Fun Things For Couples To Do In Minneapolis

Minneapolis has plenty to offer the funloving couple.

Minneapolis may not be the Big Apple, the Big Orange or the Big Easy but there is plenty of pizazz to be found in and around the western Twin City. It has its own metro area, as does its eastern counterpart, St. Paul (we'll just stick to the West side, as the twins exhibit a lot of competitive spirit!) Keep in mind that Minneapolis is not Miami; many outdoor activities will be unavailable in the winter, which gets mighty cold; others will ONLY be available in winter.

Downtown Minneapolis is architecturally interesting and, except for the business district, fairly lively, especially around Dinkytown (the university area).

For one-time events, a funloving couple should pick up a copy of the venerable free newspaper, City Pages, every Wednesday; watch for open mics and readings, as they abound, as do comedy clubs. However, there are a lot of regularly scheduled facilities and activities in this burg. Here are some of the best:

1. Water parks. They're not just for kids! The better hotels have their own, but public parks abound. The outdoor facilities will be open only during summer months, but the indoor ones will be available year-round. Grab your sweetie and get your feet wet! Here are some of the parks at which grownups may enjoy playing:

North Commons Water Park

(Outdoors)

1701 Golden Valley Road

Minneapolis, MN 55411

Phone: 612 370-4945

Fax: 612 522-9353

Hours: 12:15-8pm

adults $3.50 (two dollars off if entering after 6 PM)

Three-story-high slides!

The Big Splash Indoor Water Park

(two hours outside Minneapolis, from which the 320 area code is long distance)

2100 Arrowhead Lane Northwest

Alexandria, MN 56308

Phone: 320-762-1124 or toll-free 866-386-5263

Fax: 320-762-0133

Hours: Fall/Winter - Labor Day through Memorial Day:

10:00 AM -9:00 PM Monday - Thursday

10:00 AM-10:00 PM Friday

9:00 AM-10:00 PM Saturday

9:00 AM-9:00 PM Sunday

Summer - Memorial Day through Labor Day:

9:00 AM-9:00 PM Sunday - Thursday

9:00 AM-10:00 PM Friday - Saturday

$15.95 plus tax per person Monday - Thursday

$11.95 plus tax per person Monday - Thursday after 4PM

$20.95 plus tax per person Friday - Sunday

$15.95 plus tax per person Friday - Sunday after 4PM

Four-story-high slides; 12th largest water park in the U.S.

2. Horseback Riding. What could be more romantic than holding hands on horseback? A carriage ride, of course! Bunker Park Stable between State Highway 65 and Hansen Boulevard in a corner of Bunker Hills Regional Park, in Andover, 45 minutes outside of Minneapolis, will cater to almost any romantic whim. They still talk of the time a gentleman dressed in armor, rode a white horse to where his lady waited, with an attendant bringing a second horse for her; the couple rode to a secluded spot where a picnic had been prepared for them, and they were fetched at an appropriate hour. Trail rides cost $23 per person; carriage rides start at $125 per hour within the park and $395 for the first house/$100 per hour thereafter outside the park.

Bunker Park Stable 5676 170th St. N. Hugo, MN 55038

Phone: 763-757-9445

Hours: Memorial Day through Labor Day:

10AM - 7PM Monday - Saturday

12PM - 4PM Sunday

Labor Day to Memorial Day, closed on Mondays.

Email: [email protected]

3. Go dancing! Most dance venues in Minneapolis offer other activities as well, including some fine (though not necessarily fancy) food.

Benchwarmer Bob's Sports Cafe

Phone: 952-895-0800

Fax: 952-895-0881

Email: [email protected]

Hours:

11AM-2AM Monday - Saturday

10AM-2PM Sunday

This is an eatery (with a Sunday Brunch, happy hour and buffet happy hour), a sports bar and a live dance venue all rolled into one. Dancing starts 8:30 every night. A live DJ is featured every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8PM; the karaoke is cranked up every Thursday from 9PM. A roundtrip bus ride to any home Vikings game costs $12 and includes a free drink.

First Avenue

701 First Avenue North

Minneapolis, MN 55403-1327

Phone: Info: 612-332-1775 (any time); Office: 612-338-8388 (10AM-6PM, Monday - Friday)

Email: [email protected] (Mean Larry)

Hours and prices vary (it pays to come between 9PM and 11PM as the price then doubles) and to buy tickets in advance when available (they cost more at the door) in this live music venue which features regular Dance Nights.

The Poodle Club

3001 East Lake Street

Minneapolis, MN 55406

Phone: 612-722-1377

Hours: 7AM-2AM Every Day (may close as early as one if business is slow)

This club serves three meals a day and features live dancing Thursday through Sunday. Music includes blues and every kind of rock; you can jam with the house musicians, Big Bob Scoggin's Band, every Sunday, and there's karaoke Tuesdays and Wednesdays (people sometimes dance to that as well). You may like the outdoor seating in good weather; play a little billiards while you're there.



Tapestry Folkdance Center

3748 Minnehaha Ave S.

Minneapolis, MN 55406

Phone: 612-722-2914

Fax: 612) 722-2915 (please call before faxing)

Email: [email protected]

Worried that you don't know how to folk-dance? There is a brief teaching session before every dance, featuring world music in a smoke- and alcohol-free environment. In addition there are regular classes and workshops in swing, English contra, Scandinavian and international folk dancing. Times vary and there is often an early evening class (level-specific, including beginners) followed by a dance. Prices vary; members, students and volunteers get discounts.

Jitters Martini Bar and Cabaret

205 E Hennepin Ave

Minneapolis, MN

Phone: 612-617-1111

Hours: 8PM-1AM Tuesday - Thursday

6PM-1PM Friday - Saturday

7PM-11PM Sunday

Food service until 11PM Tuesday - Wednesday and until midnight Thursday - Saturday

Jitters seats 140 and showcases local talent in many genres, including jazz, blues and acoustic. You can also find DJs and karaoke, and what you won't find is a cover charge. (Planning a private party? Do it at Jitters on a Monday!)

4. Enjoy live concerts. Minneapolis, like every major city, has traditional (and expensive) concert halls; try some of these less expensive (and sometimes free) hot spots:

Cedar Cultural Center

416 Cedar Ave So.

Minneapolis, MN 55454

Phone: 612.338.2674

Concerts start at 7:30PM most nights, often 8PM on weekends.

Prices vary from show to show in this wonderful traditional ethnic music venue, where you can purchase a plate of curry and a bottle of beer, find a folding chair and experience the music of Tuvalu... or Los Angeles! (Artists range from Hot Tuna to Kitka to Fiddlers Four to Geoff Muldaur to Loudain Wainwright III.) A lack of air conditioning closes the Cedar down for the summer but they're open the rest of the year. Volunteer (in advance) to help out and your admission will be free!

400 Bar

400 Cedar Ave S (at Riverside Ave)

Minneapolis, MN 55454

Phone: 612.332.2903

A couple doors down from the Cedar, this bar is anything but ordinary; their tiny stage has accommodated Leon Russell, Queens of the Stone Age, classical cellist Matt Haimovich, Rufus Wainwright, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks and many more; May 2005 finds them holding a "Bob Dylan Sound A Like Contest." Times and prices vary and there is sometimes some confusion about where to get tickets; your best bet is to call a day in advance.

Lake Harriet Bandshell

4135 W Lake Harriet Pkwy

Minneapolis, MN 55409

In the summer you can find local and national acts performing for free in the open air, backed by lovely Lake Harriet. The Minnesota Orchestra makes an annual appearance, as do polka bands, folk duos, rockers, rollers and everyone in between. Minneapolitans bring their dogs, snuggle together on the benches, dance in front of the bandstand, chat with performers during the break or after the show, buy CDs, tees and whatever else the artist is selling, as well as hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream cones from the refectory. You can even pump fresh drinking water at a nearby well. Before or after the event, take a ride on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, (on the other side of the parking lot, up by the street -- more information below), and walk, run or bicycle around the lake. (Bring mosquito spray, though!)

5. Ride an old-fashioned streetcar!

Como-Harriet Streetcar Line

Hours: April 30 to May 8 Weekends only -- 12:30PM-Dusk

May 14 to September 11 Weeknights except holidays and July 5 -- 6:30PM-Dusk

Weekends and holidays including July 5 -- 12:30PM-Dusk

July 4th and Labor Day -- 9:30PM-Dusk

September 17 - 25 Weekends only -- 12:30PM-Dusk

October 1 - November 17 Weekends only -- 12:30PM-4:30PM

Individual Fare: $2.00

Daily Pass: $5.00

10-Ride Ticket: $17.00

25-Ride Ticket: $43.00

Season Pass (Museum Member): $24.50

Season Pass (Non-Member): $49.00

Streetcars depart about every 15 minutes from two stations:

Linden Hills Station

Queen Avenue South and West 42nd Street (on the west shore of Lake Harriet

Lake Calhoun platform

Richfield Road just south of West 36th Street.

Excelsior Streetcar Line

Hours (for 2005): Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays

May 5 - September 11

Thursdays 2PM-6PM

Saturdays 10AM-4PM

Sundays and Holidays 1AM-4PM

Thursdays (Excelsior Farmer's Market)

September 15 - October 27

Thursdays 2:PM - 6PM

Individual Fare: $1.50

Daily Pass: $4.00

10-Ride Ticket: $17.00

25-Ride Ticket: $43.00

Season Pass (Museum Member): $24.50

Season Pass (Non-Member): $49.00

Departures every 10-15 minutes.

Board the Excelsior Streetcarby the Excelsior and Lake Minntonka Historical Society between Water Street and Old Excelsior Road. Board adjacent to the museum of the Excelsior and Lake Minnetonka Historical Society, between 3rd and George Streets, or at Old Excelsior Road just west of the intersection of Old Excelsior Road and Minnetonka Boulevard, both in the city of Excelsior, about 15 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. You'll ride between Walter Street and Old Excelsior Road, and you might also get a tour of the Excelsior Carbarn.

(Como-Harriet Streetcar Line and Excelsior Streetcar Line tokens, tickets, and passes are valid on both lines.)

6. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation system, which includes a plethora of lakes and gardens, also boasts six skate parks:

Aramatage Park

2500 W. 57th Street

Minneapolis, MN 55410

Phone: 612-370-4912

Fax: 612-920-3727

Hours: 6AM-10PM

The playground includes climbing walls, slides and swings attractive to adults as well as children; check out the ice rink!

Elliott Park

1000 E. 14th St.

Minneapolis, MN 55404

Phone: 612-370-4772

Fax: 612-659-0792

Hours: 6AM-10PM

Creekview Park

5001 Humboldt Ave. N.

Minneapolis, MN 55430

Phone: 612-370-4965

Fax: 612-334-1638

Hours: 6AM-10PM

Follow the biking path or enjoy a picnic.

Morris Park

5531 39th Ave S

Minneapolis, MN 55417

Phone: 612-370-4934

Fax: 612-726-6216

Hours: 6AM-10PM

Picnic here as well.

Bottineau Park

2000 2nd St. NE

Minneapolis, MN 55418

Phone: 612-370-4958

Hours: 6AM-10PM

Walk off a nice picnic on the walking path or the ice rink.

Brackett Park

2728 39th Ave. S

Minneapolis, MN 55442

Phone: 612-370-4924

Fax: 612-722-0565

Hours: 6AM-10PM

Picnic, skate on the ice rink, or watch kids play on the hockey rink.

7. Not in the mood to skate? Wander romantically through the Park system's gardens (all within the city of Minneapolis):

Annual/Perennial Gardens

4124 Roseway Rd.

Phone: 612-370-4838

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Theodore Wirth Pky and Glenwood Ave.

Phone: 612-370-4903

Hours: April 1-October 15

7:30AM-10PM

Longfellow Gardens

S 39th Ave and E Minnehaha Pky

Phone: 612-230-6400

Hours: 6AM-10PM

Loring Park Garden of the Seasons

1382 Willow St.

Phone: 612-230-6400

Fax: 612-230-6500

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Lyndale Park Gardens

1500 E. Lake Harriet Parkway

Phone: 612-230-6400

Fax: 612-230-6500

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

726 Vineland Place

Phone: 612-370-3996

Fax: 612-230-6500

Hours: 6AM-midnight

Nokomis Naturescape Gardens

2401 E. Minnehaha Ave.

Phone: 612-370-4900

Fax: 612-370-4831

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Peace (Rock) Garden

4125 E. Lake Harriet Parkway

Phone: 612-370-4900

Fax: 612-370-4831

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Perennial Trial Garden

3900 Bryant Ave S

Phone: 612-230-6400

Fax: 612-230-6500

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Pergola Garden

4801 Minnehaha Ave S.

Phone: 612-230-6400

Fax: 612-230-6500

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Quaking Bog

1339 Theodore Wirth Parkway

Phone: 612-370-4903

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

Rose Garden

4125 E. Lake Harriet Parkway

Phone: 612-370-4900

Fax: 612-370-4831

Hours: 7:30AM-10PM

If choosing among all the above has you too tuckered out to go out, remember that a night home can be fun as well. It'll all still be there tomorrow!

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