Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Lake

Lake Phalen

Poseurs flock to that other city's chain of lakes. But the people's waters, where the walleye are prettier and the swimming youngsters are happier, is Lake Phalen. It's so magnificent it requires two cities, St. Paul and Maplewood, to contain it, with nearly 500 verdant acres and miles of pedestrian and bike paths. The park features an 18-hole golf course and a swimming beach with kid-friendly perks like soft sand, shallow depths, and weeds nowhere within a dozen strokes of a little one learning the crawl. About 6,300 steps gets you around Lake Phalen's 3.1-mile walking path. But the nearly three miles of fishable shoreline won't stop teasing until you give in and make that first cast. Diverse crowds of super chill folks make the lake an even better experience. But finding the honey hole where that pig of a walleye, tiger muskie, or bass lurks is all on you.

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