Visiting Minnesota? Everything you need to know here!

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  1. llamapalooza

    llamapalooza Hockey State Expat

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    >>> UPDATE: HERE'S OUR BLOG POST WITH A TON OF USEFUL INFORMATION <<<


    ---

    We have the Q&A Thread for people visiting, and it's served its purpose, but I'm working on a more definitive FAQ to go up on FRB, and I need some input.

    Here's the outline I have so far, but please chip in recommendations, particularly on things like where to stay and eat, and what to do. Once we flesh things out a bit, I'll post each section in full separately for group scrutiny before adding it to the final post on FRB.

    Intro - The Twin Cities: Yes! There are two of them!
    - Minneapolis vs. St. Paul
    - "Minnesota Nice" and the myth of the passive fan

    About the X
    - Arena Location
    - Getting There
    - Seats & Tickets

    Where to Stay
    (Any Thoughts? I'll mention the St. Paul if they're extravagantly wealthy, but I don't really know St. Paul's hotels other than that.)

    Where to Eat
    - Best Burger (hotly contested)
    --- Jucy Lucy Controversy (I <3 Matt's)
    - Best Pizza/Italian (Cosetta?)
    - Best Poutine (gotta be Burger Jones)
    - Best "fancy food" (suggestions?)
    - Hockey bars (suggestions?)
    - Apologies for our lack of Tim Hortons

    What to Do
    (This seems like an easier list to make for the offseason when there's more stuff going on... I mean I guess we can mention the Mall? Some of the theaters and museums, maybe. First Ave?)
     
    Last edited by moderator Jarick: Dec 2, 2013
  2. this providence

    this providence Chips in Bed Theorem

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    I'll give this a shot. I'll likely omit things but maybe I'll come back to things...

    Where to Stay -- I'd suggest really anything in Bloomington by the Mall of America. Names of the hotels escape me at the moment, but that is central to most places to visit. This is of coarse if you're renting a car, which I think you pretty much need to do. Short drive to the X by hoping on 494 to 35E. Right next to airport/MOA. Easy drive to get into Minneapolis. Close to Matt's Bar. And so on. I mainly recommend in Bloomington to my friends who intend on visiting.

    Where to Eat
    - Best Burger -- Matt's Bar. Don't sleep on Shamrocks near the X.
    - Best Pizza/Italian -- Cosettas if we're talking near the X
    - Best "fancy food" -- Manny's. Fogo de Chao. Ichiban. Khans (not all that fancy. deserves a nod.)
    - Hockey bars Tom Reids. Eagle St. Both close to X.

    What to Do -- World Pond Hockey Championships. College/High School game. Science Museum. (I'll add more)
     
  3. rynryn

    rynryn Reluctant Optimist

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    Where to Stay -- If you're here for a game and want to bump into players, stay at the St. Paul Hotel. They have decent food, too (St. Paul Grill). It's a walk through the park away from the X.

    Where to Eat
    - Best Burger -- Blue Door Pub if you want to venture ~ 5 miles away. American Burger Bar if you want to stay downtown St. Paul
    - Best Pizza/Italian -- Pizza Luce (halfway to Blue Door Pub down the same street) if venturing, Reds Savoy for Pizza, Cossettas for cheap Italian, Pazzaluna for more adventerous (and costly) Italian
    - Best "fancy food" -- Can't go wrong with Mannys, but if i'm spending money I would go to The Strip Club for the best drinks and order a bunch of small plates. Check out their menu! They created "Poutine Extreme" for the flames who ate there and it's now a menu item...though i haven't tried it.
    - Hockey bars -- Tom Reids, Eagle Street, though there are a bunch to chose from and most of them have hockey fans milling around before and after game time.
     
  4. Jarick

    Jarick Doing Nothing

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    Minneapolis vs. St. Paul
    Minneapolis is the big city with the skyscrapers and crime and lots of bars. St Paul is an older town, more low key. Basically the Twin Cities are two downtown areas that fade out into burroughs and suburbs surrounded by a freeway belt (494/694) rather than just one city.

    "Minnesota Nice" and the myth of the passive fan
    There is no myth, we're pretty whiny but passive, unless you go to a Vikings game, in which case you're probably going to get punched by a redneck.

    Where to Stay
    I'll second the suggestion of finding a hotel around Bloomington either near the Mall of America or near highway 100 and 494. And yes, you'll want to rent a car because we don't have a good public transit system, because we're not one city with a grid but two spiderwebs overlapping each other.

    Where to Eat

    Burgers: Matt's is the favorite, but I love Ike's in Minneapolis and have heard excellent things about Burger Jones and Burger Moes (which is a few blocks west of the Xcel but impossible to get a seat on game nights). Way under the radar but excellent is the American Burger Bar, kind of behind the X but walking distance. Minnesota does good burgers and bar food.

    And this may be sacrilege but I don't get the Jucy Lucy hype, maybe it's because I haven't had one in a while, but I prefer a seared or char grilled high quality sirloin burger with really juicy toppings and a fresh bun. Boiling hot cheese inside a pair of patties cooked on the griddle doesn't compare to high quality meat crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with thick cheese that melts on top. But that's just me.

    Best Pizza: hands down Pizza Luce. There are a few locations but they have insane variety and incredibly fresh and flavorful pizzas. You can get taco or loaded baked potato pizzas!

    Best Italian: I think Cosettas is kind of overrated; reminds me of cafetera food. I will go with Buca di Beppo because the ambiance is cool, the food is amazing (and way more variety), but portions are huge so bring the family and split a couple smaller dishes. Always a really good time. Also, DeGidio's down 7th (a couple miles from the X) has solid food at incredible prices and doesn't have a 45 min wait like Cosettas does.

    Best Poutine: we don't have poutine; we have cheese curds. Nothing comes close to the State Fair ones though, but Chris and Robs, also on 7th has decent ones, plus I like the A&W chain version.

    Best "fancy food": definitely going with Manny's because I haven't had Fogo, but Manny's has the oversized everything cooked insanely well and the prices to match. Avoid Chino Latinos, overpriced and a terrible dining experience. Stella's isn't quite as fancy but has some of the best seafood in Minneapolis, especially if you like fish and chips. Mancini's in St Paul on 7th is an excellent choice as well.

    Hockey bars: Tom Reid's a few blocks west of the X on 7th. Gotta be Tom Reid's. Joe Senser's is okay in a pinch but not for a tourist.

    Other bars: Okay I'm awful with the night clubs as I like to drink beer in a pub atmosphere. Brit's in Minneapolis is fantastic, especially in the summer with the eye candy. Great beer selection and food. The Local which is nearby is also great. And Kieran's. Basically all our Irish/British pubs are fun. Hipsters love the dive bars in North Minneapolis, but I won't go near there. St Paul, there's O'Gara's for a good standard bar (sometimes with music). There's the Onion nightclub which is about .01% as awesome as The Onion newspaper. Some other bars too but every time I'm in St Paul at bars its with women who want to dance and me to hold their purses.

    Coffee: there are a lot of small shops but Caribou and Dunn Bros are our coffee shops.

    What to Do
    Aside from playing/watching hockey, drinking, and eating? Not a lot. We have the Mall of America if you like to shop and walk around until your legs fall off. I don't think Minnesota's known for much else. We like our food, our booze, and our sports. Unless you like art or theater I guess, we have a lot of museums and indie theater troupes. Some comedy clubs as well. If you're a hipster, go to Uptown Minneapolis and bask in the most hipster neighborhood in the US (not lying at all, it was in a poll a few weeks back). We also have a lot of bicyclists and are very gay friendly too. Again, mostly Uptown. I try and stay the hell away from that place. We also have a lot of live music too, check out First Ave (iconic but overrated), the Fine Line, the Cabooze, Triple Rock, and hundreds more.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  5. Bookman

    Bookman Registered User

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    Great Waters deserves some love - their cask conditioned ales are superb, their food is decent, and they are within stumbling distance of the X.
     
  6. Sabreality

    Sabreality Registered User

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    jackpot...this is great info
     
  7. llamapalooza

    llamapalooza Hockey State Expat

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    OK, I've got the first two sections written up for FRB. Lemme know what you guys think. Agree/disagree, errors, etc.

     
  8. rynryn

    rynryn Reluctant Optimist

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    you could mention the various bars that shuttle to the wild game...i don't take them but i know there are a couple out there. O'Garas i believe does one. Park for free, have a beer or two, get shuttled.
     
  9. llamapalooza

    llamapalooza Hockey State Expat

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    OK, I added this to the parking section:

     
  10. shleeban

    shleeban Registered User

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    everyones forgetting lions tap for burgers
     
  11. this providence

    this providence Chips in Bed Theorem

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    Eh, too far from most. They're really not 'that' special anyway. Speaking of tap-named places, anyone ever eat at Andy's Tap in Bloomington? It was a dive-ish place but I really liked it. Good burgers. Closed now, though. Was off of Old Shakopee in southwest Bloomington.

    Anyway, looks good llp.
     
  12. rynryn

    rynryn Reluctant Optimist

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    Looks great! Easily better than any local scene type handouts at any hotel i've been in.
     
  13. rafterman

    rafterman Registered User

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    I had a few burgers at Andy's over the years...
     
  14. firstroundbust

    firstroundbust lacks explosiveness

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    this concept is a bust without mentioning Alary's for bars and parking...and staff.

    Great idea. Love it.
     
  15. llamapalooza

    llamapalooza Hockey State Expat

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    I didn't forget Lion's Tap; I haven't gotten to burgers yet. Lion's Tap is pretty great, but it is really far out for someone who's just visiting, especially since they're probably focusing on downtown.
     
  16. DrMarvinCandle

    DrMarvinCandle Registered User

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    Since nobody's covered what to drink, although the idea of drinking heavily has come up, I cannot over-state the importance of sampling Minnesota beers. Some folks like Summit, but to me, it has always tasted like soy sauce. Coming from the northernmost reaches of New England, I grew up on Labatt's and Molson, neither of which are unheard of in the TC, but if you're looking for a good hockey beer, try Grain Belt Premium. There are more than enough taps at the X, but if you're looking for a good session beer for after/before/during the game, the fruit of New Ulm is the best hockey beer in the area.

    If you're into fancy, that's also available. The aforementioned Summit originates from St. Paul, but for me the real local gems are Surly (Brooklyn Center) and Schell's Dark (New Ulm).

    Secret bonus protip Do not bother with anything but Philips rail drinks in Minnesota bars. The local distillery makes excellent Rye and Vodka, and Peppermint Schnapps for your wife and girlfriend.
     
  17. rynryn

    rynryn Reluctant Optimist

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    hell yeah to the Surly nod! I'm actually back into liking Summit again with the unchained series and Horizon Red, but then I tend to buy different beer every time i'm shopping.
     
  18. GopherState

    GopherState Repeat Offender...

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    If this hasn't been apparent, I'm all about Surly. And Matt's - no one makes a better Jucy Lucy.
     
  19. Kari Takko

    Kari Takko Registered User

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    Surly Cynic is the only way to go. It's a PA along the lines of a Summit or Bass Ale.

    Anyway, the reason I wanted to post was for best Authentic Mexican because it's so close to the X. El Burrito Mercado is a friggin' gem, and it's right on Robert & Concord (Cesar Chavez).
     
  20. Jarick

    Jarick Doing Nothing

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    Best Mexican is down at Mercado Central, which is a damn-near underground Mexican market. Bring $20 cash and lock your wallet in your glove compartment.
     
  21. firstroundbust

    firstroundbust lacks explosiveness

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    when this does get posted, it should get a permanent spot along the "half wall" with previous posts.

    This is a good FAQ for others' reference.
     
  22. Generic User

    Generic User How's your burger?

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    Yeah, this thread has been shaping up to be great. I was going to thrown Khan's out there but then I saw TP mentioned it. If you're in the St. Cloud area Mongo's is nearly identical to Khan's, except it offers more meat, spice and vegetable options. It's actually cheaper as well. The cooks are more obnoxious, but it's great food.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  23. Bookman

    Bookman Registered User

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    Well, if you expand beyond the confines of Downtown St. Paul, there are some spots worth mentioning:

    Up behind the Cathedral, on Selby Ave., there are two of the best beer bars around, the Happy Gnome, and the Muddy Pig. The Gnome is a bit more upscale in the food department, but both have an array of taps that will have you calling for a cab by gametime.

    Also, over at 7 corners in Minneapolis you have Town Hall Brewery, a great brewpub/eatery.
     
  24. llamapalooza

    llamapalooza Hockey State Expat

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  25. Foxlockbox

    Foxlockbox :laugh: is my period

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    Oh you name roads after your first round busts now? :sarcasm:
     

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