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BEST SIGN OF SPRING Minneapolis 2008 - Outdoor dining

It's always nice when Minnesota's merciless icy death grip finally loosens and you can do things outdoors that you couldn't have previously—like, for instance, anything. But you know spring has really arrived when the patios and sidewalk cafés open, and suddenly the notion of eating outside without gloves on once again becomes a thankful reality. There's fine rooftop dining in scenic, sunny downtown-area venues like Solera, Joe's Garage, and Brit's Pub. For those who consider 60-degree weather to be a tropical paradise—and after this winter, who wouldn't?—Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge in Nordeast offers tiki-swank ambience with tongue firmly in cheek. And there's a number of bars and restaurants in and around the downtown and Cathedral Hill areas of St. Paul where you can dine under a canopy of green, ranging from the verdant 19th-century opulence of W.A. Frost to the little West Seventh hideaway of the Day by Day Cafe's backyard garden. All this and Dairy Queen, too.

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