People & Places

  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Nicole Curtis

    In the sometimes froufrou world of interior design, HGTV star Nicole Curtis falls more on the This Old House end of the spectrum, getting down and dirty with mold and rot to restore old homes to their former glory. She's a pint-sized self-described "rehab addict" who is brimming with moxie — and she knows how to wield a sledgehammer. Originally… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Josh Hartnett

    Born in St. Paul, Joshua Daniel Hartnett attended Cretin-Derham Hall and South High School before leaving our snowy tundra to stake out a career as an actor. He rose to fame as a heartthrob in Pearl Harbor and a staff sergeant in Black Hawk Down before tackling the role of Matt Sullivan in 40 Days and 40 Nights, which was… More >>
  • Best Facebook Page

    Old Minneapolis

    There's something amazing about seeing old-school, pre-social media pictures on a site that typically traffics in quizzes about which Game of Thrones character you are. That's why the Old Minneapolis page is a must-follow on Facebook. Created and maintained by Jesse Jamison, Old Minneapolis features black-and-white photos, news clippings, and other archival reminders of a city that has changed mightily.… More >>
  • Best Tweeter

    Chris Steller

    Most of the chatter on Twitter isn't as funny as it pretends to be, but that's not the case with Chris Steller's account. Everything about his feed — from the cartoon profile pic to the hashtags — is wonderfully irreverent. Others try, but Steller is adept at pointing out the absurdity and unintended hilarity right under your nose. Steller got… More >>
  • Best Ghost Twitter Account


    The second the snowflakes start to fall — which is basically every other day this year — Twitter turns into a place for grumpy residents to come together and compare cell phone pictures of snow banks on their patios. But there is one Twitter account that takes all of our misfortune and makes it hilarious. That account is @MPLSweather. We… More >>
  • Best Scandal

    Rogers Confessions

    It didn't seem like much at the time. Addressing a rumor that he'd been spotted making out with a young gym teacher, Rogers High School senior Reid Sagehorn jokingly replied with a sarcastic two-word tweet: "Actually, yes." But that quip ended up forcing Sagehorn, a decorated athlete and honors student, to transfer schools more than halfway through his senior year.… More >>
  • Best Blog

    America loves a comeback story, and nobody had more to come back from this year than Michael Brodkorb. He had been unceremoniously fired from his top political job after word broke of his affair with his boss, Amy Koch. He sued for wrongful termination, running up a huge bill for taxpayers, then almost killed himself in a drunk driving accident.… More >>
  • Best Website

    Gentleman's Gazette

    Gentleman's Gazette is like one of those elegant dinner parties where smart people come to share in the self-satisfaction of their own ethos. The master of ceremonies is a German immigrant named Sven Raphael Schneider, who has somehow managed to produce a passionate and insightful online magazine dedicated to fashionable living in that most unlikely of places: St. Paul. Harrington… More >>
  • Best App

    The Minnesota State Fair App

    When the crowds are thronging and the heat index is scorching, it can be hard to find what you're looking for at the Minnesota State Fair. Fortunately, with the help of the event's official app, you don't have to rely on an info kiosk or confusing paper map. Don't know where to find the honey lemonade? Looking for a free… More >>
  • Best Commercial

    Jeff Wagner for Mayor

    No less of an authority than the Washington Post named this the Worst Political Ad of 2013, and they're right. The video is laughably ridiculous as an endorsement to elect a candidate. It begins with a woman musing about wanting a Minneapolis mayor who really represents the people. That's when Wagner comes wading out of one of our 10,000 lakes… More >>
  • Best Viral Video

    "Magic Beard"

    The story behind the best local viral video of the year begins with simple maternal nagging. Ben Garvin's formidable graying whiskers looked like the Bride of Frankenstein's mane turned upside down. Impressive, yes, but also a bit scary. His mom pestered him for months, "When you gonna cut that beard off?" Ben's response was priceless: a two-minute stop-motion video in… More >>
  • Best Instagram Account

    Tom Horgen

    It makes sense that Tom Horgen would have the best Instagram in town. The Star Tribune's former nightlife reporter may have upgraded to lifestyles editor, but the new title hasn't seemed to slow him down. From fancy coffee and local beer to sneaky pictures of his cat yawning, Tom knows how to make the internet happy. His followers are also… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women (Straight)

    The Loop

    There are plenty of bars, coffee shops, and clubs in town where straight dudes can awkwardly stare at females from a distance before frantically trying to find them on Tinder. But if you're looking for an actual chance at finding a real-life female, the Loop in downtown Minneapolis is your best bet. Located in the North Loop, this is the… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men (Straight)

    Adult Kickball Leagues

    When you need a respite from swiping away duds on your Tinder app, head down to the old kickball field for a return to simpler times. This retro-cool playground sport keeps things light enough to subdue cutthroat competitors (we're looking at you, former college athletes), but engaging enough to bring people together for a common cause: sweet, sweet rec league… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women (Gay)

    Fab-U-Lush Fridays at Lush

    With such an incredible LGBTQ community in the Twin Cities, you'd think there would be more of a bar scene for single lesbians. While it seems that finding a pub dedicated to the ladies may be easier said than done, there are still plenty of great event nights. The best of these is Fab-U-Lush Fridays at Lush in Minneapolis. With… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men (Gay)

    Flip Phone at Honey

    Ah, the flip phone era. Boy bands topped the charts, Outkast kept things fresh and clean, and Destiny's Child were still together and wearing whimsical outfits designed by Tina Knowles. This glorious decade spanning 1996 to 2006 comes to life once a month at Honey's underground dance party in Northeast, an LGBTQ-friendly event that will bust you out of your… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar


    Located in downtown Minneapolis, the eagleBOLTbar is a gay bar that has it all. It's got some of the best happy hour deals in town, including the $4 Bloody Mary bar on Sunday, Monday's $5 beer pitchers, $3 Long Island ice teas on Thursday, and magnificent three-for-ones on Friday. It hosts a slew of fun activities, including karaoke nights (the… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Bar Night

    GRRRL SCOUT at the Nomad World Pub

    "Up all night to get lucky?" began a promo for a recent GRRRL SCOUT, riffing on Daft Punk. "Thought so." GRRRL SCOUT kicked off in November 2013, and every second Saturday since, it's taken over the Nomad, transforming the West Bank pub into a queer dance party for the 21-plus crowd. March's edition featured shots of thin mints (you know,… More >>
  • Best Place to Make Out

    Kitty Cat Klub lounge

    There are enough dance nights and concerts at the Kitty Cat Klub that you're sure to find something you and your date can agree on. When that special night arrives, make your way through the bar, pick up a couple of drinks, and get close on the dance floor. Before you know it, you two will be aching to escape… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre's April workshops

    This year marks the annual MayDay Parade's 40th birthday. That's 40 years of towering puppets, raucous floats, and magically crafted masks, all traipsing down Bloomington Avenue and into Powderhorn Park on the first Sunday in May. The annual celebration is a spectacle seemingly designed for people-watching — crust punks grilling goats, hippies in all their Tree of Life Ceremony finery… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Como Zoo

    First dates are often a cliched mix of getting drinks and trying to figure out if you've got something — anything — in common. It's time to break the mold and get wild — literally. Make your first date an adventure and explore everything the Como Zoo has to offer. Not only will you and your date get to gush… More >>
  • Best Place to Break Up

    Uptown Art Fair

    So it looks like your relationship isn't going to work out. You're not comfortable with breaking up at home, but you're classy enough to know that text messaging is not the way to go. It's time to pick a public destination and make it work. Why not head to the Uptown Art Fair? For the actual dumping, you might want… More >>
  • Best Adopted Minnesotan


    Along with our homegrown heroes, Minnesota is also flush with a fair share of outsiders we're happy to claim as our own. A veritable nomad, the rapper otherwise known as Andy Bothwell hails from Florida and lived in Seattle before setting up camp in the Twin Cities. It didn't take long for Astronautalis to integrate himself into his new home,… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Betsy Hodges

    R.T. Rybak is a hard act the follow. Minneapolis's first hipster mayor, Rybak flaunted his alt-weekly roots by stagediving and crowdsurfing any chance he got. But Betsy Hodges has proven up to the challenge — in one of her first official acts as mayor, she live-tweeted a screening of Die Hard at the Riverview. That's not her only Hollywood connection:… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Jesse Ventura

    Forget governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura is running for president. He's got Howard Stern as his vice presidential nominee and their top issue is drug legalization — all of them. This, as we say in Minnesota, is just "Jesse being Jesse." But the man born James Janos was particularly good at being Jesse Ventura this year, somehow managing to stay… More >>
  • Best TV Station


    In a world dominated by plastic personalities, WCCO distinguishes itself by having the most down-to-earth faces on air. Anchoring the evening newscasts is everyone's favorite husband-and-wife team of local TV: Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello. There are not many people who would want to work elbow-to-elbow with their spouse all day — and on camera no less — but Frank… More >>
  • Best TV Newscaster

    Jason DeRusha

    Squint a little at the TV and you'd swear he was the quiet half of Penn & Teller. No, Jason DeRusha doesn't do magic tricks — at least not yet — but his rise to the anchor chair verges on the miraculous. In a world of hairdos who seem intent on out-boring their audience with mindless happy chatter, DeRusha's wry… More >>
  • Best TV Sports Anchor

    Mark Rosen

    Rosie, the dean of Twin Cities TV sports personalities, still has the best seat in the house, and we're better off for it. He brings you the sports news on WCCO every night, and also interviews Minnesota's most important sports personalities for his Rosen's Sports Sunday show. And with more than 30 years of experience under his belt, he does… More >>
  • Best TV Weatherperson

    Sven Sundgaard

    KARE 11's Sven Sundgaard helped guide us through bleak forecast after bleak forecast during the worst winter in memory, but as far as we're concerned, that's not what his year will be remembered for. Last August, Sundgaard was enjoying a weekend at his family's cabin near Lake Mille Lacs when he woke up with a bat on his face. He… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Paul Allen

    Paul Allen got his start at KFAN when Jesse Ventura decided to run for governor back in 1998. More than 15 years later, it's hard to turn on a Twin Cities radio without hearing his voice. In addition to serving as the longtime host of KFAN's morning show, P.A. is the official play-by-play voice of the Vikings, does radio and… More >>
  • Best Sports Talk Radio Host

    Dan Cole

    Nobody on the Twin Cities radio dial does more with less, and we mean that in the best possible way. Who needs to prep when you can burn a segment or two talking about the clueless drivers you encountered on 394 on the way into the studio that morning? And why bother reading what the experts have to say about… More >>
  • Best Columnist


    "You will identify me as C period J period. You won't be tryin' to put my name in there and messin' with my brand?" So began a phone interview last year between the Star Tribune gossip columnist and one of our reporters. No formality. Not even so much as "hello." In print, she's equally pushy, playful, and critical. Absolutely anyone… More >>
  • Best Wardrobe

    Sarah Edwards

    If you've ever attended any sort of fashion event in the Twin Cities, you've probably noticed Sarah Edwards. She was the one wearing 10 different patterns with a headscarf while somehow managing to look well put together. Edwards is the marketing director at Pixel Farm, a North Loop creative studio, but she also moonlights as a stylist, personal shopper, and… More >>
  • Best Cyclist Under Pressure

    Amber Dallman

    Who needs an ambulance when you've got Nice Ride? Two weeks overdue, Macalester-area resident Amber Dallman decided to take a Nice Ride bike from her home to Regions Hospital in the hope that "something would happen." Mission accomplished: Dallman, a physical activity coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Health, completed her two-wheeled journey and promptly gave birth to a healthy… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Pedal Pub

    We all love to hate 'em — unless we're on one. The pedal-powered, booze-fueled pubs on wheels have proliferated like locusts around the Twin Cities in recent years. Since their patrons are known for obnoxious yelling, not tipping when they take pit stops at bars, and annoyingly blocking and taunting automobiles attempting to pass, there was understandably an outpouring of… More >>
  • Best Nonprofit

    Second Harvest Heartland

    Calling Second Harvest Heartland a food bank doesn't quite capture its scale or its impact. In 2012, the most recent year with full data, this hunger relief organization collected, stored, and distributed more than 76 million pounds of food throughout dozens of counties. How much food is 76 million pounds, you ask? It works out to about 59 million meals.… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    The Midtown Greenway

    When trying to explain to out-of-towners what makes the Twin Cities so great, no one would fault you for sputtering, "Well, it's just... everyone's so cool here!" For a better explanation, take guests to the Midtown Greenway, the onetime rail corridor repurposed into a walking and biking highway. On a summer day, serious cyclists whiz by, a painter works on… More >>
  • Best New Law

    Marriage Equality

    What a difference two years makes. At this time in 2012, Minnesotans were worked into a lather over whether our state Constitution should be amended to make gay marriage illegal forever and ever. Boy, did that backfire! The amendment defeat and accompanying tidal wave of DFL support generated gay-friendly momentum that culminated with Gov. Mark Dayton signing a marriage equality… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood

    North Loop

    Ever since Target Field opened on its southwest edge in 2010, this neighborhood has been on the upswing. Condos and apartments such as Dock Street Flats have seemingly sprung up overnight. Along with the increase in population has come the opening of several higher-end bars and restaurants to serve them. Among them is Smack Shack — home to the city's… More >>
  • Best Mural

    Central Identity Project

    In the summer of 2013, artist Greta McLain kicked off a project to transform the southeast side of the Richard R. Green Central Park School in south Minneapolis's Central neighborhood. The school's building was long, low, and brown, and McLain had the inspiration to brighten up more than 2,000 square feet of it. But it was too much to do… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    Route 4

    Route 4 connects Lyn-Lake and the broader Uptown area with northeast Minneapolis while avoiding the congested stretch of Hennepin between Lake and Franklin, meaning it'll ferry you from the CC Club to Nye's for last call. (You'll probably have to Uber home, however.) More broadly, the route cuts north-south right through the heart of the metro, extending all the way… More >>
  • Best Street

    Lake Street

    The Mississippi's at one end, Lake Calhoun's at the other, and in between are five miles that offer as definitive a picture of Minneapolis as you could hope to get. By car, bike, foot, or the 21 bus line, you can go from one vital Twin Cities landmark to another over the course of a few blocks — the Bryant-Lake… More >>
  • Best Corner

    34th and Lyndale

    Unless you're really into churches and gas stations, there's a dearth of excitement on Lyndale south of 32nd Street. However, one intersection consistently proves to be a golden nugget of fun. At this corner, you'll find the fabulous Bull Run Coffee Bar, which brews with a mighty bean selection. Crema Cafe does the impossible, offering delicious Sonny's Ice Cream along… More >>
  • Best Local Landmark

    The Grain Belt sign

    The gateway to Nordeast, the beacon that beckons downtowners to Minneapolis's trendiest neighborhood, the local brand that stirs up feelings of civic pride — from its perch on Nicollet Island, the Grain Belt sign stands as one of the most beloved symbols of the modern Twin Cities. But that rests, in part, on the fact that it's one of the… More >>
  • Best Lake

    Lake Harriet

    When the Minneapolis Park Board was created in 1883, one of its very first actions was to acquire a strip of land encircling Lake Harriet. It was a wise move that has benefited the city's outdoors-loving residents ever since. Nowadays Harriet has so much going for it that it's almost unfair to the rest of the lakes. The separate biking… More >>
  • Best Renovation

    St. Paul Union Depot

    Just a few years ago, St. Paul's Union Depot was a striking edifice in need of new lifeblood, a grand old building with far less purpose than it had before the Amtrak station relocated to a dingy cinderblock carbuncle off University. While its housing and restaurant tenants kept it alive through the aughts, it was the reclamation of the space… More >>
  • Best Place to Warm Up

    Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

    The smell hits you first, and what a delightful fragrance it is. Flora from all over the world bloom and thrive in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at the Como Zoo, and after months of looking at waist-high snowbanks, this is the best way to escape to the tropics while staying in the Twin Cities. One step inside the conservatory, and… More >>
  • Best Place to Do Something for Free

    Mixed Blood Theater's Radical Hospitality Program

    For those on a tight budget, the cost of theater tickets can be hard to swallow. That's one of the reasons that Mixed Blood Theater's Radical Hospitality initiative is so great. Since 2011, the theater has been offering free admission to its productions, making performances accessible to all. This has included shows like the puppet-themed Avenue Q, the brightly humorous… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    The Apostle Islands

    Just a four-hour drive northeast of the Twin Cities is a collection of 22 dots of land in Lake Superior that, together, make up the Apostle Islands. In the summers, you can alternate between lying out on sandy beaches, renting a kayak to explore sea caves and shipwrecks, and pitching your tent on the available campsites. In the winters, strap… More >>
  • Best Festival

    The MSP International Film Festival

    Each year, the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul hosts an epic festival dedicated to a mind-boggling number of screenings. Last year, over 40,000 cinemaphiles showed up to take in at least one of the 200 films from 70 different countries that were highlighted. With numbers like that, it's easy to see why the MSP International Film Festival is the biggest… More >>
  • Best View

    Confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers

    You can't step into the same river twice, but sometimes you can step into two rivers at once. The confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers is just about as picturesque as it gets in the Twin Cities. The Mdewakanton Dakota people call the confluence Bdote Minisota, and it holds special spiritual significance to the native people of the area.… More >>
  • Best View from Out of Town

    The New York Times dating scene article

    This year the New York Times published an article titled, "The Dating Scene? Hip, With a Bit of 'Minnesota Nice.'" Written by someone who clearly does not live here, the story made for a fascinating way to see the Twin Cities observed by someone on the outside. Minnesota stereotypes abounded, with Big Buck Hunter playing an unnaturally prominent role in… More >>
  • Best Sign of Spring

    Restaurant patios return

    During the cold and gray months of the year, bars and restaurants feel more cramped. Getting a drink means throwing elbows; finding a table means unexpected waits. Feeling claustrophobic? Take solace in the dream of the first day of spring: It's a beautiful day, nicer than any in a while, and you decide to head out for a drink to… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Q-Fanatic BBQ and Grill

    It's hard to find good barbecue in Minnesota. But buying a Big Green Egg and smoking a pork butt overnight is too time-consuming, and hoofing it to Lockhart, Texas, for a pound of fatty brisket isn't exactly convenient, either. Fortunately, there is another option: Head up Highway 169 North until it seems to vanish, then look for Champlin's Q-Fanatic on… More >>
  • Best Alternative Fries

    Curried mushroom fries at the Moral Omnivore

    No, sweet potato fries no longer count as alternative. For a truly different take on the classic fried vegetable stick, look out for the Moral Omnivore's big green food truck, which debuted at the start of the 2013 season. The idea of a mushroom turned into a fry might sound questionable — sacrilegious, even. But the Moral Omnivore's offering nails… More >>
  • Best Classic Burger

    Casper & Runyon's Nook

    Let it be known, first and foremost, that the Nook knows how to do burgers crazy-style. Do they dare take on Minneapolis's Ju(i)cy Lucy crown? You'd better believe it, and their Juicy Nookie is devastatingly tasty. Want something even more off-the-wall? How about the queso-stuffed chorizo burger "The Spanish Fly," or a Reuben Burger with sauerkraut, 1000 Island, and corned… More >>
  • Best Wings


    As of late, it's become fashionable to repackage the humble chicken wing with haute cuisine plating. That's why it's so refreshing when a steaming pile of Buffalo-sauce drenched wings and drummies arrive with a requisite handful of napkins at Runyon's. The wings are served traditional, East Coast-style — the sauce is a bit more vinegary than what you'll find on… More >>

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