Best of

the Twin Cities

Best People-Watching

The Chain of Lakes

Did we choose the Chain of Lakes as winner in this category solely because of the opportunity it provides to ogle buff, nearly naked bodies as they run, skate, and sunbathe near the water during summer? No — not entirely. But we'll admit that's a big part of the reason, especially as the lakes afford such good cover for observing your fellow citizens. The area is beautiful even without people in the picture, and as long as you're not obnoxious about your staring, it's hard for passersby to know exactly which part of the scenery you're checking out. And the lakes attract pretty much everyone to their lovely shores: young and old, singes and families, people of all local cultures. Even in the winter you'll find plenty of humanity in the area, keeping up on their exercise and enjoying the relative peace and quiet. You could even happen upon a professional dance performance out on the ice of Lake Harriet (there was one this past winter), or ice fishermen bundled in their snowsuits on Calhoun. But of course it's when the water isn't frozen that you'll find the most to see: sailors, kayakers, lovebirds out for a stroll. Just keep this in mind as you sit on a bench taking it all in: If you can't spot the weirdo in the crowd, it's you.

Best Lake (2014) Lake Harriet

Best Lake (2011) Lake Harriet

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests (2009) Lake Harriet

BEST BEACH (2006) Lake Harriet

BEST PLACE TO MAKE OUT (2010) Middle of frozen Lake Harriet

BEST BIKE TRAIL (2010) Lake Harriet, Minneapolis

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 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 Bus Route Route 16

Best Viral Video "Hot Cheetos and Takis"