BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS - 2008
Stone Arch Bridge
Unless they walk, bike, or canoe to the Twin Cities, what our guests need most are exercise and fresh air. What they invariably want is pleasure. Why not take care of all three at once, using the Mississippi River and Stone Arch Bridge as your adventure's spine? (Just before sunset is best.) Start at the 1883 landmark's western entrance with a quick exploration of Mill Ruins Park. The facility's ramps—all on very gradual inclines—offer the perfect warm-up, while its picturesque tunnels and crumbling walls provide eye candy galore. But the real scenery starts after you climb back up to the bridge, with its spectacular views of downtown, the East Bank, and the river itself. Let your guests progress at their own pace, as they'll surely want to people-watch, too. Even in winter, the structure sees loads of traffic (pedestrians, pets, and muscle-powered vehicles only, thank you) and can seem festive even on a weekday evening. On a really good night, the bridge surges with urban street theater. Stroll past the bridge's eastern limits to Southeast Main, turn left, and follow the venerable street to St. Anthony Main. Stop for food and/or libations at the establishment of your choice, and voila!—you'll have tricked your guests into walking a good mile, and they'll think you're a genius for living here.