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)
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  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!

 

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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

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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!

A Minnesotan’s guide to college basketball’s ultimate weekend

The best in college men’s basketball make their way to Minneapolis April 5-8, 2019. Like when Minnesota hosted Super Bowl LII in 2018, there is plenty to do. Here’s a guide of what you can discover.

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I explored the Tip-Off Tailgate and Final Four Fan Fest on Friday. Get my take here.

Know before you go:

  • The big name concerts at the Armory (Katy Perry, Jonas Brothers, Chainsmokers) are sold out. However, there are free outdoor concerts planned to take place on Nicollet Mall. Keep reading for details.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium is free to visit on Friday. You can watch teams practice and see everything all shiny.
  • All of the NCAA sanctioned events (aka U.S. Bank Stadium, the Armory, Nicollet Mall and the Convention Center) are all within a mile of each other. Park once and forget about your car once you are downtown. Downtown Minneapolis has 40,000 parking spots. Plus, unlike Super Bowl LII, the light rail will run on a regular schedule throughout the weekend.
  • If you want to reserve a parking spot, you can through a program called SpotHero. You can use it in Minneapolis year-round. I don’t recommend it — you aren’t necessarily saving money and you have to specifically find that one parking ramp when you get downtown.
  • Saturday update: the parking ramp across the street from my apartment was charging a $8 event rate. I’m 4 blocks from Tip-Off Tailgate on Nicollet Mall and 7 blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium. Not bad.
  • The NCAA has a decent (free) phone app that has details with all of the events they are planning. You can also use it to buy tickets to Fan Fest. It also has an interactive skyway map that’s definitely worth it. Here’s a link to download it.
  • Don’t want to walk? Buick is expected to take fans in their cars from their tents set up around downtown to an establishment or venue for free. The service will take place Friday thru Monday. The driver will not drop riders off at a private resident. Riders must be at least 9 years old or weigh 90 pounds. Cars will go between 5 to 7 miles from the tent to the final destination. As of April 1st, the times and location of operation were not made public.
  • If you end up taking a Lyft or Uber to get downtown, there will be specific points where you should have better luck meeting a driver.
    • LaSalle Avenue and 9th Street (near Nicollet Mall)
    • On 5th Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets (near City Hall)
    • On 7th Street between Chicago Avenue and 10th Avenue (near U.S. Bank Stadium)
  • You will need a clear bag any just about every indoor event planned by the NCAA. That includes the games inside U.S. Bank Stadium, the Fan Fest at the Convention Center and the concerts in the Armory. Leave backpacks, purses larger than 5.5″ x 8.5″ and your State Fair fanny pack at home. Free clear bags will be handed out at hotels, at the Convention Center and U.S. Bank Stadium. They are also for sale at NCAA Final Four merchandise stands.
  • NCAA will have plenty of merchandise stores set up. The Minneapolis Convention Center will have a 7,700 square feet experience at its Fan Fest. There will be a retail store inside the Baker Center (8th Street and Marquette Avenue) and on Nicollet Mall between 9th and 10th Streets. There will also be official stores in over a dozen Twin Cities hotels.

Places you will want to visit:

  • ESPN is scheduled to broadcast outside on Nicollet Mall between 4th & 5th Streets at Xcel Energy Plaza (right off the light rail)
  • CBS Sports will broadcast inside the IDS Center Crystal Court

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  • FINNEGANS, located just 2 blocks from the Armory and 4 blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium, will be open from noon til midnight April 5-8. Their taproom is an official NCAA merchandise site and you can take a photo with a NCAA ladder and hoop right there. They are also teaming up with Pedal Pub to offer 90 minute runs around East Town Friday thru Monday. The cost is $39.

Related content:

Thursday, April 4

State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships

slam dunk target center.jpg

  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Target Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: $15-38

Friday, April 5

Reese’s® Final Four Friday®

reeses final four.jpg

  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
  • Free and open to the public
  • Watch all four teams practice before Saturday’s semifinals
  • There is also an all-star game, which starts around 3:30 p.m.
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the Fan Fest at the Convention Center. View more here.

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Friday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Note: Capital One cardholders get special early access to the event on Saturday and Sunday
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside Fan Fest. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

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  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 4:00 – 10:00 p.m. Friday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane

Take a photo with the NCAA Trophy

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  • 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Target on Nicollet Mall (2nd floor)

AT&T Block Party

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Armory, Minneapolis
  • This free concert, featuring The Chainsmokers, is sold out. Tickets were claimed weeks ago
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Pizza Toss

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  • 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
  • Kitchen in the Market, Minneapolis (it’s not downtown!)
  • Tickets: $85
  • Learn how to make pizza dough from scratch at home! You are provided all of the ingredients (after a glass of champagne) along with the instruction. Don’t worry, you will be able to enjoy your creation, too!

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Miami Heat

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  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Target Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets start at $17
  • All fans in attendance will receive an exclusive 7″ Prince vinyl (photo above)

Bret Michaels

  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Mystic Lake Showroom, Prior Lake
  • Tickets: $39 – 64

American Craft Show

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Sunday
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Tickets: $13
  • Meet and purchase goods from nearly 250 artists from around the country

Saturday, April 6

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Note: Capital One cardholders get special early access to the event on Saturday; they can get in starting at 9:00 a.m.
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to Fan Fest at the Convention Center and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 2:00 – 10:00 p.m. Saturday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane
  • Pep rallies for the final four teams will be held at 2:30, 2:45, 3:00 and 3:15 p.m. Saturday
  • Viewing parties of the semifinal games will start at 5:00 p.m. Saturday

Semifinal: #5 Auburn vs #1 Virginia

  • 5:09 p.m.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

Semifinal: #3 Texas Tech vs #2 Michigan State

  • 7:49 p.m.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

The Eventual Four

  • 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.
  • Bauhaus Brew Labs, Minneapolis
  • The longer you stay, the better the deals! Bauhaus’ beers will battle each other throughout the evening, with discounts served on brews that advance

Red Green

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, Saint Paul
  • Tickets: $60

Leather & Laces Spring Edition

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  • 9:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
  • Seven Steakhouse, Minneapolis
  • General admission tickets: $60
  • VIP tickets for $150 include premium bar, champagne, sushi and sweets
  • It’s by the same people who produced the Leather & Laces party that was in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. They host this party annually for the Super Bowl at the Kentucky Derby
  • The radio ad for this party says this is the “1st annual” Leather & Laces Spring Edition party. First, nothing can be the “1st annual” if you’ve only done it once. It’s the inaugural. Second, ZERO information, besides how you can buy tickets, is available on their website. No list of celebrities you might brush shoulders with. I don’t do this often, but I’m going to say this is not worth your time or money.

American Craft Show

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Sunday
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Tickets: $13
  • Meet and purchase goods from nearly 250 artists from around the country

Jonas Brothers

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Armory, Minneapolis
  • This free concert, featuring The Jonas Brothers, is sold out
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Sunday, April 7

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Note: Capital One cardholders get special early access to the event on Sunday; they can get in starting at 10:00 a.m.
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside Fan Fest. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane

Goldy’s Run

  • 8:00 a.m. Sunday
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Join Goldy Gopher for a morning jog around Minneapolis — choose from a 10 mile and relay, 5k or kids gallop

Slay Day

  • 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Surly Brewing, Minneapolis
  • Surly will release its kolsch-style ale, Heat Slayer
  • $15 will get you all the Heat Slayer you care to drink on their patio

Starch Madness

  • 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
  • The final 2 cookies in Mill City Museum’s cookie bracket will be made and you get to eat the finalists

Ken Jeong

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  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Mystic Lake Showroom, Prior Lake
  • Tickets: $29 – 55
  • It’s not downtown Minneapolis!

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

  • 2:30 p.m.
  • Target Center, Minneapolis
  • You can get a free Metro Transit pass to the game by taking a short survey here

American Craft Show

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Sunday
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Tickets: $13
  • Meet and purchase goods from nearly 250 artists from around the country

Final Four Dribble

  • 2:00 p.m.
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Registration is closed
  • 3,000 youth will dribble basketballs around Minneapolis

Capital One JamFest

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Armory, Minneapolis
  • This free concert, featuring Katy Perry and Zedd, is sold out
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside the Armory. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Monday, April 8

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One

fan fest

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • Runs 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday
  • Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis
  • Tickets: Capital One cardholders receive 2 free tickets; otherwise $10 adults, $5 military, $5 60+, $5 college students, kids 12 and under free
  • More than just basketball: participate in a home run derby and scale a rock climbing wall
  • Backpacks, purses and fanny packs are not allowed inside Fan Fest. Just like Vikings games, you can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″, a gallon-sized plastic storage bag or a clutch purse no bigger than 5.5″ x 8.5″. The same bag policy applies to the concerts at the Armory and the festivities inside U.S. Bank Stadium. View more here.

Tip-Off Tailgate

  • Opens Friday, runs thru Monday
  • 4:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Monday
  • Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (8th to 12th Streets)
  • Includes a ferris wheel at Nicollet Mall & 10th Street. If you are a Capital One cardholder, show your card to get access to a priority lane
  • Free music performance by Fitz and the Tantrums at 6:00 p.m. Monday on the Wendy’s Main Stage at Nicollet Mall & 11th Street

National Championship Game

  • 8:00 p.m. Monday
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

Final 4 Taproom Takeover

  • 4:30 p.m.
  • BlackStack Brewing, Saint Paul
  • Tickets: $35-82
  • “Top Chef” alum Justin Sutherland leads a crew of talent creating a full menu to nosh on while you watch the national championship

 

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

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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

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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)

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.