Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Festival

Northern Spark

Imagine this: On an early summer night, just after sunset, you join tens of thousands of your neighbors to become a living urban canvas. You wander from a storytelling bonfire to a luminary promenade, from a huge LED screen with an original arcade game to a dance party. As the sun rises, you hop on your bike to head home. It's not a happy dream, it's Northern Spark, the overnight art festival that kicked off in 2011, returned in 2012, and this year will spread its collaborative energy across the river and take over St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood on June 8, beginning at 8:58 p.m. The institutions surrounding the participants will switch from the Walker Art Center and MCAD to the Union Depot, Bedlam Theater, Twin Cities Public Television, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art, but the revelers and their revelry will be much the same, buoyed by more than 80 art events and ambient camaraderie into the dawn.

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 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 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"