2019 Minnesota Holiday Lights Display Guide

Scroll below for more than 50 MN holiday light shows and displays. All of these holiday light displays are verified for 2019 by the organizers or homeowners — nothing is outdated!

Give Me The Mike’s 2019 holiday lights display guide is presented by Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour

sam's christmas village.png

Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour is home to more than 4 million Christmas lights! It’s located less than 20 minutes northeast of Stillwater in Somerset, Wisconsin. If you go on a Monday or Tuesday night, you are able to drive-through their display, making it more accessible for those who aren’t able to walk around the half-mile light tour. Between Wednesday and Sunday nights, Sam’s Christmas Village is closed off to vehicles and is a walk-through experience.

light bulb

Read more about my visit to Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour.

Sam’s Christmas Village & Light Tour
710 Spring Street
Somerset, WI 54025

sams christmas village 1125.png

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020 (closed December 24th – 25th)
  • Tickets: $10 adults, $5 kids ages 4 – 10, free kids 3 and under
    • $8 for those 65 and older
    • $5 for members of the military (bring your military ID)
  • Parking is $10 Wednesday – Sunday nights
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Monday and Tuesday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Wednesday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday)
    • Monday & Tuesday are drive-through only
    • Wednesday – Sunday are walk-through only
  • Supporting the following non-profit organizations: The Pinky Swear Foundation, The Best Christmas Ever, Toys for Tots, and Somerset Community Food Pantry
  • Dogs are allowed!

Submit information about your holiday light display here.


View all of these light displays on an interactive map!

View 2019 Holiday Light Display Guide in a full screen map


Albert Lea

Carter Christmas Lights Show
1905 Brookside Drive
Albert Lea, MN 56007

Carter Xmas Main Picture 2019.jpg
The Carter Christmas Lights Show in Albert Lea loops every 10 minutes. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • The homeowner asks that you use Bayview Drive for optimal viewing and traffic flow. More information can be found here
  • The 2019 display has 4,000 more lights (38,000 total) and features four jumbo stockings, a mistletoe, along with Santa and his reindeer on the roof
  • Turn your radio to 93.5FM to hear music that goes with the synchronized light display
  • The light show runs every 10 minutes
  • 100% of donations will be donated to JDRF, an organization looking to find a cure for type 1 diabetes

Albertville

Albertville Lights
5669 Large Avenue
Albertville, MN 55301

Albertville Lights.JPG
Sing, choir of (blow mold) angels! Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 6th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday)
  • Stop by to see 20,000 lights and “too many blow mold figurines to count”
  • Weather permitting, see 20 foot tall inflatables, too
  • Turn your radio to 89.1FM to hear synchronized music

Andover

Cairl Family Christmas Lights
2342 145th Avenue Northwest
Andover, MN 55304

cairl.jpeg
Check out a 20′ tree at this display in Andover. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 4th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Includes 54,000 LED and flood lights synchronized to music. Tune in to 99.1FM
  • New this year: a 20 foot pixel mega tree
  • The display raises awareness and money for the 23rd Veteran, a non-profit dedicated to providing happier, healthier lives for veterans living with trauma

Apple Valley

Lights on Flagstaff
13452 Flagstaff Avenue
Apple Valley, MN 55124

lights on flagstaff.jpg
Lights on Flagstaff has over 100 blow mold figurines. Photo credit Lights on Flagstaff/Facebook.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • The display includes more than 100 figurines on the lawn
  • The owners are using their display to raise awareness for Lyme disease. After being misdiagnosed several times, the owner received a diagnosis about two years ago

Apple Valley

Porter’s Holiday Light Show
13596 Hollins Court
Apple Valley, MN 55124

  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights at week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • See more than 20,000 lights and a 20 foot tall mega pixel tree
  • Turn your car radio to 88.9FM to hear 27 songs synchronized to the lights
  • Reminder to avoid blocking driveways and to turn off your car’s lights when you approach the display

Blaine

Durrant Family Lights
1750 130th Avenue Northeast
Blaine, MN 55449

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Features more than 10,000 lights
  • Tune in to 87.9FM to hear tunes

Bloomington

Dancing Trees
10201 Rich Road
Bloomington, MN 55437

  • November 30th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes 10,000 lights

Chaska

Christmas on Savanna
4441 Savanna Trail
Chaska, MN 55318

christmas on savanna.jpg
A 20′ nutcracker is a highlight at this holiday display in Chaska. Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (6:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 9:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Display includes 20,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 91.1FM to hear music synchronized to lights
  • You won’t be able to miss the 20 foot inflatable nutcracker!

Chaska

Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN 55318

landscape arboretum.jpg
Indoor and outdoor light displays await for you at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Submitted photo.
  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays November 22nd, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
    • Also open Monday, December 23rd and daily from December 26th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Tickets: $15 for those 16 and older, free for those 15 and under
    • Members of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum are free
  • Stroll through eight miles of lights
  • Buy a s’mores kit to roast over a roaring fire, warm up with hot cocoa in the Visitor’s Center, and take a photo in front of the Arboretum’s 25 foot poinsettia tree
  • A free shuttle is available on Friday and Saturday nights. Learn more here
  • Parking at the Arboretum is free with admission

Also on Give Me The Mike…

614caJxhZkL._SY355_

The best birthday freebies in the Twin Cities 


Circle Pines

Barno Family Lights
4102 88th Lane NE
Circle Pines, MN 55014

  • November 29th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (6:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 6:30 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 30,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 106.7FM to hear synchronized music
  • The family is collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House Charities

Duluth

Bentleyville “Tour of Lights”
Bayfront Festival Park
700 Railroad Street
Duluth, MN 55802

bentleyville.jpg
Bentleyville, located on the shores of Lake Superior, is the country’s largest free walk-through light display. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd – December 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • With 5 million lights, Bentleyville is America’s largest free walk-through lighting display
  • It’s located at Bayfront Festival Park, a 20-acre park located on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Complimentary hot cocoa, cookies, popcorn and roasted marshmallows are provided
  • Get your photo taken with reindeer
  • Kids 10 and under who visit Santa receive a knit hat
  • Bentleyville is an official collection site for the Salvation Army. Bring a non-perishable food item or new, unwrapped toy when you visit. Donations are distributed to Salvation Army Corps in Duluth, Cloquet, Virginia, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls, and Superior, WI

Duluth

Exhibition Drive Holiday Sound and Light Show
2725 Exhibition Drive
Duluth, MN 55811

exhibition drive.jpg
This home has won Duluth’s lighting contest every year since 2013. Submitted photo.
  • December 1st – 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • They have won Duluth’s lighting contest every year since 2013
  • Includes 10,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 99.9FM as you pull up

Duluth

Spirit of the Lights at Glensheen
3300 London Road
Duluth, MN 55804

glensheen.JPEG
The Spirit of the Lights now has a new home at Glensheen in Duluth. Submitted photo.
  • December 10th – 28th, 2019 (closed December 24th – 25th)
  • 4:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Spirt of the Lights is an outdoor light display that was previously located at Park Point in Duluth. It now has a new home at Glensheen
  • Includes 300,000 lights
  • Admission to the grounds of Glensheen is free

Also on Give Me The Mike…

best bingo

5 best places to play bingo in Minnesota


Eagan

Cinnamon Ridge Circle Lights
4462 Cinnamon Ridge Circle
Eagan, MN 55122

Cinnamon Ridge
This lawn is full with more than 100 blow molds and 25 inflatables. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Monday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Sunday)
  • Includes more than 100 blow mold figurines, 25 inflatables and 4,000 lights

East Bethel

Manners Magnificent Lights
19509 Rochester Street NE
East Bethel, MN 55011

Manners.jpg
Check out this display of 20,000 lights in East Bethel. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 30th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 20,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 90.9FM to hear synchronized music

Eden Prairie

Christmas Lights at Sunrise
15482 W Sunrise Circle
Eden Prairie, MN 55347

  • November 28th, 2019 – January 6th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • Includes a show of 10,000 lights designed by the homeowner’s son who designs the circuit boards and enhanced by his dad who welds the trees on display
  • Turn your car’s radio to 89.7FM

Elk River

Warnke Christmas Lights
17978 Fresno Street NW
Elk River, MN 55330

  • Thru January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:30 pm
  • More than 3,500 red and white LED lights synchronized to music

Ham Lake

Mellem Family Christmas Lights
17438 5th Street NE*
Ham Lake, MN 55304

mellem.jpg
60,000 lights are on display at this home in Ham Lake. Submitted photo.
  • November 30th – December 26th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • * = This house is in a new development and Google Maps does not recognize a new road built. See the below image for directions. Do not rely on Google Maps!
Mellem map.jpg
The blue line is a brand new road (173rd Lane NE) that does not exist on any maps program yet. It can be accessed from 175th Avenue NE or 175th Lane NW. You can also search 599 175th Avenue NE, Ham Lake, MN 55304 in Google Maps and it will take you to the entrance of the neighborhood. Submitted photo.
  • Includes 60,000 lights synchronized to music; set your radio to 88.1FM
  • Raises awareness and funds for HOPE 4 Youth

Also on Give Me The Mike…

pig wings

The hidden gem foods Minnesota State Fair staff eat


Inver Grove Heights

Doocy’s Winter Wonderland
8020 Claymore Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

doocy.PNG
Check out Santa’s Workshop and Disney characters in Inver Grove Heights! Submitted photo.
  • Until December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Stop by to see many Disney characters, Santa’s workshop and upwards of 5,000 lights!

Inver Grove Heights

Lundell’s Lights
3892 72nd Street E
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

lundells lights.jpg
View 6,500 lights on display outside of this home in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 pm – approximately 10:00 until mid December, then 5:00 pm – dawn until January 5th)
  • Includes 6,500 lights

Inver Grove Heights

Radant Xmas Display
8160 Carmen Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

Radant Xmas.jpeg
This is one of many homes with bright lights in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 27th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 10:30 pm
  • Includes more than 5,000 lights
  • Santa makes an appearance on the weekends
  • The homeowners collect donations for Toys for Tots

Inver Grove Heights

Soldier’s 6 Christmas Light and Santa Display
8238 Copland Way
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

soldiers 6.jpeg

  • Through January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from dark until 11:00 pm
  • Appearances by Santa and a special reindeer on select dates
  • Includes 2 18′ inflatables and 2 15′ inflatables
  • Raises awareness for Soldier’s 6, an organization providing service dogs to police officers, military vets, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, corrections officers and EMS at no cost
soldiers 6 breakfast.jpeg
Support Solider’s 6 at a Breakfast with Santa on December 8th.

Inver Grove Heights

Strandlof’s Christmas Lights
7050 Blaine Avenue
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

Strandlof
There’s a 19-foot ferris wheel at this home in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • You can’t miss a 19′ ferris wheel!
  • Display includes over 10,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 87.9FM to hear synchronized music

Inver Grove Heights

Waldhauser’s Christmas Lights
2005 67th Street East
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077

Waldhauser.jpeg
Lights actually cross the road at this display in Inver Grove Heights. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 5,000 lights

Also on Give Me The Mike…

Gale Family Library

Why no Minnesotan should pay to use Ancestry.com


Jordan

Trellis Lights
1135 Trellis Street
Jordan, MN 55352

trellis.jpg
7,000 lights are synchronized to music outside of this home in Jordan. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Includes 7,000 lights
  • Tune in to 87.9FM to hear synchronized music

Kasson

Nevala Family Christmas Light Show
406 Sixth Street Court NE
Kasson, MN 55944

nevala.JPG
The Nevala family hosts a kids coloring contest when their light display is up. Two lucky winners get bicycles! Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes 32,000 lights
  • Turn your car radio to 88.1FM to hear Christmas tunes synchronized to the lights
  • The family will collect donations for Kasson Fire & Rescue
  • Kids can participate in a coloring contest with two winners receiving new bicycles!

Lake Elmo

Rockpoint’s Valley Lights
5825 Kelvin Avenue N
Lake Elmo, MN 55045

valley lights.jpg
Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church has 100,000 lights along with free wagon rides on select dates in December. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Free to attend
  • Includes 100,000 lights!
  • Tune your radio on 97.9FM to listen to music synchronized to the lights
  • Check out free wagon rides on December 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Lino Lakes

Cinnamon Teal Holiday Lights
7188 Cinnamon Teal Court
Lino Lakes, MN 55014

cinnamon teal.jpg
Cinnamon Teal Holiday Lights in Lino Lakes will get a visit by Santa every Friday and Saturday night between November 29th and December 21st. Submitted photo.
  • November 22nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 pm – 1:00 am
  • Includes 15,000 lights
  • Collecting donations for the Centennial Food Shelf along with toys for local churches
  • Santa will make an appearance on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:00 – 9:00 pm November 29th – December 21st

Also on Give Me The Mike…

stellar.jpg

Holiday Gift Guide: Stellar Stocking Stuffers (with deals to save you cash!)


Mankato

Kiwanis Holiday Lights
900 Mound Avenue
Mankato, MN 56001

kiwanis holiday lights.jpg
Over 1 million lights along with a skating rink, horse drawn wagon rides and live reindeer await at Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights at week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Features 1.8 million lights!
  • Upon entering Sibley Park, turn your car radio to 88.1FM to learn about Kiwanis Holiday Lights and listen to holiday music. Once you’re in the loop, flip over to 90.1FM
  • For more information on how to get to Kiwanis Holiday Lights, click here
  • Admission is free for all vehicles. You can also walk through the display
  • In addition to all the lights, stop by for a skating rink, horse drawn wagon rides, live reindeer, and Santa Claus

Minneapolis

CSE Winter Light Show at the University of Minnesota
Civil Engineering Building Courtyard
500 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

UMN CSE LightShow
Students of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering design and program a show with 250,000 lights on select dates in early December. Submitted photo.
  • Select dates: Thursday, December 5th, Friday, December 6th, Saturday, December 7th and Saturday, December 14th, 2019
  • 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 pm on nights listed above
  • The students of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering design and program a winter light show featuring 250,000 lights. If you’re seeing this in time, it’s a must-see
  • The shows are free and open to the public. No ticket necessary
  • On Friday, December 6th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, they are hosting a premiere party in the Civil Engineering Building on the second floor. Stop by for free hot chocolate and cookies

Minneapolis

House on Howard
2418 Howard Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

  • November 29th – December 29th, 2019
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes more than 11,000 lights

Montrose

Mindy Lane Holiday Display
135 Mindy Lane
Montrose, MN 55363

mindy lane.jpg
30,000 lights are used for this display in Montrose, located off of Highway 12 in the west metro. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 30,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 105.9FM to hear music synchronized to lights on display

New Hope

Larson’s Lights
3549 Ensign Avenue North
New Hope, MN 55427

larsons lights.jpeg
Enjoy this New Hope light display by foot — with outdoor music speakers — or in your car. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th, 2019 – January 3rd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (4:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 4:30 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes more than 25,000 lights
  • Outdoor speakers will stay on until 9:00 pm. You can also listen to music on 87.9FM
  • The homeowner tells Give Me The Mike they will not run the show in the rain. Check their Facebook page before you go to see if the show is canceled the night you would like to go

North Mankato

Omega Ct Christmas Lights Display
14 Omega Court
North Mankato, MN 56003

Omega Ct.png
The homeowners at this light display are collecting toys to be donated to a hospital pediatric ward on December 19th. Submitted photo.
  • November 26th, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 100,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 88.1FM to hear the 11 minute loop of music synchronized to the lights. There are also outdoor speakers if you decide to hop out of your car
  • The homeowners are collecting unopened toys (no plush toys, please), which will be donated to the pediatric ward of a local hospital on December 19th

Oakdale

Christmas Fantasy
6953 26th Street Court N
Oakdale, MN 55128

  • December 2nd – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Check out 27 hand painted wood signs on a 60 foot fence along Stillwater Boulevard near Hadley Avenue
  • A Nativity scene and hand painted figurines are in the front yard, along with 10,000 lights
  • Word is that Santa stops by occasionally

Also on Give Me The Mike…

apple river

A spot just east of the Twin Cities where you can see 4 million Christmas lights


Owatonna

Murray Street Lights
1014 Lincoln Avenue
Owatonna, MN 55060

murray street.jpg
This is one of three homes in a close proximity that goes bright for the holidays. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes three homes! One on Lincoln Avenue and two around the corner on Murray Street
  • The radio station for the home on Murray Street is 94.7FM

Plainview

Hanson Family Christmas Lights
315 Fifth Street W
Plainview, MN 55964

  • December 1st, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 400,000 lights synchronized to music
  • Turn your car radio to 88.1FM

Plymouth

PD Shimmers
4120 Juneau Lane
Plymouth, MN 55446

PD Shimmers.jpeg
PD Shimmers has a light for every person in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s this year. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • The show contains window displays from the old Dayton’s store in downtown Minneapolis
  • Tune your car radio to 97.9 FM to hear music synchronized to the lights
  • Display includes more than 60,000 lights — one for each person in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019. The display raises money for the Mike Justak Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease.

Plymouth

Joy of the Season
4810 Orchid Lane North
Plymouth, MN 55446

  • November 27th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • The show of 5,000 lights lasts about 15-20 minutes
  • Raises awareness and funds for the Animal Humane Society

Plymouth

Quantico Christmas
535 Quantico Lane N
Plymouth, MN 55447

quantico.jpeg
11,000 lights are on display at this house in Plymouth. Submitted photo.
  • November 26th, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Santa and his reindeer make an appearance on the roof every night!
  • Your kids can leave letters for Santa
  • Display includes 11,000 lights and 10 blow up displays

Prior Lake

Ken’s Kreation
16424 Fillmore Avenue SE
Prior Lake, MN 55372

  • Thru January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (4:30 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday,  4:30 pm – 12:00 am Friday – Saturday)
  • Display also on from 4:00 – 8:00 am 7 days a week
  • Includes more than 6,000 lights

Prior Lake

Lights at the Cove
3490 Cove Point Circle NW
Prior Lake, MN 55372

lights at the cove 2019.jpg

  • November 28th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 5,000 lights
  • Listen to music synchronized to light show on 91.9FM

Also on Give Me The Mike…

FireLake Private Dining Room 2

Twin Cities Restaurant Room Rental Guide


Ramsey

Sedok House
5716 162nd Crossing NW
Ramsey, MN 55303

  • December 7th – 28th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Stop by to watch a 25 minute projection video featuring Rudolph, Frosty, Elsa, Christmas Vacation, Trans Siberian Orchestra and the Nativity story.
  • The whole show is set to music — tune your radio to 98.7FM
  • Candy and small toys will be handed out to those who stop by

Rosemount

Kojak House
13826 Addison Avenue
Rosemount, MN 55068

Kojak.jpg
Over 25,000 lights are on display outside of this home in Rosemount. Submitted photo.
  • November 23rd, 2019 – January 2nd, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 4:30 – 10:30 pm
  • The homeowners lost count at 25,000 lights
  • They do have a drop box for Toys for Tots donations

Saint Michael

Holiday Lights on 20th Street
11594 20th Street NE
Saint Michael, MN 55376

holiday lights on 20th
If you visit this display in Saint Michael on the weekend, bring a non-perishable food donation for the Hanover Food Shelf. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 29th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:30 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:30 – 9:30 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 25,000 lights
  • Turn your radio to 99.3FM to hear synchronized music
  • If you go on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, bring a donation for the Hanover Food Shelf

Saint Paul

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train at Union Depot
214 Fourth Street E
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Union Depot-29.jpg
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Union Depot on Tuesday, December 10th with a free concert at 7:00 pm. Submitted photo.
  • Tuesday, December 10th from 6:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Stop by to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and enjoy a free concert from 7:00 – 7:30 pm
  • VIP tickets are $10 and get ticketholders access closest to the stage. Click here to purchase
  • Those attending are encouraged to bring a cash or heart-healthy food donations for Merrick Community Services

Saint Paul

Holiday Lights on York Avenue
1526 York Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55106

  • November 29th – December 31st, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Includes 65,000 lights
  • Tune your car radio to 91.5FM
  • Bring a non-perishable donation for Merrick Food Shelf

Saint Paul

Illumination at the Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Illumination_11_2019-3 copy (1).jpg
The Science Museum of Minnesota has a whole new take on a light show with Illumination. Submitted photo.
  • November 29th – December 28th, 2019
  • Friday – Saturday nights from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • It’s a holiday “light” show in a new sense. Experience large-scale and hands-on experiences, glow-in-the dark cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, a puppet shadow room, and more
  • Illumination is included in the cost of admission to the Science Museum of Minnesota ($19.95 adults, $13.95 ages 4 – 12 and seniors). You can buy tickets in advance online

Saint Paul

Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy
At Rice Park
109 W 4th Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Rice Park Tree Lighting 2019 - Credit Visit Saint Paul-56 (1).jpg
The lighting of the holiday tree in Rice Park is accompanied by a fireworks show. Photo credit Visit Saint Paul.
  • Holiday tree: November 23rd, 2019 – February 9th, 2020
  • Lighted trees: November 23rd, 2019 – March 17th, 2020
  • 7 days a week from 6:00 – 8:00 am and 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • The holiday tree has 15,000 lights

Shakopee

Sever’s Holiday Lights
3121 50th Street West
Shakopee, MN 55379

severs.jpg
Sever’s Holiday Lights is new in 2019. Submitted photo.
  • November 8th, 2019 – January 5th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Drive through a display with more than 1 million lights synchronized to holiday tunes
  • $5 per person, $20 per car maximum (tax not included)
  • Vehicles with more than 8 people are charged $35 (tax not included)
  • The route is a half mile
  • Plus, enjoy hot cocoa, mini donuts, caramel popcorn from Drew’s Concessions and more

Shakopee

Shakopee Winter Wonderland
921 Shakopee Avenue East
Shakopee, MN 55379

shakopee winter wonderland.jpg
A ferris wheel of light! Photo credit Shakopee Winter Wonderland/Facebook.
  • December 1st – 25th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 9:30 or 10:00 pm
  • Stop by between December 13th – 24th for crafts, cookies, hot cocoa and Santa

Also on Give Me The Mike…

worth-the-trip-mexican-restaurants_std.original

20 Mexican restaurants in Minnesota worth the trip


Sleepy Eye

Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion
Sportmens Park
West side of State Highway 4 (northwest side of Sleepy Eye and the north side of Sleepy Eye Lake)

sleepy eye.jpeg
Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Includes more than 300,000 lights
  • You can drive through the park to enjoy the lights. Tune your car’s radio to 89.1 FM to hear synchronized music. The music is also broadcast throughout the park if you want to get out of your car to see things up close.
  • Everything is free! That includes wagon rides, free concessions, and free horse drawn carriage rides on December 14th and 21st. Donations are accepted.

Waconia

The Spirit of Winter at Sovereign Estate
The Winery at Sovereign Estate
9950 North Shore Road
Waconia, MN 55387

sovereign estate.png
Over 20 miles of lights are on display at this winery in Waconia. Submitted photo.
  • November 21st, 2019 – January 5th, 2020
  • Friday – Sunday nights plus Monday, December 23rd
    • 4:00 – 9:00 pm Friday – Saturday
    • 4:00 – 8:00 pm Sunday
  • Over 20 miles of lights on display!
  • View lights and see Santa, play boot hockey, and sip on wine
  • Tickets are $5 for ages 3 and older. You can buy them online or at the door (cash only at the door)
  • The Winery at Sovereign Estate donates tickets so kids can attend on Thursday nights

White Bear Lake

Our Last Holiday Light Show
5590 West Bald Eagle Lake Boulevard
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

  • Until January 9th, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 6:00 – 10:00 pm
  • The homeowner trimmed down the light display, but it still includes 100,000 lights

Willmar

Celebrate the Light of the World
Robbins Island Regional Park
Highway 71 North
Willmar, MN 56201

celebrate the light.jpeg
Celebrate the Light of the World is ranked as one of the 5 best holiday light displays in Minnesota. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th, 2019 – January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week from 5:00 – 10:00 pm
  • Celebrate the Light of the World is a free, drive-through display featuring 800,000 lights
  • When you drive-through, turn your car radio to either 88.7FM or 90.3FM to hear music
  • Freewill donations will be collected for the Salvation Army of Willmar, Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, Kandiyohi County Food Shelf and The Link

Woodbury

Crazy Christmas Display
7401 Wyndham Way
Woodbury, MN 55125

crazy christmas display.jpg
150 pieces line the lawn of a Crazy Christmas Display in Woodbury. Submitted photo.
  • November 28th – December 30th, 2019
  • 7 nights a week (dusk – 9:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, dusk – 10:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Includes 10,000 lights and 150 pieces on the lawn

Woodbury

Holiday Lights of Woodbury
8846 Glacier Road
Woodbury, MN 55125

Pageler Display.JPG
You can’t miss this bright yard in Woodbury. Submitted photo.
  • Through January 1st, 2020
  • 7 nights a week (5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday, 5:00 – 11:00 pm Friday – Saturday)
  • Tune your radio to 97.9FM to hear synchronized music

Also on Give Me The Mike…

FullSizeRender 248

You Betcha: Brush up on your Minnesota slang

Advertisements

The 17 best restaurants for breakfast in Minnesota

Breakfast becomes a passionate subject for many people. And for good reason.

For starters, it’s the most meaningful meal of the day. You need fuel to be productive.

It’s food people love, too: omelets, pancakes, French toast, hash browns.

Sitting down for breakfast is also the chance to connect with the people who mean a lot to you. Time and time again you hear about the senior mens’ groups who have coffee and chat about current events and what’s going on in their neighborhood. I’m guessing many of you reading this have a breakfast tradition you remember from when you were a kid, whether it be at home or at a restaurant on a weekend morning. Breakfast is more than food. It nourishes the soul.

I asked my Facebook fans, along with Twin Cities Live viewers, to tell me their favorite spot to get breakfast in Minnesota. Hundreds of entries came in. I visited the top five restaurants to meet with the owners and learn what you should order when you stop by.

I appeared on Twin Cities Live to share the top five spots:

1. Lindas’ Cafe

13575 Northdale Blvd, Suite 200
Rogers, 55374

Linda Frigaard and Linda Grady have been friends since third grade. A divorce kickstarted Linda Grady to call Linda Frigaard, who worked in the restaurant industry, to help her achieve a dream: to open a restaurant.

IMG_6360.JPG
Linda Frigaard and Linda Grady, owners of Lindas’ Cafe in Rogers.
  • The two opened Lindas’ Cafe on August 1st, 2006 in a strip mall off of I-94 in Rogers. The space used to be a video store.
  • You will find four generations working at Lindas’ Cafe. Linda Frigaard’s father is there, along with her daughter and grandchild.
IMG_6364.JPG
The Log Cabin Skillet.
  • Their skillets are the number one menu item. The Ranch Skillet, with eggs, green peppers, onion, cheese and meat, along with the Log Cabin Skillet, smothered in sausage country gravy and a country fried steak, are the most popular.
  • The Lindas tell me they’ll go through nearly 225,000 eggs a year. If you’re a fan of wild rice soup, get the Minnesota omelet — it has the soup inside.
IMG_6365.JPG
Lindas’ Cafe has the most traditional version of the pancake I had on my breakfast tour.
  • The pancake is worth ordering. The recipe belongs to the cook’s great great grandmother. The owners mentioned that customers drove from Edina to Rogers to get their pancakes. That’s nearly 60 miles roundtrip.
IMG_6366.JPG
The Lindas’ Stuffed, a homemade take on the McGriddle.
  • You don’t want to miss the Lindas’ Stuffed. I’m calling it a homemade take on the McDonald’s McGriddle. It’s two slices of French toast stuffed with Swiss cheese with your choice of ham or sausage. Pour some syrup on it and you got yourself a quality, homemade McGriddle without the guilt.
  • Lindas’ Cafe is not big — it’s only 88 seats. Make sure your whole party is there if you want to get seated.
  • Their entire menu, which does include broasted chicken and other lunch items, is available for take out.

2. Fat Nat’s Eggs

3 metro locations, including the location I attended:
2700 39th Avenue NE, Saint Anthony Village 55421

Jeff Nat, whose nickname was Fat Nat while playing hockey, started Fat Nat’s Eggs in 2002.

  • Jeff, who loves to cook, wanted to run restaurant like his grandma’s house with quality ingredients.
  • The original location in New Hope had 35 seats when it first opened. Today, it has more than 100. It previously was a Chinese restaurant.
    • Fans of my Facebook page say the New Hope location is best, although the menu is consistent at all three restaurants.
  • They expanded to Brooklyn Park in 2007 and opened a Saint Anthony Village restaurant in 2012. Jeff’s wife, Lisa, tells me another location could be in the cards.
  • Fat Nat’s Eggs is a family affair. Jeff, Lisa, and their sons, Michael and David, run the restaurants.
IMG_6403.JPG
Eggs Bacon Avocado Benedict with a can’t miss avocado verde.
  • The number one selling menu item is the Eggs Bacon Avocado Benedict, served on a toasted English muffin with a slice of tomato, bacon and an (AMAZING) spicy avocado verde. If you like spicy, you must order something with the avocado verde.
  • All of the salsas Fat Nat’s Eggs serves are made in-house. They have green chili, which you will find in New Mexico cuisine.
  • If you’re looking for an omelet, the owners say a hidden gem is the Jacob’s Omelette with carnitas, black beans, salsa verde, pepper jack cheese and homemade salsa on top.
  • Don’t pass up on the warm fruit fritter, which are made by Denny’s 5th Avenue Bakery in Bloomington.
IMG_6407.JPG
Fat Nat’s Eggs in Saint Anthony Village.
  • Fat Nat’s Eggs has counter seating at all three locations.
  • It gets busy, especially on the weekends. Owner Lisa says for the shortest wait time, come before 9:00 am or after 12:30 pm.

3. The Original Pancake House

4 metro locations, including the location I attended:
1661 County Road B2 West, Roseville 55113

IMG_6431
The Original Pancake House in Roseville.
  • I need to be honest: before my first trip to The Original Pancake House, I wasn’t thrilled about eating there, mostly because it’s a chain. But after learning their story, it’s definitely worthy of this list.
  • The four Minnesota locations are franchisees of the national The Original Pancake House brand. The locations in Edina, Eden Prairie, Roseville and Burnsville have the same owner, however, each location has a totally different look and each location has a different menu.
    • The Edina location is the original in the Twin Cities, opening in 1977. They started by serving pancakes in the morning, closing for a couple hours, then serving pizza for dinner. You won’t be able to miss the huge chandelier inside.
    • Eden Prairie opened in 2007 with a traditional restaurant vibe.
    • Roseville opened in 2013 and is very contemporary, having gone through a remodel in 2018.
    • The newest location in Burnsville has a Scandinavian feel.
  • None of their kitchen have microwaves.
IMG_6439.JPG
The 49er Flapjack.
  • Their most popular item is the 49er Flapjack, a thin pancake. The Potato Pancake and Buckwheat Pancakes are top-sellers, too.
  • A hidden gem are the Breakfast Ribs, which is like thick cut bacon.
  • On a busy day, one location will serve up 1,400 orders of bacon.
  • The hash browns at OPH are epic.
IMG_6438.JPG
The Original Pancake House does a great job accommodating food allergies.
  • I heard this from multiple people: The Original Pancake House does an extremely good job accommodating those with food allergies. Gluten-free food comes out on yellow plates and there’s no extra charge. Our gluten-full table tried a gluten-free peach crepe, and it was really good. They also can accommodate those who are dairy-free and who have soy or egg allergies.
IMG_6434.JPG
The coffee mugs at The Original Pancake House are made by a Saint Paul artist and are available for purchase.
  • The coffee mugs are made by a potter from Saint Paul. Some of the other OPH locations from around the nation have started to use her mugs as well. You are able to purchase them, too.

4. R.J. Riches Family Restaurant

2145 Highway Avenue, Mounds View 55112

R.J. Riches Family Restaurant in Mounds View originally was a Country Kitchen back in the 1970s. The owners who took over that space were named Royce and Janice (RJ) and they wanted to make ‘Riches’ — hence the name R.J. Riches. The current owners have operated the restaurant since 1992.

IMG_6486.JPG
This is just one regular sized pancake.
  • You need to watch other people’s food come out before you place your order. Food comes in HUGE portions. The chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes are not only the size of dinner plates, they’re also extremely thick. Think of it more like a cake than a pancake. You don’t need more than one for your table.
IMG_6488.JPG
The Country Fried Steak comes with all the things you see in this photo.
  • The number one menu item is the Country Fried Steak, which was really good. A thick gravy didn’t sit too heavy.
IMG_6487.jpg
The Gyro Omelet.
  • The second most popular menu item is my favorite. The Gyro Omelet was epic. First, it’s huge — it could be two, maybe three meals. It’s four eggs, with hash browns, cheese, and gyro meat inside. It’s served with Tzatziki sauce, too.
  • Owner Barb tells me that a lot of people overpass their Spicy Chicken Omelet, which has deep-fried, spicy chicken.
IMG_6493.JPG
I wouldn’t attempt to eat at R.J. Riches with more than 4 people at your table.
  • The restaurant isn’t huge, with only 120 seats. On a busy weekend day, you may have to wait 45 to 60 minutes to get a table. They’re the busiest between 8:30 am – 1:00 pm.
  • In addition to breakfast, R.J. Riches is open for dinner, serving all-you-can-eat meals.
  • Note that R.J. Riches is not set up for large parties. I would recommend that you keep your group to four or less (or be willing to split yourselves up). Most of the restaurant is booths.

5. Keys Cafe & Bakery

9 metro locations, including the original restaurant in Saint Paul:
767 Raymond Avenue, Saint Paul 55114

The first Keys Restaurant opened on Raymond Avenue in Saint Paul on November 1st, 1973 by Barbara Hunn. She took over a space called Mister D’s. Before that, it was called Slater’s.

IMG_6249.JPG
You will see Keys owner Barbara Hunn at the Raymond Avenue location 3 days a week.
  • Barbara had no restaurant management experience at the time. In fact, she was a licensed psychiatric nurse.
  • Barb and her late husband had four kids, all who would work in the restaurant. As kids, they would make hamburger buns.
  • About nine years in, they added a location in New Brighton. That’s when Keys started to sell more baked goods, which they’re known for today.
  • Today, Keys has nine locations around the Twin Cities. At one point, all 17 of Barbara’s grandchildren have worked at Keys.

Keys is known for large portions. The Beef Hash and Cajun Skillet are popular menu items and will fill you up.

  • Thick cut bacon is key at Keys. One pound is 13 slices. So if you eat 3 slices, you’ve eaten about a quarter of a pound of bacon.
IMG_6246.JPG
Probably one of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had.
  • The Cinnamon and Pecan Rolls are amazing. Their number one baked good is the house chocolate cake.
  • Make sure to order toast and get their house-made strawberry rhubarb jam. I would drink it if it was socially acceptable.
  • Barb says that their oatmeal is an unsung hero on the menu at the Raymond Avenue Keys. It’s not instant. Make sure to add fruit and nuts.
  • All of Keys soups are made in house. Barb says to try the Tomato Basil, Chicken Noodle and Tomato Bisque.
  • You’ll still see Barbara at the Raymond Avenue Keys three days a week.
  • The catchphrase “Yummy!” that Keys uses in their radio commercials was inspired by Jim Carrey’s character in the 1994 movie, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”.

Did you conquer those breakfast spots that are Worth the Trip? Try these honorable mentions

6. Frieda’s Cafe, Willmar (warning: closed Sundays)
7. B&B Cafe, Albert Lea (warning: closed Sundays)
8. Oasis Cafe, Stillwater
9. Jensen’s Cafe, Burnsville
10. Carol’s Restaurant, Blaine
11. Al’s Breakfast, Minneapolis
12. Peg’s Countryside Cafe, Hamel
13. North Pole Restaurant, Newport
14. Windmill Cafe, Savage
15. Duluth Grill, Duluth
16. The Buttered Tin, Saint Paul
17. Hazel’s Northeast, Minneapolis

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

31 can’t miss events in Minnesota this July

Not much gets better than July in Minnesota! There’s plenty to do with long summer nights. Bonus: you don’t have to spend 20 minutes putting on a parka and scraping ice off your windshield!

I compiled a list of events happening around the state. Many are your suggestions! Is there one I forgot? Let me know! Fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Happy summer!

  1. July and fireworks go hand in hand. Here are Minnesota cities with great 4th of July shows:
  2. Check out a good ol’ fashioned community festival:
  3. Sing with the Twin Cities Beer Choir. The concept is simple and quite fun. The group gathers as a brewery, bar or restaurant and hand out “hymnals” to attendees. The music are melodies you are familiar with, but the words are switched out to involve drinking beer. Many Twin Cities Beer Choir participants are alumni from those really good Minnesota Lutheran college choirs, so as a group, they sound quite good. It’s a very lighthearted time. Their July meetup takes place at Spring Cafe, located at the Como Lakeside Pavilion in Saint Paul. (July 3)
  4. The PGA Tour stops in Minnesota with the brand new 3M Open. The field has yet to be announced when this list was published, but Phil Mickelson has already announced he will play. Tournament play takes place July 4-7, but festivities go all week at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. (July 1-7)
  5. Head down to the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis to watch a Twin Cities River Rats show. Every Thursday night, this ski team puts on a free show filled with stunts, jumps and pyramids all on the water. They do have a show on the 4th of July, which is followed by fireworks. They also have a bonus performance on Friday, July 5th. They’re super family-friendly. Bring a blanket! (July 4, 11, 18 and 25)
  6. Little Mekong is the Asian business and cultural district in Saint Paul. It runs along University Avenue between Mackubin and Galtier Streets. At the tail end of the 4th of July weekend, businesses in the area hold the Little Mekong Night Market, which is a huge street festival with really good food,  unique shopping and lots of entertainment. It’s inspired by the night markets you would find in southeast Asia. It runs from 5-10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. (July 6-7)
  7. The Minnesota Orchestra starts their annual Sommerfest concert series by performing the soundtrack to the Disney Pixar movie, “Coco.” Sommerfest 2019 has a Latin American theme, with concerts throughout the month of July. It should also mark the expected debut of the new Peavey Plaza, the public park space next to Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. (July 6-7)
  8. If you can’t wait for the Minnesota State Fair to start, check out the Ramsey County Fair in Maplewood. Admission is free. (July 10-14)
  9. There’s no need to head west to catch a classic rodeo! The town of Hamel is just west of Plymouth and since 1981, has hosted a rodeo with barrel racing, steer wrestling and more. More impressive: the Hamel Rodeo is operated by 5 non-profit groups; the large event doesn’t have a single paid staff member. (July 11 – 14)
  10. Kacey Musgraves, Semisonic, Jason Mraz and Hanson headline the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis. The two-night outdoor concert first started in 1995 to raise money for the Basilica of St. Mary. (July 12-13)
  11. A spot featuring one of the best meat raffles in the Minnesota is hosting a parking lot fish fry. Stop by Bull’s Horn in south Minneapolis on July 13 for a fishing tournament, music, drinks, and of course, fried fish.
  12. Celebrate French independence, Bastille Day, on either side of the Mississippi River. In Minneapolis, Barbette hosts its annual block party from 2-9 pm. In Saint Paul, Alliance Francaise and Meritage host an outdoor family-friendly celebration outside of Landmark Center from 12-6 pm. (July 14)
    • Lurcat 2
      Cafe Lurcat in Minneapolis is one of more than 50 restaurants participating in MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week July 14-19.
  13. Enjoy $10-25 lunches and $15-35 dinners at some great Twin Cities restaurants during MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week. Over 50 spots are participating. My personal favorites include 4 Bells, Cafe Lurcat, Corner Table, FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar, The Freehouse, Holman’s Table and Lela. (July 14-19)
  14. The Minneapolis Movies in the Park series continues all month with free films shown at parks across the city. Stop by the Nicollet Island Pavilion on Monday, July 15 for “Free Solo,” a National Geographic documentary following Alex Honnold as he attempts to climb El Capitan at Yosemite National Park without any ropes. I recently saw it and it’s riveting.
  15. Once a month, The Spring Street Tavern in Northeast Minneapolis hosts Pundamonium, a pun slam competition. Those who think they are punny are welcome to show off their skills. Participants are selected first come, first serve. The five judges are pre-selected members of the audience. (July 17)
  16. Italian restaurant, Pazzaluna hosts its annual Wheels of Italy street party in downtown Saint Paul on Thursday, July 18. Stop by to see some of the finest street cars along with live music. The car show is free to attend.
  17. Twin Cities Summer Jam at Canterbury Park in Shakopee features three days of big names in music: Tim McGraw, Aerosmith, Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Soul Asylum, and others. (July 18 – 20)
  18. People from around the Twin Cities will make their way to the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul for the Rondo Days Festival and Parade on Saturday, July 20. The parade begins at 10 am with the festival running from 12-7 pm.
  19. Enjoy Celtic music, Highland dance and a bag pipe band competition during the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games at Central Park in Eagan. (July 19-20)
  20. Minnesota Monthly hosts its Fine Spirits Classic inside Orchestra Hall. Sample cocktails from the best mixologists in the state. (July 24)
  21. Competitive eater Joey Chestnut will be at The Great Midwest Rib Fest at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. His mission: to eat more than 13.76 pounds of pork meat in 12 minutes. The three day festival is free to attend and also includes performances by Gretchen Wilson and Sugar Ray. (July 25-27)
  22. The iconic Porky’s drive-in diner in Saint Paul has a new home in Hastings. It’s a part of the Little Log House Pioneer Village, a collection of historic buildings which are restored to make it feel like you are stepping back in time. The village is open to the public one weekend a year. Stop by the last full weekend of July for the Little Log House Antique Power Show, which allows you to walk through the Village. This year, they welcome artifacts from the Cottage View Drive-In in Cottage Grove. (July 26-28)
  23. The British choral group, Libera, is astonishing. Boys range in age from seven to 16 and members are from schools throughout London. They tour internationally and are visiting Saint Paul once again. I had the privilege of hearing them the last time they were in Minnesota and I just wanted to melt in my seat. The venue is ideal, too: the gorgeous Cathedral of Saint Paul. (July 26)
  24. Fitness studio Alchemy 365 is taking over the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and will offer a free class as part of the Minneapolis Aquatennial festivities. All fitness levels all welcome, just bring your own yoga mat. Check in begins at 5 pm with the class starting at 6:00. (July 26)
  25. Watch (or walk in) a parade of dogs in northeast Minneapolis. The gathering point is right on the shores of the Mississippi at St. Anthony Main. (July 26)
  26. Say ‘ooh, ahh’ at one of the largest fireworks displays in the country. The Minneapolis Aquatennial fireworks display start promptly at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. The best viewpoint is near the Guthrie Theater.
  27. The Loring Park Art Festival in Minneapolis features 140 juried artists in a beautiful setting. (July 27-28)
    water taxi.png
  28. Avoid downtown Minneapolis traffic by taking a water taxi! That’s right, the Minneapolis Water Taxi is a solar powered boat and is currently privately operated, meaning that you can book it for your group of friends for an intimate ride down the Mississippi River. The Water Taxi can fit two to six people and does private events for up to one hour. It goes from 10 am to 10 pm.
  29. Rent a Lime or Spin scooter for a ride. They’re very simple to use and their max speeds only get to 15 MPH, so it’s hard to lose control. Pro tip: find someone who has already rented the scooters to refer you before you download the app. That way, you both get a free credit!
  30. Be in control of how much beer you want to sample. Stop by the new First Draft Taproom & Kitchen near Target Field in Minneapolis. They have over 50 beers, wines, ciders and kombucha on tap. You get to control how much you would like. If you’re curious, the average pour is about 5 ounces.
  31. Make sure you dine al fresco. Watch my Twin Cities Live segment featuring the 5 best restaurant, brewery and winery patios in Minnesota!Also on Give Me the Mike: Best places to play bingo in Minnesota

Is there something I missed? Please let me know!

 

The best birthday freebies in the Twin Cities

Most of these freebies were verified as of May 2019. Enjoy! If you know of others not listed, please let me know about them. Connect with me with the form at the bottom of this page. Note: I am more focused on adding deals for locally owned or Minnesota-based companies than national retailers.

From a bottle of wine worth your age to free car washes, I rounded up the best freebies you can snag on your birthday. Check out my segment on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live.

Featured spots:

Free bottle of wine worth your age at Tria Restaurant

  • Located in North Oaks
  • Required to purchase two entrees
  • Must go during your birthday week (3 days before until 3 days after)
  • Credit can be used towards a more expensive bottle
  • Don’t want wine? You can get a free dessert instead

$25 towards dinner at Lindey’s Prime Steak House

Up to $1,000 in slot play at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

  • Located in Prior Lake
  • Must register to be a Club M member and visit guest services the month of your birthday
  • You’ll spin a virtual wheel to win prizes, including free bingo, blackjack play, or up to $1,000 in slot play

Up to $1,000 in slot play and a free buffet at Treasure Island Resort and Casino

  • Located in Welch (near Red Wing)
  • Must register to be a Island Passport Club member and visit a kiosk the month of your birthday
  • You can win up to $1,000 in free slot play
  • You will also receive a free buffet coupon along with a $20 bingo coupon
  • Thanks to Aaron Moy for the tip!

Up to $50 in Grand Play at Grand Casino

  • Note: their freebie has changed since the segment above originally aired
  • On any day during the month of your birthday, head to Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley
  • Spin the wheel for your chance at $5-50 in Grand Play along with free food based on your Grand Rewards membership tier
  • Go on your actual birthday and receive match points for that day’s play

Free car washes at Paradise Car Wash

  • Locations in Apple Valley, Eagan, Bloomington, Savage, Woodbury and Maple Grove
  • Go on your birthday and be ready to show an ID

Other freebies:

Free concert tickets

  • Even if a show is sold out, you and a friend will get in to a show at the First Avenue Mainroom or 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis for free on your birthday
  • Not only do you get in for free, you will get a bottle of bubbly or a drink ticket
  • This deal also applies to First Avenue’s other venues, the Fine Line in Minneapolis and Turf Club in Saint Paul
  • Don’t forget your ID

Free comedy show tickets

  • At ACME Comedy Company in Minneapolis
  • You and three guests can select to attend one Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night show for free the month of your birthday
  • You must submit your request online no later than 3 p.m. the day prior you would like to attend

$15 to IKEA

IKEA Family

  • Minnesota location in Bloomington
  • You must be a member of the IKEA Family program
  • The IKEA website says you receive a “surprise on your birthday” that is valid during your birthday month; I can confirm that it’s $15 to IKEA (with no minimum purchase required) along with a free meatball dinner at their restaurant

IKEA Family certificate
Click here to learn more about this amazing freebie

$5 to Arc’s Value Village

  • Available only at locations in Richfield, New Hope and Bloomington
  • You must be a member of their Village Rewards program

Discount on Botox at Uptown Dermatology & SkinSpa

  • Located in Minneapolis
  • They take $1 off of every year of your age on Botox
  • Get $50 off if you’re 50, $65 off if you’re 65, $75 off if you’re 75

Free mini golf at Can Can Wonderland

  • Can Can Wonderland is right off Pierce Butler Route in Saint Paul
  • On a Thursday during your birthday month, bring at least 3 friends to play mini golf and you will play for free
  • You will also receive a birthday drink of your choice
  • If you would rather play in the arcade, the birthday person receive 2 hours of unlimited arcade play along with a birthday drink
  • Note that only the birthday person receives the freebie, all others must pay

$25 to The Local Minneapolis, The Local West End, Kieran’s Irish Pub, or The Liffey

  • You must sign up for Cara Irish Pubs’ Pub Club at one of the above locations. They say you can reverse register online but I got an error when I tried to do so
  • You will have to register your card once you have it
  • You receive a free appetizer upon activating your card
  • Accounts with no activity for 24 months are automatically deactivated
  • Thanks to Jessica Jensen for the tip!

Free filet mignon dinner at Cherokee Tavern

  • Located in West Saint Paul
  • Head there on Thursday night during the week of your birthday
  • You must show proof of your birthday with a valid ID at the hostess stand
  • Someone at your table must order an entree of $15 or more
  • Thanks to Emily DeCorsey for the tip!

A free burger at Red Cow

  • Three locations in Minneapolis and one in Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of Red Cow’s eClub and you will receive an e-coupon for their Ultimate Burger for your birthday
  • If you don’t want the Ultimate Burger, the coupon can be used for a discount of equal or lesser value
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free order of cheese curds when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free burger at Red Robin

  • Locations in Shoreview, Bloomington, Plymouth and Apple Valley
  • You must be a member of the Red Robin Royalty program
  • Credit is loaded onto your account the first day of the month of your birthday

A free Juicy Lucy at Crooked Pint Ale House

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Chaska, Duluth, Fairbault, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Rochester, and Waite Park
  • You must be a member of their Crooked Rewards program
  • You receive a free Juicy Lucy of your choice for your birthday

A free glass of wine at Red Rabbit

  • Locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of the Red Rabbit eClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a glass of wine, not to exceed $15
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free New World Margherita Pizza when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free meal at HopCat

  • Minnesota location in Minneapolis
  • You must be a member of their HopCat Rewards program (phone app)
  • You are emailed a free birthday meal on your birthday
  • That certificate is good for 30 days
  • Once you join the program, you also receive a free appetizer. That is good for 14 days after signing up
  • If you know someone who has a membership, have them refer you. They will receive points which can be redeemed for free food

FullSizeRender (4)

Also on Give Me the Mike:
A review of HopCat, the Nicollet Mall bar with 80 beers on tap

Four hours of free beer at Skinner’s Pub

Three hours of free drinks at Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Blaine, Rochester and Woodbury
  • On the Friday of your birthday week, grab three friends
  • You get free drinks from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • They will get $3 you-call-its from 9 p.m. – midnight
  • You also get a free t-shirt, mason jar, birthday shot, and birthday toast

A free cannoli at Mario’s Italian Kitchen

  • Located in Watertown
  • You can also get a free drink, but why do that when you can get a cannoli

Free dessert at 6SMITH

  • Located in Wayzata
  • Free piece of chocolate cake with your meal
  • Bonus: let them know in advance you’re celebrating a birthday and they will decorate the table and give you a birthday card that contains $15 off your next visit!

Free dessert at Buca di Beppo

  • Locations in Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • Sign up for their E-Club and you will receive an email for a free Colossal Brownie dessert on your birthday
    • Colossal Brownie voucher is only valid if you dine-in (no to-go orders)
  • Email comes to your inbox a few days before your birthday and expires at the end of your birthday month
  • You will also get $20 off a purchase of $40 or more
    • Discount can be used on online orders

Free personalized bottle of wine at Pazzaluna

  • Located in Saint Paul
  • You must fill out this form in advance
  • You must dine the week of your birthday (up to 3 days before and up to 3 days after)
  • You receive a bottle of wine from their Birthday Wine List along with a free dessert
  • You are required to purchase 2 entrees

Free entree at Houlihan’s

  • Participating locations in Chanhassen, Eagan and Richfield
  • You must be a member of the Houlihan’s email program
  • You also get a $10 credit when signing up

$10 off your dinner at Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill

  • Located in Plymouth
  • Go in to their restaurant and sign up in person for their email list
  • You will get $10 off your birthday dinner
  • The certificate is valid 2 weeks prior until 1 week after your birthday
  • If you go on the day of your birthday, you will also receive a complimentary appetizer or beverage

Free entree from Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano

  • Locations in Andover, Blaine, Ham Lake, Maplewood, New Brighton, Ramsey, Stillwater and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their VIP Email Club
  • Heads up: the electronic coupon only good for 10 days from the day they send the email. My birthday is July 1st and coupon was sent and marked June 27th, meaning I only had until July 7th to redeem it.
  • You also get a free order of queso when signing up (coupon is only good for a week)

Free entree from La Casita

  • Locations in Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Roseville and Waite Park
  • You get a free entree if another food item of equal or lesser value is purchased
  • It must be redeemed on your actual entree and an ID is required
  • Thanks to Kimberly McKay for the tip!

Free deep dish pizza from Green Mill

  • 19 Minnesota locations
  • You must be a member of the Green Mill Rewards Club
  • You receive a certificate for a small one-topping deep dish pizza

Free pizza from Park Tavern

  • Located in Saint Louis Park
  • You must be a member of their EClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a 12″ pizza with up to 3 ingredients. That coupon expires two weeks after it was sent. Mine was sent and marked June 27th, although my birthday is July 1st
  • You also receive $5 off your next meal when you sign up. That certificate expires 1 month after registering

A pizza worth up to $17 from Old Chicago

  • Locations in Roseville, Eden Prairie, Apple Valley, Saint Cloud and Duluth
  • You must sign up for their OC Rewards program at a restaurant or online
  • You must visit an Old Chicago once in the 12 months prior to your birthday in order for the credit to upload to your account
  • The credit is added to your account 7 days prior to your birthday and stays on up to 10 days after your birthday. For my July 1st birthday, my certificate arrived June 24th and expired on July 9th
  • Any unused credit does not apply towards future purchases

Free appetizer or side of ribs at Texas Roadhouse

  • Locations in Coon Rapids and Saint Cloud
  • You must sign up for their email or text list
  • You also get a free appetizer (cactus blossom, fried pickles, tater skins, cheese fries or rattlesnake bites) when signing up

Free dessert with the purchase of an entree at TGI Fridays

  • Locations in Saint Louis Park, Bloomington, Maplewood, Maple Grove, Burnsville and Coon Rapids
  • You must be a member of the Friday Rewards program
  • You also get a free appetizer or dessert when signing up

$10 at Jake’s City Grille

  • Locations in Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maplewood and Plymouth
  • You must become a Dining Rewards member (not available online)

$15 or $20 at Wildfire

  • Minnesota location in Eden Prairie
  • You must become a member of their Frequent Diner Rewards program
  • According to their website, you must have “recent activity on your account”
  • The credit is added the first day of the month of your birthday
  • Blue and silver level members get $15 off their meal; gold level members get $20 off their meal
  • To be a silver level member, you must spend at least $1,000 a year; gold members must spend $2,500
  • Birthday rewards do not expire, but are not cumulative

$30 at Benihana

  • Locations in Bloomington, Maple Grove and Golden Valley
  • You must join The Chef’s Table email list
  • You receive a $30 credit on a meal when another adult teppanyaki entree is purchased
  • The credit can only be used Mondays – Thursdays
  • The credit is valid 29 days from the date it was issued
  • You MUST print the certificate — it cannot be shown on a phone

A free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s

A free Magnificent Seven breakfast at Perkins

$10 at GODIVA

A free bundtlet at Nothing Bundt Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Blaine, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Rochester, St. Paul and Woodbury
  • You must be a member of their EClub

A free cupcake at Lunds & Byerlys

  • 27 Minnesota locations
  • Sign up for their Extras program
  • You will receive an email for a free cupcake that is to be redeemed within two weeks of your birthday

A free cupcake at Nadia Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Maple Grove and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their mailing list

A free pastry, croissant, muffin, scone, sweet roll or cookie at Panera Bread

A free half hoagie and beverage at Hogan Brothers

A free sandwich and beverage at Jersey Mike’s

  • You must be a member of their Email Club
  • On your birthday, you will receive a coupon for a regular sub and a 22 oz drink
  • The coupon is good for one year
  • You must confirm your subscription to the Email Club at least 24 hours before the birthdate you provide, otherwise you won’t receive a coupon

A free sandwich at Which Wich

  • You must be a Vibe Club Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for the Vibe Club at least 30 days before your birthday
  • You may not receive a certificate if you haven’t purchase anything using your Rewards account in the last year

$15 at Finish Line

A free beverage at Caribou Coffee

  • You must be a Caribou Perks member
  • The perk can be used on any beverage, in any size
  • You have 7 days from your birthday to redeem

A free beverage or food item at Starbucks

  • You must a Starbucks Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for Starbucks Rewards at least 7 days before your birthday
  • The credit can be used for a handcrafted beverage, a food item or a ready-to-drink bottled beverage
  • You need to make one other transaction using your Rewards account prior to your birthday each year to receive the credit
  • The credit usually appears on your account 1 to 3 days before your birthday

$5 at Dunn Brothers Coffee

$10 off your meal at Timberlodge Steakhouse

  • The chain restaurant collapsed: the only Minnesota location left is in Owatonna
  • Be weary here: I asked the location to verify this deal; they did not respond to my request

Know a birthday freebie not listed? Tell me!

20 Mexican restaurants in Minnesota worth the trip

Nearly 1,000 votes came in from Twin Cities Live viewers suggesting where they like to go for the best Mexican food in Minnesota. I presented the top 5 picks on TV — and those are listed below.

While votes came in, I heard from people saying that certain Mexican restaurants don’t serve authentic food and that you need to go to specific parts of the Twin Cities to find true Mexican food. That theory is garbage. No matter if you’re in Minneapolis or Madelia, every establishment has a story to tell. Save your comments for some other blog.

There are a lot of Mexican restaurants out there, and I encourage you to try out new spots. Underneath the top 5, check out an expanded list of restaurants which made the top 20, including some of my personal favorites. And let me know what you think! You can reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

  • Boca Chica Restaurante Mexicano y Cantina, Saint Paul
    • Opened in 1964 with just four tables
    • Now has 64 tables and a patio which seats around 75 people
    • They serve a lunch buffet Monday-Friday and a Sunday brunch from 10:00-2:00
    • What to order: Flautas Banderas, Carne a la Tampiqueña, Tacos Monterrey
Boca Chica
  • El Burrito Mercado, Saint Paul
    • Not only a restaurant, but also has a market and cafeteria
    • Opened in 1979
    • Also operate a restaurant and bar in Minneapolis and sell items at Allianz Field in Saint Paul
    • What to order: Chicken Mole, Ceviche de Camaron, Sopes with 3 Guisados
El Burrito Mercado
  • Pajarito, Saint Paul
    • Opened in December 2016 in a building dating back to 1886
    • Stop in for lunch to avoid long wait times
    • Order one of their craft cockails
    • What to order: Chilaquiles, Elote style Brussels Sprouts, Torta
Pajarito
  • La Plaza F!esta, Madelia
    • Originally opened in 2011; a fire completely destroyed the restaurant in 2016
    • They rebuilt and expanded to nearly 150 seats
    • New restaurant includes a grocery store next door
    • All tables and chairs were painted and carved in Mexico
    • What to order: Flaming Cheese, Malcajete F!esta, Seafood Ceviche
La Plaza F!esta
  • Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, Shakopee
    • Opened in 1986
    • 4 expansions and a remodel later, it features 260 seats
    • Family-owned
    • Closed Sundays
    • What to order: Margarita flight, Ultimate Chimichanga, Surf & Turf with Tamale, 3 Enchiladas & Chile Relleno
Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant

Want more recommended Mexican restaurants? Check out these spots, recommended by your votes!

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

Twin Cities Restaurant Room Rental Guide

Sponsored content
Some restaurants listed below advertised with Give Me the Mike to be highlighted in this guide. 

It’s a question I get frequently: ‘Please recommend a restaurant where you can rent a private room. I’m planning a birthday party for a friend.’

I get it. It sure beats out inviting randoms into your house — and then having to clean up after them.

After a while, I thought, ‘Heck, there must be an extensive guide out there listing all these restaurants.’  Well, there are a couple. One, from 2016, is extremely out of date. Many of the restaurants listed have closed. Another one I found is good, but it’s limited.

Wedding planners have their own rental guides, but you don’t need to rent out a 300-person reception hall for your cousin Janet’s 50th birthday. So, I did my research and created this guide.

Happy planning! And if you know of a restaurant not listed, let me know! Reach out to me by filling out this form.

Minneapolis

4 Bells

Seafood Platter (1).jpg
4 Bells, just on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, has incredibly fresh seafood.

1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 904-1163, events@4bells.com
More information

Overlooking Loring Park; the sister restaurant to Butcher & the Boar
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)
Surface pay lot available next door

Venue: Quarters

Quarters Park
There is lots of natural light in the Quarters Dining Room at 4 Bells in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 24
Capacity (cocktail): Not available
Includes access to smart TV
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Roof Top Atrium

4 Bells Roof top.jpg
Roof Top Atrium at 4 Bells.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): 130
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $1,500-9,500)
Additional experiences: includes indoor and outdoor spaces for guests

Venue: Parkside Room, Lounge Room & Hickory Room

4 Bells Hickory Room
Hickory Room at 4 Bells.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40 (Parkside), 30 (Lounge), 14 (Hickory)
Capacity (cocktail): 30 (Lounge)
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $750-2,500

508 Bar + Restaurant

508 Bar
508 Bar + Restaurant is just one block north of Target Center.

508 North First Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 339-0036, events@the508mpls.com

Close to Target Center and Target Field
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Lower Level

508 Bar Lower Level
The Lower Level at 508 Bar + Restaurant has no rental fee and no food and beverage minimum.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 150
Capacity (cocktail): 347
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to projector, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Pool Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to projector, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Butcher & the Boar

Butcher & the Boar.jpg
The Beer Garden at Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

1121 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-8888, events@butcherandtheboar.com
More information

Just a couple blocks from Minneapolis’ Theater District
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)

Venue: Boar Room

Boar Room table & bar.jpg
The Boar Room in the basement of Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 32
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500

Venue: Butcher Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 18
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Beer Garden
Private and semi-private options available
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, private entrance, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $2,500-9,500)

Cafe and Bar Lurcat

Cafe and Bar Lurcat, overlooking Loring Park in Minneapolis.

1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 486-5500, lurcat@damico.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Valet parking is available ($12 if hosted, $10 cash)

Venue: Private Dining Room

The Private Dining Room at Lurcat.

Private
Capacity (seated): 55
Capacity (cocktail): 70
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, ability to rent private bar with additional charge, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500 Sunday to Thursday evenings, $6,000 Friday and Saturday evenings — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: Bose Sound Tower/microphone available for rental; includes access to back patio from June 1st to October 1st for cocktail hour; offers large windows overlooking Loring Park

Venue: Lofted Bar Mezzanine

The semi-private Lofted Mezzanine at Lurcat provides a more intimate setting.

Semi-Private
Capacity (seated): 30
Capacity (cocktail): 30
Includes access to private restrooms
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $500 Sunday to Thursday, $1,000 Friday and Saturday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: offers great views of the main bar floor; area for cocktail reception within the space

Venue: Bar Buyout

Planning a big party? Turn Lurcat’s bar into a dance floor!

Private
Capacity (seated): 150-180
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $500 Monday to Thursday, $2,000 Friday and Saturday, $1,000 Sunday
Food and beverage minimum: $10,000 Monday, $12,000 Tuesday and Wednesday, $15,000 Thursday, $25,000 Friday and Saturday, $12,000 Sunday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: part of the restaurant can turn into a dance floor with room for a band

Erte’ & the Peacock Lounge

323 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413
More information

Venue: Chef’s Table Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $20 per person, minimum of 12 people

Venue: Erte’ Main Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

Venue: The Peacock Lounge
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 54
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

PDR(1).jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

31 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 216-3473

Located inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown

Venue: Private Dining Room

PDR(2)
Private Dining Room at FireLake.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $600-2,000

Venue: Half Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $300-1,000

Venue: Board Room

Boardroom
Board Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 14
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $200-700

The Freehouse

Freehouse Beer.jpg
Guests at the The Freehouse can go on their own on-site brewery tour.

701 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis 55401
(612) 339-7011, michelle.dimuzio@blueplateco.com
More information

Part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
On-site parking is under construction (more details available March 2019)
Valet parking is available ($6)

Venue: Volstead Lounge

Volstead Lounge 3.jpg
Volstead Lounge at The Freehouse.

Semi-private, curtains can be drawn closed
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: go on an on-site brewery tour or add a beer tasting or cocktail class for your group! The Volstead Lounge also offers beer and wine paired dinners.

Venue: Back Bar Area

Freehouse 3.jpg
The Freehouse in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 25
Capacity (cocktail): 40-50
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $250 per hour

Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant

_DSC3909.jpg
Gluek’s Bar and Restaurant is in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

16 North Sixth Street, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-6621, party@glueks.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Venue: Banquet Room

_DSC3912.jpg
The Banquet Room at Gluek’s has no rental fee.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 60+
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: includes access to Beer Garden  

Hell’s Kitchen

hells kitchen.jpg
Hell’s Kitchen is centrally located downtown Minneapolis, within walking distance to downtown hotels, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center and the Convention Center.

80 South Ninth Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 238-1427, events@hellskitcheninc.com 
More information

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Underground Room

Underground 2up_
The Underground Room at Hell’s Kitchen comes with a full stage, a 12-foot projector screen, and no rental fee.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 160
Capacity (cocktail): 325
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: full stage; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Minnesota Room

MNRoom 2up_
The Minnesota Room at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 135
Capacity (cocktail): 200
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Far Side Pub

Far Side Pub2up_
Hell’s Kitchen is connected to the Minneapolis skyway system and the restaurant has a parking ramp attached to its lobby.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Full Restaurant Buyout
Private
Capacity (seated): 345
Capacity (cocktail): 425
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: 2 full bars; private restrooms; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Masu Sushi & Robata

The Nomu Room Bar and Private Dining 2
Masu Sushi & Robata’s location in Northeast Minneapolis has a private room with no rental fee.

330 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55414
(612) 332-6278, info@masusushiandrobata.com

Located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages (with two weeks notice)
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Nomu Room

The Nomu Room Private Dining.jpg
The Nomu Room at Masu Sushi & Robata in Northeast Minneapolis has its own bar and private restrooms.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,200

Saint Paul

DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar

DeGidios 2.jpg
DeGidio’s is located along West 7th in Saint Paul, not far from downtown, but quite accessible for guests.

425 Seventh Street West, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 291-7105, info@degidios.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available (for events and after 5:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday nights October – March)

Venue: DeGidio Event Venue

DeGidios 3
The Event Venue at DeGidio’s and seat up to 160 people and does not have a rental fee.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40 to 160
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0 (deposit of $100 required for Sunday – Thursday nights and $500 for Friday – Saturday nights)
Food and beverage minimum: There is a $22 food minimum per adult in the DeGidio Event Venue. Beverages do no count toward the minimum. There is a $1,000 food minimum for events with less than 45 guests on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is a $750 food minimum Sunday – Thursday evenings for events with less than 35 guests. Children under 10 are half price.

The Happy Gnome

Happy Gnome.jpg
The Happy Gnome on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul. Photo courtesy Poppy Seed Photography

498 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 287-2018, emily@thehappygnome.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking available as a package

Venue: The Fireside Room

Happy Gnome Fireside Room.jpg
The second level Fireside Room at The Happy Gnome comes with white linens and a roaring fire. Photo courtesy Poppy Seed Photography

Private
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 125
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms
Rental fee: $350
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night — $1,000 Sunday to Wednesday evenings, $2,500 Thursday and Friday evenings, $3,500 Saturday evenings
Additional experiences: room rental comes with linens, candles, coffee service and a fireplace

Holman’s Table

Holmans Table 1.jpg
Holman’s Table is dinner and a show. Diners get a view of the tarmac of airplanes taking off at the Saint Paul Downtown Airport.

644 Bayfield Street, Saint Paul 55107
(612) 800-5298, contact@holmanstable.com
More information

View of the Holman Field tarmac
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced and split amongst guests (based on event)
Valet parking available for hire

Venue: Earhart Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: based on event
Food and beverage minimum: based on event

Bloomington

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

FireLake Private Dining Room 2.jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside Radisson Blu Mall of America.

2100 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington 55425
(952) 851-4040, reservationsmoa@firelakerestaurant.com

Inside the Radisson Blu Mall of America; connected to the Mall by skyway
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests up to 5 ways
On-site parking is available ($17)
Additional on-site parking is available in the Mall of America ramps
Valet parking is available ($12 event parking, $25 overnight parking)

Venue: Dining Room

FireLake Private Dining Room 1.jpeg
The Semi-Private Dining Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu Mall of America.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies

Venue: Lounge

FireLake Cocktail Bar Pool Tables.jpg
Guests in The Lounge at FireLake can enjoy a game of pool.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 46
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies
Additional experiences: includes 2 pool tables

Lela Restaurant

Lela PDR
The Private Dining Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

5601 West 78th Street, Bloomington 55439
(952) 656-5980, events@lelarestaurant.com
More information

Attached to the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Lela Private Dining Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): 20-40
Includes access to smart TV,  handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Lela Lounge

Lela Lounge
The Lela Lounge gives you access to happy hour prices.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 58
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: happy hour menu available in this space

Venue: Lela Wine Room

Lela Wine Room
The Wine Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 10
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Chanhassen

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Chanhassen Fireside.jpeg
Whether your group has 4 people or 300, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has a venue to accommodate you.

501 West 78th Street, Chanhassen 55317
(952) 934-1524, randerson@chanhassendt.com
More information

The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres isn’t just for date nights and wedding receptions!
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Discounts or packages for groups of 12 or more may be available for performances in the Main Dinner Theatre, Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret, and the Fireside Theatre Concert Series. Call (952) 934-1547 for details.

Venue: The Club

Club1.jpg
The Club at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

Private
Capacity (seated): 175
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Garden, Jonathan and Carver Rooms

Ballroom1.jpg
From 50 to 300 people, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres can accommodate groups of all sizes!

Private
Capacity (seated): 250 — the rooms can be divided and closed off for smaller parties (as few as 50)
Capacity (cocktail): 300
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible (note: dancing area is not handicap accessible)
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Director’s Suites — available for Main Stage shows at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Private
Capacity (seated): 4 or 33 (two Suites available)
Capacity (cocktail): 33
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee)
Rental fee: guests must purchase dinner and show tickets
Food and beverage minimum: a minimum of 20 people for larger space

Maple Grove

Lookout Bar and Grill

Banquet room
The Lookout Bar and Grill in Maple Grove.

8672 Pineview Lane, Maple Grove 55369
(763) 424-4365
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Patioview and Fireside Rooms

patioview 3
The Fireside Room at the Lookout Bar and Grill.

Private
Capacity (seated): 60 (if booked together)
Capacity (cocktail): 70 (if booked together)
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: Patioview comes with a private patio space

Saint Louis Park

Park Tavern

Park Tavern.jpg
Throw a bowling party at the Park Tavern in Saint Louis Park.

3401 Louisiana Avenue South, Saint Louis Park 55426
(952) 929-6810, reservations@parktavern.net
More information

Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Atrium

Park Tavern Atrium
The Atrium inside Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Party Room

Park Tavern Party Room
There is no food and beverage minimum for the Party Room at the Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Bowling Lanes

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 200
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: 20 bowling lanes; 3 buffet areas; children’s arcade; smoking patio

Venue: 11th Frame

Park Tavern 11th Frame
Rent out the entire 11th Frame, which can turn into a private bar for your group.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: space includes 13 TVs, 4 pool tables, 5 dart boards, Big Buck Hunter video game, Golden Tee video game, Skee Ball machine, TouchTunes juke box, seasonal outdoor patio with additional 120 seats available

Wayzata

6Smith

294 Grove Lane North, Wayzata 55391
(952) 698-7900, party@6smith.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available ($8)

Venue: Revel Room

Revel+Room.jpg
The Revel Room at 6Smith includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka and a private patio.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 50
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,250-3,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: Knotty Room

Knotty+Room.JPG
The Knotty Room at 6Smith in Wayzata.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 14
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $500-1,250)

Venue: Revel & Knotty Rooms 

6Smith+Revel+Knotty.JPG
Combine the Revel & Knotty Rooms at 6Smith for additional space.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 86
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $2,000-4,200)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: The Tavern

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 64
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,000-5,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka

Woodbury

Angelina’s Kitchen

Angelinas 1.jpg
Angelina’s Kitchen in Woodbury.

2170 Eagle Creek Lane, Suite H, Woodbury 55129
(651) 998-0474, angela@angelinaskitchen.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages

Venue: Tuscany Room

Angelinas 2
The Tuscany Room at Angelina’s Kitchen has no rental fee.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart Apple TV, access to private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0, a service fee of $30 per hour per staff member will be charged; staff count will be determined by guest count, menu and service style
Food and beverage minimum: private events: $1,500 Monday – Thursday, $2,000 Friday – Saturday; $0 for semi-private

With the crowdsourced list of restaurants below, it’s recommended you visit their websites to ensure they offer the private dining options you need. 

Minneapolis

Saint Paul

Arden Hills

Apple Valley

Blaine

Bloomington

Brooklyn Center

Brooklyn Park

Burnsville

Champlin

Chanhassen

Coon Rapids

Eagan

Eden Prairie

Edina

Excelsior

Golden Valley

Hastings

Hopkins

Long Lake

Maple Grove

Maplewood

Mendota

Minnetonka

New Hope

Plymouth

Richfield

Rogers

Rosemount

Roseville

Saint Louis Park

Savage

Shakopee

Spring Park

Stillwater

Vadnais Heights

Wayzata

Woodbury

Guide: Twin Cities events leading up to the big game

I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of everything happening in the Twin Cities leading up to the big game at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4. I’m ready to help you find the best activities. Embrace the chaos — we won’t see anything this big come through Minnesota for decades!

Am I missing an event? Let me know! Tweet @mike_marcotte or hit me up on Facebook.

Last updated 1/28/18

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ice-Palace-Final.png
A rendering of the 2018 Ice Palace in Rice Park. To date, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has built 36 ice castles. Photo credit: St. Paul Winter Carnival
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s Ice Palace opens today. Stop by Rice Park at 6:00 p.m. for a lighting ceremony. The Ice Palace will stay up through February 10, weather depending.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: For $25, you can buy an ice block used to build this year’s Ice Palace. You won’t receive the block, but you will get a certificate.
  • The Winter Carnival actually kicks off with a Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade in downtown Saint Paul. Festivities start at 5:15 p.m. at the Securian Building (401 Robert Street). Your family can walk with the St. Paul Bouncing Team, Winter Carnival royalty and others to Rice Park starting at 6:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Dig around your house for glow sticks and other items to light up the night.
FFTC_FB_Logo_big
My friends at Family Fun Twin Cities have a guide featuring the best Winter Carnival events for you and your kiddos. Check it out here.
  • The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships kick off tonight on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. The four-day event is part of The Great Northern Festival. Opening ceremonies are Friday morning.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but if you want to play a game, you need to register in advance.
    • What’s the cost? Spectators can watch for free.
  • Even Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is embracing the ‘Bold North’ theme. The winter flower show in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory will feature shades of purple (fitting), silver and white.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free!
    • Know before you go: You’ll have plenty of time to check out this flower show. It runs through March 11.
  • You’ll plunge 40 feet down and glide 130 feet in an inner-tube at CHS Field for the Saint Paul Super Slide. Open through February 10, the Super Slide also features a trout ice fishing experience from January 27 – February 3.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $10 adults, $5 kids. Your ticket gets you unlimited access on the slide for 60 minutes.
    • Know before you go: Metro Transit’s Green Line light rail ends at CHS Field. It’s a great way to get to Lowertown Saint Paul without having to worry about traffic.
  • An ice bar is open on the roof of The Lexington in Saint Paul. Check it out Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. through February 10.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: The team at Summit will unleash and serve their newest brew, Dakota Soul, at the ice bar. The Czech-style Pilsner is made from hops grown on the family farm of Summit’s Founder and President, Mark Stutrud.
  • Go on a historic walking tour of downtown Saint Paul dive bars tonight. Stops include current bar, Kelly’s, along with the stories of bars which have shuttered. The loop is about 1.5 miles and the event starts at 6:30 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Plan some extra time navigating downtown Saint Paul tonight. The St. Paul Winter Carnival will take over Rice Park with the opening of their Ice Palace.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Vulcan Snow Park.jpg
The Vulcan Snow Park opens today with a 300 foot-long snow slide. Photo credit: Vulcan Snow Park via Facebook
  • During the Winter Carnival, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds turn into a Snow Park. You’ll find it where the Kidway is during the Great Minnesota Get Together. It features a 16 foot-high and 300 foot-long snow slide, the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition, along with two new events in 2018: barstool ski races and lawn mower races. Note that Fair buildings aren’t open, meaning the most luxurious restroom you’ll find is the port-a-potty.
    • Is it open to the public? Ya sure, you betcha. Festivities go January 26 through February 11.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free to get into the Fairgrounds and in the Snow Park, but if you want to go do that snow slide, it’s $2 per ride. They provide the sleds.
    • Know before you go: Over 50,000 cubic feet of snow (both natural and man-made) are used to make the slide and the sculptures.
  • Today marks the opening of Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Minnesota music legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis coordinated the music lineup that’s comprised of mostly local artists. However, it’ll kick off with Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go.” You’ll find performance times here. (Idina Menzel takes the stage during a ceremony that begins at 5:00 p.m.) Super Bowl LIVE runs through Sunday, February 4. It opens at 10:00 a.m. on weekends and 4:00 p.m. weekdays. Before you go, read my list of the five things you don’t want to miss at Super Bowl LIVE.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. Many media outlets, including NFL Network and NBC Sports, will broadcast from this area, too.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free. No ticket is necessary.
    • Know before you go: It’s (mostly) outside. If you can’t handle the cold while you’re there, head up Nicollet Mall to the IDS Center and the Dayton’s Project. Also, don’t forget to stop at 6th Street and Nicollet Mall to get your photo taken with huge Roman Numeral LII ice sculptures. This map gives you a good glimpse on what you’ll find at Super Bowl LIVE.
  • If you see people flying over the Mississippi River, you’re not seeing things. Today marks the beginning of the Bold North Zip Line. Participants will soar for 800 feet towards downtown while they’re 100 feet in the air.
    1. Is it open to the public? Well…it was. Tickets sold out fast and are no longer available.
    2. What’s the cost? If you don’t have a ticket, you’re out of luck. I went down the zip line on January 26 and brought cameras with me. Watch that here.
    3. Know before you go: If you do have a time slot, you need to check in at the beginning of your scheduled time slot at 7th Street and Nicollet Mall. Participants will be shuttled to the zip line. Note that people who don’t have a ticket to go on the zip line will not be allowed on the shuttle.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota brands will open a pop-up mall inside City Center in Downtown Minneapolis today. According to Ali Kaplan at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, The North Local Market features Hagen and Oats woodwork, Worker B skin care products, home decor from i like you, and more. Minnesota-based Smile Network International will take over 7,000 square-feet inside City Center, too. The North Local Market kicks off at 4:00 p.m. Friday, January 26 and will be open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through Sunday, February 4.
    • Is it open to the public? Yep. Bring your wallet.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Make sure you take the skyway next door to the Dayton’s Project. An NFL Shop, along with a CNN broadcast studio, will be set up there.
  • If you’re downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet Mall, make sure to trek up to 5th and Nicollet to view ‘Sota Pop, a series of photo ops that are uniquely Minnesotan. It’s open various hours daily through February 4.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: It’s just steps from the Nicollet Mall light rail station.
  • Don’t want to drive up to the cities? I don’t blame you. Dakota County Parks are hosting a candlelight walk in Hastings along the Mississippi River tonight from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Bonfires and grub from food trucks will help warm you up.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $5. Kids 5 and under are free.
    • Know before you go: They’re looking for volunteers to help with the event. You’ll get in for free and a free meal, too. Learn more. 
  • It doesn’t get much more Minnesotan this this. The creative geniuses at Inbound BrewCo near Target Field in Minneapolis will have shuffleboard outdoors, but instead of traditional discs, they’re using pucks of frozen hot dish. It runs daily through Sunday, February 4. Learn more here.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free!
    • Know before you go: Inbound BrewCo is in North Loop, and no matter which direction you’re coming from, you should be able to avoid driving through downtown Minneapolis to get there.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate isn’t only in downtown Saint Paul. Loring Park, located just south of downtown Minneapolis, is home to a rink that’s bigger and less busy than the one you’ll find near Rice Park. Starting today, they’re hosting 10 days of activities from “fitness skating” to skating lessons and even a skating party with a showing of the movie, “Remember the Titans.” It’s open daily through March 4.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free. Skate rental is free when their warming house is open.
    • Know before you go: Okay, this is good. Organizers are planning a mass skating party of drag queens on Saturday, February 3 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Super Bowl Experience.jpg
The Super Bowl Experience runs January 27 through February 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
  • The Minneapolis Convention Center turns into an interactive theme park for the Super Bowl Experience starting today. At the family-friendly event, you can score autographs from NFL players, take a photo with the Vince Lombardi trophy, get some new gear at the NFL Shop and kiddos can participate in a NFL Play clinic. The Super Bowl Experience is open through Saturday, February 3.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and under. They’re available on Ticketmaster.
    • Know before you go: If you’re going to go on a weekend, please, please, please don’t try to park downtown Minneapolis. On January 27, 28 and February 3, Metro Transit is offering Park & Ride buses from Maple Grove, Blaine, Maplewood, Minnetonka and Richfield. It’ll drop you off at 11th Street and 2nd Avenue, which is just one block from the Super Bowl Experience. And it’s only $2.50 each way. Learn more here.
  • On the east side of the Mississippi, the St. Paul Winter Carnival hosts its annual King Boreas Grand Day Parade. Enjoy dozens of marching bands and wave at royalty from around the Twin Cities. The parade starts at 2:00 p.m. and marches down West Seventh Street from the Smith Avenue High Bridge to Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free.
    • Know before you go: Watch the parade from the end of the route near Rice Park. If you or the kiddos need to warm up, head inside Landmark Center for Kids Day activities including a puzzle contest and entertainment. Learn more.
  • The Saintly City Cat Show runs today and Sunday at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Hundreds of cats will claw their way to be crowned the Household Pet King and Queen.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $4 adults, $3 for seniors and children.
    • Know before you go: The Cat Show is hosted by the Saintly City Cat Club, which started nearly 45 years ago.
  • This sounds extremely Minnesotan: watch robotic snowplows compete in an Autonomous Snowplow Competition in conjunction with the Winter Carnival today and Sunday. You’ll see it in Rice Park in front of the library.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: College teams come from as far as Michigan to compete.
  • It’s the second of four weekends for the Ice Shanty Projects on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Check out ice houses designed by some creative folks; past ice shanties allowed visitors to take an imaginative elevator ride, relieve stress and play music. This year, a Notary Shanty will have a Notary Public inside for that form you need stamped. Go today (Saturday, January 27) for the Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: You’ll want to park near the Lake Harriet Bandshell. It’s about 1,000 feet on the ice. Parking around the Bandshell is extremely limited so pack some patience with those hand warmers.
  • If the boxed wine you buy with three bottles of vino inside makes you feel like a lush, wait until you see the bottle they’re uncorking today at The St. Paul Grill. It’s 18 liters of Cabernet Sauvignon. That one bottle has enough vino for 100 people to have a full glass.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you need to make a reservation.
    • What’s the cost? $35 per person.
    • Know before you go: Only eight of these 18 liter bottles were made last year.
  • A reminder that one of the cheapest places to ice skate in the Twin Cities, Wells Fargo WinterSkate, is open through February 11 outside the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. If you don’t like crowds, today may not be the best day to go.
    • What’s the cost? If you bring your own skates, it’s free. If you flash a Wells Fargo credit or debit card, you can rent skates for free.
    • Know before you go: Pay close attention to when open skate takes place. The rink closes for leagues and private events.
  • As part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the Orchid Society of Minnesota hosts its annual Orchid Show in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park Zoo today and tomorrow.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $5 adults, $3 kids 3-12 years old.
    • Know before you go: Spend some extra time in the Conversatory’s Sunken Garden. It’s home to the Bold North Flower Show featuring flowers in various shades of purple, silver and white.
  • Thrivent Financial in downtown Minneapolis is host of the Super Hats and Mittens event today from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Enjoy free food, beverages and even parking when you pre-register (they are asking for a donation for the non-profit, Hats and Mittens). Kiddos can make hats and mittens out of fleece, visit a sheep petting zoo and dance to some tunes.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. You really should pre-register. Do that here.
    • What’s the cost? Technically it’s free, but the event is hoping to raise funds to hand out 52,000 pairs of mittens and hats to those in need.
    • Know before you go: If you want to pair this with a trip to Super Bowl LIVE, you’ll walk about four blocks to get to the beginning. Thrivent Financial is about seven blocks away — you may want to hop in the skyway.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Yes, I make money when you click this link. And you get free shipping! Win-win.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

FullSizeRender (4)
HopCat opened along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis last summer. Read my review here.
  • Fans of Surly beer, listen up. HopCat, located along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, is teaming up with the Twin Cities based brewery for a 52 tap takeover in honor of SB 52. Organizers are calling it the largest assembly of Surly beer ever. The first 100 people who arrive at 10:00 a.m. will receive a pint glass. Attendees can sip on Surly’s classics — Hell, Furious — along with their 11 anniversary beers and seven varieties of Darkness. With 52 beers to choose from, there’s probably something you’ll enjoy. See the full list of beers here.
    • Is it open to the public? Yep.
    • What’s the cost? Free. Sweet. Well the beer isn’t free.
    • Know before you go: HopCat is right on the light rail. Take the train.
  • The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is partnering with Minneapolis churches to host an interfaith gathering to celebrate unity today at 2:00 p.m. inside Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at Nicollet Mall and 12th Street. Bold Hope in the North will raise money to combat homelessness.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free. However, attendees will be asked to donate to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
    • Know before you go: Homeless Twin Cities families who were living in hotel rooms are being forced out due to visitor demand. Attending this event will help the Twin Cities as a whole make sure everyone has a place to sleep.
  • Don’t want to make your way into the city? Stillwater is host once again to the Ice Castles. 25 million pounds of ice create quite the spectacle along the Saint Croix River. There are great photo opportunities, an ice slide and you won’t have to worry about an icicle poking your eye out. Best of all, they lowered the admission prices for 2018. The end date is typically sometime in March, but it depends on the weather. The Ice Castles is closed Tuesdays and on Sunday, February 4. Go at night…your photos will look better. Make sure to order tickets in advance.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Minneapolis

Also on Give Me The Mike…
Driving and parking advice for events happening in Minneapolis

Monday, January 29, 2018

Super Bowl Opening Night
Super Bowl Opening Night is only in its second year. It is the first (and only) time the Super Bowl teams will interact with each other before the big game.
  • It is officially Super Bowl Opening Night! The Xcel Energy Center will welcome both Super Bowl teams who will chat with the media at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. The event is actually open to fans who will witness the media circus along with appearances by mascots and cheerleaders. You’ll also go home with a Super Bowl gift bag and radio. The event is televised on NFL Network and ESPN 2.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, actually.
    • What’s the cost? The cheapest seats I found are $48. They’re available on Ticketmaster.
    • Know before you go: This is the only time both Super Bowl teams will interact with each other before the big game.
  • The Great Northern Festival is a collaborative effort between the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the City of Lakes Loppet and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, which all embrace winter in the bold north. Organizers also plan some original events, including this Instgrammer’s dream: an outdoor feast. Adam Eaton from Saint Dinette and Thomas Boemer from Corner Table join forces once again to plan your dinner for a Chef Experience. And this year, it’s in Lowertown Saint Paul. They recruited Tim McKee and Shane Oporto from OCTO Fishbar to take it to a higher level. There’s a fire kitchen, outdoor games, ice sculptures, music and drinks.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $45 for general admission. VIP tickets are $125. Purchase them here.
  • Super Bowl LIVE, along Nicollet Mall, will be special tonight. The NFL announced that tonight is Prince Night, with scheduled performances by The Revolution, Sheila E. and Morris Day and the Time and other artists with professional ties to late Minnesota-born icon. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Super Bowl LIVE opens at 4:00 p.m. The concert schedule has not been released.
  • The NFL is giving kids with mobility challenges a chance to get active. The Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis will host an all-ability event today from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. I’m working with the NFL to get additional information to see if it’s a good fit for your family.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. Today, they’re having a skating tribute to Minnesota music icon, Prince. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Frogtown Curling.jpeg
Take curling 101 at FrogFest, hosted by the Frogtown Curling Club in Saint Paul. Photo credit: Frogtown Curling Club
  • You can get a hands-on lesson in curling at FrogFest in Saint Paul. The Frogtown Curling Club will teach you how to sweep a stone and throw a rock. Plus, the team from the newly-opened restaurant, Pajarito, will serve up dinner. FrogFest goes from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
    •  Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s $1200 for a group of 10 (so $120 a person). Seems a bit steep. Starting January 27, they’ll open it up to single tickets (those will be $120 each). To reserve, you’ll need to email manager@frogtown.org or call the Club.
    • Know before you go: FrogFest is part of The Great Northern Festival, a collaboration of events which embrace cold weather.
  • The Super Bowl Experience, inside the Minneapolis Convention Center, is closed to the public today. However, veterans, along with active military and their families, will receive free admission from 3:00-8:00 p.m.
  • The men behind the North Loop clothing store Askov Finlayson are teaming up with Northeast Minneapolis-based Fair State Brewing Cooperative to release a new beer called Keep the North Cold. You can try it at the Welcome to the North party at at Askov Finlayson from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Eat chili made by The Bachelor Farmer and warm up by a bonfire with a hot cocktail.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: Askov Finlayson recently partnered with Target to release a new line of clothes and accessories which highlight the North.
  • See professional ski jumpers from around the world strut their stuff at a competition in Bloomington tonight. Hyland Hills Ski Area plays host to the event, which begins at 7:00 p.m. Competitors will fly as far as possible, reaching speeds of over 50 miles per hour.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Those older than 12 will pay $10 at the gate.
    • Know before you go: Onsite parking is really limited. Off-site parking is where they get you — that’s $20 a car.
  • If you’re looking for a free meal, head to the snazzy-hipster James Ballentine VFW in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis tonight. The team at Minnesota-based Heggies Pizza want to prove their pizza is better than what Papa John is serving up, so they have a Great Pizza Snowdown taste-off at 6:00 p.m. Complimentary Heggies will be served, along with a side of smack talk.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: The team at Heggies recently flew to Louisville to deliver their pizzas to those at Papa John’s corporate office. See photos.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Inclusion Party.jpeg
Proceeds from the Inclusion Party go to Hate is Wrong, a non-profit whose mission is to foster diversity in sports and anti-bullying among youth. Photo credit: Hate is Wrong
  • Former Vikings player Esera Tuaolo, who is openly gay, is the host for an Inclusion Party. The event, sponsored by the NFL, is designed to bring the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and football communities closer together. Performances include contestants from season 13 of “The Voice” along with a DJ. It takes place at The Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but a ticket is required. 21+.
    • What’s the cost? General admission is $50. VIP tickets are $250.
    • Know before you go: “The Voice” season 13 finalist Red Marlow is schedule to perform.
  • Super Brain 2018 gives a medical spin to the Super Bowl. The event will share research underway regarding concussion and traumatic brain injury. Former NFL player and Twin Cities resident Ben Utecht will speak.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you need to purchase a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? $350. All event proceeds will benefit the Brain Research Lab at Hennepin County Medical Center.
    • Know before you go: Ben Utecht has a Super Bowl ring, which he secured as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
  • If you want to venture out but don’t want to tackle downtown Minneapolis, check out Minnesota Monthly’s Tacos & Tequila After Dark event. The event includes food, premium tequila along with salsa dancing. It runs from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. It is 21+.
    • What’s the cost? $65.
  • Head to the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis to see ESPN’s newsroom. Their football-themed shows, including SportsCenter, will broadcast live from the indoor urban park through Super Bowl Sunday.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s free.
    • Know before you go: This is not the first ESPN broadcast from the IDS Center. They set up shop there during the 1991 NCAA Final Four.
  • CRAVE in downtown Minneapolis opens a rooftop Ice Lounge and Ice Fishing Experience today. Check out ice sculptures, pony up to an ice bar and go through a “virtual” ice fishing experience with real ice houses and even professional ice fishing guides.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets are required; check website for details.
    • Know before you go: You can rent one of the ice houses for the evening or by the hour.
  • The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team takes the field tonight at Sea Foam Stadium on the campus of Concordia University in Saint Paul. They’ll play against a team of NFL Alumni. The Amputee Football Team is 17-0 against those alumni.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $10 adults, kids 12 and under free. Active and retired military and their families get in for free, up to 1,000 seats.
    • Know before you go: Parking at Sea Foam Stadium isn’t abundant. Plan some extra time to get there.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cigars.png
Former NFL Coach Mike Ditka hosts his annual party tonight in Northeast Minneapolis.
  • Cigars and top-shelf scotch doesn’t sound like a bad plan for a Thursday night. Join Mike Ditka for his annual Ditka & Jaws Cigars with the Stars event at the Machine Shop in Minneapolis. Attendees last year included Emmitt Smith, John Randle and Matt Birk.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. A ticket is required.
    • What’s the cost? It’ll set you back $500.
    • Know before you go: The Machine Shop, near Saint Anthony Main, is one the newest event spaces in the Twin Cities.
  • Revel in fire dancers, ice sculptures and two dance clubs during the Arctic Bold Fashion Show at Stella’s Fish Cafe in uptown Minneapolis. The event is hosted by Idris Elba from HBO’s “The Wire.”
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. You’ll need to buy a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? $150.
    • Know before you go: The winner of a raffle at the event will drive around the Twin Cities in a Maserati over the big game weekend.
  • NFL team owners will congregate for dinner at Union Depot in Saint Paul. Sting is scheduled to perform.
    • Is it open to the public? Good luck.
  • The north metro is celebrating the big game with a Purple & Gold Kickoff Party at the Mermaid Event Center is Mounds View. Two DJs, including the Timberwolves’ Mad Mardigan, will spin tunes. Plenty of former Vikings players are scheduled to appear.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $99. VIP admission is $249.
    • Know before you go: Organizers claim this party will have the largest collection of Minnesota professional players in any one spot during the week.
  • The Chainsmokers start four nights of concerts inside Club Nomadic at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. The Nomadic Entertainment team are also running the concerts inside the newly renovated Armory in downtown Minneapolis. Let’s try this one again. In mid-January, Nomadic Entertainment pulled the plug on Club Nomadic at Mystic Lake. The official cause was not made official, but my guess is that ticket sales were poor. The concerts will go on, but instead of taking place in a pop-up venue, they’ll take place in either the Mystic Lake Center, a new venue at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, or in the Mystic Showroom.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $89. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. The concert begins at 9:00 p.m. If you purchased a $200 Club Nomadic ticket, Mystic Lake says ticket-holders can keep their tickets for best access to the stage or get a full refund.
    • Know before you go: This concert is in the Mystic Lake Center, a new, indoor venue at the Casino.
  • The only inspirational music event sanctioned by the NFL takes place tonight on the campus of Bethel University. The NFL Gospel Celebration includes performances by Sounds of Blackness and the NFL Players Choir.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets are $25 – 75.
    • Know before you go: Minnesota-native and Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald, along with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be honored.
  • The Armory in downtown Minneapolis transforms into Nomadic LIVE with three concerts along with a VIP party at the big game. Tonight’s concert features Imagine Dragons and starts at 8:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $175.
    • Know before you go: The Armory is right along Metro Transit’s light rail. Get off at U.S. Bank Stadium station.
  • Former Minnesota Vikings Assistant Coach Tony Dungy will be honored during the Legends for Charity Dinner at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis. The evening is hosted by Rich Eisen and is a fundraiser for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $250.
    • Know before you go: It looks like Payton Manning will hand out the awards.
  • The Golf Channel sets up shop inside the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis for two nights of Feherty Live. Hosted by David Feherty, the annual broadcast draws A-list celebrities on stage. Shows are Thursday and Friday nights at 7:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? You can buy a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? $53.50
    • Know before you go: Want to save $53.50 and a trip downtown Minneapolis? The show will air live on The Golf Channel.
  • It’s night one of the TAO Group parties inside the Lumber Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis. Rick Ross is scheduled to perform; Lil Jon will serve as DJ.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $249.
    • Know before you go: There’s an open bar from 10:00 – 11:00 p.m.
  • Rapper Gucci Mane performs at Muse Event Center in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. The concert starts at 10:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $300. It’s steep. You can buy tickets here.
    • Know before you go: The 37 year-old Gucci Mane is considered a pioneer in the hip hop genre trap music.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will host an ice maze starting tonight. It’ll be up through February 4 and is open during museum hours. Walk through it to view objects from Mia’s upcoming special exhibition showcasing China’s last dynasty.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: If you head tonight (February 1), Mia will be serving free hot cocoa!
  • Justin Timberlake is hosting a listening party for his new album, “Man of the Woods” at the home of Prince, Paisley Park. Attendees will be asked to put their phones, cameras and other recording devices in secured pouches beforehand. Justin’s newest record releases on Friday, February 2.
    • Is it open to the public? Not anymore. Completely sold out. If you want, you can submit your email and be notified if more tickets become available.
  • The City of Bloomington is in the thick of big game madness and will embrace all the visitors with a three-day winter art celebration which kicks off today. Illuminate South Loop will showcase interactive art installations and performances designed and produced by artists from Minnesota and around the world. It takes place at Bloomington Central Station, just steps from Metro Transit’s light rail stop and just one stop from Mall of America.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free to attend.
    • Know before you go: On Saturday at 4:00 p.m., Illuminate South Loop will host a Cheer Hour featuring a heated tent with food, drinks and a performance to cheer on the coming of spring. That event is ticketed; it’s $40.
  • ‘Tis the season for bars made of ice. Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3, is hosting one that was custom designed by countertop company Cambria. The ice bar is open outside their location in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. through Sunday.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free to attend.
    • Know before you go: This is one where you’ll want to dress to impress.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Lexington on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul has a rooftop ice bar open from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights January 19 – February 10.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Nomadic Live.png
A vision of what The Armory will look like in Downtown Minneapolis. Photo credit: Nomadic Entertainment
  • P!nk will perform during night two of Nomadic LIVE at The Armory in Downtown Minneapolis.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $225. General admission tickets are sold out. VIP tickets are still available; they’re $1,750 each.
    • Know before you go: P!nk will be back in town on March 12 for a concert at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul.
  • The annual Leather & Laces celebration is tonight in a building near Target Field. It’ll be hosted by Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg.
    • Is it open to the public? You’ll need a ticket.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $350. Or you can purchase a 15-person cabana for $25,000.
    • Know before you go: This annual party typically is two nights and got scaled back this year.
  • Stand outside Muse Event Center in the Warehouse District to see who is on the invite list for a big media party.
    • Is it open to the public? No.
  • The NFL Commissioner’s Party will be nearby at the The Depot. Depending on the year, tickets are opened up to the public.
    • Is it open to the public? Maybe. Stay tuned.
    • What’s the cost? Ticket prices aren’t public.
  • In Prior Lake inside the Mystic Lake Center, Kygo and Ellie Goulding takes the stage. After it was announced that the pop-up concert venue, Club Nomadic, was cancelled, Ellie Goulding bailed. Things are getting worse for Mystic Lake.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $200. To see Kygo (remember, Ellie Goulding won’t be there), it’s $59. If you want to be close to the stage, it’s $125. If you had a ticket to the Club Nomadic Kygo and Ellie Goulding concert, you’ll want to get it refunded. If you want to see Kygo (???), you can get a partial refund and get a ticket to that show.
    •  Know before you go: This concert was originally scheduled to take place in Club Nomadic, a huge pop-up venue in the parking lot of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. In mid-January, the plug was pulled. My guess: less than stellar ticket sales. This concert will now take place in the Mystic Lake Center, which is part of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel’s recent addition.
  • In Downtown Minneapolis, comedian Kevin Hart takes the stage at Target Center for what is bound to be a hilarious show.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets range from $68 – 303.
    • Know before you go: The Target Center is all-new after a complete transformation. It was closed last summer.
  • It is night two of parties at The Exchange in Downtown Minneapolis. Tonight’s celebration is hosted by Jamie Foxx.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $299.
    • Know before you go: Want a table next to the DJ? It’ll set you back $20,000.
  • Rolling Stone hosts one of the biggest parties surrounding the big game. The hip hop trio Migos is expected to perform. It takes place at International Market Square in Minneapolis.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $700.
  • The wives of NFL players, along with their husbands, will walk the runway at the Off the Field Players’ Wives Fashion Show inside The Galleria in Edina. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Standing room seats are $150. If you want to sit in the front row, it’s $350. Proceeds benefit local charities.
    • Know before you go: 2018 marks the 17th year for this annual event.
  • Pepsi is kicking off a Pepsi Generations campaign in Minneapolis at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. Country music group LOCASH will perform a private concert. However, Pepsi says the venue will be open to the public select times today and Saturday. I’m working to find more information.
    • Is it open to the public? It sounds like the LOCASH concert is invite-only, but Pepsi alludes that they’ll open the venue up to the public on February 2 and 3.
    • What’s the cost? TBD.
    • Know before you go: Don’t bother driving through downtown Minneapolis to get to this venue. You’ll be able to take the University Avenue/4th Street exit off of Interstate 35W North or the Broadway Avenue exit off Interstate 94 to avoid traffic nightmares.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3 with the exception of January 30.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. Tonight, you can skate while watching the movie, “Remember the Titans.” It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • It’s the second night of Feherty Live at the State Theatre. The show will broadcast live on The Golf Channel.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, known as Mia, hosts an ice maze on its front lawn. It’s free to walk through and is open during regular museum hours through February 4.
  • The Lexington on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul has a rooftop ice bar open from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights January 19 – February 10.
  • Illuminate South Loop continues today in Bloomington. Head to Bloomington Central Station (right off of the light rail) to see lit art installations and performances. It’s free to attend.
  • Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3 is home to an ice bar through Sunday. Check it out from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Maxim
The Maxim Party will be held inside a pop-up dome in downtown Minneapolis. This is what last year’s venue looked like in Houston. Photo credit: The Maxim Events
  • Marshmello and Post Malone are schedule to perform at Maxim Magazine’s party, which will be inside a 31,000 square foot dome built in a parking lot near the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. It opens up at 8:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes. You may have to search around a bit to find a promo code to get access to buy tickets. Hint: check Facebook.
    • What’s the cost? $750 for general admission. The top VIP package is $21,000.
    • Know before you go: Electronic dance music producer Marshmello wears a ‘helmet’ to hide their identity, and you’ve probably heard their music, including a song I really enjoy, “Ritual.” The video has nearly 50 million views on YouTube.
  • In previous years, Playboy’s annual party has seen performances by Drake and Flo Rida. This year, Snoop Dogg takes the stage at The Venue in downtown Minneapolis. The party starts at 9:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? General admission tickets are $500. If you want a table in front of the stage, it’ll cost you $21,500.
    • Know before you go: This is probably obvious, but the waitresses are Playboy bunnies.
  • It’s second night of the Leather & Laces party held near Target Field. Not much information is public. I’m in contact with organizers and will keep you in the know. The Leather & Laces party got scaled back to one evening; it’s on Friday, February 2.
  • The Giving Back Fund hosts Big Game Big Give, which is hosted at a private residence in Edina. Big names typically attend this one — previous hosts have included Alec Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Michael Phelps and Hilary Swank. This year, Jamie Foxx (who is everywhere this week) serves as the celebrity host.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you might feel a little out of place at this one.
    • What’s the cost? That’s not publicly announced. If you want to go, you need to call and order tickets over the phone.
    • Know before you go: In 2015, this one event raised $1 million dollars for charity.
  • Southern rockers Florida Georgia Line headline night three at Club NOMADIC, a pop-up music venue outside of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake inside the Mystic Showroom at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The concert starts at 9:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Tickets start at $200. It’s still $200. That’s steep.
    • Know before you go: Concerts at Club NOMADIC are 18+. Unless you’re a big Florida Georgia Line fan, there’s now nothing glamorous or out of the ordinary about this (really overpriced) concert.
  • One of the biggest NFL sanctioned events is coming back home. Taste of the NFL started in Minnesota when the Metrodome hosted the the big game in 1992. Each NFL team’s city sends one restaurant, and the Twin Cities will be represented by Thomas Boemer, the man behind Corner Table and Revival. Jeff Bridges, Alyssa Milano and Bobby Flay are this year’s celebrity ambassadors and O.A.R. is scheduled to perform. It takes place at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $700.
    • Know before you go: Former Vikings player Ben Leber is this year’s player host. If you see him, tell him I say hello (and tell him he’s an attractive man).
  • Jennifer Lopez headlines DIRECTV Super Saturday Night at The Armory in downtown Minneapolis. It’s one of the biggest concerts of the week in the host city — previous headliners for this show included Jay-Z and Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $340.
    • Know before you go: The concert is the third and final big night of shows put on by Nomadic Entertainment.
  • Professional snowmobiler and native Minnesotan Levi LaVallee will attempt quite the stunt on Nicollet Mall at 1:30 p.m. — flying nearly 100 feet between two ramps. That’s one part of the Polaris UpsideDowntown event, which runs from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free.
    • Know before you go: LaVallee is a seven-time gold medalist at the X Games.
  • The annual “The Night Before” concert always draw big names, and this year is no different — the Dave Matthews Band will headline a concert at the Xcel Energy Center.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? The cheapest seats I found on Ticketmaster on January 11 were $96. Most expensive? $785. General admission tickets on the floor cost $295.
    • Know before you go: The Dave Matthews Band have sold 38 million CDs and DVDs since the release of their first album in 1994.
  • Take a very romantic stoll on a frozen Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis during the Luminary Loppet. Luminaries are spaced equally around the lake to light the way. Fire dancers, cocoa and treats will surprise you along the way.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? It’s $26 for adults if you register before January 24.
    • Know before you go: Adult participants receive a free pint of Surly beer to sip on at the Luminary Party that evening.
  • The Norway House on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis (read: not downtown) is hosting a Welcome to the North party today and tomorrow. The indoor- and outdoor-event features an ice bar serving traditional Nordic drinks, a market selling wares and crafts along with a real-life Norwegian Vikings costume contest. The celebration goes from 3:00 until 9:00 p.m.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? Free to attend.
    • Know before you go: They’ll be showing the big game on a big screen Sunday night.
  • Former Vikings quarterback Brett Farve will stop by Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka today from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. All autographs will include a complimentary letter of authenticity.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes, but you need a ticket if you want to meet Brett.
    • What’s the cost? It depends on what you want him to sign. Most tickets are between $200-400.
    • Know before you go: A portion of proceeds will be donated to Brett’s non-profit charity, Farve4Hope.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4. Read my list of the five activities you can’t miss when you’re there.
  • The Super Bowl Experience inside the Minneapolis Convention Center gives you the chance to take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It’s open daily through February 3.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. Tonight from 6:00 -8:00 p.m., drag queens will take the ice which is bound to be hilarious. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, known as Mia, hosts an ice maze on its front lawn. It’s free to walk through and is open during regular museum hours through February 4.
  • The Lexington on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul has a rooftop ice bar open from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights January 19 – February 10.
  • Illuminate South Loop continues today in Bloomington. Head to Bloomington Central Station (right off of the light rail) to see lit art installations and performances. It’s free to attend. At 4:00 p.m. today, they’ll host a Cheer Hour inside a heated tent which includes food, drink and a performance which will welcome spring. That party costs $40.
  • Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3 is home to an ice bar through Sunday. Check it out from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.
  • Out in Stillwater, a castle made of ice stands along the Saint Croix River. The annual event is great for kids and date night. Ice Castles is open 6 days a week until some point in March.

Sunday, February 4

IMG_6162

Also on Give Me The Mike…
List of places hosting viewing parties for the big game (and even the Puppy Bowl)

Players Tailgate
Charissa Thompson from NFL on Fox and television show host Guy Fieri will be at The Players Tailgate just blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium.
  • Guy Fieri, host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is this year’s celebrity chef at the Players Tailgate. Hosted in a climate-controlled venue in a parking lot near the stadium, the event offers attendees an all-you-can-eat menu, an open bar, and over 30 NFL players in attendance.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $750.
    • Know before you go: The 30,000 square foot space will be built just for this party.
  • Hazelden Betty Ford presents SoberBowl 2018 at Muse Event Center in Minneapolis. The no-alcohol gathering includes a support game and a viewing of the big game.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $20.
    • Know before you go: For a limited time, you can also purchase a parking spot near Muse for $20. That’s a heck of a deal.
  • “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon is coming to Minneapolis for a one-night only show that’ll air after the big game on NBC. Guests for the show, on stage at the Orpheum Theatre, include halftime performer Justin Timberlake, Dwayne Johnson and the cast of the tearjerker “This Is Us.”
    • Is it open to the public? If you don’t already have a ticket, you’re out of luck. They were snatched up in about an hour in December.
  • Gwen Stefani will wrap up four nights of concerts at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. Originally meant to be in Club Nomadic, a pop-up music venue, the concert will now take place inside the Casino at the Mystic Lake Center.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $69. Not bad at all.
    • Know before you go: You’ll want to buy a case of Red Bull beforehand. This concert doesn’t start until 11:00 p.m.
  • LIV Nightclub in Miami is bringing its expertise of planning parties to the Lumber Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis for a post-game dance club. Their LIV on Sunday party in Florida draws professional athletes, celebrities and musicians and tonight’s your chance to experience the Miami life without the plane ticket. It starts at 9:00 p.m. inside The Pourhouse.
    • Is it open to the public? Yes.
    • What’s the cost? $175. Purchase tickets online.
    • Know before you go: This is the fourth and final night of parties at The Pourhouse put on by Tao. Lil Jon, Nick Cannon and Jamie Foxx will stop by on other nights.

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

  • Super Bowl LIVE on Nicollet Mall is free and runs daily through February 4.
  • The Vulcan Snow Park is open through February 11 at the State Fairgrounds.
  • The Saint Paul Super Slide is a 130 foot-long slide with a 40 foot drop. It’s open at CHS Field through February 10.
  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace is open through February 10.
  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate continues through February 11 in downtown Saint Paul.
  • The Wells Fargo WinterSkate at Loring Park in Minneapolis has 10 days of activities planned leading up to the big game. They’ll also show the big game on a big screen. It’s free and open daily until March 4.
  • ESPN will broadcast inside the Crystal Court at the IDS Center January 31 – February 4.
  • Twenty-five Minnesota-based businesses will set up shop inside City Center for the North Local Market. According to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, it’s open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily through February 4.
  • The winter flower show at Como Park Zoo features plants in various shades of purple. Skol! It’s free and runs through March 11.
  • Explore Minnesota is calling their ‘Sota Pop exhibit as one of the most Instgrammable spots surrounding the big game. It’s open various hours every day through February 4.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, known as Mia, hosts an ice maze on its front lawn. It’s free to walk through and is open during regular museum hours through February 4.
  • Men’s clothing and furnishings store MartinPatrick 3 is home to an ice bar through Sunday. Check it out from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • You can play shuffleboard using pucks of frozen hot dish (aka casserole) at Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis. It’s going daily through February 4. Learn more.

40 Ways to Holiday, Day 27: December 19

In 2017, there are exactly 40 days from Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day. And with the elimination of the eighth floor display at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis and Holiday Lights in the Park in Saint Paul, along with the disappointing change from tradition at Holidazzle, more people than ever are looking for new holiday activities. Enter “40 Ways to Holiday.” Each day between November 23 and January 1 will have at least one event worth checking out, along with plenty of giveaways along the way! Find the full list of days here.

Day 27: Tuesday, December 19

Featured pick: “Annie” at the Ordway

Annie-logo.jpg
The original production of “Annie” spent nearly six years on Broadway in the late 70s and early 80s. Photo credit: Tribune Content Agency, LLC/Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

“Annie,” with popular songs “Tomorrow” and “it’s the Hard Knock Life” is back on stage in the Twin Cities again this holiday season, but this time with a local flair. Many on the show’s cast call Minnesota home. The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Saint Paul is home to the production, which runs December 7 – 31. Tickets start at $47.

When you’re at the Ordway, remember you can now bring a beverage into the theater with you! Head upstairs to the mezzanine level (even if your seats aren’t there) to avoid long lines. My parking recommendation is Lawson Commons, which gives you the excuse to walk through Rice Park, which is all decorated for the holiday season

“Annie”
December 7 – 31 (off Mondays)
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Saint Paul
Tickets: $47 and up

Other happenings

  • Listen to three-part female harmonies of SimpleGifts as they continue their tour through Minnesota with shows at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center in Bloomington. Concerts begin at 1:00 and 7:00 p.m. The show will include the Lutheran favorite, “Beautiful Savior,” sung in Norwegian. The group’s tour concludes with annual shows at Town Hall Theater in Marine On St. Croix December 20 – 23.

40 Ways to Holiday, Day 17: December 9

In 2017, there are exactly 40 days from Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day. And with the elimination of the eighth floor display at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis and Holiday Lights in the Park in Saint Paul, along with the disappointing change from tradition at Holidazzle, more people than ever are looking for new holiday activities. Enter “40 Ways to Holiday.” Each day between November 23 and January 1 will have at least one event worth checking out, along with plenty of giveaways along the way! Find the full list of days here.

Day 17: Saturday, December 9

Featured pick: Family photo hours in the Sunken Garden at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

sunken_6.jpg
The Sunken Garden in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park Zoo is open for professional family photos today. Photo credit: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

You can use the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park Zoo in Saint Paul as the perfect backdrop for your family’s holiday photo! Bring your own camera and explore the North Garden or the ever-popular Sunken Garden to find a spot. And it’s all indoors, so those bulky jackets won’t be seen! Typically, Como requires a photography application and permit for posed pictures taken inside the Conservatory. That’ll set you back $25. Their policy also has a maximum of two people per photograph. Today, those rules are thrown out, although there will be a $5 charge per person. Family photo hours are held throughout the holiday season. Check Como Park Zoo’s event calendar to find a date that works with your family.

Artist, Photographer and Family Photo Hours in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory
Saturday, December 9
Starting at 8:00 a.m.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Saint Paul
$5 per person

Other happenings

IMG_5385.jpg
Th Minnesota Boychoir performing in Nice, France, June 2017.
Excelsior
Take a horse drawn wagon ride through Downtown Excelsior today from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Photo credit: Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce
  • Downtown Excelsior is celebrating Christmas the first three Saturdays in December. Festivities include horse drawn wagon rides, cocoa with Santa and carolers. Festivities run from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Celtic Thunder.jpg
The men of Celtic Thunder will sing holiday tunes with a full symphony orchestra tonight at the State Theatre. Photo credit: Celtic Thunder/Hennepin Theatre Trust
  • The good looking men making up Celtic Thunder will perform holiday tunes with a full symphony orchestra tonight at the State Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Lucia Celebration.jpg
The Lucia Celebration at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis include the youthful voices of their Lucia Choir. Photo credit: American Swedish Institute
  • Listen to traditional Swedish holiday music at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Tickets are $15 and include admission to the museum on-site. Performances are at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

40 Ways to Holiday, Day 12: December 4

In 2017, there are exactly 40 days from Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day. And with the elimination of the eighth floor display at Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis and Holiday Lights in the Park in Saint Paul, along with the disappointing change from tradition at Holidazzle, more people than ever are looking for new holiday activities. Enter “40 Ways to Holiday.” Each day between November 23 and January 1 will have at least one event worth checking out, along with plenty of giveaways along the way! Find the full list of days here.

Day 12: Monday, December 4

Featured pick: Minnesota Marketplace inside Mall of America

A pop-up shop featuring 20 emerging Minnesota companies is open for the holiday season on the second floor of Mall of America. Minnesota Marketplace includes i like you, Pearson’s Candy, Worker B and many others. The Minnesota Marketplace will stay open through the Super Bowl.

Minnesota Marketplace
Level 2 West
Mall of America
Open mall hours through February 9

Other happenings

  • The students, faculty and staff of Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights start their Holiday Art Market today. Thirty percent of all sales benefit art scholarships. The sale runs from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through Friday, December 8 in the Fine Arts Building on campus.
  • Holidays got you stressed? Remember that Mondays are open mic nights at ACME Comedy Company in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Best of all, open mic nights are free to attend.