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Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Walk Around a Lake

Lake Como

A 1.6-mile stroll around this shallow lake immerses you in the rambunctious spirit that animates St. Paul. You're virtually never on a straightaway as you navigate Lake Como's curvy shoreline, with its ecologically friendly native plant and rain gardens. The jewel in the crown of Como Park, Lake Como was so named in 1840 by one Charles Perry, a potato farmer nostalgic for his hometown in Italy. When it was drained for preservation purposes in 1923, officials found the skeleton of Charlie Pitts, a member of the Jesse James Gang shot by a posse after a Twin Cities bank robbery. Perhaps Como's eccentric history informs the mix of natural wonders and quirky charm this ramble affords. For all its cozy ambience, Como offers exhilarating contrasts. Kids clamber around a manmade waterfall and hokey statue of a black bear. Nearby stands an elegant pavilion with a columned promenade, where concert music wafts across the lake and where people can get married, put on shows, or grab a snack. Further along, there are copiously weeping willows, solitary great egrets, soaring bald eagles. The surrounding tangle of houses sports a dizzying array of architectural styles—timbered Tudors, artisan bungalows, rambling old Victorians with fanciful turrets and widow's walks. Best of all is the truly diverse bunch of people who populate Como's paths and paddle boats, from Asian families and aging hippies to the Easy Riders on souped-up cycles who once a year rally in the parking lot.

Best Adult Store Sex World

Best Album of the Past 12 Months Maverick, Gay Witch Abortion

Best All-Ages Venue Eclipse Records

Best Band Name The Not Goods

Best Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months The Alarmists

Best Bartender Johnny Michaels at La Belle Vie

Best Beach Hidden Beach

Best Bicycle Race Stupor Bowl

Best Bike Shop Behind Bars

Best Bike Trail Grand Rounds, from Lake Calhoun to Minnehaha Park

Best Blues Band The Butanes

Best Blues Club Famous Dave's BBQ and Blues Bar

Best Bowling Alley Memory Lanes

Best Brewpub The Happy Gnome

Best Car Wash Jiffy Car Wash & Detail Center

Best City Hall St. Paul City Hall

Best Club DJ Jimmy 2 Times

Best Coach Brad Frost

Best Cocktails Town Talk Diner

Best College Athlete Eric Decker

Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Local) P.O.S., Vampire Hands, and Solid Gold at the Hexagon Bar

Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring) Nine Inch Nails

Best Concert Venue Varsity Theater

Best Dance Club First Avenue

Best Day Trip Lanesboro, Minnesota

Best Dog Park Minnehaha Off-Leash Recreation Area

Best Experimental Band Slapping Purses

Best Female Vocalist Aby Wolf

Best Festival MayDay Parade and Festival

Best Folk Artist Gabe Barnett

Best Gay Bar Jetset

Best Gay Icon Wanda Wisdom

Best Golf Course Meadowbrook Golf Club

Best Graffiti The Yuck! Guy

Best Happy Hour Bar Abilene

Best Hip-Hop Artist Muja Messiah

Best Indoor Running Space The Metrodome

Best Irish Pub The Liffey

Best Jazz Artists Fat Kid Wednesdays

Best Jazz Club Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

Best Karaoke Vegas Lounge

Best Lesbian Bar Twilight

Best Library Rondo Community Outreach Library

Best Live Artist The Blind Shake

Best Local Band Made Good P.O.S.

Best Local Blog Culture Bully

Best Local Boy Made Good Nick Schenk

Best Local Girl Made Good Lindsey Vonn

Best Local Website Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Best Lynx Player Seimone Augustus

Best Make-Out Spot Walker Art Center's Sky Pesher

Best Male Vocalist Chris Beirden of Vampire Hands

Best Mayor R.T. Rybak

Best Nature in the City Fort Snelling State Park

Best Neighborhood Bar (Minneapolis) Stasiu's

Best Neighborhood Bar (St. Paul) The Muddy Pig

Best Nerd Summit CONvergence

Best New Band Lookbook

Best Park Theodore Wirth Park

Best Place for a First Date Science Museum of Minnesota

Best Place to Bond with Your Mom Lady Elegant's Tea Room & Gift Shoppe

Best Place to Break Up Spyhouse Coffee Shops

Best Place to Get Away from It All Without Leaving Town Brownie Lake

Best Place to Go Sledding Columbia Golf Course

Best Place to Hang Out with Your Kids Roller Garden

Best Place to Ice Skate The Depot Rink

Best Place to Meet Single Men (Gay) Too Much Love at First Avenue

Best Place to Meet Single Men (Straight) Midwest Mountaineering

Best Place to Meet Single Women (Lesbian) Booby Trap at the Bolt Underground

Best Place to Meet Single Women (Straight) Cooks of Crocus Hill

Best Place to People-Watch Mesa Pizza at 2 a.m. on a Saturday

Best Place to Run Mississippi River Road

Best Place to Shoot Pool Fat Boy Billiards

Best Place to Stay Warm in Winter Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests Lake Harriet

Best Place to Watch a UFC Fight Hooters of Block E

Best Podcast Cosmic Slop

Best Politician Keith Ellison

Best Professional Wrestler Tommy "The SpiderBaby" Saturday

Best Quick Workout Snap Fitness

Best R&B Artist Black Blondie

Best Reason to Go to the Twins' Last Season at the Metrodome Dome Dogs

Best Rock Band Knife World

Best Rock Club 7th St. Entry

Best Scandal Tom Petters

Best Sex Podcast Sex Is Fun

Best Sign of Spring Lyndale Park Rose Garden

Best Sporting Goods Midwest Mountaineering

Best State Fair Food Corn on the cob

Best Store for Sex Toys Smitten Kitten

Best Strip Club The Seville

Best Swarm Player Aaron Wilson

Best Timberwolves Player Al Jefferson

Best Tweeter @Lileks (James Lileks)

Best Twins Player Joe Mauer

Best Use of Taxpayer Money Minnesota State Arts Board

Best View Guthrie Theater Endless Bridge

Best Vikings Player Adrian Peterson

Best Villain Michele Bachmann

Best Weekend Getaway The Creamery Restaurant and Inn

Best Wild Player Cal Clutterbuck

Best Yoga TaraNa