Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Politician

Branden Petersen

In today's screwy political landscape, it takes a certain amount of boldness to defy the party line on any issue, let alone one as vital to the platform as gay marriage. So we imagine it wasn't an easy call when Branden Petersen came out as the first Minnesota Republican co-author of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Raised in Coon Rapids, 27-year-old Petersen was elected in 2010. His father-in-law has been in a same-sex relationship for two decades, which perhaps explains why Petersen isn't as terrified of the concept as the rest of his party. To be sure, signing onto the bill was a politically risky move, especially coming just months after voters defeated the Republican-backed constitutional ban on gay marriage. It could cost him come campaign season. But surely knowing all of this, Petersen made the call anyway, and we admire him for that. We could use a little more boldness in politics these days.

Best Neighborhood Longfellow

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests The Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater

Best Tourist Attraction Walnut Grove

Best Historical Site Split Rock Lighthouse

Best Cemetery Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery

Best State Fair Food Classic Walleye Roll at Giggles Campfire Grill

Best Festival Northern Spark

Best Trans-Friendly Event Cirque Du So Gay Bike Ride

Best Place to Do Something for Free Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Best Planetarium ExploraDome (Bell Museum)

Best Charity GiveMN

Best Undiscovered Neighborhood Keewaydin

Best Sign of Spring Nice Ride returns

Best Make-Out Spot Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Best First-Date Spot A midnight movie at the Uptown Theatre

Best Breakup Spot The corner of Franklin and Hennepin avenues

Best Place to Run into Your Ex The Depot Tavern

Best Place to See a Fistfight Cowboy Jack's

Best Website Minnesota Historical Society

Best Blog Bluestem Prairie

Best Facebook Page Old Minneapolis

Best Hipster Neighborhood North Loop

Best Tweeter David Brauer

Best Mayor Minneapolis's mayoral wannabees

Best Unlikely Activist Chris Kluwe

Best Local Girl Made Good Cheryl Strayed

Best Local Boy Made Good Denis McDonough

Best Scandal DRE Drug Scandal

Best Boondoggle St. Paul Crime Lab

Best Villain Archbishop John Nienstedt

Best Corner 43rd Street and Nicollet Avenue

Best Street Nicollet Avenue

Best Lake Powderhorn Lake

Best View Indian Mounds Park

Best People-Watching The Chain of Lakes

Best Bus Route Route 16

Best Viral Video "Hot Cheetos and Takis"