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People & Places

  • Best Wine Bar

    Bev's Wine Bar

    Guest Best: Zack Coulter Tucked away in a back corner of Minneapolis's Warehouse District, Bev's is the kind of place worth seeking out. Classic and dimly lit with high ceilings and gracious hosts, Bev's offers a simple yet right-on list of wines and beers. The wines gently touch on a range of styles and regions and change seasonally. Their spring wines… More >>
  • Best Park

    Theodore Wirth Park

    Guest Best: Mayor R.T. Rybak There is only one place in America where you can cross-country ski or mountain bike in deep woods, then turn a corner to find an urban skyline view: Theodore Wirth Park. In a city filled with great parks, this is the Big Kahuna: a quaking bog, wildflower gardens, golf course, children's vegetable garden, public swimming beach… More >>
  • Best City Hall

    St. Paul City Hall

    Guest Best: Mayor Chris Coleman There are many reasons to say that the 21-story St. Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse is the best. It is one of the greatest examples nationally of art deco architecture, designed in part by St. Paul's own Ellerbe Becket. Inside, the three-story Memorial Hall greets people with black marble laced with quartz, a gold mirror ceiling,… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    The Seville

    When choosing the right strip club in which to spend your hard-earned paycheck, there are a few obvious things to look for. Good-looking dancers, a comfortable environment, and a solid selection of booze to get you in the proper mindset for the show. The Seville has all of these and a lot more. In addition to the spacious layout, the… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    The Creamery Restaurant and Inn

    A great weekend getaway should give you plenty of options. It should promise recreation as well as relaxation. It should be casual enough that you can pack lightly, but classy enough to inspire romance. And it should be distant enough to feel like an escape but near enough that you don't spend half a day just getting there. That's what… More >>
  • Best Store for Sex Toys

    Smitten Kitten

    If you've ever ordered sex toys off the internet for fear of being embarrassed wandering into your neighborhood Sleaze-Mart, you owe it to yourself and your genitals to check out Smitten Kitten. Their selection includes only safe toys; in fact, the Kitten founded a nonprofit organization called Coalition Against Toxic Toys (get it, CATT?) to promote awareness of safe sex-toy… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Lanesboro, Minnesota

    There are moments in the summer when you crave a simpler way of living, even if just for a day. You can find that simpler life just a couple of hours' drive south of the Twin Cities, in the most precious small town in Minnesota. Lanesboro sits deep in the valley of southeast Minnesota's Root River, in the heart of… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Nick Schenk

    Nick Schenk's life story sounds like it could be one of the movies he now writes for a living. A local truck driver, after a long day of delivering fruit to area stores, pulls his rig into the cramped parking lot of Grumpy's Bar in downtown Minneapolis. Pen in hand, the trucker settles at the bar, orders a Summit with… More >>
  • Best Adult Store

    Sex World

    Plenty of places in the Twin Cities sell porn and sex toys. But only one place is an adult entertainment experience. Sex World, everyone's favorite neon eyesore in downtown Minneapolis, is more than just a place to pick up a vibrator or rent the most recent celebrity sex tape; it's been a rite of passage for Minnesotans for years. The… More >>
  • Best Place to Run

    Mississippi River Road

    In a metro area full of beautiful places to run, year-round no route beats the Mississippi River Road. It's beautiful, it's historic, and it's never crowded. Best of all, the trail is long enough to provide changing scenery to athletes who tire of the same old, same old. The six-mile loop from Minnehaha Park, across the Lake Street Bridge, and… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Lindsey Vonn

    At age 24, St. Paul native Lindsey Vonn is the preeminent wunderkind of international women's alpine skiing. She recently broke the American women's record for World Cup race victories and clinched her second consecutive women's World Cup Championship earlier this year, becoming only the second American woman to pull off the feat. Her triumph came after battling back from a champagne-bottle-induced… More >>
  • Best Sex Podcast

    Sex Is Fun

    Not sure how to properly masturbate your partner? Wondering which herbs will make you the horniest? Curious about how to straddle the dildo attachments of the Sybian sex machine (and the best way to achieve that elusive, earth-shattering orgasm as a result) but not ready to drop the $1,400 you'll need to own it? Never fear—the sex-positive men and women… More >>
  • Best Indoor Running Space

    The Metrodome

    Running during the stark, cold winter months in Minnesota can be hellish. Sidewalks are coated in ice, snowstorms prevent runs of any respectable distance, and cold air torments your throat as you gasp for breath. In other words, running indoors during the winter is essential, especially if you're training for a marathon. But you have a much better option than… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Keith Ellison

    Let's consider Minnesota politics over the past year, shall we? A governor rejected as the GOP vice presidential candidate still eyes the national spotlight by chatting it up on national news shows. A former senator who lost his re-election campaign refuses to face facts and puts our state through the never-ending recount from hell. And a suburban representative to Congress… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (St. Paul)

    The Muddy Pig

    It's clear before you've even taken a seat that the Muddy Pig is something special: It's one of those bars where banners advertise not cheap domestic pitchers but fine Belgian ales like Duvel, where the flat-screen TVs are visible but not the center of attention, and where the windows are big enough to remind you what neighborhood you're in. The… More >>
  • Best Bike Trail

    Grand Rounds, from Lake Calhoun to Minnehaha Park

    In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and the birthplace of North America's mightiest river, it's only fitting that the Twin Cities' best bike trail should highlight our close relationship with water. Indeed, on this roughly 20-mile trail from Lake Calhoun to Minnehaha Park, you're hardly out of sight of the stuff. From the north end, near Uptown, the trail follows… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    R.T. Rybak

    This year it was a two-man race for Best Mayor. But while St. Paul's Chris Coleman is a highly capable mayor angling for a gubernatorial spot, that pesky RNC get-together hurt his overall score. Not so for über-fit mayor R.T. Rybak, who is guiding Minneapolis to new heights. During his tenure, crime has gone down, the city has maintained one of… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar (Minneapolis)

    Stasiu's - CLOSED

    Like so many great bars in northeast Minneapolis, Stasiu's has a relaxed, distinctly neighborhood feel. The patrons include blue-collar men enjoying beer with their neighbors; hipsters barhopping on their way to Grumpy's, the Hex, or Nye's; and lovers of ladies taking a break from the Double Deuce strip club down the street—different walks of life, but all friendly. Many nights… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Behind Bars

    Picking a best bike shop is like picking the best pint of Ben & Jerry's; it will always be up for debate. But in a quiet section of Northeast, Behind Bars roars like a fearsome tiger. It could be the rock that blasts inside the shop, or just the selection of bikes for people who like to ride. Masi, Kona,… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Michele Bachmann

    The greatest villains are fun to hate and keep giving you new reasons to hate them. This is why Michele Bachmann, the great shame of the North Star State, is our best villain. We knew she was weird as far back as 2006 when she proclaimed herself "hot" for God and a "fool for Christ." But in the last year… More >>
  • Best Irish Pub

    The Liffey

    No disrespect to Minneapolis's myriad Gaelic-flavored watering holes, but when it comes to Irish pubs, you might want to look across the river to the one Twin City that actually boasts an Irish Catholic history. Walk inside the dimly lit, dark wooden interior of the Liffey, kitty-corner from the Xcel Energy Center, and you'll encounter a tastefully understated Celtic atmosphere,… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Race

    Stupor Bowl

    Minneapolis has no equal when it comes to sub-zero bicycle insanity. The city's best and most furious don't let a little thing like minus-20-degree temperatures or frozen streets get in the way of pedaling year-round. And for this crew, the race among races is the Stupor Bowl, a quasi-illegal race known as an alley cat. Racers get a map of… More >>
  • Best Scandal

    Tom Petters

    Minnesotans love a bit of schadenfreude. We just can't help it—it's hard-wired into the DNA of the state's settlers and has seeped into the consciousness of civic life. So when one of the richest folks in the state lands in jail, accused of running a massive Ponzi scheme...well, the schadenfreude hit overdrive. The indictment reads like a laundry list of… More >>
  • Best Brewpub

    The Happy Gnome

    Ah, the Happy Gnome. A veritable who's-who, or rather what's-what, of esoteric craft brews, equally keen on imports and domestics. Forty-four draft beers line three separate rails. Every other day or so, a new brand of keg replaces an old. Not a wide enough selection for you? The St. Paul watering hole also boasts more than 300 bottled beers—91 from… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Meadowbrook Golf Club

    Interlachen Country Club in Edina may be one of the finest golf courses in the nation, but the closest most of us will get to playing it is Meadowbrook, the lovely municipal course that lies adjacent. Meadowbrook is not a course for whiners—its hilly and hazard-strewn grounds are a decided challenge, and its many blind shots may not be everyone's… More >>
  • Best Use of Taxpayer Money

    Minnesota State Arts Board

    When the economy gets tough, it's easy to target programs that advocate and support the "frivolous"—be it the environment, the outdoors, or the arts. Yet as Minnesotans showed last year in voting for the Legacy Amendment—promising more tax money to support those things—life without them would be poorer indeed. The Arts Board sits at the front lines, supporting tons of… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Bar Abilene

    A critical and often overlooked criterion of happy hours has to do with timing. Sure, two-for-one cocktails are delightful after work, but early evenings aren't exactly the optimal or most responsible time to milk happy hours for all they're worth. At Uptown's Bar Abilene, happy hours thankfully align with the drunk-friendliest hours of the evening. Every night between 9 and… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Memory Lanes

    Any sport best enjoyed with a pint of beer ought to at least be in the running for National Pastime. Memory Lanes mixes the greatest aspects of bowling in one space: beer specials, plentiful lanes (30 here), and lots of novelties scheduled weekly. Some evenings feature glow-in-the-dark bowling or a bizarre light show called "Thunder Alley," while other nights up… More >>
  • Best Make-Out Spot

    Walker Art Center's Sky Pesher

    A make-out spot underground may not sound too romantic, but hear us out. Hidden on the Walker Art Center hill is a small walkway that leads into what looks like a giant bomb shelter in the side of the hill. Trust your curiousity and venture in. Once inside, you'll find an underground room lined with benches and a giant sunroof… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Jetset

    If you haven't been before, Jetset can be a little hard to find, but just listen for the beats. DJs spin house tracks that are audible from the street. Once inside, go for broke ordering drinks—the bartenders love to show patrons there's more to cocktails than vodka tonics. Just be sure to wear something other than your ratty Carhartts. The… More >>
  • Best Yoga

    TaraNa

    Yoga studios have become as ubiquitous in the Twin Cities as Caribou Coffee shops, and many of them are great—so trying to select just one best place is enough to throw off one's inner peace. Luckily, it's nearly impossible to feel stressed at taraNa yoga in Uptown Minneapolis. It's a tiny place with small classes and individualized attention. The relaxing… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Science Museum of Minnesota

    First dates are dodgy situations; the recipe for attraction often boils down to chemistry. That said, when taking the maiden voyage into a relationship it's important to create an atmosphere with as many icebreakers as possible. At the Science Museum of Minnesota, you can learn all about your date...and science. Current traveling exhibits include "Goosebumps," which explores the science of… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar

    Twilight

    Sadly, Pi, the only exclusive lesbian bar in the Twin Cities, closed in 2008. So where do women go when they want to meet new people, dance, and have a good time with friends? The nomadic Twilight is easily your best bet. Though the location changes every couple of months or so (one recent party was at the Kitty Cat… More >>
  • Best Beach

    Hidden Beach

    If you're looking for a beach to show off your toned pecs or barely there bikini, you've come to the wrong place. We've heard it a million times: Hidden Beach just isn't what it used to be. To that we say: Who cares? Yes, Hidden Beach used to be actually hidden and was known as the beach of punks and… More >>
  • Best Place to Break Up

    Spyhouse Coffee Shops

    Some people will tell you that initiating a breakup is just as painful as being dumped. Those people are liars. Sure, if you have any feelings at all, it won't be easy to break your former beloved's heart. But inflicting that pain is just not as bad as receiving it. For one thing, the dumper knows what's coming; the dumpee… More >>
  • Best Cocktails

    Town Talk Diner - CLOSED

    Many bars around town have their own specialty cocktails. Often they've been given funny names that play off of double entendres, and contain about as much sugar and artificial coloring as a bowl of kids' cereal. It's harder to find a bar with specialty cocktails that one would actually enjoy drinking. Town Talk Diner is one of those bars. Though… More >>
  • Best Sporting Goods

    Midwest Mountaineering

    Whether your sport is skiing or camping, climbing or kite-boarding, Midwest Mountaineering will take care of you with a smile. The store in the heart of Cedar-Riverside has been providing Minneapolitans with the gear they need to brave the wilds since 1970, when founder Rod Johnson was unable to find proper climbing gear and decided to start a business. Nowadays… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men (Straight)

    Midwest Mountaineering

    Okay, so there are tons of single guys crammed into dark, crowded Twin Cities bars, but let's face it: The ability to scope them out may be seriously hindered by alcohol. So why not look for men at a place where health is in the air and the guys are guaranteed to be fit and adorable? Manly men love the… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Johnny Michaels at La Belle Vie

    What's your alcoholic attitude? Aristocratic as a g&t made with Earl Grey-infused gin? Funky as a black-cherry vodka mixed with cranberry juice, dried cherries, black pepper, and goat cheese? Or as playfully abstaining as a marshmallow Peep floating in a blue raspberry soda? Whatever your sipping preference, you'll be in good hands with Johnny Michaels, one of the Twin Cities'… More >>
  • Best Quick Workout

    Snap Fitness

    Snap Fitness is an affordable gym for the dedicated, independent runner or weight lifter. Stripped down to the bare essentials, Snap is a one-room schoolhouse of workout equipment. It doesn't have classes, but personal trainers are available for hire. The gym is open 24 hours, meaning you can work out at 3 a.m. if that's your style. Snap's long hours… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men (Gay)

    Too Much Love at First Avenue

    We're not sure exactly what kind of love goes down at Too Much Love on Saturday nights at First Avenue, but it's a powerful magnet for expressive twenty- and thirtysomethings in Minneapolis, and it nets an astonishing number of cuties each week, both straight and gay—a lot gay. Too Much Love is a smorgasbord of sexy guys, from skinny-jeaned queens… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Local)

    P.O.S., Vampire Hands, and Solid Gold at the Hexagon Bar

    In a music community as close-knit as ours, there really is no such thing as a "secret show" or "unannounced special guests." Bloggers and Tweeters trample over one another to get the latest scoop, and every musician is friends with at least one or two people who have the ability to spread news like wildfire. So it was no surprise… More >>
  • Best Place to Shoot Pool

    Fat Boy Billiards - CLOSED

    The gigantic, multihued pool balls painted on the outside walls of Fat Boy make it clear what the joint is all about. A hub of leisure since 1923 (first as a bowling alley), the space was rechristened a pool hall in 1989, and it's been a Northeast mainstay ever since. Step through the front door (an 8 ball) and you'll… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women (Straight)

    Cooks of Crocus Hill

    Since the early 1980s, everyone thought the best place to meet single women was at the community pottery class. "That scene from Ghost" became an overused quote for writers and a fantasy for lonely men hoping for someone to spoon. These days, though, there's a better way: Take a cooking class at Cooks of Crocus Hill. You know what they… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring)

    Nine Inch Nails

    There's no way around it—the arena is the gulag of the rock experience, that hostile, imprisoning environment one flocks to only out of direst necessity. To fill that cavernous space with an energy that can survive the echoing acoustics and concrete concourses requires a sophistication that often eludes the types of artists who frequent those expansive stages. But Nine Inch… More >>
  • Best Place to Hang Out with Your Kids

    Roller Garden

    Perched in St. Louis Park since 1943, the Roller Garden is a place where, once you step inside, you feel as though you're 12 again—and in a good way. All ages can rent roller skates or blades, and the cushioned wood floor makes the inevitable tumble less likely to end in tears. Most days there's a DJ spinning tunes ranging… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women (Lesbian)

    Booby Trap at the Bolt Underground

    Softball games, broomball tournaments, and the YWCA are always guaranteed good places to meet women who like women, but a little liquor never hurts to break the ice. While there is no 24/7 lesbian bar these days, thankfully a few queer ladies' nights have begun popping up on the scene on a monthly basis. "Booby Trap" at the Bolt Underground… More >>
  • Best Album of the Past 12 Months

    Maverick, Gay Witch Abortion

    Maverick, the long-awaited first album from the notoriously named Minneapolis duo, is one of the best heavy records the Twin Cities scene has ever produced. The album streamlines doom metal, stoner rock, no-wave, and post-rock into a flat-out blast of raw sonics. Jesse Bottomley's guitar can cover ground ranging from Thurston Moore-esque squalls of distorted noise to the sludgy malevolence… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Sledding

    Columbia Golf Course

    When it comes to sledding hot spots (so to speak), it's all about steepness: The hills should be steep, and the price of admission shouldn't be. Boasting one of the steepest hills in northeast Minneapolis—and requiring no admission fee—Columbia Golf Course delivers on both scores. (Although if you came tubeless or sledless, you'll need to fork over five bucks to… More >>
  • Best View

    Guthrie Theater Endless Bridge

    A great view is as much about the place you're sitting as it is the thing you're looking at. No place in the Twin Cities embodies that maxim more than the Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater. Erected when the new Guthrie went up in 2006, the bridge sticks out of the blue behemoth like a flagpole off a wall.… More >>
  • Best Local Band Made Good

    P.O.S.

    Going into 2008, the local punk rapper was two years past the outstanding Audition, and the anticipation to find out what was coming next was drawing as tight as a bowstring. Going into 2009, P.O.S. almost certainly is staring down the barrel of major national fame. With his new full-length, Never Better, netting high praise from Pitchfork, a month-long tour… More >>
  • Best Place to Ice Skate

    The Depot Rink

    Sure, outdoor rinks are the ideal setting for ice skating. But everyone who's lived through a winter here knows that when the mercury drops below a certain level (name your cutoff), it's just too damned cold to be outside. So from the day before Thanksgiving through late March, the Depot Rink provides a gorgeous solution to that all-too-frequent problem. Once… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Mesa Pizza at 2 a.m. on a Saturday

    There's no better place in Minneapolis to capture a portrait of college life than Mesa Pizza after Dinkytown bars announce last call. Inebriated students spill into the streets around the University of Minnesota for one last hurrah, stumbling to Mesa for a warm, oversized slice of heaven. In the line that often snakes out the door, you'll find a perfect… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Lookbook

    A year before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs made all the music critics lose their shit over their new-old electro sound, locals Grant Cutler and Maggie Morrison began toying around with classic '80s synth beats and echoic vocal effects under their new project, Lookbook. The songs they produced, many of which were released late last year on their debut EP, I… More >>
  • Best Nature in the City

    Fort Snelling State Park

    The Twin Cities area has an abundance of places to enjoy the outdoors: the Chain of Lakes, Minnehaha Falls, and countless bike trails along the Mississippi River. But if you head just south of Minnehaha Falls, you'll land smack in the middle of one of Minnesota's 66 state parks. The 2,931-acres of Fort Snelling State Park have 18 miles of… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Lake Harriet

    When trying to dazzle out-of-town guests, there are the obvious choices like the Walker and First Avenue. But how about an activity that's free and showcases the best of outdoor Minnesota? Lake Harriet is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the spring, summer, or fall. Generally not as crowded as Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet even offers more activities… More >>
  • Best Live Artist

    The Blind Shake

    It's said that great art should be out of reach, but just barely. Perhaps that's why the Blind Shake have such an engaging live presence. There is something familiar in their blood-and-guts garage rock, but it's only distantly familiar, like the map of a dream. Strident and asphyxiating, their songs are hypnoses of too many decibels. And with just three… More >>
  • Best Walk Around a Lake

    Lake Como

    A 1.6-mile stroll around this shallow lake immerses you in the rambunctious spirit that animates St. Paul. You're virtually never on a straightaway as you navigate Lake Como's curvy shoreline, with its ecologically friendly native plant and rain gardens. The jewel in the crown of Como Park, Lake Como was so named in 1840 by one Charles Perry, a potato… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Away from It All Without Leaving Town

    Brownie Lake

    Some day this summer you'll think of the "great idea" to rent a canoe or kayak at Lake Calhoun. Unfortunately, it can often seem as if everyone else in town had the same great idea. But don't be discouraged. If you really want to get away from it all, there's a secret that many of the others don't know about.… More >>
  • Best Female Vocalist

    Aby Wolf

    The songs on Aby Wolf's debut album, Sweet Prudence, only hint at the magnitude of this virtuoso's singing talent. Looping her voice on top of itself, Wolf accompanies her mid-range melodies with soaring, nimble, high-register wails and pretty, choir-girl arpeggios, creating sublime choral harmonies. In concert, Wolf pushes herself even further by creating live, looped a cappella songs that build… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Minnehaha Off-Leash Recreation Area

    Cities aren't the ideal place for a dog itching to stretch its legs. Deafening intersections, sizzling concrete, and small backyards are no place for man's best friend. But there is one local spot that's heaven on earth for a pup living the city life. The Minnehaha Dog Park has everything a dog could ask for: 4.3 acres of forest and… More >>
  • Best Place to Bond with Your Mom

    Lady Elegant's Tea Room & Gift Shoppe

    What could be more fun than bonding with Mom over a proper cup of tea and a pile of sweets? Guests at Lady Elegant's Tea Room and Gift Shoppe can select from 85 varieties of tea in the saccharine-sweet tearoom, which is decorated with flowers and ribbons and shiny tablecloths galore. Tea menus range from the simple cream tea (scones… More >>
  • Best Male Vocalist

    Chris Beirden of Vampire Hands

    George Harrison must have had a love child. It's uncanny. Close your eyes while you listen to Vampire Hands, and Chris Beirden will transport you back in time. The dude makes you want to drop acid and set his album on loop. His voice is haunting and arid and barren and ethereal and gorgeous, like the giant salt fields of… More >>
  • Best Twins Player

    Joe Mauer

    When Joe Mauer was awarded Best Twins Player last year, it came with a caveat: He was pretty damn good, but he was a catcher battling through an injury-strewn 2007 season that reduced his numbers to solid rather than spectacular. A year later, all the question marks have been replaced with exclamation points: another batting title, another .400-plus on-base percentage,… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

    You don't have to hunt or fish to appreciate the DNR's vast and superbly organized website—if you enjoy anything about the outdoors you'll find something of interest here. The site has information on everything from hiking to fossil hunting and geocaching to bird watching. It's also a free education in the natural sciences: the state's geology, a weather almanac, animal… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    Knife World

    From the deepest, dankest basement party, where the cologne of old sweat and spilled beer drifts like mustard gas, to the 7th St. Entry stage, where their fans pay a cover and buy their beer from the bar in a show of good citizenship, the indomitable rock outfit Knife World knows no master. Bound only by the limits of imagination… More >>
  • Best Vikings Player

    Adrian Peterson

    Five out of five NFL linebackers agree: It is difficult to push, pull, or drag Adrian Peterson to the ground, particularly when he is running and would prefer to keep running. At times the Vikings' second-year running back scarcely seems human, particularly when he breaches the defensive line and just explodes into the secondary, as if someone hit a fast-forward… More >>
  • Best Podcast

    Cosmic Slop

    Whether you're cruising blogs, podcasts, or Twitter feeds, finding a wellspring of edifying material on the internet can be a mental root canal. Funny, then, that the best local podcast should prove to be a musical revue that makes as much to-do about the misses of the bygone eras as it does the hits. Devoted Radio K listeners will remember… More >>
  • Best Local Blog

    Culture Bully

    Of all the blogs the Twin Cities has to offer—and there are a ton of good ones—none is more professionally executed than the music site Culture Bully. Far from your cookie-cutter Wordpress knitting blog, Culture Bully has a slick layout and updates several times a day. It brings you interviews, features, reviews, and songs for download, all hot off the… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Muja Messiah

    The Twin Cities' reputation as fertile grounds for underground hip hop is well-deserved and hard-earned, and it has resulted in a number of classic albums. But we could always use more hip hop that hits the streets and clubs as hard as it hits the headphones, and Muja Messiah spent most of 2008 emphatically claiming that sprawling turf. After dropping… More >>
  • Best Timberwolves Player

    Al Jefferson

    Yes, Big Al bit the dust midseason with a torn ACL, but his on-the-block dominance up to that point leaves us no choice but to name him the best Timberwolves player. Arguably the best low-post scorer in the game (certainly the most elusive), Jefferson was, until his early-February injury, movin' on up the NBA hierarchy. He expanded his arsenal of… More >>
  • Best Tweeter

    @Lileks (James Lileks)

    There are legitimate arguments for Twitter being a useful social tool, and legitimate arguments for it being yet another purely narcissistic medium for those who want their oh-so-incisive thoughts and deep, deep feelings made public. No one bridges this divide—poking fun now at one camp, now at the other—like James Lileks, who writes for the Star Tribune in real life… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist

    Black Blondie

    The members of Black Blondie, a foursome now whittled down to three ladies, are as much memorable musicians as they are characters. Singer Samahra, especially, makes her mark—channeling the spirit of Neneh Cherry circa "Buffalo Stance" when it comes to fashion and, when it comes to skills behind a mic, taking on a thankfully imperfect merging of Amy Winehouse and… More >>
  • Best Wild Player

    Cal Clutterbuck

    Sure, plenty of Wild players deserve the title. But few of them can pummel the crap out of the opposition quite like Cal Clutterbuck. There are many ways to hurt folks on the ice: Players can slash, high-stick, or just drop the gloves and use a simple fist to the head. But the sheer force of a body check is… More >>
  • Best Festival

    MayDay Parade and Festival

    Festivals during the summertime are a dime a dozen. Walk a couple of blocks from your home on the weekend and you will probably find some sort of street event selling the same bucket of cookies and lemonade for $5, and the same local acts jamming out onstage. The MayDay Parade and Festival is nothing like that. This yearly event… More >>
  • Best Blues Band

    The Butanes

    This is the fifth consecutive year (and sixth total) that the Butanes have nabbed the title of Best Blues Band, and it's easy to see why: Their blues renditions are as solid as the hardwood floors in front of the stage at the Eagles Club in Minneapolis, where you can catch them live every Wednesday night. As the hipsters and… More >>
  • Best Swarm Player

    Aaron Wilson

    The Swarm's season has been, let's just say, less than great. The sheer dominance of the Calgary Roughnecks has left the Swarm mired in the middle of the pack, trying to get over .500. But that's not to say there are no bright spots for the lacrossers. Forward Aaron Wilson is of particular note. The Kitchener, Ontario, native (lacrosse is… More >>
  • Best State Fair Food

    Corn on the cob

    You've waited all summer for this all-day gorging on the delectable treats and greasy goodness of the Minnesota State Fair: cheese curds, mini donuts, turkey legs the size of your head. But let's face it, there's only so much artery-clogging junk you can eat, and after a while you're going to want something more wholesome, a summer classic that will… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artists

    Fat Kid Wednesdays

    Venturing into the basement of the Turf Club on a Monday night is like descending into the annals of an underground jazz club that existed 40 years ago, in somebody's grandmother's basement. Tucked inside the wood-paneled walls of the Turf's Clown Lodge, concertgoers will find some of the Twin Cities' finest jazz musicians surrounded by many of the Twin Cities'… More >>
  • Best Lynx Player

    Seimone Augustus

    Seimone Augustus does a little bit of everything on the basketball court—she's a smart passer, excellent rebounder, and athletic defender—but it's her scoring ability that really sets her apart. Last season the graceful six-footer outscored all but two WNBA players (19.1 points per game) thanks to a mid-range game and off-the-screen footwork that puts most NBAers to shame. Expect Augustus… More >>
  • Best Nerd Summit

    CONvergence

    There are quite a few places where Twin Cities nerds can feel truly at home. Gaming stores, role-playing groups, and comic and anime conventions populate the metro area. But when it comes time to summon all the Minnesota minions of geekiness for one giant party, there's only one sure bet in town: CONvergence. For a weekend, sci-fi and fantasy aficionados… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    Gabe Barnett

    In a land of 10,000 Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie wannabes, Gabe Barnett seems like the most fitting victim to compare to those folk icons. But to do so would imply something less than genuine about this fiercely independent, grassroots folk singer. He embodies the spirit of the wandering troubadour, to be sure, but there are no gimmicks or mimicry… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Brad Frost

    We at City Pages enjoy a feel-good story as much as anyone. Really, we do. Which is why you might have expected this year's Best Coach to be Don Lucia, the skipper of the Gophers men's hockey team who missed several games fighting a mystery illness before returning to the ice. Or Tubby Smith could have gotten the nod for… More >>
  • Best Graffiti

    The Yuck! Guy

    Those who wander about Uptown on foot may have noticed a running theme with the graffiti last summer. Someone's red Yuck! tag was found on sidewalks, tree stumps, concrete dividers, and a slew of other public objects. The tagger is prolific, but what exactly does Yuck! mean? Is it a commentary on the aesthetics of urban areas? Is it a… More >>
  • Best Experimental Band

    Slapping Purses

    Experimental music? That's a wide net. Cast it into the ocean and you're likely to drag up more boots and tin cans than rock lobsters. But there's Slapping Purses, thrashing about on the forward deck among all that offal like some bizarre, deep-water lungfish. Cheap Casio keyboards never saw Slapping Purses coming, and that sucker punch has left all those… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Eric Decker

    There's nothing freakish about Eric Decker, wide receiver for the University of Minnesota Gophers. He's just a solid, all-around athlete with no discernable weaknesses. He's big. Fast. Coordinated. Mentally tough. The 6' 2", 215-pound junior posted his second consecutive standout season last year, hauling in 84 catches in 2008, seven of them for touchdowns. Dude's pretty savvy on the baseball… More >>
  • Best Gay Icon

    Wanda Wisdom

    Wanda Wisdom, the "single, sober drag queen hostess with the mostest," has not only inspired LGBT folks and straight allies within our fly-over borders, but cool, queer people across the globe. The self-described "original podcasting drag queen" covers a plethora of topics near and dear to our hearts, like the issue of grooming our respective junk areas. But in addition… More >>
  • Best Concert Venue

    Varsity Theater

    Though the Varsity Theater has only focused on music since 2005, the popular Dinkytown venue has been around for a whopping 94 years, operating as a theater until the 1980s, when it morphed into a concert hall. The new Varsity debuted four years ago with a Feist concert, wowing Twin Citians with its great sound, spacious main room, and sophisticated… More >>
  • Best Professional Wrestler

    Tommy "The SpiderBaby" Saturday

    The nom du wrestling of Terrance Griep, Spiderbaby is a heel (a bad guy in pro wrestling terms), a tag-team champion, and openly gay, just like Griep. Since he started as an "out" commentator for a local indie federation, Spiderbaby has become a force in the local pro wrestling community. SpiderBaby's success isn't about sexuality or his efforts to bring… More >>
  • Best Library

    Rondo Community Outreach Library

    Neighborhood libraries are popular destinations these days—the books are free, the computers are waiting, and you can stay all day working on a project or just getting lost in a story. What makes the Rondo Community Outreach Library so appealing is how it's transformed a previously underutilized corner in a neighborhood that has undergone significant transition over the years. The… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    7th St. Entry

    Look, 7th St. Entry has a lot working against it. First, it's downtown, and heading there to see AIDS Wolf on a Saturday night puts you butts-to-bollocks with bumper-to-bumper traffic and throngs of people on their way from the Wolves game to the Hard Rock Cafe. There's parking to contend with, panhandlers to dodge, and god forbid you should be… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch a UFC Fight

    Hooters of Block E - CLOSED

    What's better than watching a bunch of guys punch and kick each other in the face for three hours on a Saturday night? Watching a bunch of guys punch and kick each other in the face for three hours with your friends at the bar. Each month, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hosts a night full of knockouts, choke-outs, and… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Jiffy Car Wash & Detail Center

    This is the time of year when a good car wash is especially important. After months of hard winter, our cars are grimy and probably the worse for wear, and it's tough to keep your four-wheeled friend looking swell when spring rains keep applying a fresh coat of sludge. While it's easy enough to rinse off the grit at a… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

    The Dakota is hardly the only jazz club in town, or even the only great one (St. Paul's legendary Artists' Quarter is a perennial contender). But the Dakota's 1-2-3 punch is hard to compete with: Its incomparable acoustics make it one of the best-sounding environments for live jazz (or R&B or blues); its cuisine is among the best in downtown… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go to the Twins' Last Season at the Metrodome

    Dome Dogs

    As we kick off the Minnesota Twins' last season in the pillow-top Metrodome stadium, it's only fair to pay tribute to the hot dogs that will soon fade into history. Sure, they might sell the exact same hot dogs at Target Field in 2010, but they sure as hell can't be called Dome Dogs, so they'll never be as tasty.… More >>
  • Best Place to Stay Warm in Winter

    Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como

    Minnesota's winter has its own stark beauty, but it is almost entirely without moisture in the air—or smells. The conservatory at Como Park is like a magical visit to a tropical paradise, for a $1 or $2 donation. Birds tweeting and flowers blooming are salve for the soul and a reminder that there is life after March. The warmest spot… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Famous Dave's BBQ and Blues Bar

    Nestled into one of the most gentrified, yuppie-friendly neighborhoods in the metro area, Uptown's Famous Dave's seems an unlikely place to be the hub of a genre rooted in oppression and despair. But despite its awkward locale, Famous Dave's continues to draw the best local and national blues acts, with shows happening practically every night of the week—swing nights every… More >>
  • Best Sign of Spring

    Lyndale Park Rose Garden

    All winter long, hundreds of rose bushes lie dormant under a protective covering of dirt and leaves, not far from the shores of Lake Harriet. Nearby, the ornate Heffelfinger Fountain stands hidden from view, encased in protective wooden boards. A few hardy people shuffle through the snow, but the Lyndale Park Rose Garden is not a hospitable place to linger… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    Eclipse Records

    After a multiyear hiatus and a long-awaited relocation from the Macalester campus to the final feet of University Avenue before St. Paul becomes Minneapolis, it's a grand pleasure just to write the name Eclipse Records once again. As it was a decade ago, Eclipse Records is a musical incubator, welcoming rock enthusiasts from both sides of the age of consent.… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    First Avenue

    Objects appear more vivid when set against a dark background, although it's doubtful the interior decorators at First Avenue considered that when they doused the club in practical black lacquer paint. Against that backdrop, the kaleidoscope of characters on display every Saturday at the Too Much Love dance night makes for a vivid Petri dish of a dance floor. While… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Jimmy 2 Times

    Jimmy 2 Times really knows how to rock a party rock a party—and if you think that last part was a typo, it's a crying shame you haven't seen Goodfellas. The lingo behind Jimmy's "Get Cryphy" party might need some explaining, too: "Cryphy" is the wild-child offspring of "Crunk" and "Hyphy," regional hip-hop styles that encourage getting raw and rowdy… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Vegas Lounge

    Ask any fan: Half the bars around town that feature weekend karaoke are packed by 9 p.m. If you get your request in early, you might get to sing one song. But on a busy night, don't even think about singing two. This is not the case at the Vegas Lounge, a fun bar that manages to not become overwhelmed… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months

    The Alarmists

    For a while there, back in early 2006, Brit-pop loving indie kids the Alarmists seemed like the perfect candidate to be Minneapolis's next little band-that-could. Critics salivated in unison over the salacious pop melodies on the band's breakout EP, A Detail of Soldiers. Their shows started getting more and more crowded, the buzz grew to a deafening roar, and they… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    The Not Goods

    ...… More >>

Best of Award Graphics

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