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    Minneapolis–Saint Paul is a major metropolitan area built around the confluence of the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers in east central Minnesota. The area is commonly known as the Twin Cities after its two largest cities, Minneapolis, the most populous city in the state and home of the largest university in the state, and Saint Paul, the state capital, which directly borders Minneapolis to the east. It is an example of twin cities in the sense of geographical proximity. Minnesotans often refer to the two together (or the seven-county metro area collectively) simply as "the Cities". There are varying definitions what should be considered the "Twin Cities". Many refer to the "Twin Cities" as the seven-county region which is governed under the Metropolitan Council regional governmental agency and planning organization. The United States Office of Management and Budget officially designates 15 counties as the "Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington MN–WI Metropolitan Statistical Area", the 16th largest metropolitan statistical area with a population of 3,690,261 according to 2020 census estimate. The larger 21-county Minneapolis–St. Paul MN–WI Combined Statistical Area, which is also the 16th largest, has a population of 4,046,181 according to 2020 census estimates. The two cities are independent municipalities with defined borders. Minneapolis sits mostly on the west side of the Mississippi River, and is somewhat more modern with a relatively young downtown and trendy uptown. Saint Paul, which sits mostly on the east side of the river, has been likened to an East Coast city, with quaint neighborhoods, a vast collection of well-preserved late-Victorian architecture, and a large number of colleges.Originally inhabited by Ojibwe and Dakota groups, the cities were subsequently settled by many groups of Europeans. Minneapolis was influenced by early Scandinavian and Lutheran settlers, while Saint Paul was settled predominantly by French, Irish and German Catholic communities. Today, the cities are home to large immigrant communities, including Somali, Hmong, Oromo, and Liberian groups.
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    The 10 Best Diners in The US

    With a casual atmosphere, familiar greasy spoon fare and a distinctive lingo all their own, roadside diners hold a nostalgic place within the greater scope of American restaurant culture. Whether you’re stopping in for a burger, fries and a milkshake or breakfast all day with a bottomless cup of coffee poured by sassy waitresses who can still get away with calling customers “hon” and “sweetie,” these iconic eateries can always be counted on to deliver a satisfying dining experience. Here are ten of the most quintessential diners to visit across the country. 1. The Roadside Diner – Wall, New Jersey New Jersey bills itself as the diner capital of the world, and the Roadside is about as exemplary as it gets. Housed in a shiny chrome unit that still contains the original 1940s stools and booths, the eatery’s been cooking up omelets, pancakes, burgers and tuna melts since the 1940s. A fun bit of local trivia: the Roadside served as the backdrop for Bon Jovi’s 1994 Crossroad album cover, and also made an appearance in Bruce Springsteen’s “Girls in their Summer Clothes” music video. 2. Tom’s Restaurant – New York City Seinfeld fans will immediately recognize this Morningside Heights corner spot where Jerry, George and Elaine frequently hung out (it also inspired “Tom’s Diner,” Suzanne Vega’s biggest hit), but the family-owned joint has actually been in operation since the 1940s. Hearty lumberjack breakfasts, traditional Greek salads and gravy-drenched hot turkey sandwiches keep loyal customers coming back again and again. 3. Blue Benn Diner – Bennington, Vermont For such a little establishment, the charming Blue Benn Diner boasts a surprisingly big menu that spans breakfast burritos, salmon burgers, open-faced sandwiches, falafel, fried scallops, gyros, vegetarian options and Indian pudding. If you can’t find something to eat here, you’re just too darn picky. The classic 1940s boxcar setting and unpretentious servers only add to the appeal. 4. The Palace Diner – Biddeford, Maine With just 15 seats to work with, it’s safe to expect a wait at this breakfast-and-lunch-only diner. The railcar that houses the restaurant was originally built in 1927, and holds the distinction of being one of just two surviving Pollard cars left in the country. The tuna salad sandwiches and tuna melts here are two of the most in-demand dishes, and good enough to make diners forget all about traditional New England lobster rolls. 5. Brent’s Drugs – Jackson, Mississippi Movie buffs may remember Brent’s Drugs from its star turn in “The Help,” but the historic Fondren district diner/soda fountain inside the pharmacy has actually been in business since 1946. Snag a vintage turquoise vinyl booth or a seat at the counter and order up some classic Southern pimento cheese, biscuit sandwiches with a side of cheese grits, or a signature Brent’s Burger washed down with a classic Coke float. 6. The Oasis Diner – Plainfield Indiana Just a few miles west of Indianapolis, the Oasis moved around a few times before finally settling into its current location on the Old National Road/U.S. 40 in 2014. Originally manufactured in New Jersey and shipped to Indiana by rail in the 1950s, the now-restored diner shines like a new penny. On the menu? Western omelets, biscuits and gravy, patty melts, hand-crafted sodas, slices of pie, and of course, breaded Hoosier pork tenderloins pounded out thin enough to overhang the bun. 7. Rick’s White Light Diner – Frankfort, Kentucky Sitting pretty right next to the “Singing Bridge,” which got its name thanks to the sonorous metal gate flooring, Rick’s ranks as Frankfort’s oldest restaurant, in business since 1943 with memorabilia on the walls that details the history of the beloved local eatery. The diner’s small stature belies a big reputation for Cajun/Creole-inspired breakfast and lunch fare — crawfish pie, chicken and sausage jambalaya, New Orleans-style muffaletta and a handful of tasty Louisiana po boy sandwich variations. 8. Mickey’s Diner – St. Paul, Minnesota Art Deco style is alive and well at this period railcar diner, shipped to the Twin Cities from New Jersey in the 1930s and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The joint never closes, staying open (and busy) 24/7, 365 days a year slinging hash browns, pancakes, eggs, chili, burgers and creamy, hand-dipped milkshakes so thick you’ll probably want to just ditch the straw altogether and use a spoon. 9. Lou Mitchell’s – Chicago, Illinois Nearly a century old and still going strong, Lou Mitchell’s stands directly where the original Route 66 begins in Chicago’s West Loop, making it a long-time landmark for hungry “Mother Road” travelers. As a sweet tradition, Lou’s greets guests with doughnut holes (the kids get Milk Duds!) when they come through the door. The breakfast and lunch menus cover all the expected diner bases, but the ethereally fluffy omelets are the most consistently popular orders. 10. Pann’s Restaurant – Los Angeles, California Los Angeles is full of great hipster retro diners to explore, but Pann’s is required eating on the way to or from LAX. The Googie-style building with slanted roof looks like something out of the Jetsons, and the “Just Wonderful Food” motto doesn’t lie — Pann’s plates up dependably satisfying steak and eggs, buttermilk pancakes, fajita omelets, Dreemburgers and six-slice BLTs. There’s even a champagne brunch option on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Inspiration

    Showstopping Theater Cities around The US

    New York City is the theater capital of America, and Broadway is its shining star, but that doesn't mean the Great White Way has a monopoly over the medium. While the bright lights of the Big Apple may overshadow smaller theater scenes around the United States, the productions in these ten underrated towns are worth way more than rotten tomatoes.1. Minneapolis Fed up with the lights of Broadway, Sir Tyrone Guthrie moved to Minneapolis to begin his own repertory company in 1963. The Guthrie Theater went on to find success as a purveyor of classic and contemporary works and is arguably the most lauded theater venue in the Twin Cities. That's a mighty feat, considering Minneapolis and neighboring St. Paul are home to nearly 200 theaters and a healthy helping of successful organizations, including Brave New Workshop Theatre, Children's Theater Company, and touring venues like the Ordway and Orpheum. 2. Chicago Theater in Chicago is like deep-dish pizza: excellent and easy to find. The scene exploded in the mid 20th century when curtains went up on groups like Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre. Though these scrappy startups are now iconic institutions, the sentiments of their early days are still alive in Chicago's storefront theaters. Run by rag-tag post-grads looking to make their mark, these companies provide opportunities to see intimate productions in non-traditional settings. Check out The Loop's historic Broadway-style houses for big-budget musicals. Internationally acclaimed companies like the Goodman and Lookingglass are exemplary for their groundbreaking work. With over 200 operating theater companies, even the suburbs serve up award-winning theatrical experiences.3. Washington, DC Unlike its politicians, DC's theater companies know how to reach across the aisle and appeal to all audiences. The sprawling Kennedy Center is the best place to catch touring shows and concerts; Wooly Mammoth is the city's go-to for boundary-breaking theatrical experimentation; Signature Theater hosts ambitious productions of musicals; Shakespeare Theatre Company is one of the country's foremost interpreters of the Bard. Studio Theatre and Arena Stage are also noteworthy, as is Ford's Theatre, although President Lincoln had a famously terrible time there in 1865. 4. Philadelphia Philly is heaven for history buffs. There’s the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and – drum roll please – the oldest continually operating playhouse in America. The Walnut Street Theatre, a National Historic Landmark, has been entertaining audiences for over 200 years. Locals love the out-of-the-box storytelling done by dozens of smaller organizations like the Arden, InterAct, and The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, which hosts 1,000 performances for three weeks every September. For blockbuster Broadway shows, head to the glass-domed Kimmel Center and Renaissance-style Academy of Music.5. San Diego If La Jolla Playhouse isn't using "San Diego tested, New York approved" as their motto, they're missing a good opportunity. Of the 101 original plays and musicals they've premiered, 32 found success on Broadway stages. They aren't the only ones, either. The Old Globe, modeled after Shakespeare's theater in London, has given birth to over 20 Broadway shows throughout its illustrious career. Between both theaters and nearly 150 other active performance spaces around town, San Diego is a veritable Broadway by the beach. 6. Louisville This Kentucky town turns into a hotbed of artistic activity when the Actors Theatre of Louisville hosts its annual six-week-long Humana Festival. It's like Sundance for theater geeks — people from around the world come to celebrate new productions written by an impressive roster of playwrights. The prestigious festival has premiered a zillion critically-acclaimed titles, including Becky Shaw, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends.7. Seattle It may be perennially overcast in this Pacific Northwest town, but Seattle's theater scene still manages to sparkle. Both A Contemporary Theater and Seattle Rep present homegrown greatness with their evocative works featuring the city's pool of talented professionals. The 5th Avenue Theatre focuses on developing new musicals and is a frequent incubator for Broadway shows. The Paramount, Moore, and Neptune Theaters — all part of Seattle Theater Group — collectively present around 700 live events annually. 8. Boston Boston is an educational playground for young voices in the American theater. Prominent regional houses, including Huntington Theatre Company and American Repertory Theater, are affiliated with local universities like Boston University, Harvard and Emerson College. The surrounding areas are home to prolific art scenes as well, including North Shore Music Theatre (a half-hour away) and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which brings Broadway-caliber productions to the Berkshires.9. Denver For a city obsessed with outdoor activities, you may be surprised that any Mile High inhabitant would be willing to spend an evening inside a stuffy theater. But the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the nation's largest non-profit theater organization, is too spectacular to resist. The network of venues in this architecturally dynamic downtown complex host national tour premiers and pre-Broadway engagements, produce their own world-class performances, and help groom the country's up-and-coming talents at the annual Colorado New Play Summit. 10. Dallas/Fort Worth Everything's bigger in Texas, including this city's prodigious theater landscape. The gleaming AT&T Performing Arts Center hosts glitzy touring productions. Smaller companies like the Uptown Players and Theater Three produce quirky, low-budget works. Fort Worth, a thirty-minute drive away, has a robust theater community of its own, including Casa Mañana and Bass Hall. The big-wig of the Big D? Dallas Theater Center. This nationally-recognized company has brought brand new productions and reimagined classics to Dallas for over 50 years.

    Inspiration

    Locals Know Best: Madison, Wisconsin

    Hannah Flood moved to Madison in 2015 to anchor the morning newscast at NBC15 WMTV, the local NBC affiliate. (Ms. Flood now works for KMSP in Twin Cities, MN) It didn’t take long for her to feel at home—which is especially convenient considering that a newscaster's job depends on knowing the people and places around the city. In the beginning, recommendations from co-workers came at her at lightening speed. But now she’s become so familiar with the area that she can offer her own in return. We checked in to hear her tips on how to make the most of your time in Wisconsin's vibrant capital city. Good Eats In addition to University of Wisconsin's huge student population (nearly 30,000), Madison is home to Epic, a massive medical software company, so there’s a steady influx of young people, and where professionals with disposable income go, a hip dining scene follows. In many urban hubs, “farm to table” and “hyper-local” designations are worn as badges of pride. In Madison, it’s practically a necessity, what with Wisconsin being a huge agricultural state. It's a “super-foodie city,” Hannah assures—almost anywhere you go to eat, staff will tell you that the cheese is from a creamery 30 minutes down the road, and the beef is from a farm not much farther. Hanna's many favorites run the gamut. When the night calls for a high-end yet still casual meal, Graze, a modern restaurant near the capitol building, answers. The chef, Tory Miller, broke onto the national culinary scene when he appeared on Iron Chef Showdown, winning out against Food Network star Bobby Flay. At Graze, his dishes are Korean-inspired but, this being Wisconsin, cheese curds make a few cameos on the menu. Cheese curds also show up at Lucille, a sweeping warehouse-chic eatery retrofitted into an old bank and known for its craft cocktails and wood-fired pizza. The deep-dish and thin-crust options are both fine, but the absolute necessity is the pan nachos. Yes, cooked like a deep-dish pizza, with Wisconsin cheese. If you’re looking for an ultra-casual meal, check out the Plaza Tavern off of State Street, a main thoroughfare. With leather booths, old-school arcade games, and a frenetic open kitchen, it looks as though it’s been untouched since the 1970s, says Hannah. “It’s very Wisconsin,” she asserts. The spot is known for its burgers, slathered in creamy Plaza sauce. (The owner allegedly keeps the recipe locked up in a safe-deposit box). Then there are the supper clubs, Wisconsin’s answer to the steakhouse. They were a new discovery for Hannah when she moved here and, she suggests, something any guest visiting the region should explore. One of her favorites is the Tornado Steak House, a true classic with a speakeasy element to it: If you didn't know to look for it, you might miss the discreet entrance, despite it being on a busy street. Like the Plaza Tavern, it looks like it’s been unchanged by time. “The first time I took my boyfriend there, he seriously said he felt like a mobster,” she says. And pro tip: After 9 p.m., menu prices are slashed. A sirloin, for instance, is less than $15. A City of Neighborhoods (everylymadison.com) Madison’s geography is distinctive: It’s situated on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, and there are four lakes located downtown. The capitol building is in the center, and all the neighborhoods radiate out from there. Locals refer to Madison as the most liberal place between Berkeley and Brooklyn, and that long legacy is perhaps best personified by the moment, in the late '60s, when the city erupted in protest against Dow Chemical, maker of napalm gas. The neighborhood known as Willy Street, on the near east side of downtown, perhaps best typifies that free-spirited past. (Hannah describes it as “artsy, eccentric, and granola.”) Home to many young creative types and families with small children, it’s a vibrant destination for nightlife. Start with pre-dinner cocktails at Gib's Bar, a converted old house that's so cozy it reminds Hannah of hanging out in a friend's living room, then dinner at Texas Tubb’s Taco Palace. Wrap the night across the street at Alchemy, a low-key joint with a dependable calendar of local bands. Across town, the Monroe neighborhood embodies a different vibe. Situated near Camp Randall Stadium, home of the university’s football team, its winding streets are lined with longstanding houses, architectural eye candy. The area’s businesses are a little more “uptown,” so to speak, than Willy Street. The Everly, for one, serves California-style fresh meals, a far cry from the region's classic meat-and-potatoes fare. Small independent businesses abound. Hannah suggests visiting Zip-Dang, a husband-and-wife-run shop specializing in funky prints, many of which are inspired by the husband’s obsession with Wisconsin folklore. And don’t leave the neighborhood without stopping by Bloom Bakeshop for cupcakes. The presence of all these cute newer shops, however, doesn’t mean the neighborhood has abandoned its history. Mickies Dairy Bar is a relic that Hannah adoringly describes as a hole-in-the-wall. Diners committed to the eatery’s milkshakes, malts,and classic breakfasts dependably form lines out the door on weekends. Day-Tripping (Ralf Broskvar/Dreamstime) There is plenty to keep a visitor busy throughout a long weekend—or more—in Madison, but it’d be a faux pas to travel here and not explore the surrounds. One place Hannah always insists her out-of-town friends see is Devil’s Lake State Park—by her estimation, the most beautiful thing the state has to offer. The lakeside park, rimmed by colossal cliffs, offers paddle-boarding and hiking trails for all skill levels. It’s best known, however, for Devil’s Doorway, a colossal boulder precariously balanced on a cliff. There are two roads that lead there from Madison, each of which delivers its own rewards. Route 113 runs through Lodi, a sweet little enclave with a downtown worth stopping for, not least because of Buttercream Bakery, a local favorite. But Hannah prefers the 40-mile drive along Route 12, which cuts through Prairie du Sauk, where there is an eagle-watching center nearby. For more information on Madison, WI visit their site.

    Inspiration

    A Handful of America's Nicest Easter Egg Events

    The Easter holiday is only about two weeks away on Sunday, April 8. More than 100 communities are making final preparations for their Easter egg events, which include parades, egg decorating, egg rolling, and egg hunts. The most famous of these events is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 9. The annual ticket lottery for that event closed earlier this month. The tradition started in 1878 with 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes, who invited children to play Easter games on the White House lawn after mean Congressmen banned the youngsters from the Capitol grounds. Here are some other events nationwide. Some events are non-denominational, while others are led by local churches. Merrillville, Indiana. At the Living Hope Church in Northwest Indiana, about an hour's drive from Chicago, about 100,000 plastic eggs will be hidden throughout the grounds, with a hunt beginning at 10 am for children 11 and under. Midday, there will be a helicopter candy drop. April 7, Lake County Fairgrounds, morning, lhcweb.org Coconut Creek, Fla. On the morning of April 7, this town near Orlando runs hosts its second-annual hunt for 60,000-plus eggs at a local high school for kids up to fifth-gade. " target="_blank">eggstravaganza.org Minneapolis/St. Paul The suburban town of North Maple Grove hosts the Twin Cities' largest annual Easter Egg Hunt, with 30,000 colorful candy-filled plastic eggs being hunted on the grounds of Maple Grove Senior High School. April 8; kids up to sixth grade. Free, but reserve tickets online. Fremont, Ohio The Hayes Presidential Center holds several egg-rolling and egg-decorating contests, with every child receiving a balloon, a pass to the Hayes Home, and treats. Admission is three hard-boiled colored eggs. afternoon of April 7, kids up to age 10, rbhayes.org/hayes Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Colo.. On April 8, kids up to age 11 can search for 50,000 eggs in the Colorado's largest Easter egg hunt. Big kids can hunt for six "copper eggs" using Facebook check-ins as clues and with substantial prizes. midday, kids 7-11, Copper Mountain Ski Resort Felton, Calif. Children hop on a steam train, hearing the story of Peter Rabbit, and then reach a patch in Bear Mountain where they search for chocolate candy eggs. midday, roaringcamp.com, $24, adults, $17 kids, 2-12. Appleton, Wisc. Pathways Church, on the morning of April 7 will host a hunt with 30,000 Easter eggs and 3,000 pounds of candy. pathwayschurch.us LIST OF 100-PLUS EGG HUNTS. SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Our Best Ideas for Traveling with Kids Is Legoland Florida Worth the Cost? Flying With Kids: A Survival Guide

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    DESTINATION IN Minnesota

    Minneapolis

    Minneapolis ( (listen)) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the seat of Hennepin County. With a population of 429,954 as of 2020, it is the 46th most populous city in the US. Seven counties encompassing Minneapolis and its neighbor Saint Paul are known as the Twin Cities. In 2019, those counties are among sixteen making up the Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington MN–WI metropolitan area of 3.6 million, and twenty-two making up the combined statistical area of 4.0 million — the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States.Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. With one of the nation's best park systems, the city is abundant in water, with thirteen lakes, wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls, many connected by parkways in the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. The city and surrounding region is the largest population and primary business center between Chicago and Seattle. Minneapolis was historically a marketplace for timber, became the flour milling capital of the world, and, to the present day, preserved its financial clout. Anchoring strong music and performing arts scenes, Minneapolis is home to both the Guthrie Theater and the First Avenue nightclub. Reflecting the region's status as a center of folk, funk, and alternative rock music, the city was the launching pad for several of the 20th century's most influential musicians, including Bob Dylan and Prince. Hip-hop and rap scenes produced artists Lizzo, Brother Ali, Atmosphere, and Dessa. In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by Derek Chauvin, a white officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, occurred in the city. It resulted in global protests and put Minneapolis and racism in the national and international spotlights.