on the ice at the Art Shanty Projects. A fun tradition that moved locations this year, the Art Shanty Projects offer a four-weekend exhibition of artwork on a Minnesota lake. You can think of the shanties as super tricked-out fish houses that are staffed by their artists on the weekends. Projects this year include a shanty completely covered in mirrors reflecting the surrounding lake and a giant polar bear bicycle.
8. Day drink at a block party. There used to be relatively few days during the summer when you could legally stand around and drink in the street, but things sure have changed over the past few years. Last summer it seemed as though every restaurant in the city was trying to get into the block party game. From the Pizza Lucé block party that has featured local talents like POS and Motion City Soundtrack, to Kräftskiva, the Bachelor Farmer bash where guests wear pointy hats and drink Aquavit, there are plenty of occasions for local drinkers who are more than happy to spend a day in the sun.
7. Paddle the Chain of Lakes. Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in Uptown offer canoe, paddleboat, kayak, and paddleboard rentals for your summer enjoyment. That's not to mention the miles of connected walking and biking trails surrounding Uptown's Chain of Lakes. Work up an appetite and stop by the Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun or Bread & Pickle on Lake Harriet.
6. Travel Minneapolis by ski or snowshoe. For some Minnesotans, snow and ice are simply vehicles for winter recreation. With more than 40 parks offering access to 20 miles of cross country ski and snowshoe trails throughout Minneapolis, enthusiasts can enjoy the great outdoors anywhere in the metro area. For the very best in winter sporting, head to February's City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.
5. See Prince at Paisley Park. It's not often that Prince invites outsiders to his Chanhassen complex, but when Paisley Park opens for business it tends to draw a crowd. Even after all these years, Prince continues to reward his hometown fans with pancake-themed dance parties that draw national attention. Prince isn't much for set times, so expect to spend the entire night and much of the next morning waiting for his Purpleness to appear. When he shows, Prince often tries out newer material along with classics like "Purple Rain." Dress 2 impress.
4. Get lost in the skyway system. While the maze of climate-controlled tunnels can (hypothetically) get you from one side of downtown to the other, the twists and turns can be trying at times. Luckily, most seasoned veterans are more than happy to point lost travelers in the right direction. If you work downtown, the busy tunnels are filled with delicious places to eat lunch and grab coffee without ever having to venture into the cold. Businesses have found all kinds of creative ways to take advantage of the tunnels, including the downhill bike races in St. Paul's skyways and the U.S. Bank Skyway Open golf tournament.
3. Eat something on a stick at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. From fried macaroni and cheese to salad, if you can eat it, you can get it on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota's largest annual event brings together hundreds of thousands of people during the hottest month of the year so we can all complain about the heat together. Expect to see heart attacks waiting to happen, like the original "Big Fat Bacon" (a quarter-pound slab of bacon on a stick), as well as creative new creations like last year's popular deep-fried olives.