People & Places

  • Best Neighborhood

    Lyn-Lake

    If you're among those who think that Uptown (by which we mean the immediate Lake and Hennepin area) just ain't as cool as it used to be, the place you really want to hang out is a half-mile or so east, around the intersection of Lake and Lyndale. While Uptown may have gone mainstream, Lyn-Lake retains its neighborhood funk. It's… More >>
  • Best Undiscovered Neighborhood

    Victory Neighborhood, Minneapolis

    A part of the Camden community of north Minneapolis, the Victory neighborhood derives its name from Victory Memorial Drive, a regal and historic parkway dedicated to Hennepin County soldiers who died in World War I that runs through the neighborhood and features stately trees planted in memory of the fallen men, as well as a majestic flagpole and several statues.… More >>
  • Best Street

    Nicollet Avenue South

    If you want a real taste of the Twin Cities, take a stroll down Nicollet Avenue South. Nicollet offers the full tour: the office buildings and upscale bars downtown; the old apartments and small shops in Stevens Square; the locally owned restaurants of Eat Street, just south of Franklin Avenue. Eat Street may be the most authentic stretch of pavement… More >>
  • Best Corner

    University Avenue and 13th Avenue Northeast

    In a perfect world, the perfect corner has someplace to eat, someplace to drink, someplace to buy a loaf of bread and a quart of milk, and someplace to get a coffee. Three out of four ain't bad. Within the space of a few square meters, visitors to this Northeast Minneapolis stronghold can get a cup of joe and plate… More >>
  • Best Suburb

    Eden Prairie

    Since 2006, Eden Prairie, a suburb 12 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis and the 12th largest city in the state, has been named by Money magazine as one of the "Best Places to Live" in America. In 2010, it ranked No. 1 in the same survey. "Not only is it family-friendly, it has a dynamite economy too," explains the Money… More >>
  • Best View

    Prohibition at the Foshay

    As dusk falls, one of the most beautiful places to take in the Minneapolis skyline is Prohibition, the speakeasy bar atop the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower. On a starlit winter night, the city lights look positively romantic. Add one of the bar's spendy signature cocktails—the Epiphany Martini, with elderflower liqueur and Clicquot champagne, or the Truth or Consequence,… More >>
  • Best Lake

    Lake Harriet

    When Minneapolis was creating its first parks in the 1880s, one of its earliest acquisitions was the land around Lake Harriet, which was already prized as the finest jewel in the city's lovely tiara of lakes. Today Lake Harriet is still the best Twin Cities lake, primarily because it offers the greatest sense of seclusion from modern life. The lush… More >>
  • Best Park

    Mears Park

    Mears Park in Lowertown St. Paul has undergone many changes over the years. For one thing, it used to be a hill. The land was donated to the city in 1849 and leveled not too long afterward. It underwent a renovation in the early 1970s, and in keeping with the developments of that era, the park became a mostly concrete… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Oakland Cemetery

    Founded in 1853 and tucked away between Rice Street and 35E, St. Paul's historic Oakland Cemetery has served for over a century and a half as one of the primary nondenominational cemeteries in the city. Take a leisurely drive through the cemetery and you'll see a who's who of St. Paul's earliest politicians and businessmen, movers and shakers: Alexander Ramsey,… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    The 3A

    Some of the most-traveled and most-renowned bus routes in the Twin Cities share a certain quality of being attached to a specific thoroughfare and a simple A-to-B linearity—Lake Street for the 21, University Avenue for the 16, Grand Avenue for the 63. But the 3A is a unique sort of mutant in Metro Transit's framework. Sure, the idea of a… More >>
  • Best Bridge

    Franklin Avenue Bridge

    Officially called the F.W. Cappelen Memorial Bridge, designed by important Norwegian-American engineer Frederick William Cappelen, and completed in 1923, the Franklin Avenue Bridge replaced a bridge originally built in 1889, the pilings and foundation of which can still be seen to the south. The Twin Cities' expanse of the Mississippi River has a number of bridges, ranging from historic (Stone… More >>
  • Best Old Building

    The Pioneer Building

    Urban renewal in the 1950s and '60s annihilated so many of the Twin Cities' most awe-inspiring buildings that the continued existence of a structure like the Pioneer Building—listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974—is some kind of miracle. St. Paul's first skyscraper, built in 1889, when the sky was only a dozen stories up, is an unusual,… More >>
  • Best Sightseeing

    Indian Mounds Park

    It's not hard to encounter St. Paul's history—the places previously frequented by the gangsters, brewers, pioneers, and politicians. But to discover its ancient history, look to the bluffs across the river from downtown. It's sometimes easy to forget the Twin Cities had a rich culture and history far predating settlement by Europeans in the 19th century. Indian Mounds Park once… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-Of-Town Guests

    Nye's Polonaise Room

    Nye's is the quintessential Nordeast experience—funky, unself-conscious, and hip. The World's Most Dangerous Polka Band, the mainstay entertainment at Nye's Polonaise Stage, has been playing "Beer Barrel Polka" several times a night for charmed audiences since 1975. Every Friday and Saturday night, revelers of all stripes prance to the music on a crowded dance floor. Meanwhile, in the famed piano… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    The Brass Rail

    There are lots of good places to ogle your peers in the Twin Cities if you want to study a monoculture, but we've always found the best people-watching comes in places where you're not sure who's going to pass through your field of vision next. Get a lot of disparate characters crammed together cheek by jowl, forced to interact, and… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Aditi Kapil

    Though Aditi Kapil wasn't born in Minnesota (she was raised in Sweden and is of Bulgarian and Indian descent), she has made the state her home since she attended Macalester College, where she studied dramatic arts and dance, and is both a resident artist at Mixed Blood Theatre and a core writer at the Playwright's Center. An actress, director, and… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Amy Klobuchar

    Amy Klobuchar had quite a year. Elle magazine's Lisa DePaulo tagged her as possible presidential material. CBS's Face the Nation floated her name as a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. And she brought much-needed levity to the hearings for Stevens's actual replacement, Elena Kagan—she might even be funnier than Al Franken. Among all that, Klobuchar notched… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    R.T. Rybak

    Our mayor can beat your mayor in a dance-off. Seriously. Anyone who's seen R.T. Rybak break it down knows it's true. While there's something to be said about a mayor who doesn't shy away from gyrating in public, it's not the only attribute that makes Rybak the best mayor in the Twin Cities. In the past year, we've watched him… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Steve Drazkowski

    In our hearts this title will always belong to Michele Bachmann. But we're going to retire her jersey this year to make room for some new talent: Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a hot new prospect out of Mazeppa. Drazkowski first made waves last year by calling for an Arizona-style immigration law in Minnesota. Since then he's shown the kind of hustle… More >>
  • Best Scandal

    The Trevor Cook Affair

    Trevor Cook was a trusted financial advisor with a down-home, bro-ish cadence who lulled 900 investors into forking over their life savings at info sessions held in his opulent $2.8-million mansion. His fund guaranteed yields during one of history's greatest recessions. Instead, it yielded a private submarine, an exotic dancer/assistant, a voracious gambling habit, and a mansion full of Fabergé… More >>
  • Best Fight

    The dog park controversy at MLK Park

    Who knew a dog park could stir so much controversy? Folks in the Kingfield neighborhood have been rallying for years to get an off-leash area put in Martin Luther King Park, on 40th and Nicollet, but they hit a roadblock this summer when a group of African-American elders were having their annual picnic and found out about the plan. They… More >>
  • Best Celebrity Sighting

    Lady Gaga at the Turf Club

    Have you heard the one about the identity thief? It goes like this: A Madonna impersonator walks into a bar, but not just any bar. Our bar, our hometown bar, our Turf Club, and all the Twin Cities forgets for a moment that she's a mere copycat, a charlatan in corsets and dead animal flesh. When Lady Gaga, fresh from… More >>
  • Best Celebrity Letdown

    Prince almost joins Gayngs at First Avenue

    It seemed destined to be the event of the year: Gayngs' first-ever public performance, themed "The Last Prom on Earth," on a Friday last May. As the mellowed-out sounds of the band wafted from the First Avenue stage, chatter from the audience was abruptly halted by a new buzz: "He's here! I saw him!" Those connected at the brainstem to… More >>
  • Best Local Blog

    The Adventures of Johnny Northside

    John Hoff's personal crusade to rid north Minneapolis of crime, corruption, and general malfeasance isn't everyone's idea of a good time, especially when he's breathing down your neck while posting criminal complaints and rap sheets, incriminating government documents, and photographs that document shady dealings, crummy storefronts, and other assorted bad news. He's the kind of guy who sees cops arresting… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    MNBeer

    The Twin Cities' best website, MNBeer, won't win any prizes for web design or flashy graphics. It's as simple and unpretentious as a website can get—just short, text-heavy posts about a single subject. But what MNBeer lacks in flair it makes up for in comprehensiveness. Ryan Anderson's site is more than five years old now, and there seems to be… More >>
  • Best Tweeter

    @NickColeman

    It's tough to achieve a pitch-perfect Twitter persona. It's a tightrope walk between human but not oversharey, chatty but not irrelevant, informative but not boring, and above all keeping followers coming back for more. In fact, it's probably impossible. That's why this year's best Tweeter award goes to @NickColeman for the lowest common denominator—Twitter fights! Anyone can say something mean… More >>
  • Best Hipster Hangout

    Turf Club

    New Year's Eve at the Turf Club ended with another wildly successful Cover Band Night, featuring a variety of local acts covering their favorite bands, from the Beatles to Suicide. As bands and fans cleared out at bar close, many planned to return the next night to see another potential barnburner featuring Marijuana Deathsquads. But just hours before the doors… More >>
  • Best New Hipster Hangout

    Hell's Kitchen

    It's hard to get a hipster out of his usual hang, where he can get served before the long line of schmucks waiting for drinks and is guaranteed his favorite spot any night of the week, be it at the pool table or holding court at a corner booth. When Hell's Kitchen moved into the garden-level space formerly occupied by… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Lawn bowling at Brit's Pub

    When putting together plans for a first date, activities are always a good way to go. But choosing the right one can be tough. It's important that your choice facilitates conversation and keeps awkward silences to a minimum. The decision should also be a little playful and sexy. Enter lawn bowling at Brit's. The game is preferably played with two… More >>
  • Best Place to Make Out

    Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

    Looking for the perfect place to snatch a kiss from your special someone? We have the ideal spot. First, spend some time with your intended at the Walker Art Center, giving oh-so-enlightened opinions about the latest exhibit. Next, casually guide your date outside to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and keep up that witty banter while you scope out the perfect… More >>
  • Best Place to Break Up

    McDonald's parking lot

    A lot of people handle breakups wrong, trying to cushion the inevitable blow with misdirection and distraction—a meal, a long scenic walk, offers to remain friends. This is about as considerate as gently massaging salt into a shark-bite wound. Breakups are a mercenary business, and the most important considerations are practical ones: first and foremost, the opportunity for a quick… More >>
  • Best Place to Waste an Afternoon

    Minnehaha Park

    With nearly 200 acres of colossal oak, elm, maple, and cottonwood trees to hide you, Minnehaha Park is the best way to waste time on a sunny afternoon. Overlooking the Mississippi River near Hiawatha Avenue and Minnehaha Parkway, it is one of Minneapolis's oldest and most popular parks, attracting 850,000 visitors a year. But the only place you're likely to… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Lost

    Crosby Farm Park

    Some days, all you want to do is disappear into the serenity of nature, to reemerge with your soul recharged and chi rebalanced. Our favorite place to get both lost and found is Crosby Farm Park, a working farm until the 1960s and now the largest of St. Paul's parks, with 736 acres of land and close to seven miles… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Vincent Kartheiser

    Vincent Kartheiser might not be a household name yet, but his character on Mad Men, uppity account manager Pete Campbell, is helping the cause. Kartheiser, a Minneapolis native, pursued his acting career in Los Angeles—anyone remember The Indian in the Cupboard? What sets Kartheiser apart from the rest? First, he managed to make power-hungry Pete Campbell likeable—a feat for a… More >>
  • Best Free Activity

    Free Ink Day at Highpoint Center for Printmaking

    Four times a year the Highpoint Center for Printmaking opens its doors and invites visitors to create a piece of art to take home—for free. Each open-house event has a theme; past installments have focused on outer space, botany, and Dias de los Muertos art. Guests can choose to carve their own block for printing or to use one from… More >>
  • Best Graffiti

    Oh, the Manatee!

    Is it considered a federal offense to deface an already busted mailbox? Regardless, it certainly took a good deal of chutzpah to pull off this piece of graffiti work. Last summer folks in the Lyn-Lake area were bemused to find that one of their blue mailboxes had been adorned with a gentle sea cow. While some graffiti is political, some… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Graffiti

    Women's lower-level bathroom, Turf Club

    The graffiti adorning the walls of the women's bathroom outside the Clown Lounge on the lower level of the Turf Club is a schizophrenic menagerie reflecting the variety of eras the Turf Club has lived through. It's a mixture of weird sponge art from some bygone era (the '90s?) and more topical, contemporary additions: some painted tribal art, something about… More >>
  • Best Billboard

    MIA's graffiti-bombed Titian

    The Minneapolis Institute of Art got a little more publicity than it bargained for when it paid for billboards advertising its Titian exhibit. The signs featured the bare-breasted goddess from Titian's 16th-century painting Venus Rising from the Sea. But a graffiti artist with a sense of humor was apparently concerned about too much exposure in the dead of winter. On… More >>
  • Best Charity

    Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

    Okay, so Catholic Charities is one of the big dogs in the local charity scene. That doesn't mean they don't need your money. Last year they spent more than $11 million on services to children alone, and they also run food pantries, homeless shelters, refugee aid, and more across the region—40 programs all told. As busy as they are trying… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Ten Second Film Fest

    Ten seconds might not seem like a lot of time, but participants in the Ten Second Film Festival have demonstrated that you can pack a lot of awesomeness into what amounts to a blink of the eye. Each year the Soap Factory hosts this fun, free party following the downtown Minneapolis Independence Day fireworks, which also includes cheap beer, live… More >>
  • Best Sign of Spring

    Sunken pickup trucks

    Winter in the Twin Cities is very nearly endless, so Minnesotans have a keen eye for the first indications that that fleeting tease of habitability we call summer might be on its way. Everybody has a favorite tip-off that winter is lifting its heavy-booted foot off our throats: that first crack of the bat, brave crocuses pushing up above the… More >>
  • Best State Fair Food

    Cheese curds

    Okay, you win. Every year we try to find a different winner for this most subjective category, highlighting lesser-known delights such as sunflower-honey ice cream or extolling the virtues of old favorites like roasted corn on the cob. And every year, readers vote in the same champion: the old, faithful, artery-clogging curds of cheese available throughout the fairgrounds. We're willing… More >>

Best of Award Graphics

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