Sports & Recreation

  • Best Weekend Getaway

    The Jeffers Petroglyphs

    Some people hop planes to get their fix of the ancient. What the cave-painting scouters and ruins-climbers might not realize is that they could find an equally stunning historical site just two and a half hours southwest of the Twin Cities, in Comfrey. There, half-covered by prairie grasses, is a rock outcropping that carries more than 4,000 images, dating back… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Trevor Mbakwe

    Sure, you can make all the jokes you want about Mbakwe — how he's played for the Gophers since the Clem Haskins (hell, the Jim Dutcher) era — but the sixth-year senior's recently completed college career is a case of perseverance. Three colleges and a number of injuries extended the 6-foot-8 forward's university days. His own failings — including a… More >>
  • Best Park

    Fort Snelling State Park

    Spend a day at Fort Snelling State Park — an entire day, from morning till evening — and chances are you'll exhaust yourself before you exhaust all the possibilities of things to do there. For the sheer variety of activities, its profound natural beauty, its historic significance, and all the educational extras of a state park, it's hard to find… More >>
  • Best Bike Trail

    West River Parkway

    The most enjoyable bike ride in the Twin Cities begins and ends with spectacular waterfalls. Start your trip from the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis, with its amazing view of St. Anthony Falls. Then head south along the leisurely and wildly scenic trail that runs alongside the Mississippi River, adjacent to West River Parkway, which will bring you to… More >>
  • Best Bike Ride

    Freedom From Pants Ride

    It might seem counterintuitive to try to ride a bike sans pants. However, the annual Freedom From Pants Ride asks participants to do just that. And they do, with great enthusiasm. Last year's Fourth of July gathering was a blast, despite scorching summertime temps. Along the way, riders high-fived pedestrians (a few were inspired to strip to their skivvies as… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Penn Cycle

    It's not just Penn Cycle's years of experience (the business started in 1957) or locations (seven spread around the Twin Cities) that make its stores a vital part of the local community. In the bicycle-mad Twin Cities, each of its spots offers service along the entire bike continuum: the important first step of purchasing, maintenance, and how to get the… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course

    Rush Creek Golf Club

    It's not the cheapest, but if you're looking to treat yourself to the finest public golf experience in the Twin Cities, head to Rush Creek in Maple Grove. The 18-hole course underwent a makeover a little over a half-decade ago and has been raking in accolades ever since. Some even argue that the course is finer than Pebble Beach. We… More >>
  • Best Hike

    Lebanon Hills Regional Park

    Hiking at its best isn't just about exercise and fresh air, it's also about escape — the feeling that you've left the city behind and have immersed yourself in the natural world. True escape is hard to come by in the Twin Cities metro, but no place comes closer than Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan. The park is huge:… More >>
  • Best Run

    The Downtown YMCA track

    Okay, okay, we know — nothing in town can compare to running around Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, or Harriet, and there are plenty of other beautiful outside options as well, including along the Mississippi River. But we're thinking outside the box here (or inside the box, depending on how you look at it). And for our money, the best… More >>
  • Best Road Race (Running)

    Get Lucky 7K and Half Marathon

    The best race to run in the Twin Cities is also the biggest. Every March, tens of thousands of runners and walkers paint the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul green for a massive 7K and 21K road race that's fun, festive, and perfect for athletes of all kinds. In addition to offering serious runners a fast, flat race course,… More >>
  • Best Race

    City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival

    Once upon a time, Uptown was great for people-watching — punks, mods, hippies, all the once-counterculture groups converging in one space. Today the area has been thoroughly yuppified, but that doesn't mean the people-watching is gone. Every year during the first weekend of February, thousands of Subaru-driving yuppies converge in Theodore Wirth, Uptown, and on the trails in between for… More >>
  • Best Day Trip


    Part of the fun of a day trip is the journey there and back, and if you take Highway 61 south of the Twin Cities, you can hug the Mississippi River on your way to the state's corner and the Winona area. What do you have when you get there? A beautiful old Main Street, plenty of intriguing places to… More >>
  • Best Sledding

    Powderhorn Park

    Powderhorn Park was scooped out like a bowl at the start of the 20th century, which means that today its steep sides are ideal territory for log-rolling, hill-sprinting, and above all, sledding. Because there's not just one prime incline, the slopes rarely get overcrowded, and the park's sledding crowd tends to include plenty of kids-at-heart jumping on their toboggans, and… More >>
  • Best Ice Skating

    Sledding, skiing, and skating are the trifecta of wintertime fun. While it's hard to find an urban backdrop for the first two activities, downtown St. Paul is home to one of the prettiest skating rinks in the Twin Cities. When Wells Fargo WinterSkate opens at the end of November, it's a prime marker in the capital city that the holiday… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Minnehaha Falls

    Before Longfellow penned "The Song of Hiawatha," Minnehaha Park and Falls were filled with mysticism and wonder, an expanse of unadulterated nature in a soon-to-be-bustling city. Nowadays, the omnipresent light rail runs right by the park, but it's less of a deterrent than a convenience in a place where driving everywhere can be a pain. With the park's almost 200… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Battle Creek Regional Dog Park

    It's no secret that city-dwelling dog owners struggle to find spaces for their four-legged friends to run off-leash. Tiny yards and crowded streets aren't exactly a dog's best friends, and most city dog parks tend to run small, lacking what the sprawling suburban parks offer. But nestled between St. Paul and Maplewood, Battle Creek Regional Dog Park is the best… More >>
  • Best Apple Orchard

    Apple Jack Orchards

    The time of year when both the humidity and leaves are dropping rapidly means a few things for those living in the state of a million lakes. First, we probably won't be using those lakes to cool off much longer; and second, we better enjoy our time outdoors before those lakes are frozen solid. Lucky for us, sandwiched between the… More >>
  • Best Gym

    YWCA of Minneapolis

    With three spacious fitness centers chock full of equipment, access to swimming pools, the largest walking and running track in town, and an almost overwhelming roster of class options, the YWCA gives you plenty of bang for your buck. Plus it's family friendly, and the right spot for you no matter your fitness level, ability, age, gender, or what language… More >>
  • Best Personal Training Studio

    APEX Personal Training

    Personal training gets a bad rap. You watch a few episodes of The Biggest Loser and you assume that all studios are packed with shredded trainers who are going to scream in your face and make you feel like the fatty you know you really are. But at APEX Personal Training, they're breaking the mold. The trainers are friendly, nonthreatening,… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Memory Lanes

    Amateur bowling is a pastime best enjoyed on the cheap. For an affordable fix, check out the rates at Memory Lanes, where games are offered for mere dollars per person, plus college ID discounts (hook 'em while they're young) and all-you-can-bowl weekend specials. For nonamateurs looking for a new lane in which to rest their bowling ball, this alley is… More >>
  • Best Outdoors Store

    Vertical Endeavors

    With 28,000 square feet of climbing surface, Vertical Endeavors Minneapolis boasts one of the biggest and tallest indoor walls in the country. Along with all that square footage comes some perks: late hours, auto belays for beginners, lead climbing walls for the seasoned, lessons, and, most importantly for this award, a pro shop. The shop lives up to what you… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Mystic Lake Casino

    "Our casino is just the beginning," reads Mystic Lake's tagline, and for those who don't have a shirt to lose on gambling, that's important stuff. Though with about 4,000 electronic and table games in its nearly 140,000 square feet of gaming space there's plenty of gambling to be had, Mystic has a much bigger draw than just that. There's its… More >>
  • Best Staycation


    Stillwater's proximity to the Twin Cities makes it a popular destination for folks wanting to get away without spending the time or money to travel too far from home, and its beautiful fall colors and Victorian architecture have earned it the distinction of one of America's Prettiest Towns from Forbes magazine. Take a ride in a paddleboat, riverboat, or gondola;… More >>
  • Best Twins Player

    Joe Mauer

    Save the griping about Mauer's contract and consider this: Two notable players in Twins history finished their years at age 29 hitting for high-average and modest-slugging numbers at a crucial defensive position noted for rarely producing great hitters. One of them shifted to first base, a position expected to produce far more home runs than the hitter had traditionally shown,… More >>
  • Best Vikings Player

    Adrian Peterson

    To say that Adrian Peterson was the best player on the Vikings this year would be an understatement. He was, all things considered, the best football player on the planet. Sure, AP may have come up eight yards short of Dickerson's rushing record — eight yards?! — but no one else in the league was even close to as dominant… More >>
  • Best Timberwolves Player

    Ricky Rubio

    This one is easy. A year ago, Kevin Love was the brightest-shining star on the T-Pups, but his luster faded a bit this fall after he gave an interview to Yahoo! in which he questioned the direction of the team and suggested that if things don't change he might have to bolt for greener pastures. (Knuckle Pushups-Gate didn't help his… More >>
  • Best Lynx Player

    Seimone Augustus

    We know the hype around Seimone Augustus's athletic prowess: When she was three, she joined a basketball team for five-year-old boys. When she was 14, Sports Illustrated for Women put her on the cover and asked if she was "the next Michael Jordan." In 2006, she was the top pick in the WNBA draft and Rookie of the Year; by… More >>
  • Best Wild Player

    Zach Parise

    Zach Parise is kind of like our version of LeBron James, only in reverse. After making a name for himself in the Big Apple (well, really New Jersey), he took his talents back home and got paid handsomely for it. When Parise and Ryan Suter agreed to matching 13-year, $98 million contracts with the Wild last summer, the State of… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings

    It's hard to argue with success, and during a particularly down time in local professional sports, Frazier's steady hand won the day. Without major changes from a team that won three games in 2011, the Vikings overachieved last season, reaching the playoffs and offering some thrills along the way. Sure, you can put a lot of that on Adrian Peterson's… More >>

Best of Award Graphics