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BEST PLACE FOR A PICNIC Minneapolis 1998 -

Are the concrete slabs and shimmering glass megastructures of the city beginning to suffocate you? Would you like a respite from late-20th-century cacophony, but without the commute? A quiet picnic in the park might be just the balm for your weary soul, and at Nicollet Island Park you can relish the guilty pleasure of getting away from it all without getting too far away. Whether you set up your roving buffet at a picnic table on the deck overhanging the Mississippi or amid the gently rolling hills of the park, you're guaranteed spectacular views of the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge, the Minneapolis skyline, St. Anthony Falls, and the Third Avenue Bridge. If storm clouds threaten your egg-salad sandwiches and watermelon slices, your party can retreat to the Nicollet Island Pavilion, originally constructed in 1893 as the William Brothers' Boiler Works. The large structure contains rest rooms, pop machines, a few stray picnic tables, and a pay phone. The Pavilion is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., except during special events. Parking, soon to be metered, is available outside the building. During the summer, the Pavilion is home to late-afternoon and evening concerts, which run the musical spectrum. After emptying your picnic basket, you can work off lunch by traveling the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail to other sites in the historic area.

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