Best Of Sports & Recreation

  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Twin Cities Pride

    Twin Cities Pride is about the closest thing we have to Carnival, and it is a spectacle to behold. The Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade stretches for hours, filled with folks dancing down Hennepin in a sea of sequins, balloon suits, and the most fun drag outside of RuPaul’s Drag...

  • Best Place to Make Out

    Dowling Studio Lobby

    If ever there was a room with a view, the Dowling Studio Lobby would be it. It's one of the Guthrie Theater's most beautiful spaces, with canary-yellow glass jutting from the side of the midnight-blue building. It's also one of the best places to take your special someone for a...

  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Minnehaha Falls

    Trying to impress visitors from the coasts is a sucker's game. They'll always see our metro as inferior, and there's nothing we can do about it. (If your guests are from the small-town Midwest it's much easier, just take 'em downtown during rush hour and watch their eyes pop.) So...

  • Best Place to Meet Single Men (Straight)

    Sneaky Pete's

    Re-create college at Sneaky Pete's with karaoke and beer pong tournaments. Thursday's Kill the Keg special of $5 bottomless Miller High Life taps and one of the Twin Cities' longest happy hours make this boys' bar a low-key night out for any sports fan looking to drink and curse at...

  • Best Place to Meet Single Women (Straight)

    Sociable Cider Werks

    Hark! A fount of cider beers in the heart of Northeast! Sociable Cider Werks is a warehouse bar with a vast parking lot and a cavernous industrial-chic interior. There's ample patio space outside for the ladies who don't bother with the shade as long as the sun is out —...

  • Best Place to Meet Single Men (Gay)

    The Saloon

    A gay bar with more bona fide gay men than straight girlfriends, the Saloon has repped the Twin Cities LGBT community for more than 35 years with unflinchingly spectacular circus nights out and Pride block parties that command and conquer. Come for karaoke and costume parties and numerous plush bars...

  • Best Place to Meet Single Women (Lesbian)

    Kitty Cat Klub

    Ladies looking to meet other ladies aren't going to be greasing up the gaudiest bars on the block, prowling in the shadows like lone wolves trying to pick off the drunkest targets. Dinkytown's Kitty Cat Klub is the antithesis to the bro bar — casual, appropriately dark, and furnished with...

  • Best Place to Shoot Pool

    Al's Billiards in Roseville

    Al's Billiards does nothing but no-frills pool. The place could use a fresh carpet, a new paint job, and maybe a few windows knocked out for a proper disinfectant by sunlight, but if you really want sparkles, you're probably not a real pool sharp. Folks go to Al's Billiards for...

  • Best Bowling Alley

    Ran-Ham Bowling Center

    Fancy Ran-Ham is not. Nor is it extremely conducive to children celebrating birthdays. This hole-in-the-wall operation consists of six lanes in a basement where you mark your scores on paper with a stick of graphite and listen to music from a jukebox salvaged from the Cold War era. Ran-Ham runs...

  • Best Place to Do Something for Free

    Firkin Fridays

    The best way to start the weekend is with a round of brew. Fortunately, Grumpy's in downtown Minneapolis has an event that offers rare pints and free snacks (while they last). Typically starting at noon on Fridays, beer lovers gather each week to tap a cask, enjoy free apps, and...

  • Best Way to Stick It to the Man

    Cards Against Harassment

    Yes, all women know what it's like to get harassed on the street, but not all of them are able to stand up to unsolicited catcalls. One Minneapolis woman came up with the perfect way to stick it to the man — or men, rather. A woman named Lindsey started...

  • Best Place to Warm Up When It's Cold Outside

    The Tropics Trail at the Minnesota Zoo

    It's understandable if you feel the need to flee Minnesota during the cruel winter months. So how about a trip to the tropics? At the Minnesota Zoo, you can pretend to be on vacation while exploring a simulated rainforest. Along the Tropics Trail there's plenty of flora and fauna to...

  • Best Day Trip

    Hudson, Wisconsin

    An afternoon jaunt to Stillwater is an easy day trip. However, if you simply travel a couple more miles into Hudson, Wisconsin, there's even more fun to be had. Along the main drag of the historic downtown area you'll find lots of local restaurants, from cute little cafes and pizza...

  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Duluth

    For a quick escape from the Twin Cities, one of your best bets is to head up to Duluth. It has all the scenery and nature you could hope for, with camping nearby and spectacular views of the lake throughout the city. There's also plenty of arts, culture, food, and...

  • Best Local Landmark

    Mary Tyler Moore Statue

    She might lack the glitz of the Grain Belt sign on Nicollet Island, but the bronze statue of Mary Tyler Moore adorning the front of Macy's department store on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis defines the Twin Cities' coming of age. Her character Mary Richards from the '70s sitcom was...

  • Best Hike

    Jay Cooke State Park

    Just shy of Duluth, Jay Cooke State Park is the perfect getaway when you want to trade pavement for nature. The park's famed suspension bridge is back up and swinging again after a massive flood knocked it out. Once again you can walk to the middle of the bridge and...

  • Best Dog Park

    Minnehaha Falls

    For all the hard work a dog does around the house, drooping its belly across our cold feet in the mornings and pitifully staring down the dinner table, it's easy to forget that they're beasts who still heed the call of the wild. Dog parks serve only one purpose: to...

  • Best Public Park

    Loring Park

    Did you know that Minneapolis has its own Central Park? Well, it did until Charles Loring came around at the turn of the century and earned himself a whole park. These days, Loring Park is home to the best afternoon a sunny day can hold. Play a game of pickup...

  • Best Lake

    Lake Nokomis

    Lake Nokomis will never be as hip as its western neighbors in the Chain of Lakes — fortunately. With the addition of the seasonal restaurant Sandcastle in 2013 (it opens April 17 this year), Nokomis reached a level of just-cool-enough that suits it and its neighborhood perfectly: It's still family-friendly...

  • Best Bike Trail

    Cedar Lake Regional Trail

    Often referred to as "America's first bicycle highway," Cedar Lake Regional Trail is a crucial route for many bike commuters. The 4.57-mile path follows the defunct railroad lines of the Great Northern Railway and the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. Its paved lanes provide a smooth ride for cyclists traveling...

  • Best Sign of Spring

    St. Paul Saints

    The smell of freshly cut grass. The crisp crack of bat hitting ball. The soaring cheers of legions watching... sumo wrestling, piano races, and karaoke with a "real Japanese guy." Yes, it is time for St. Paul Saints baseball. The team is best known for its between-innings tomfoolery, but this...

  • Best Picnic Spot

    Boom Island Park

    Boom Island boasts one of the best views in Minneapolis, nestled along the eastern shoreline of the Mississippi River. If you're looking to throw a big family outing, there are three reservable shelters for rent easily accessible from the parking lot. Otherwise, a huge lawn stretches for hundreds of yards,...

  • Best View

    Ridgway Parkway Park

    In a metro area that prides itself on the confluence of natural beauty and urban glamour, Ridgway Parkway Park represents the Twin Cities' aesthetic heart. It's a leafy enclave nestled between a quiet cemetery and lush hills overlooking the Minneapolis skyline. It's also part photographer's perch, part picnic retreat, and...

  • Best Place to Jog

    Fort Snelling State Park

    Historically, Fort Snelling served as the gateway for explorers, settlers, and soldiers into the upper Mississippi River Valley. Today, it's a runner's dream, with rivers, lakes, and a bottomland forest of cottonwoods, silver maples, and willows. Fort Snelling State Park offers 18 picturesque miles of easy to moderate trails, perfect...

  • Best Disc Golf Course

    Hansen Park

    For a golden afternoon at a challenging disc golf course, Hansen Park in New Brighton has a dozen holes staked about a sprawling wood. Some shots are pretty tight, cornered up between old trees, so you need a good eye. There are no flashing neon markers or checkered flags waving...

  • Best Twins Player

    Danny Santana

    Santana outplayed everyone's expectations after the unheralded rookie was called up to the big leagues last year. The 24-year-old Dominican led the Twins with a .319 batting average, flashed a little power with seven home runs, and held down center field — a position he had never played before —...

  • Best Mini Golf Course

    The Links at Dred Scott

    Say you want to go mini golfing on a warm summer night, but you don't think your date will be impressed with a guffawing animatronic clown. The Links at Dred Scott is a stately Bloomington putt-putt institution with sweeping natural grass, flower beds, and fruit trees. Waterfalls, rock trim, and...

  • Best Place to Sled

    Como Park Golf Course

    When the snow flies, the Como Park Golf Course is relieved of its unimportant duties — that would be golf — to achieve its true calling as a wonderland. Imagine 18 holes in the middle of St. Paul suddenly converted to the best sledding grounds around. There are so many...

  • Best Place to Ice Skate

    Roseville Skating Center

    Who says Minnesotans don't have big dreams? Back in the 1980s, then Gov. Rudy Perpich thought our great state should host the Olympics. Plans were made to build a huge rink that could host major events. But wouldn't our lack of mountains always keep us out of the running? Well,...

  • Best Place to Do Yoga

    Yoga Center of Minneapolis

    Rocking out to Eminem is killer for the treadmill, but do you really want to listen to the angry rhymes of the trailer park maestro when you're attempting to master Bird of Paradise? When you don't want your yoga practice to resemble a Crossfit workout, there's Yoga Center of Minneapolis...

  • Best Gym

    Planet Fitness

    Planet Fitness understands that most people don't go to the gym to become a meathead or a model. They go to lose weight, build energy, and to just feel better about themselves. So it developed the ultimate gym for the everyday peasant. For just $10 a month, Planet Fitness provides...

  • Best Sports Team

    Minnesota Wild

    On 40-plus nights during the winter — and hopefully dozens more in the postseason — the Xcel Energy Center is the place where you feel Minnesota's sports heartbeat. Anchored by veteran stars like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, the Wild roster is loaded with young, budding talent such as Marco...

  • Best Sports Podcast

    The Sportive

    Listening to The Sportive is like stumbling into some outstate VFW and plopping down next to the four funniest guys in the joint. Sure, the conversation can devolve into a disorganized train wreck at times, but that's part of what makes it great. You never really know where it's going...

  • Best Coach

    Marlene Stollings

    In the cutthroat world of big-time college athletics, University of Minnesota women's basketball coach Marlene Stollings is a winner. Before equaling the second-highest number of regular-season wins (22) in program history, Stollings turned Virginia Commonwealth's program from wannabe to player. At the U, Stollings inherited a program that had been...

  • Best Timberwolves Player

    Ricky Rubio

    The Timberwolves' season fell into the dumpster around the time Rubio suffered an ugly ankle injury in early November. Without his underrated defense and otherworldly passing, the Timberwolves limped to a 6-36 record while the boyishly handsome Spaniard recovered. When Rubio returned, the difference was immediate — and stark. The...

  • Best Lynx Player

    Janel McCarville

    The legend goes like this: Some years back, an assistant coach paid a recruiting visit to a family farm in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Instead of coming upon a nervous clan of country folks bucking to make a good impression, she found a family sharing adult beverages and cracking each other...

  • Best Vikings Player

    Harrison Smith

    Harrison Smith is the swaggering, hard-hitting, ball-hawking safety every great defense needs. After an injury-plagued 2013, he showcased his playmaking ability right off the bat in 2014 with a sack and an interception that he returned 81 yards for a touchdown in a week one victory. Star Bears wide receiver...

  • Best Wild Player

    Devin Dubnyk

    Simply put, Dubnyk saved the Wild's season. The Wild came into the year with the highest expectations in team history, but shoddy goaltending left the team's confidence in ruins as it slid into last place. Enter Dubnyk, a 6' 5" former first-round pick who had been bouncing around the league...

  • Best College Athlete

    Rachel Ramsey

    Hockey teams don't win championships without an oak tree anchoring the blue line. The University of Minnesota Women's hockey team, which just hoisted its third national title in four years, has Rachel Ramsey. The six-foot senior is the total package. Her dad Mike played on the 1980 Miracle on Ice...

  • Best College Recruit

    Carter Coughlin

    The signing of Eden Prairie linebacker Carter Coughlin is a true indicator that the Gophers' football program has finally arrived. Coughlin, a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine for the best high school football program in the state, was heavily recruited by national powers Oregon and Ohio State. Instead, he chose to play...