The Best of The Twin Cities

I love my sisters. They’re funny, smart and inspire me to strive to be better each day. One of the greatest things about being back in the Midwest is being within driving distance of both of them! I visited Sarah in July (just to hang) and August (for The Color Run), so now it was time to pay Amy a visit to catch up and see her new condo that she shares with her great husband, Joe! The 10K race she was planning to run that coincided with a similar distance on my training calendar was a happy bonus. :)

Since I took a longer-than-expected blogging hiatus, this is going to be a supersized post—I hope you don’t mind! Similar to the recap and recommendation list as I did after my first St. Louis visit, I thought I’d share some top places and pictures from my time in the Twin Cities. It’s a beautiful, charming area that’s definitely worth a visit. To put the vibe in perspective, Amy compares the Twin Cities to a more spaced out Brooklyn (click here for a hilarious description of what that means).

Start planning your trips now!

To eat/drink…

  • Seward Cafe: Open only for breakfast and lunch, the Seward Cafe offers what Amy summed up as “hippy diner food.” The filling vegan fluffy pancakes (see below) hit the spot after our race!
  • Birchwood Cafe: This bike-friendly restaurant aims to offer fair trade, local and sustainable menu items as often as possible. Amy swears by the savory waffle special—this month’s offering includes sweet corn, wheat berry and cheddar.
  • Good Earth: We didn’t stop here this weekend, but have a couple times in the past. Good Earth features high-quality, seasonal ingredients prepared in unique ways (for example, one of this month’s specials is Green Tea Smoked Chicken Chopped Salad).
  • Gandhi Mahal: Featured as the “Best Indian Restaurant” in several local publications, this lunch and dinner establishment feels very zen with live sitar and drum players often accompanying your meal. I highly recommend the Farmers Market Special Curry! The ingredients change based on what’s available that week, but expect plenty of fresh vegetables with a nice spicy kick!

To shop…

  • Mall of America: Obvious, yes, but is often a must-see for those who have never been to the area! If you need a break from the dressing rooms, you can check out the aquarium, flight simulator, House of Comedy or indoor amusement park.
  • Karma Boutique: For those who prefer calmer, more independent shops, stop by Karma. You’ll find dresses, jackets, pants and tops with bohemian flair at this small St. Paul store.
  • IKEA: Since I recently moved into a new apartment, this was a must-see for me! True, there are some downsides to the huge furniture store (forced showroom viewing, DIY assembly), they offer some nice-looking products and you can’t beat the prices!

To see…

  • Minnehaha Falls: Normally a rushing waterfall, this was actually just trickling when we saw it on Saturday. Darn drought! It’s a stunning landscape no matter how much H2O is flowing.
  • Homes along Lake Calhoun: Amy and I think this is the prettiest of the lakes in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but your eyes are easily distracted by the unbelievable mansions around the perimeter. We like to pick out our dream homes from the 3+ miles of options. Not an easy task!
  • Cathedral of St. Paul: Regardless of your religion, this early 20th century structure is impressive. The 306-foot-tall domed building seats 3,000 and includes many stained glass windows, paintings and columns.

Now for my photo favorites!

{Race day weather was perfect! A little chilly at first, but not a cloud in the sky.}

{10K in less than 54 minutes? Check.}

{Post-race brunch at Seward Cafe.}

{Don’t miss the opulent lakefront houses. What do they do with all that space?}

{Beautiful lakeside view. I’m surprised I was able to get one without a jogger/biker/rollerblader!}

{Birchwood Cafe + local farmers = love.}

{Egg white brunch scramble with string beans, corn and kale at the Birchwood Cafe.}

What is your favorite weekend road trip spot and what do you like to do when you’re there?

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