The best restaurant, brewery and winery patios in Minnesota

Minnesotans know how to take advantage of summer. Heck, I’m writing this article from the rooftop of my apartment complex in downtown Minneapolis.

D06BE139-E3FC-4884-84F0-62C3DFC48D6E.JPG
Nothing beats a good patio! This is the view from the rooftop of my apartment building in downtown Minneapolis.

I asked Twin Cities Live viewers and my Facebook and Twitter following which restaurants, breweries and wineries they feel have the best patios in the state.

The results were a bit surprising. The top five don’t include the iconic spots nestled on Lake Minnetonka. Instead, it’s places where you don’t have to wait 45 minutes to get a table.

For folks in the Twin Cities, some of these are a bit of a drive. But I can attest that they are worth the trip.

Here’s my segment on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live.

In no particular order, the top 5 restaurant, brewery and winery patios in Minnesota:

1. Pearl Lake Lodge

10600 County Highway 8, Marty (Kimball)

pearl lake 2
Photo courtesy Pearl Lake Lodge
  • With a population of 20 people, Marty is located about an hour northwest of the Twin Cities. The town boasts a church, a school, a town ball field and Pearl Lake Lodge.

IMG_5727.JPG

  • Pearl Lake Lodge originally opened in the 1920s. The back patio was finished in 2018.
  • Owner Tom “Rudy” Ruether’s personality is definitely visible on the patio, which has an array of items. To get to the patio, you will go through the “wow door,” because as Rudy tells me, once you walk through it, all you’ll want to say is “wow”.

IMG_5720.jpg

  • You can take a photo on a bronzed motorcycle. There’s also an Elvis statue and a British telephone booth.
  • There’s a story behind why the stoplight is upside down (I won’t ruin it for you, go ahead and ask when you’re there).
  • Rudy says that all of his great ideas are stolen from other places.
  • The patio seats 180 people (there’s also a patio out front which seats about 50).
  • The patio has a music stage, with tunes every Sunday, along with Wednesdays and most Saturdays.
pearl lake.png
Photo courtesy Pearl Lake Lodge
  • Pearl Lake Lodge, an Irish pub, is home to one heck of a St. Patrick’s celebration and parade.
    • The festivities draw 8,000 people.
    • Rudy calls the parade “the parade so nice you’ll see it twice” because it circles around the town. It has 110 floats, nearly 1000 participants and takes 2.5 hours to complete.
bologna days.jpg
Wednesday is Bologna Day. Photo courtesy Pearl Lake Lodge
  • Every Wednesday, Pearl Lake Lodge has ‘Bologna Day’, where you can get a bologna lunch.
  • They’re also known for Taco Tuesday and their chicken wings.
  • I fell in love with their “buy a friend a drink” board, where you can pay it forward to others who stop by.

2. Moscow On The Hill

371 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul

IMG_5845.JPG

  • Moscow On The Hill has one of the most hidden restaurant patios in Minnesota.
  • The now-Russian restaurant originally started as a French restaurant and was opened by an orthodontist and neurologist in 1994. They had no restaurant experience. They switched to Russian food a couple years later.
  • The patio at Moscow On The Hill cannot be seen from the street, meaning you have to know its there.
  • The patio seats 120 people and the restaurant’s full menu is served outside.
Patio_5205.jpg
Photo courtesy Moscow On The Hill
  • The founder’s son, Eugene, tells me that if you want to avoid a wait for a table on the patio, stop by for lunch — they serve lunch 7 days a week.
  • Moscow On The Hill has more than 300 vodkas available, including 19 that are infused in-house.
  • Of the house-infused vodkas, horseradish vodka is the most popular (put it in a bloody Mary!)
    • You can get a flight with 6 house-infused vodkas for $20.
    • Moscow On The Hill partners with 45th Parallel Distillery to sell their infused vodkas at liquor stores.
  • As for food, Eugene says to get the hand-made dumplings, in particular the Siberian Pelmeni, which are filled with beef and pork.
    • For the adventurous eater, the Yazik (beef tongue) is highly recommended.
    • Eugene says that their colorful salads rival any salad made in the Twin Cities. Try the Russian Garden Salad.
    • I was impressed with the vast number of gluten-free options they serve, which are clearly marked on the menu.

3. Surly Brewing Co.

520 Malcolm Avenue SE, Minneapolis

IMG_5741.jpg

  • Surly Brewing Company got its start in Brooklyn Center in 2006 and added a much larger facility in Minneapolis in 2014 (the Brooklyn Center location is still producing beer).
  • Their Minneapolis beer garden/patio fits 900 people!
  • There are about 100 seats available under the awning which are full-service.
    • Otherwise, Surly added a ‘food island’, a tent where you can order a vast majority of their food outside. You will receive a text when it’s ready!

IMG_5740

  • Surly’s food menu goes far beyond an average food truck.
    • Get the Brussels sprouts.
    • Get the Key Lime Pie.
    • Get the smoked meats tray.
    • There’s a burger inspired by the McRib. Get it.
    • Their French fries are killer. Eat them.
  • Surly’s second floor is home to a pizza pub. You are able to get the pizzas ‘to-go’ and take them to the beer garden.
  • Surly’s patio is dog-friendly (it is NOT dog-friendly inside).
  • Insider: the least busy times are from 11:00-11:30 and around 2:00 any day of the week.
  • On Monday nights during the summer, Surly’s beer garden is home to free outdoor movies. Look for “Clueless,” “Top Gun” and other classics.
  • Surly teams with heavy-hitter First Avenue for outdoor concerts in what they call “Festival Field.” The big one for 2019 is Ben Folds on August 14th. The series runs late July through mid-September.

4. Round Lake Vineyards

30124 MN 264, Round Lake

IMG_5859.JPG

  • Round Lake Vineyards is 3 hours south of the Twin Cities and less than 45 minutes from popular vacation spot, Okoboji, Iowa.
    • There are plenty of bed and breakfasts in the area if you’re looking for a weekend getaway.
  • Round Lake started planting grapes in 2007 and started making wines in 2012.
  • On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, their patio (which is far from other civilization) will have 150-200 people.
  • The patio has live music on Sundays.
  • The patio has a waterfall, and when you look up, you get a view of Round Lake since the winery is located right on the shores of the lake.IMG_5858.JPG
  • In addition to the wine, Round Lake has a chef on the property. Chef Brendan worked for Hilton Hotels and wanted a change of pace so he decided to join the team at Round Lake.
  • If the name Round Lake sounds familiar, the wine is sold at over 300 locations around the Midwest, including Haskell’s.
    • Round Lake Vineyards currently makes 5 red and 8 white wines.
  • Their most popular red wine is the Gander, a blend of Marquette, Merlot and Cabernet.
  • Of their white wines, the most popular is the Brianna.
  • Round Lake hosts events throughout the year and is a popular wedding venue.
    •  Harvest Fest is on August 24, 2019, complete with a grape stomp.
    • They also plan special dinners within their 30 acres of grapes.
  • Round Lake Vineyards open 7 days a week in the summer and are closed Mondays and Tuesdays in the winter.

IMG_5870.JPG

5. Grandview Valley Winery

42703 Grandview Avenue, Belview

20190722_135159.jpg

  • Belview is 2.5 hours west of Minneapolis between Montevideo and Redwood Falls.
  • Grandview Valley Winery opened in 2012.
  • The winery is on what once was a soybean field and now boasts more than 4200 vines.
  • Their patio seats about 100 people.
  • The winery features live music about once a month.
  • When the harvest allows, their 9 wines are made from 100% Minnesota grown grapes, with the exception of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Their most popular wines are their 2 Roses.

20180901_133139.jpg

  • Grandview Valley Winery wines are sold at some liquor stores, but at this time, most are located in west central Minnesota.
  • The spring of 2019 was tough due to the weather, with nearly every vine dying at the ground.
  • In addition to wine, they are known for their pizza, which is made from scratch to order.
    • They have gluten-free crust as well.
  • Grandview Valley Winery is open Thursdays thru Sundays year-round.
  • They do not take credit cards; cash or check only.

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

Advertisements

31 things to do in Minnesota this August that are not the State Fair

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Minnesota State Fair. I have an in-depth online guide about the Great Minnesota Get Together. But the media can make it feel like the State Fair is the only thing going on during the entire month of August.

Here’s a list of 31 events worth checking out in Minnesota this August. None of them are deep-fried.

  1. Tradition! The national tour of the classic musical “Fiddler on the Roof” stops by the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. (July 30-August 4)
  2. Just bend — and snap! “Legally Blonde the Musical” is on stage at Lyric Arts Company in Anoka. (thru August 4)
  3. Maybe the State Fair isn’t your thing, but how about a County Fair? The Washington County Fair takes place in Lake Elmo. And there’s free parking! (July 31-August 4)
  4. Dwight Yoakam and Vince Neil of Motley Crue will perform as part of Mankato’s RibFest. (August 1-4)
  5. The X Games will once again return to Minneapolis. And it’s not just watching extreme sports. Head downtown for concerts inside the Armory, a top music venue in the Twin Cities. Diplo, Incubus and Wu Tang Clan will perform. (August 1-4)
  6. The 2019 Minnesota Fringe Festival features nearly 700 performances of 130 stage shows. All shows are 60 minutes or less, so it’s a great way to test drive different types of local theatre. (August 1-11)
  7. The 56th annual Uptown Art Fair takes place in Minneapolis. The juried art festival features more than 320 artists in 12 mediums, including sculpture, painting, glasswork and jewelry. (August 2-4)
  8. Saint Paul family-owned restaurant and grocer El Burrito Mercado will celebrate 40 years in business with a fiesta, including an outdoor bar, live music and free food. (August 4)
  9. I’m not sure how they’ll pull it off, but unicorns will be racing at Canterbury Park. You can also watch llamas race between the regularly scheduled horse races. (August 4)
  10. Head to the self-proclaimed Restaurant Capital of the World for the Taste of Dorset. Restaurants in the northern Minnesota town will serve food. Plus, it’s when residents of Dorset elect their mayor. If you recall, the town elected 3-year-old Bobby Tufts in 2012. (August 4)
  11. Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis hosts free outdoor movies in the beer garden Monday nights throughout the summer. Stop by to see the cult hit, “Clueless.” As if! (August 5)
  12. Downtown Shakopee hosts Rhythm on the Rails for the first three Wednesdays in August. The free concerts will have food, beer and live music. (August 7, 14, 21)
  13. Watch viral videos of cats at the annual Cat Video Festival, hosted by myTalk 107.1 and the St. Paul Saints, at CHS Field in Saint Paul. (August 8)
  14. The Irish Fair of Minnesota on Harriet Island is a three-day free festival with music, dancing and a “zero K”. (August 9-11)
  15. Pack some breath mints and head to the Minnesota Garlic Festival in Hutchinson. It’ll be the first of the garlic crop for the season, and it keeps in your kitchen for up to a year. (August 10)
  16. The India Association of Minnesota puts on IndiaFest on the grounds of the State Capital in Saint Paul. The free event features food from eight Twin Cities Indian restaurants. (August 10)
  17. The world’s largest rubber duck will be in the Duluth Harbor for the Festival of Sail. (August 11-13)
  18. The biggest motorsports race in the Midwest takes place in Brainerd with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Watch the best drag racers fly down the track at speeds exceeding 320 miles per hour. (August 15-18)
  19. Oronoco, a town north of Rochester on Highway 52, hosts its annual Gold Rush Days with an antique show and flea market. (August 16-18)
  20. Over 150 vendors will show off their talents during Buffalo’s 36th annual Art & Craft Festival. (August 17)
  21. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival opens for the season in August. Nosh on a turkey leg while watching a joust. New in 2019: you can hug a kangaroo. (Weekends, August 17-September 29)
  22. View bonsai, martial arts, food and other aspects of Japanese culture at the Japanese Obon Festival on the grounds of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park. (August 18)
  23. The Minnesota Vikings are back in action! They play the Seattle Seahawks in a rare Sunday night preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium. (August 18)
  24. A parade, fireworks and carnival are planned for Woodbury Days, a three day celebration of the east metro suburb. (August 23-25)
  25. Round Lake Vineyards will host their Harvest Festival on the shores of Round Lake, which is about 3 hours southwest of the Twin Cities. Compete in a grape stomp and enjoy music, food and plenty of wine. (August 24)
  26. Now in its sixth year, the Stillwater Flea and Crafters Market takes place one weekend every month from May through September at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo. (August 24-25)
  27. The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will have extended late-night hours over Labor Day weekend. Bring your cameras and watch sunset over the Mississippi River! (August 30-31)
  28. Discover the relatively new Costco Business Center on Broadway Street in Northeast Minneapolis. Folks on my Facebook page raved about it! One person described it as ‘Costco but without the middle section.’ They open earlier and there’s less people!
  29. Kids 15 and under are always free at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. Throughout the month, they host concerts from local artists. The Arboretum was named best botanical garden in the United States by USA Today readers.
  30. Visit the Smallest Museum in Saint Paul. You won’t be able to go inside this 3 feet x 2 foot micro-museum, but don’t underestimate what they can do. They even hold artist receptions for new exhibits, which typically change monthly.
  31. Fire up the grill! Find something good to grill at a meat raffle. Check out this list of the best meat raffles in Minnesota.

55 things every Minnesotan should do this summer

Summers in Minnesota are too short to be bored, even if it is raining. For inspiration, I compiled this checklist of 55 things you can do before Labor Day.

FFTC_Logo_tagline_354x100

This guide is presented by Family Fun Twin Cities. For even more suggestions of what to do this summer, check out their Ultimate Summer Guide.

  1. Buy Candy Buttons or a bottle of bacon flavored pop at Jim’s Apple Farm/Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store along Highway 169 south of Jordan. Don’t forget to bring cash or check — they don’t take credit cards.
    • They don’t have a website or phone number…just go. They are open 9 am – 7 pm until the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
    • 20430 Johnson Memorial Dr, Jordan, MN 55352
  2. Determine who makes the best ice cream around. Nelson’s in Stillwater, Oak Station Coffee & Cone in Freeport, Conny’s Creamy Cone in St. Paul, Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis, and Honey & Mackie’s in Plymouth will get you started. Click here for a list of the shops voted as the best in Minnesota.
  3. Learn why there’s a basketball on display at the St. Paul Saints’ City of Baseball Museum inside CHS Field in St. Paul. It’s free on non-game days.
  4. Watch the Minnesota Lynx go for their 5th WNBA title at Target Center. Those with a valid .edu email address can get $10 tickets to select games throughout the season.
  5. Take a day trip to Winona and explore the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. It’s home to 2 works by Picasso along with a Monet and an O’Keefe in its original 1922 frame. Admission is only $1 the second Saturday of the month!
  6. Be in the audience at KSTP’s Twin Cities Live! Shows are brand new all summer long and tickets are free. Don’t forget to be in their audience at the State Fair!
  7. Make friends with someone who has a pontoon. Watch the sunset aboard said pontoon. You can also rent a pontoon from multiple companies, including Your Boat Club.
  8. Pack some sunscreen and head to Valleyfair in Shakopee. Hit up Soak City Waterpark and then air dry aboard Wild Thing. Buy your tickets online before June 30 to get kid prices for everyone (it’s a savings of $20 per adult!)
  9. Spend an afternoon tubing down a river. Welch Mill Canoeing and Tubing will take you on the Cannon River. Make sure you wear shoes in the water, and flip flops don’t cut it! Pack a cooler with your favorite beverages and make sure to rent a tube for your cooler. After a hard day of relaxation, stop by King’s Place in Miesville for a burger.
    • Welch Mill has not yet opened for 2019 due to high water. Check their website for updates before you go.
      IMG_6095
      Rent a paddle boat at Centennial Lakes Park in Edina.
  10. Play ‘golf in miniature’ or take a romantic paddle boat ride at Centennial Lakes Park in Edina.
    IMG_5652
    Starlight Cinema in Woodbury.
  11. Watch an outdoor movie. Minneapolis Movies in the Parks host free films almost every night at locations around the city. In the east metro, check out Starlight Cinema in Woodbury.
  12. Road trip to Taylors Falls. Go for a hike at Interstate State Park and stop for a milkshake at The Drive-In Restaurant.
  13. Spend a late night out at the Vali-Hi Drive-In movie theater in Lake Elmo. It’s three movies for the price of one. Kids 5 and under are free and ages 6-12 are only $1. Plus, hot dogs are always $1! They don’t accept credit cards, so bring cash.
  14. Sleep under the stars.
  15. Some of the Twin Cities’ best restaurants don’t have permanent homes. In Northeast Minneapolis, scope out the Animales Barbeque Co. food truck parked outside Able Seedhouse + Brewery along with Union Hmong Kitchen at Sociable Cider Werks.
  16. Stroll through the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, the winner of USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for best botanical garden in the country.
  17. Go geocaching. The DNR has hidden caches throughout Minnesota’s 75 state parks and recreation areas. You just need a GPS device get started, and if you don’t have one, you can borrow a kit for free at many of the parks.
  18. On a rainy day, head to the Gale Family Library inside the Minnesota History Center. Once you register for their free library card, you get free access to ancestry.com.
  19. Feed a giraffe romaine lettuce at Como Park Zoo in St. Paul. The experience is only $5 and admission to the zoo is free!
  20. Grab coffee and stroll through the flagship Minneapolis Farmers Market location on Lyndale Avenue. Don’t want to battle the crowds? Check out the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market, the Mill City Farmers Market or the St. Paul Farmers Market.
  21. Have a drink on at least… 5 restaurant patios. Visit Hola Arepa on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Surly Brewing Co. Spring Cafe at Como Lake Pavilion. Hai Hai.
  22. Sit on the rooftop of Union Restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis for a drag queen brunch planned by Flip Phone. Themes change from shows dedicated to Taylor Swift to Rihanna to “Lion King”.
  23. Take your little ones to Madison’s Place, a 16,000 square-foot all-inclusive playground in Woodbury. It features sensory play equipment, ramps for wheelchair access and sun-shade covered play decks. Cool off in the neighboring splash pad.
  24. Check out one of Minnesota’s vineyards. Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls and Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery in Kasota have popular tasting rooms.
  25. Go camping. We won’t judge if it’s in a pimped out RV or in an old school Coleman tent. You can reserve a campsite at a state park one year in advance.
  26. Attend an outdoor art fair. Choose from the Edina Art Fair (May 31 – June 2), Loring Park Art Festival (July 27 – 28), Uptown Art Fair (August 2 – 4), or Powderhorn Art Fair (August 3 – 4).
  27. Go fishing. It doesn’t matter where. On a boat, on a dock. On Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesotans 16 or older who take a child 15 or younger fishing don’t need a license. And if you don’t have the gear, the Minnesota DNR offers free fishing kits, complete with a stocked tackle box. (June 7 – 9)
  28. Check out a Father’s Day car show at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. (June 14 – 16)
  29. Watch the red-hot Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Make sure to be there when they retire Joe Mauer’s number. (June 15)
  30. See over 11,000 street rods and vintage cars at the Back to the Fifties Weekend on the State Fairgrounds. Take advantage of the free park and ride service if you go on Saturday. (June 21 – 23)
  31. Nearly 400 exhibitors, 40 food vendors and 4 music stages will be set up in Loring Park for the Twin Cities Pride Festival. Best of all, it’s completely free. (June 22 – 23)
  32. Go on a Haskell’s Beer & Wine cruise down the St. Croix River, leaving out of Stillwater. (June 29, July 27, August 24)
  33. See Kacey Musgraves, Semisonic, Jason Mraz and Hanson perform at the 25th edition of the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis. (July 12 – 13)
  34. Head to the ‘front porch of St. Paul’ and take in a St. Paul Saints Baseball game at CHS Field. The team will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Monty Python on July 13, the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 16, and the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz July 17.
  35. Twin Cities Summer Jam at Canterbury Park in Shakopee is 3 days of big names in music: Tim McGraw, Aerosmith, Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Soul Asylum, and others. (July 18 – 20)
  36. Soak up the 53-foot waterfall at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. Grab a bite to eat and a beer at Sea Salt Eatery. Every booth at the Minnehaha Falls Art Fair will have an item under $30 for sale. (July 20)
  37. Explore the unique shops of downtown Anoka and dine from over 45 food trucks during an annual Food Truck Festival. (July 20)
    • The organizers of the Food Truck Festival also host gatherings in Uptown (June 23) and St. Paul. (August 17)
  38. Your summer will be ‘Larger Than Life’ when you see the Backstreet Boys perform at the Xcel Energy Center. (July 20)
  39. Take in an old fashioned parade. One of the largest in Minnesota is the Hopkins Raspberry Festival Grande Day Parade. (July 21)
  40. Bib up and chow down on ribs at The Great Midwest Rib Fest at Mystic Lake. Sugar Ray and Gretchen Wilson will headline this year. Admission is free. (July 25 – 27)
  41. 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.
  42. Visit the new home of iconic St. Paul drive-in restaurant, Porkys, and nearly 50 other restored buildings at the Little Log House Pioneer Village in Hastings. (July 26 – 28)
  43. Check out nearly 700 performances of nearly 130 stage shows during the Minnesota Fringe Festival. (August 1 – 11)
    506C6838-9DD5-4210-A860-9B7843AB44D1
    U.S. Bank Stadium will once again host the X Games in August.
  44. The X Games return to Minneapolis once again. This time, they bring in bands Diplo, Incubus, P.O.S and Wu-Tang Clan, too. (August 1 – 4)
  45. Ditch the car and explore Northeast Minneapolis by foot, bicycle or rollerblade at Open Streets Mpls. Get lunch at Maya Cuisine. (August 4)
  46. Watch clips of cuddly kittens at the Cat Video Festival, presented by myTalk 107.1 and the St. Paul Saints, at CHS Field in St. Paul. (Thursday, August 8)
  47. Drive up I-35 to Duluth for the Bayfront Blues Festival. The outdoor music festival draws more than 30 bands and 20,000 fans each year. (August 9 – 11)
  48. The 40th annual Irish Fair of Minnesota features Celtic and Irish music, dance and food. Admission is free. (August 9 – 11)
  49. Duluth’s Tall Ships Festival has a new name. Check out historic ships and the world’s largest rubber duck at the Festival of Sail. (August 11 – 13)
  50. Be ‘The Luckiest’ hearing Ben Folds in the Surly Brewing Company Festival Field. The concert is planned by First Avenue, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in April 2020. (August 14)
    IMG_2930
    RENT returns to Minneapolis August 14 – 18.
  51. It’s been over 20 years since the musical, RENT, started touring. The Pulitzer Price and Tony Award winning show stops by the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. (August 14 – 18)
  52. The Minnesota State Fair’s best kept secret is their annual fundraiser, Taste of the Fair. Held the Thursday before the Great Minnesota Get Together begins, attendees can taste new and classic Fair foods, play Mighty Midway games and enjoy entertainment. (August 15)
    • Learn more: read and see my experience from Taste of the Fair here.
  53. The Como Park Japanese Obon Festival is an end of summer tradition. The evening ends with the majestic lighting of lanterns in a pond outside the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. (August 18)
  54. Nosh on a turkey leg while watching Puke & Snot perform at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee. (Weekends August 17 – September 29)
    13_giant_slide
    Photo credit: Minnesota State Fair
  55. Feast on wild rice cheeseburgers and deep-fried cookie dough riding the Skyride at the Minnesota State Fair. (August 22 – September 2) To avoid big crowds, go August 22, 27 or 28.

What Minnesota summer traditions do you love? Let me know!

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.

IMG_2576

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

finnegans.png

  • 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

IMG_2547

  • 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

IMG_2551.jpeg

  • 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

pizza toss.png

  • 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

Prince_RockNRollIsAlive_7inch_pshot.jpg

  • 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

leather and laces.png

  • 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

ken jeong.jpg

  • 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

 

Twin Cities Restaurant Room Rental Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minneapolis

4 Bells

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

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

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

Venue: Quarters

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

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

Venue: Roof Top Atrium

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

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

Venue: Parkside Room, Lounge Room & Hickory Room

4 Bells Hickory Room
Hickory Room at 4 Bells.

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

508 Bar + Restaurant

508 lower level 2
508 Bar + Restaurant is just one block north of Target Center.

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

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

Venue: Lower Level

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

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

Venue: Pool Room

508 pool room
The Pool Room is located downstairs at 508 Bar + Restaurant.

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

Butcher & the Boar

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

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

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

Venue: Boar Room

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

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

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

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

Cafe and Bar Lurcat

Cafe and Bar Lurcat, overlooking Loring Park in Minneapolis.

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

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Valet parking is available ($13 if hosted, $11 cash)

Venue: Private Dining Room

The Private Dining Room at Lurcat.

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

Venue: Lofted Bar Mezzanine

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

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

Venue: Bar Buyout

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

Private
Capacity (seated): 150-180
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $500 Monday to Thursday, $2,000 Friday and Saturday, $500 Sunday
Food and beverage minimum: $10,000 Monday, $12,000 Tuesday and Wednesday, $15,000 Thursday, $20,000 Friday and Saturday, $12,000 Sunday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: part of the restaurant can turn into a dance floor with room for a band

Erte’ & the Peacock Lounge

323 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413
More information

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

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

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

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

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

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

Located inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown

Venue: Private Dining Room

PDR(2)
Private Dining Room at FireLake.

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

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

Venue: Board Room

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

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

The Freehouse

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

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

Part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Adjacent pay ramp available (Nordic Parking Ramp)
Valet parking is available ($7)

Venue: Volstead Lounge

Volstead Lounge 3.jpg
Volstead Lounge at The Freehouse.

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

Venue: Back Bar Area

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

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

Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant

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

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

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

Venue: Banquet Room

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

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

Hell’s Kitchen

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

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

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Underground Room

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

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

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Minnesota Room

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

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

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Far Side Pub

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

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

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

Masu Sushi & Robata

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

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

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

Venue: Nomu Room

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

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

Saint Paul

DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar

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

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

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

Venue: DeGidio Event Venue

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

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

Holman’s Table

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

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

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

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

Bloomington

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

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

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

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

Venue: Dining Room

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

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

Venue: Lounge

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

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

Lela Restaurant

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

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

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

Complimentary on-site parking available

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

Venue: Lela Lounge

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

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

Venue: Lela Wine Room

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

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

Venue: Restaurant Buyout

lela buyout

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

Chanhassen

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

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

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

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

Venue: The Club

Club1.jpg
The Club at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

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

Venue: Garden, Jonathan and Carver Rooms

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

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

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

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

Edina

Tavern on France

TavernOnFrance_FrontDoor.jpg
Tavern on France in Edina.

6740 France Avenue S, Edina, MN 55435
(952) 358-6100
More information

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

Venue at Tavern on France

Edina_Interior_PrivateDining_3.jpg
The semi-private space at Tavern on France in Edina has no rental fee and only a $500 minimum Mondays thru Thursdays.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 55
Capacity (cocktail): 55
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV (no sound), handicap accessible
Complimentary black or white linens, gift/check-in table available
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $500 Monday – Thursday, $1200 Friday – Saturday

Maple Grove

Lookout Bar and Grill

Banquet room
The Lookout Bar and Grill in Maple Grove.

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

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

Venue: Patioview and Fireside Rooms

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

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

Minnetonka

Spasso

SpassoExterior.jpg
Spasso in Minnetonka.

17523 Minnetonka Boulevard, Minnetonka 55345
(952) 224-9555, customerservice@spassomn.com
More information

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

Venue: Spasso Private Dining Room

SpassoPDR4
Food and beverage minimums at Spasso in Minnetonka start at $250.

Private
Capacity (seated): 56
Capacity (cocktail): 85
Includes access to plug in own music, includes access to smart TV,  handicap accessible, dimmable lighting
Rental fee: a 5% event fee is added on to the final bill in lieu of a rental fee
Food and beverage minimum: lunch event: $250; Sunday-Monday evenings $250, Tuesday-Wednesday evenings $450, Thursday evening $650, Friday-Saturday evenings $850

Saint Louis Park

Park Tavern

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

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

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

Venue: Atrium

Park Tavern Atrium
The Atrium inside Park Tavern.

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

Venue: Party Room

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

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

Venue: Bowling Lanes

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

Venue: 11th Frame

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

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

Wayzata

6Smith

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

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

Venue: Revel Room

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

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

Venue: Knotty Room

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

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

Venue: Revel & Knotty Rooms 

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

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

Venue: The Tavern

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

Woodbury

Angelina’s Kitchen

Angelinas 1.jpg
Angelina’s Kitchen in Woodbury.

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

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

Venue: Tuscany Room

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

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

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

Minneapolis

Saint Paul

Arden Hills

Apple Valley

Blaine

Bloomington

Brooklyn Center

Brooklyn Park

Burnsville

Champlin

Chanhassen

Coon Rapids

Eagan

Eden Prairie

Edina

Excelsior

Golden Valley

Hastings

Hopkins

Long Lake

Maple Grove

Maplewood

Mendota

Minnetonka

New Hope

Plymouth

Richfield

Rogers

Rosemount

Roseville

Saint Louis Park

Savage

Shakopee

Spring Park

South Saint Paul

Stillwater

Vadnais Heights

Wayzata

Woodbury

Guide: Twin Cities events leading up to the big game

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

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

Last updated 1/28/18

Thursday, January 25, 2018

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Minneapolis

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

Monday, January 29, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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

Thursday, February 1, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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

Friday, February 2, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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

Saturday, February 3, 2018

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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

Sunday, February 4

IMG_6162

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

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

Ongoing (more in-depth information above)

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