People & Places

  • Best Neighborhood

    Longfellow

    With dining and entertainment options like the quirky Trylon Microcinema, the deliciously affordable Midori's Floating World Cafe, Gandhi Mahal's temptingly aromatic Indian food, Peace Coffee's dine-in Minnehaha shop, and the British Isles-inspired Merlins Rest, Longfellow is a neighborhood that's been coming up in the world these past few years, all the while holding tight to its working-class sensibilities. But the… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    The Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater

    To introduce a visitor to the best that Minneapolis's urban side has to offer, climb up through Jean Nouvel's masterpiece building and then out the equivalent of 12 building stories toward the Mississippi (you can stop for coffee at the Guthrie's Level Five Express along the way). Take a seat on the steps outside, drink in hand, and show off… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Walnut Grove

    Is there anything more essentially Minnesotan than Laura Ingalls Wilder? Okay, so Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, and even New York (home to husband Almanzo) also claim her. But only we have Walnut Grove, her family's onetime stamping ground lionized by Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and the rest of the gang on the long-running television series. Tourists from all… More >>
  • Best Historical Site

    Split Rock Lighthouse

    Cue up Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and drive north on a cold November day to Two Harbors' Split Rock Lighthouse, a Minnesota Historical Society site restored to its 1920s appearance. Shipwrecks from a mighty 1905 November gale prompted the construction of this lighthouse, perched precariously atop a 130-foot cliff overlooking Lake Superior. Completed by the U.S.… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery

    Located at Cedar Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis's Phillips neighborhood, Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery is truly notable, but not because you'll find stones labeled Ramsey, Sibley, Pillsbury, and Rice, as you might at Lakewood Cemetery to the west or Oakland to the east. Here, only about one in nine graves still has a marker, and many of the markers… More >>
  • Best State Fair Food

    Classic Walleye Roll at Giggles Campfire Grill

    Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota. Fish tastes best during the summer. Therefore, walleye should be consumed in large amounts at our Great Minnesota Get-Together. Deep-fried walleye, while delicious, can get a bit heavy, especially on hot, humid days during, oh, let's say the end of August and first few days of September. Chilled walleye, when mixed with celery,… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Northern Spark

    Imagine this: On an early summer night, just after sunset, you join tens of thousands of your neighbors to become a living urban canvas. You wander from a storytelling bonfire to a luminary promenade, from a huge LED screen with an original arcade game to a dance party. As the sun rises, you hop on your bike to head home.… More >>
  • Best Trans-Friendly Event

    Cirque Du So Gay Bike Ride

    For four years running, Cirque Du So Gay has provided a friendly and informative bike adventure for women, folks in the LGBTQ community, and straight allies. The event, hosted by Queer Bike Gang, is an alleycat-style ride in which participants choose from two routes — one for beginners, the other more challenging — while visiting various checkpoints along the way.… More >>
  • Best Place to Do Something for Free

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    They say that the best things in life are free. Finding those free things, however, can sometimes be a challenge. Thankfully, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers plenty of enjoyable free events throughout the year (in addition to being a space that has free admission!). Of all of its regular happenings, Third Thursdays is always a safe bet for fun.… More >>
  • Best Planetarium

    ExploraDome (Bell Museum)

    Ever since our planetarium in the old Minneapolis Public Library closed, the Twin Cities has been lacking an engaging place to learn about the universe. But for those looking to fill the void, the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum now has you covered. In 2011, the Bell Museum opened the Minnesota Planetarium's ExploraDome, a 14-foot tall, 25-diameter portable window into… More >>
  • Best Charity

    GiveMN

    Every fall, your friends no doubt bombard you with the imperative that you "Give to the max!" on Give to the Max Day, an opportunity for Minnesotans to raise millions of dollars for thousands of nonprofits and schools over a 24-hour period, all online. On this day, GiveMN gets citizens involved in what they've named the "Great Minnesota Give Together,"… More >>
  • Best Undiscovered Neighborhood

    Keewaydin

    Its residents might complain about the airport noise, but there are lots of reasons to set down roots in the Keewaydin neighborhood anyway, not the least of which is this: How cool would it be to say you lived in a place called Keewaydin? The name is derived from the Ojibwe word for "northwest wind," and the area originally was… More >>
  • Best Sign of Spring

    Nice Ride returns

    Nice Ride shut down rentals of its communal bikes on November 4 this winter season. As crews moved from block to block to haul away the docking stations, they signaled more than the end of easy access to cheap, convenient, eco-friendly transportation for novice bikers, visitors, or bike owners with a ride on the side. No, they foreshadowed something more… More >>
  • Best Make-Out Spot

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    Every artist finds inspiration in something, and most of them undoubtedly had a muse or two. Why not take your own muse to one of the most romantic places in the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts? Take some time to gaze at modern art, classical sculptures, and everything in between while you've got your guy or gal's hand… More >>
  • Best First-Date Spot

    A midnight movie at the Uptown Theatre

    The best first dates aren't just an hour of small talk over drinks, they're events — something that charges the prospective couple with the sense that they're breaking from their usual routines, and that anything might happen. Maybe two folks meet for a beer, and then the beer turns into snacks, and then they're having enough fun hanging out that… More >>
  • Best Breakup Spot

    The corner of Franklin and Hennepin avenues

    Breakups are variations on a theme, both in their causes and in their aftermath. The latter frequently involves a quick escape for the breaker and shocked immobility for the broken, followed by both halves of the erstwhile couple turning to heart-numbing vices like pints of ice cream on the couch or pints of cheap beer on the bar stool. The… More >>
  • Best Place to Run into Your Ex

    The Depot Tavern

    If you've ever broken up with someone (or been broken up with yourself), you know how awkward it can be to run into that person when you're back out on the market trolling for action. You can try your best to avoid him or her, but if you share similar interests, it's bound to happen eventually. The good news is… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Fistfight

    Cowboy Jack's

    Cowboy Jack's has arguably the best rooftop and best location of any bar in downtown Minneapolis. Located right on the corner of Fifth Street and Second Avenue North, it's just a few steps outside of Target Field and provides an awesome sight line for all the shenanigans happening on the street. While the bar itself is safe and secure, on… More >>
  • Best Website

    Minnesota Historical Society

    Want to get lost on the internet for hours, without the guilty feeling that comes from stalking your all your exes' Facebook pages? The Minnesota Historical Society's website offers the most fulfilling, the most enlightening time-suck around. The site is not only the place to go when you need to look up the hours for the Charles Lindbergh House or… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Bluestem Prairie

    Let's all say a little prayer for whichever political figure Sally Jo Sorensen has locked her sights on next. As creator of and primary contributor to Bluestem Prairie, Sorensen is one of the most prolific writers in the blogosphere, and once she digs her teeth into a subject she doesn't let go. Billed as a "hip (but not cynical)" news… More >>
  • Best Facebook Page

    Old Minneapolis

    On October 18, 1988, the Star Tribune reported that citizens and civic leaders assembled on a notorious stretch of Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis "not to praise Block E, but to condemn it," gathering for a flashy demolition celebration marking the impending destruction of several buildings lining the street. They sang these words to the tune of "Bye Bye Blackbird":… More >>
  • Best Hipster Neighborhood

    North Loop

    Hipsters age, just as we all do. Pabst cans are not a fountain of youth. And when hipsters grow up, their tastes can start to run just a little more expensive. It seems the flanneled, plastic-rim-bespectacled masses have jumped ship from their pizza delivery jobs in favor of gigs at downtown's corporate HQ. They've shunned their five-roommates-to-a-duplex-cum-practice-space hovels in Seward… More >>
  • Best Tweeter

    David Brauer

    With the Twin Cities boasting one of the most vibrant Twitterverses in the country, the competition for this honor is stiff. But longtime Twin Cities journalist David Brauer's feed is a cut above the rest. Though Brauer's #ReturnToTheU as a student this semester resulted in him cutting back a bit on the tweeting, he remains involved in most of MSP's… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Branden Petersen

    In today's screwy political landscape, it takes a certain amount of boldness to defy the party line on any issue, let alone one as vital to the platform as gay marriage. So we imagine it wasn't an easy call when Branden Petersen came out as the first Minnesota Republican co-author of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Raised in… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Minneapolis's mayoral wannabees

    When R.T. Rybak announced that he would not seek a fourth term as mayor of Minneapolis, he kicked off the city's first mayoral race without an incumbent in 20 years. Right away, a full field of contenders sprung up to vie to replace him. And with them came any good campaign's requisite dramas: no fewer than three competitive City Council… More >>
  • Best Unlikely Activist

    Chris Kluwe

    Chris Kluwe has never been afraid to speak his mind. Whether the topic be dangerous field conditions or a new video game, it takes a mere Twitter account to get a direct line into the Vikings punter's head on any given day. We get the impression that Kluwe's coaches would prefer him not to be so outspoken, but we've always… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Cheryl Strayed

    Cheryl Strayed published two books in 2012: a collection of her columns as the beloved advice-giver "Dear Sugar," and the blockbuster memoir Wild, which went on to relaunch Oprah's book club and sell at least a half-million copies. But before the international book tour, before her work was translated into 26 languages, and before she popped up in glossy magazines,… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Denis McDonough

    Denis McDonough has had a long and accomplished career as a political aide and policy advisor, but on January 25 he got promoted to a pretty nice new gig: White House chief of staff. McDonough grew up in Stillwater and attended college at St. John's University, where he played safety for the college's football team. In the mid- to late… More >>
  • Best Scandal

    DRE Drug Scandal

    The DRE scandal might sound like something out of  The Wire, but sometimes truth is just as strange as fiction. Last spring, a documentary video produced by local activists and uploaded to YouTube alleged state troopers were giving pot to Occupy protesters hanging out around downtown Minneapolis's Peavey Plaza in exchange for participating in the State Patrol's Drug Recognition Expert… More >>
  • Best Boondoggle

    St. Paul Crime Lab

    "Where's your proof?" "Wikipedia." By Best Boondoggle, of course, we mean biggest, or perhaps most embarrassing, and for that we look to the troubled St. Paul police crime lab, which in the last year has come under fire for widespread problems related to the training and skill level of its staff, poorly maintained equipment, and procedural oversights. Other problems revealed… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Archbishop John Nienstedt

    In Minnesota's battle over same-sex marriage, no one has come out looking quite as diabolical as Archbishop John Nienstedt. Throughout the political debate, Nienstedt used his standing in the Catholic Church to bully proponents of marriage equality, donating more than $650,000 of church money to the anti-gay-marriage cause and demonizing any Catholics who dared question the doctrine. He ordered all… More >>
  • Best Corner

    43rd Street and Nicollet Avenue

    While many folks prefer to focus on the Eat Street area of Nicollet Avenue, there are plenty of great locations to investigate further south as well. One great intersection is at 43rd and Nicollet. Here sits Corner Table, a posh hot spot boasting locally farmed entrees and grass-fed beef. Across the street is Anodyne Coffee House, a Kingfield neighborhood staple… More >>
  • Best Street

    Nicollet Avenue

    Like Lake Street, the major thoroughfare it bisects in south Minneapolis, Nicollet runs a long course through the metro area, traveling far into the southern suburbs as well as north into downtown and the Mary Tyler Moore-loving mall. Along the way, it passes through many neighborhoods and undergoes several changes in personality. What is consistent is the quality of restaurants… More >>
  • Best Lake

    Powderhorn Lake

    Some Minneapolis bodies of water boast membership in the Chain of Lakes: Harriet has a bandshell and boats; Calhoun brags about being the biggest; Lake of the Isles surrounds itself with idyllic mansions. But a few miles east of this collection of water, where anyone throwing a rock can hit a lake to skip it on, public water is a… More >>
  • Best View

    Indian Mounds Park

    How special is the view from Indian Mounds Park, high atop the bluffs of east St. Paul? It is so special that as long as 2,000 years ago Native Americans chose this spot to bury their dead. The view from these bluffs is something more than "pretty," and if you spend a little time here, gazing south and west to… More >>
  • Best People-Watching

    The Chain of Lakes

    Did we choose the Chain of Lakes as winner in this category solely because of the opportunity it provides to ogle buff, nearly naked bodies as they run, skate, and sunbathe near the water during summer? No — not entirely. But we'll admit that's a big part of the reason, especially as the lakes afford such good cover for observing… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    Route 16

    Sure, there are buses that get you from Minneapolis to St. Paul and vice versa faster than the 16 route (we're looking at you, 94). But the 16 has character, while still being a timely way to get from one place to another. Starting from the middle of downtown Minneapolis, you can ride by the University of Minnesota, through Midway… More >>
  • Best Viral Video

    "Hot Cheetos and Takis"

    Who would have predicted that the summer jam of 2012 would come out of an after-school program in north Minneapolis? Though the video may have come out of left field, it was impossible not to be instantly won over by the charms of "Hot Cheetos & Takis," the smash viral vid from the artists formerly known as the Y.N. Rich… More >>

Best of Award Graphics

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