People & Places

  • BEST LOCAL BLOG

    The Adventures of Johnny Northside

    If you're a sex offender who lives in north Minneapolis, Johnny Northside is on to you. If you're a slumlord who owns properties there, Johnny will track your every move. Same goes for drug dealers, shoddy storefront renovators, and proprietors of crime-ridden strip malls. The old "Neighborhood Watch" signs that went up a few decades back might as well have… More >>
  • BEST TWEETER

    Jason DeRusha

    He tweets about eats, family, and friends. He invites followers to his "Jasoncam" for live newsroom video chats. He pokes fun at his co-workers in public. For sheer speed in achieving social-media critical mass, it's hard to beat WCCO's "Good Question" man. On August 6, National Cheesecake Day, he tried a little crowd-sourcing for his nightly segment when he tweeted,… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL WEBSITE

    Minnesota State Legislature

    It's quite the fashion these days to be angry with government. But, citizens, there's a far more productive (and less annoying) way to channel your frustrations than impotent fuming: get involved. Minnesotans have no excuse for pointless griping, because the state Legislature's website is a marvel of simplicity, ease, and information. Want to know who your elected representatives are? Just… More >>
  • BEST NEW HIPSTER HANGOUT

    Angry Catfish

    The bike-and-coffee combo is nothing new in Minneapolis (think One-on-One and Cars-R-Coffins), but Minneapolis managed to squeeze another one into the city limits, and it's just begging for you to ride your fixed-gear over for a hot cup of joe. Angry Catfish opened in late 2009 and is still developing its cycle inventory, but it already has a couple of… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD

    Northeast Minneapolis

    Well, the secret is out. As Uptown hopelessly gentrifies and St. Paul remains a great place to get some sleeping done, Northeast is emerging as the new spot for good beer, good music, good art, and good living. Once a place best known for its townie bars and roughneck atmosphere, the area has undergone a revision that manages to, for… More >>
  • BEST UNDISCOVERED NEIGHBORHOOD

    Dayton's Bluff

    Like northeast Minneapolis a decade or two ago, Dayton's Bluff is a neighborhood in transformation. As places like the Strip Club and Swede Hollow Café bring patrons to the other side of downtown St. Paul, people are getting exposed to the history, beauty, diversity, and culture of the neighborhood. Sitting high on land that overlooks the Mississippi River, Dayton's Bluff… More >>
  • BEST STREET

    Summit Avenue, St. Paul

    If you expect lingerie, bubble tea, or a $4 cup of coffee out of the Twin Cities' Best Street, better luck next year. One look at the condos sprouting along Hennepin and Lyndale faster than clusters of dandelions should let you know that those oh-so-cosmo streets don't need the press. We'd rather spend our fleeting summer hours on Summit Avenue,… More >>
  • BEST CORNER

    Lyndale Avenue South and 26th Street, Minneapolis

    As our independently owned and operated establishments get hunted to extinction by condo tycoons and chain restaurants, finding a one-stop corner where you can drop your dough with pride is increasingly becoming a challenge. But head to Lyndale Avenue South and 26th Street and take a look around. Within just a few paces, you can wake up with a cup… More >>
  • BEST VIEW

    The High Bridge

    Crossing the High Bridge is one of the most dramatic ways to get from one bank of the Mississippi to the other: 520 feet long, 160 feet up, and buffeted by brisk winds, it's intimidating in a way that no other span in the Cities is. But if you've lived in St. Paul any amount of time, you know there's… More >>
  • BEST PARK

    Loring Park

    If there's one thing Twin Cities residents like to brag about to out-of-towners, it's our parks. We have sprawling acres in the suburbs with miles of paths for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. We have small green spaces dotting every city neighborhood, complete with swings, slides, and kiddie pools. We have parks that include stunning scenery such as Minnehaha Falls.… More >>
  • BEST LAKE

    Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis

    This may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but it's also the land of 10,000 tons of goose droppings, broken glass, and algae blooms. When it comes to city life, finding a waterway where you can catch some sun and take a dip at minimal risk of walking away with something monumentally icky in you or on you can be… More >>
  • BEST BUS ROUTE

    21

    Pshaw to the 4, with its posh posturing and smiling drivers. Nuts to the 16, with its two-car buses choked with scholars en route to the U. If you want to ride a bus and get somewhere, it's the 21 or nothing, the bus line that's about the journey as much as the destination. The stalwart straight line that connects… More >>
  • BEST GRAFFITI

    Jimi Hendrix in Uptown

    Jimi Hendrix appeared on the outer wall of a long-abandoned tool shop on Lyndale Avenue and 26th Street sometime during the fall or early winter of 2009. He looked a little worse for wear, sporting misshapen eyes that were either stoned or comatose, frazzled hair, and uneven teeth. But we knew it was him. We surmised that he was in… More >>
  • BEST MAYOR

    Chris Coleman

    After Tim Pawlenty announced he would vacate the governor's mansion, every politician from Mankato to International Falls was drooling over the chance to inherit his throne. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman seemed poised to jump into the race. He put together a team with national campaign experience, appeared at events with other potential candidates, and even told people he would… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN

    Al Franken

    Minnesota is home to several unique legislators. We can claim the country's first Muslim congressman (Keith Ellison) as well as the nation's flakiest (Michele Bachmann). But Al Franken is our unlikeliest politician. The author, comedian, radio host, and St. Louis Park native fought charges of carpetbagging when he moved back home from New York City to wage a contentious and… More >>
  • BEST SCANDAL

    Denny Hecker's fall from grace

    Once, Denny Hecker's kind face, big smile, and grandfatherly white hair graced billboards, television screens, and the sides of buses all over the Twin Cities in ads for his auto empire. Then in late 2008, Hecker began his long and embarrassing fall from grace when the recession began eating away at his heavily leveraged auto dealerships and rent-a-car business. More… More >>
  • BEST VILLAIN

    Michele Bachmann

    City Pages sometimes gets reader feedback saying we focus too much attention on Michele Bachmann. But does Superman pay too much attention to Lex Luthor? Does Batman pay too much attention to the Joker? One villainess reigns supreme over Minnesota, and it's the crazy-mouthed congresswoman from Stillwater who crushes on Joe McCarthy and openly worries about the Obama administration creating… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD

    Dessa Darling

    It looks like 2010 will go down as the year of Dessa Darling. When Doomtree's lady MC unveiled her first solo LP, A Badly Broken Code, the local media hailed it with expected praise, but the national rags also caught on. Robert Christgau, a notoriously harsh critic, reviewed her work on National Public Radio like a fanboy: "In a time… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD

    Al Franken

    Even now that Al Franken is a Minnesota senator, it's hard to imagine him somehow as a local boy. He has a distinctly East Coast air—a product of Harvard and New York—that belies his Minnesota upbringing: raised in St. Louis Park, Blake School grad, a comedy veteran of Brave New Workshop. But Dylan, Prince, and Jesse Ventura hardly seem Minnesotan,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (STRAIGHT)

    Vertical Endeavors

    A rock climber must be physically strong, adventurous in spirit, and dedicated to pursing and achieving a goal—qualities that also happen to make a man a great date. The rock-climbing gym at Vertical Endeavors is a magnet for men, so ladies, put on that cute workout outfit and learn how to climb. The gym is a center for an outdoorsy,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (GAY)

    19 Bar

    The key word to this category is "meet." That can be hard to do at some gay clubs—hell, any nightclubs—around town. It's hard to meet a nice dude when strobe lights are giving you an acid flashback, and screaming over loud music can only be so sexy. The 19 Bar is ideal for actually interacting with single men. You won't… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (STRAIGHT)

    Bar 508

    When gentlemen are out on the town looking for companionship in the Twin Cities, some go places where they'll find single women of the best quality. Others play the numbers game and look for places with the highest quantity. But if you're looking for quality and quantity (and awesome chicken wonton appetizers), try Bar 508 on First Avenue. With a… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (LESBIAN)

    The Town House

    It's surprising that in an area with such a thriving GLBT presence there really aren't a whole lot of good lesbian hangouts. With the closing of Pi a couple of years ago, options have become pretty slim. Fortunately there are still some decent gay bars that are "lesbian friendly," like the Town House in St. Paul. So what makes Town… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

    Loring Park Summer Music and Movies

    Let's face it: First dates are awkward. You don't know much about each other and want so badly for it to work out for once. Play it safe with a Monday date to the Loring Park Summer Music and Movies series. Music usually starts around 7 p.m., and the movie begins at dusk. Pack a picnic dinner (adorable and thoughtful)… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MAKE OUT

    Middle of frozen Lake Harriet

    When the temperature has sunk well below freezing, a cozy, cuddly make-out session sounds perfect. But let's be honest, even tonsil hockey gets boring when you're stuck inside. Wait for a full moon, bundle up, and take your special someone on a trek to the middle of Lake Harriet. There will likely be tracks to lead you, but it never… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BREAK UP

    Minnehaha Falls

    Breaking up is never easy. You're awkward because you know what's coming, and your significant other at least pretends to be shocked that it's all over. Why not break the news surrounded by nature? Minnehaha Falls is the perfect location. The great outdoors has a calming effect on most people, and the surrounding park gives you plenty of space to… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH

    Mayo Clinic

    The Mayo Clinic attracts people from across the globe, which makes it one of the best places in the state to people-watch. Spend lunchtime in the main atrium of the clinic and you'll see people of all ages and cultures scooting about on their way to appointments. Former presidents, athletes, and the Dalai Lama all come to Mayo for checkups.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS

    Linden Hills neighborhood

    Once you've done your part to prove Minneapolis is a big city by showing off the riverfront, Guthrie Theater, and Stone Arch Bridge, spend some time appreciating Minneapolis's small-town charm. Grab a delicious breakfast at Zumbro Café and then walk to Wild Rumpus, the best children's bookstore we've ever visited. You'll be positively giddy after watching children chase chickens and… More >>
  • BEST MISSISSIPPI RIVER EXPERIENCE

    The view from the Guthrie

    It's hard not to love the Guthrie for its wonderful stage productions, but it's also a hotspot for sweeping views of the Mississippi River. The cantilevered bridge jutting out toward the river offers views of St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, either from an indoor ramp off the fourth and fifth floors or an outside observation deck that… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR FOOD

    Pig Lickers

    The first order of business is to figure out how to get past the cringe-inducing name of this delectable snack. The most Minnesotan option is to ignore it completely. The teenagers behind the counter at Famous Dave's (near the Grandstand) will understand you just fine if you simply ask for a portion of chocolate-covered bacon. Another choice is to embrace… More >>
  • BEST NON-FOOD THING ABOUT THE STATE FAIR

    Feeling better about your lot in life

    The Great Minnesota Get-Together is something like a crowded subway car—mixed with the comfort of being among a great mass of your fellow man is the sublime realization that things could always be worse for you, no matter who you are. Feeling lousy about your beer gut? Head to the Beer Garden and have the term radically redefined. Feeling guilty… More >>
  • BEST FESTIVAL

    Soundset

    All too often, summer music festivals fall into one of two major categories: the kind that takes over sprawling, grassy fields to hawk $8 light beers and host an array of clean-cut, adult-contemporary rock bands, or the kind that takes over city streets to, well, also hawk $8 beers and showcase eclectic lineups of up-and-coming local talent. And while both… More >>
  • BEST AMUSEMENT PARK

    Valleyfair

    Since its grand opening in 1976, Valleyfair has held it down as Minnesota's preeminent amusement park (sorry, Nickelodeon Universe, and RIP, Camp Snoopy). Over the years, its 26 acres have swelled to 90 and now feature a little bit of everything, from old-school wooden roller coasters (the High Roller) to higher-tech shriekers (Steel Venom, which plunges 175 feet at 68… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WASTE AN AFTERNOON

    Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

    It isn't often that many of us have a day of true freedom, the kind of day perfect for whiling away your time staring at pretty things. When this rare opportunity presents itself, we suggest heading to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park to wander through the gardens. In winter, step out of the monochromatic world and into this… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DO SOMETHING FOR FREE

    Aquatennial fireworks

    The Minneapolis Aquatennial, the city's annual summer celebration, offers 10 days of free activities for the whole family. You'd be a fool to miss the best moment of the summer party: the fireworks. Forget what you know about fireworks displays, because this one will blow any previous ideas out of the water. It's one of the biggest fireworks performances in… More >>
  • BEST DOG PARK

    Airport Dog Park

    If you and your canine companion crave some time together away from the soul-crushing rules of city dog parks, spend the afternoon at the Airport Dog Park. Just south of Highway 62, these 80 acres of land contain the closest thing to a dog free-for-all you can find. Wander the paths or join the ruckus in the big field where… More >>
  • Best Shout-Out to the Twin Cities By a Non-Native

    Ringo Starr's plug for the Electric Fetus

    How often does a local business get to brag that a musical legend served as a walking, talking billboard for them on national television? We're guessing not that often. But the Electric Fetus hit the free advertising jackpot when Ringo Starr wore one of its T-shirts onstage at the Grammys. A Beatle! The Grammys! National TV! That's pretty freaking sweet… More >>
  • BEST CHARITY

    Second Chance Animal Rescue

    In 1994, a group of volunteers got together with the mission of rescuing, caring for, and placing homeless dogs and cats, while educating the public on the importance of spaying and neutering to reduce the number of animals euthanized. Sixteen years later, Second Chance Animal Rescue is still thriving, hosting monthly adoption events, placing animals in foster homes, and working… More >>
  • BEST LIBRARY

    Franklin Library

    While the Minneapolis Central Library brings the oomph to the city's library system, there's something to be said about a small neighborhood space in which to cuddle up with a good book. Check out the Franklin Library, a wonderful meeting place blocks from the Franklin light rail stop. The library was renovated and reopened in 2005 to keep its old-school… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO STUDY

    Dunn Bros, University Avenue and Sixth Street

    Forcing yourself to buckle down and hit the books can be struggle enough. So when your roommates are playing beer pong and listening to loud music in the next room, well, the chances of you retaining anything from that dense bio-chem textbook are slim. When it's time to cram for those midterms, environment is key. Dunn Bros. on University and… More >>
  • BEST BATHROOM

    Macy's Minneapolis, fourth-floor ladies room in Intimate Apparel

    Walking through Macy's on Nicollet Mall begs for reminiscing about the days when Dayton's ruled the city's shopping kingdom. And the fourth-floor ladies room is a place where the glory of the '30s and '40s is still intact. Step inside and be transported to the days when ladies shopped for fancy frocks and gentlemen for dapper duds in the big… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO STAY WARM IN WINTER

    Water Park of America

    This might sound crazy, but you really can warm up in the dead of winter by taking your clothes off. Get your mind out of the gutter and hear us out. Water Park of America is usually a site of pure childhood mayhem, but when the coldest months start sapping your will to survive, it's also a great place to… More >>
  • BEST CURE FOR WINTER DOLDRUMS

    Learn to skate ski

    If you live in Minnesota, you've got to embrace winter. It's not going to go away. One of the best ways is to take up a winter sport—preferably one that keeps you in shape, requires minimal equipment, and is inherently social. Cross-country skiing is the perfect answer to the quandary of what to do with winter: After the initial investment… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF SPRING

    Art in Bloom at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    For 27 years the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has brought springtime indoors with Art in Bloom, a museum-wide celebration of natural beauty and human ingenuity. The free four-day festival features 100 floral artists given a unique opportunity to design colorful and fragrant displays in response to the Institute's extensive collection. This year's festival takes place April 29 through May 2… More >>
  • BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY

    Madeline Island, Bayfield, Wisconsin

    A good Minnesotan has already ventured to the north shore of Lake Superior. While we are always partial to our home state, you're missing out if you ignore the southern side of the lake along the Wisconsin border. For the ultimate Lake Superior weekend, head to Madeline Island, just 90 miles east of Duluth. It's the biggest island in the… More >>
  • BEST DAY TRIP

    Red Wing

    Is there a more versatile one-day destination than Red Wing? The charming little town of about 16,000 seems able to mold itself to any day-trip agenda. For one thing, it's only an hour and 15 minutes from either of the Twin Cities, which gives you all day to play and is close enough to beckon even on a whim, without… More >>
  • Best Staycation

    Bloomington

    In these recessionary days, when deciding on a downsized getaway one must consider a few key elements for staycation bliss: keeping the kids entertained (and not focused on the fact that they aren't going to Disney World), good eating (if you're not buying plane tickets, you may as well splurge on a good meal), and entertainment for mom and dad.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT WITH THE KIDS

    Midtown Global Market

    The food court is the playground is the flower shop is the coffeehouse is the jewelry store is the multicultural gabfest with a soccer match on the TV overhead. For kids, Midtown Global Market is an endless adventure down aisles that can feel part souk, part spa, part cantina, with a slice of pizza, a gyro, or a taco waiting… More >>
  • BEST PUB CRAWL

    Zombie Pub Crawl

    There has been some competition this year for best pub crawl, and while we loved the Snuggie, the Pimps and Hos, and the Santa-themed crawls, nothing quite eclipses the epic Zombie Pub Crawl. This year was its fifth anniversary, and an astonishing 5,000 to 6,000 undead drunks showed up to moan for brains and beer along the West Bank. The… More >>
  • BEST KARAOKE

    Cloggy's Tavern - CLOSED

    We know what you're thinking: Where? That's exactly the point. At some of the more popular karaoke bars you're lucky if you get to sing a single song all night. After 9 p.m., chances are you won't be singing at all. For karaoke fanatics, that's a major bummer. But at Cloggy's you will be serenading the pool table and the… More >>

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