The roof of the Tate Laboratory of Physics

There are competing schools of thought about the best place for a first date. The dim light/strong drink theorists typically favor supper clubs. Hearty-partiers prefer bars. Tree huggers like nature hikes. They all have it wrong. Face facts: Statistically, there is a damn good chance a first date won't lead to a second one. This is why an ideal setting for the first date promotes romance, yet does not force it on you. A great first-date spot should leave you and an ill-matched date a consolation prize, a measure of novelty and intellectual distraction. And what place in the Twin Cities can best accommodate both the spirit of Cupid and Copernicus? That would be the observatory at the Tate Laboratory of Physics at the U of M. Every Friday night during the fall and spring semesters, the Astronomy Department hosts a public viewing on the building's fourth-floor rooftop. Depending on the size of the crowd, you might have to wait a bit for a view of the moon through the reflecting telescope. But that's not so bad: While you lovebirds are waiting, you can examine the impressive view of the Minneapolis skyline and debate which building ought to be demolished first. And if you rascals start feeling frisky, you can follow the local custom and sneak into a nearby classroom for a quick make-out session. Remember to phone about an hour ahead of the scheduled viewings—they typically run from 9:00 to 10:30 p.m.—to confirm that weather or other factors haven't caused a cancellation.


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