Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Local Boy Made Good

Denis McDonough

Denis McDonough has had a long and accomplished career as a political aide and policy advisor, but on January 25 he got promoted to a pretty nice new gig: White House chief of staff. McDonough grew up in Stillwater and attended college at St. John's University, where he played safety for the college's football team. In the mid- to late '90s, McDonough worked as an aide to the House International Relations Committee. After that, he served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. Tom Daschle and later as legislative director for Sen. Ken Salazar. McDonough has long been a big Barack Obama supporter. He started working for the president on the 2008 campaign as a senior foreign policy adviser and was promoted to the National Security Council's head of strategic communications after the election. He's continued to climb the ranks of the administration since and has a reputation for rhetorically decimating senior Democrats who publicly criticize his boss. Before accepting his current post, McDonough was deputy national security adviser for Obama, and he is featured in that famous picture of Obama and other top White House officials watching the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. Not bad for a kid born so close to Wisconsin.

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 Politician Branden Petersen

Best Mayor Minneapolis's mayoral wannabees

Best Unlikely Activist Chris Kluwe

Best Local Girl Made Good Cheryl Strayed

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"