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Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

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Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Old 04-15-14, 12:39 AM
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Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

I will in Des Moines for three days and then Minneapolis (plus St. Paul a bit) for four days. We'll be staying in southwest part of Minn.

What are some cool things to do?

Is the Mall of America just another mall and not worth it?

Cool record stores? Antique/collectibles?

Restaurants?

Fun stuff?

Touristy stuff?

Cool thrift stores?

What else?
Old 04-15-14, 01:32 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Well, in Minneapolis...skip the MoA for sure. Just another mall, just a lot more of it.

I really think the Stone Arch Bridge and Mills Ruin Park is very cool. And then you've got the whole Northeast (Nordeast!) area which is all nearby. I've had a lot of my customers suggest a Segway tour of the city, but I can't speak to it personally. Whether or not you're a Baseball fan, Target Field is awesome and even the cheap seats really give you a great view of the park and a backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline. Also some excellent food at the park like Andrew Zimmern's AZ Canteen. The Sandstone caves are really awesome as well...but I'm not sure if they're open to tourists yet?

If you like concerts at all I think it would be worth checking out if there are any bands or artists you'd like to see at the legendary First Ave. or the Varsity Theater,
which is very impressive inside.

For record shops...there's a lot more to choose from than I had thought a few weeks ago (Thanks Geofferson!) and I can highly suggest Hymie's Records as my do not miss shop. Roadrunner, Electric Fetus and Cheapo are all excellent places and within pretty close proximity of one another.

As far as places to eat in the different sections of Minneapolis:

Northeast

Mayslack's - some of the best hot sandwiches I've ever had in my life and it used to be a polka bar and is somewhat of an old-timer's bar...still great!

Psycho Suzi's - this is a tiki bar...the drinks are strong and pretty tasty, the patio facing the Mississippi is awesome and the food is pretty decent.

Dinkytown

This is the U of M area of the city, lots of college kids but there are two places I can highly suggest.

Mesa Pizza - they've got awesome unique slices here. My personal favorite is The Southern Gentleman which has mashed potatoes, bacon, Cajun chicken and cheddar... But everything there is excellent.

Al's Breakfast - awesome food, but it's small and pretty damn busy.

Uptown

Roat Osha - my personal favorite Thai place in Minneapolis. Can't go wrong with anything there.

Burger Jones - Huge Burgers with lots of toppings and great sides. Their hot dogs are delicious too!

If you're downtown at all, I would just kind of walk around and try things on your own as I've really only drank down there. Keiran's Irish Pub and Brit's Pub tend to be my go-to spots. I've heard Haute Dish is also pretty tasty...not sure how swanky it is though.


I'm sure I'll think of more stuff...
Old 04-15-14, 02:42 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

In Des Moines, you should eat at Zombie Burger+Drink Lab, and maybe Flying Mango. Check out West End Salvage, the Statehouse, the State Historical Museum and Salisbury House. My cat would like to see you, too.
Old 04-15-14, 03:11 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Moopher-THANKS for the info!

I will have my kids and that may factor into some of the options. They aren't little but not exactly drinking age either.
Old 04-15-14, 03:12 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Mr. Salty-Don't know Flying Mango.

You know anytime I can get some "cathouse action" I am there!
Old 04-15-14, 03:33 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Moopher View Post
If you're downtown at all, I would just kind of walk around and try things on your own as I've really only drank down there. Keiran's Irish Pub and Brit's Pub tend to be my go-to spots.
I was in town for a wedding about a year and a half ago, and ended up at Brit's for beers and snacks two evenings in a row. The food was forgettable (I'm looking at the menu right now, and I have no idea what I ate...and that was before I started drinking) and the beer was priced higher than it should be (and the taxes on alcohol were a lot higher than they should be), but it was still a good time, especially while watching lawn bowling (which won't be open yet if you are going within the next month).

Buford, when are you coming back to Cincinnati so that you can go to Shake It?
Old 04-15-14, 03:53 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Buford T Pusser View Post
Mr. Salty-Don't know Flying Mango.
Here you go!
Old 04-15-14, 09:00 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

I wanna Shake it! Haven't been to Cincy for a few years. I met a few women there (as a halfway point) and that was fun but we spent a good portion in the hotel rooms.
Old 04-15-14, 09:02 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Mr. Salty-Flying Mango sounds worth a try for sure.

What was that pizza place for lunch we tried? Or was there two places we hit for lunch?
Old 04-15-14, 09:56 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

I'd suggest El Bait Shop in Des Moines. They have something like 140 beers on tap. Lots of great and obscure stuff.

Des Moines also has a vinyl district (well, four record shops on one block) in the Highland Park neighborhood. Lots of variety, it's worth a visit.
Old 04-15-14, 09:59 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

A shovel and a winter coat.
Old 04-15-14, 10:03 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Moopher View Post
Well, in Minneapolis...skip the MoA for sure. Just another mall, just a lot more of it.
On the other hand, the MoA does have a huge amusement park with roller coasters in the middle of it, as well as LegoLand, so depending on the age of your kids, it might be worth checking out.
Old 04-15-14, 10:07 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
I'd suggest El Bait Shop in Des Moines. They have something like 140 beers on tap. Lots of great and obscure stuff.

Des Moines also has a vinyl district (well, four record shops on one block) in the Highland Park neighborhood. Lots of variety, it's worth a visit.
140 beers? Yes please.

I think we hit one or two record stores-maybe there Mr. Salty? Plus one on the corner that was better.
Old 04-15-14, 10:08 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Maybe the boys would like LegoLand. They are pretty much growing out of it but might find it interesting to check out.

None of them go crazy for roller coasters.
Old 04-15-14, 11:41 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Buford T Pusser View Post
Mr. Salty-Flying Mango sounds worth a try for sure.

What was that pizza place for lunch we tried? Or was there two places we hit for lunch?
fongs pizza maybe?
http://fongspizza.com/
Old 04-16-14, 01:28 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

You should also check out Pizza Luce, another excellent pizza place and they have awesome brunch on the weekends.

And if you and your kids enjoy some desert, try either Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream or Izzy's.
Old 04-16-14, 02:18 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Buford T Pusser View Post
Mr. Salty-Flying Mango sounds worth a try for sure.

What was that pizza place for lunch we tried? Or was there two places we hit for lunch?
Gusto. They're always good, or Noah's Ark, which had the first pizza in Iowa, is just up the street.
Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
I'd suggest El Bait Shop in Des Moines. They have something like 140 beers on tap. Lots of great and obscure stuff.

Des Moines also has a vinyl district (well, four record shops on one block) in the Highland Park neighborhood. Lots of variety, it's worth a visit.
Good call on El Bait Shop. Buford hit the Highland Park stores on his last visit, but I'm sure we will again.
Originally Posted by Buford T Pusser View Post
140 beers? Yes please.

I think we hit one or two record stores-maybe there Mr. Salty? Plus one on the corner that was better.
Yep, that was Highland Park.
Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
fongs pizza maybe?
http://fongspizza.com/
Ooh, another good call. The crab rangoon pizza is a Des Moines staple.
Old 04-16-14, 03:00 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
fongs pizza maybe?
http://fongspizza.com/
Please go here. I've never been there and I want you to experience what I have yet to do! For years, when my wife asks me what I want for dinner, I've joked "General Tso's Pizza." Then I found out about this place. Turns out, it's closer to reality than I had ever imagined!

Moopher has some good ideas for you. I've lived in Minneapolis for a while and can add in a few, though if we knew your kids' ages that may help us recommend stuff...

Entertainment:
- The local improv comedy scene is excellent. Brave New Workshop, ComedySportz, Stevie Ray's, HUGE Theater. You can't go wrong. (You have kids traveling with you? CSz is likely your best bet, in terms of age-appropriate content.)
- You could have a nice afternoon on Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. Picnic in the rose gardens, walk through the nature preserve, catch a show at the band shell, and ride the old time trolley car / train car and get a history lesson on early mass transit. I personally love the trolley cars and haven't met a kid alive who didn't think it was cool.
- There isn't a single bad museum around here. Seriously, they're all good. One unique one is the Mill City Museum inside an old flour mill that halfway blew up 100 years ago and the museum is about that industry. You'd be surprised how cool it is to walk through a half-exploded building.
- Legoland is just a store. It's a neat store, but don't expect much. There are a lot of cool sculptures including a two-story robot being attacked by one-story minifigs but aside from a few tables for free play and a bulid-your-own-minifig kiosk, you're basically going to get to see all the sets Lego has to offer you at the MSRP. Still, it's right by the entrance to the Nickelodeon indoor amusement park, two floors below a decent food court (Johnny Rockets, LJS, Panda Express, McD, Chipotle, Famous Dave's, A&W, and many others), and the movie theater is one more floor up, all connected by a convenient stack of escalators and the elevator all right there at the base of Legoland. It's on the south side of the MOA so you'll have to park in the west or east ramp. For whatever reason, I always find the east ramp much more convenient to get in and out of and find better parking there, too.
- Sea Life is a cool aquarium in the MOA. Stingray tanks, a really cool octopus display these days, then an underwater tunnel of saltwater creatures like sharks and then a freshwater tunnel of Minnesota fish. It's not super long so pace yourselves to get your money's worth. We have a family pass and go quite a bit (see below) so I couldn't tell you if the one day pass is worth the admission or not. This is Minnesota, so for us, this is an excellent aquarium but if you're from the coast, this is nothing, I'm sure.
- I know a bit about the MOA because we literally live five minutes away and when our toddler is getting restless, that's where I take her. We go to Sea Life, walk through Legoland, etc. and kids eat free at a handful of restaurants on Tuesdays. I've probably been there more in the last two years than I have in the rest of my life combined. The MOA really is just a big mall. It's fascinating to walk through and wonder just how the heck all of these specialty shops even make it there, the rent / overhead has to be insane. Make up their business with airport traffic and true tourists, I suppose.

Local Food:
- Jucy Lucy cheeseburgers have a molten magma core of bubbling hot cheese waiting to burst forth as liquid hot lava. Very, very worth it. The 5-8 Club and Matt's Bar, both on Cedar (and just up the road from MOA) are excellent, though Matt's Bar is the local favorite and my personal favorite, if you ask me. They take cash only and the on-site cash machine fee is ridiculously high so bring cash with you.
- Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream is a local favorite (Hennepin and Franklin) and the raspberry chocolate chip is their signature flavor. Never been to Izzy's but I hear good things. I don't know if Freeziac is in other places around the country but you essentially build your own frozen yogurt sundae with literally 50 different toppings to choose from and you pay by weight.
- Sea Salt is excellent, fresh sea food. The place is packed all summer long.
- We have Starbucks, but the real local favorite coffee around here is Caribou Coffee. That and Dunn Bros, both are good.
- My favorite pizza options: Pizza Luce (spendy but interesting options, including many vegan possibilities), Leaning Tower of Pizza (super cheesy), and while I haven't had Toppers yet I know some people who swear by it.
- If your family likes Asian buffets, Super Moon Buffet and New King Buffet are some of the best in the area.
- Lots of restaurants do their own microbrew beer. Herkimer is pretty good.
- Downtown St. Paul gets a lot of food trucks by the Capitol building at lunch time. The Capitol tour is pretty cool, too. Can't remember if they've started renovations yet and whether they still do tours during renovations.

OTHER STUFF:
- The cool record store around here is the Electric Fetus. Lot of the good ones have closed up shop in the last ten years, sadly.
- The cool thrift stores around here are Ragstock, Savers, and Goodwill. The newest Goodwill is on Nicollet and 60th and I was in it for the first time today. Surprised by the decent selection of stuff, especially books and clean, quality plush toys (shopping with my kid so that's where we looked).
- Downtown Hopkins has tons of antique shops.
- Some of my favorite local fun sites are the Walker Art Center and the nearby sculpture gardens, the model train museum in Bandanna Square (Choo-Choo Bob's train store is also cool, if you dig trains), the U of M Arboretum out in Chanhassen is beautiful. Maybe call to see how much will be in bloom by the time you visit.

BONUS:
- I dare you to set up a Minnesota DVDTalk meet-and-greet with the infamous Buford T. Pusser. I dare, dare, dare you. Moopher? Draven? Could be insanity, could be awesome...

Last edited by story; 04-16-14 at 03:05 AM. Reason: added stuff / typos
Old 04-16-14, 05:37 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

^"Man vs Food" did a segment on the battle between 5-8 Club and Matt's Bar as to who invented the Jucy Lucy. Each does their burger patty slightly different.
Old 04-16-14, 07:24 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Oh man, if you're looking for Man vs. Food stuff, hit Jetheo's for the Emmenecker sandwhich:

http://jethrosdesmoines.com/the-adam...cker-challenge.

Also, if you're in town over the weekend go to the Bombshell Brunch at Americana. Grilled. Cheese. Bar.
Old 04-16-14, 08:38 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Originally Posted by Buford T Pusser View Post
I met a few women there (as a halfway point) and that was fun but we spent a good portion in the hotel rooms.
Moving to Adult Ta--wait, shit.
Old 04-16-14, 09:55 AM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

For Jucy Lucy's I'd recommend the Blue Door Pub ... largest selection of Jucy Lucy's I've seen:
http://www.thebluedoorpubmn.com/pdfs/BDP_MENU_2014.pdf

For Pizza, I'd try Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza
Old 04-16-14, 01:13 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

Holy crap. We may have to leave Des Moines early to get in way more Minn./St. Paul stuff!




Lots of great tips. I'm trying to lose some weight-in week three of P90X3 and this won't help!

My boys are 11 and 13 and daughter just turned 18.
Old 04-16-14, 03:07 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

If that's how old they are, let 'em go to the MOA. If your kids like to shop they'll find tons of specialty stores offering every little thing. Won't say it's always the best prices but the selection is insane. The MOA is filled with girls your daughter's age shopping all day long and there are guys your sons' ages, too, though I see them hanging out around the experiential stuff more than shopping (flight simulators, arcade, rides, etc.). Your youngest, maybe your middle one, could eat for free on Tuesdays at some of the restaurants, too, including Famous Dave's (ribs).

And seriously, if it isn't too weird, depending on the day I would meet you there to say 'hi' and take my kid to Sea Life or something. Like I said, we're there a lot since it's so close and we have a season pass.
Old 04-16-14, 04:09 PM
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Re: Gonna visit Minn/St. Paul and Des Moines. Tips?

When are you actually going? For Minneapolis, Valleyfair amusement park is about 20 miles south of the city, although I don't think that opens until mid-May. Also... if your kids have never been to a drive-in movie, there's one a bit out of town (http://www.valihi.com/) but again, it probably won't be able until next month.

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