Brief notes on the trip, state by state, with sights, places, and photographs.
With the purpose of adding another state to our visited list and seeing a new city, we decided to swing into Minnesota between our Wisconsin travels. The National Trust for Historic Preservation conference was in Minneapolis/St. Paul in October 2007 and I had heard good things about both cities.
We didn’t have any plans except to walk around and find some coffee – the usual. We also didn’t have directions, so we ended up taking a scenic tour until we found ourselves downtown near the Nicollet Mall. Nicollet Mall is an entire city block turned into a pedestrian mall with restaurants and stores and a light rail running down the street. Cars are also allowed to drive down the street, but not park. The mall wasn’t really what we were looking, nor could we find anything that wasn’t a chain.
Thank goodness for Internet on phones and all of their applications to direct us away from the chain stores and the mall to what Minneapolis has dubbed “Eat Street.” Eat Street is filled with ethnic restaurants mostly, but surrounding it are neighborhoods there were many people walking around. The Spyhouse is a cool coffee shop there. Good coffee, good desserts, internet, comfortable chairs, funky mugs, and many people around our age hanging out made it worth the wait and the walk for the coffee.
Another reason for visiting Minneapolis was to see the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture in Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Again, the phone helped us out here. We walked the 1.5 miles or so through Minneapolis and crossed a very large pedestrian overpass to get there. The residential architecture of Minneapolis provided entertainment on the walk and we were able to a lot of the city (or at least it felt like it!) The sculpture garden was worth the walk as well. The main attraction is the Spoonbridge and Cherry, but there were many others.
After the garden we headed back to the car, but walked a different way. We passed through Loring Park, which had gardens, paths, a lake, and a picnic area. It is the largest community park in Minneapolis and there is a Loring Park neighborhood (historic!) as well.
And just for the heck of it, for seeing modern American culture, we felt the need to visit Mall of America just south of Minneapolis. You know, the one with the roller coaster in the middle of it. Approaching the Mall was probably the most interesting part. Hotels sit adjacent to the mall, the huge sign welcomes you, and there are so many directions to follow. While we’re glad to have seen it, just once, our impression was that it is just a giant mall. In the middle there is a Nickelodeon kiddy theme park and some larger-than-life Lego statues.
Although we spent just half a day in Minneapolis, we did walk a lot of the city (we think) and we liked it. It seemed like a safe, fun place to be with lots of events and people our age. It would probably be a nice place to visit again.
And now Minnesota is on our list of visited states.