In April 2013, Phil and I decided to take a short weekend trip to Minneapolis to escape the craziness of our wedding planning and have some time just for the two of us! Although Minneapolis weather in April can still be pretty harsh, it ended up being an incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating getaway.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency (of course) in downtown Minneapolis, which ended up being located within walking distance to many different places we wanted to visit. Although much of our walking during this trip included trudging through snowfall, we were very happy with our location – would definitely recommend this hotel!
On our first full day, we did what anyone visiting Minnesota would do and trekked it immediately to the Mall of America. It was only about a 20 minute drive from our hotel, so we figured it would be a great daytime activity before we headed back for our plans that evening. People are definitely not exaggerating when they talk about this place! Just imagine your standard indoor mall back home, add a rollercoaster, some entertainment venues and triple the actual size and amount of stores…that’s the Mall of America.
We took our time exploring each floor to hit up all of our favorite stores and made sure to check out a few new ones as well. We absolutely could have spent more time walking around but had made a big enough dent in our wallets were ready to make our way back downtown. As we were leaving though, we spotted a store with free wine samples, so obviously we had to make one last stop. The Old Vine Wine & Spirits (that’s right, they had a liquor store inside of this place) had not only wine tastings but whiskey and scotch tastings as well. We decided to pick up a couple of bottles of their local wine to drink with our dinner that evening!
We decided to rely on Yelp to help us find a restaurant for our first evening out downtown. We saw a ton of great reviews for Zelo, an Italian restaurant which was located really close to our hotel and to the Target Center Arena, where we would be seeing the Minnesota Timberwolves play later that night. Added bonus and what sealed the deal for us was that they had a corking fee, so we could bring our newly acquired wine with us to enjoy with our dinner!
Credit to Phil for taking photos of our entrees and remembering in great detail what we ordered! I went with the prosciutto wrapped scallops on risotto and Phil had the pesto crusted sea bass with wasabi mashed potatoes. I’m salivating just thinking about this meal and wanting it again as soon as possible!
Following our amazing dinner, we headed to the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game, and got to cross another arena off our list! We had really great seats and the atmosphere in this arena was a blast!
We started the next day fairly early because we knew we wanted to check out the local breakfast scene, and I’m so glad we did! Again, Yelp hit the nail on the head and directed us to Wilde Roast Café. It was a fantastic breakfast dive, decorated in red velvet and peacock feathers and was themed after Oscar Wilde with a Victorian, 19th Century atmosphere. Its location was perfect too, with a gorgeous view that overlooked the Saint Anthony Main River.
The décor was pretty eccentric and the food was amazing – especially on a cold Minnesota morning! You could tell it was a pretty popular spot because there were several groups of runners carbo-loading after a race somewhere in the area.
Following breakfast, we decided to venture out of downtown for a bit and visit the Minnesota Zoo. We figured since it was chilly out, we wouldn’t have to fight any crowds and we could get some good views of the animals. I have to say I was surprised by how many people were there, but it wasn’t crowded by any means, which was great! Those Minnesotans aren’t fazed at all by colder temperatures.
After our morning out and about, we came back to the hotel to clean up a bit and decide where our next food stop would be. For the third time, we consulted Yelp for some suggestions and again, we were not disappointed! We settled on FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar for some pre-game beverages and appetizers since it was a short walk from the stadium.
What ended up being a great surprise was that we arrived right at the beginning of their Game Day Special, which meant $4 local taps at their bar, two hours before and two hours after every Minnesota Twins home game! We ordered a couple of beers and asked the bartender what he recommended for an appetizer. His recommendation of their local quail legs (never had them before) was incredible and Phil and I devoured them!
After getting our fill of local brews and quail legs, we headed out to Target Field to watch the Minnesota Twins play (another MLB stadium to cross off the list!). We didn’t decide until that day that we were going to the game, so we just planned to ask around for anyone wanting to get rid of their tickets. What was amazing was that it started to snow on our walk to the stadium (that’s right…SNOW during a baseball game), so there were several people getting rid of their tickets to avoid the cold. We ended up buying tickets from this one man who had club level seats!! This meant we could hang out inside in the club area, but could still go down and watch the game in our stadium seats as well – perfect scenario for a snowy baseball game! Phil and I had a great time inhaling hot coco and ball park hot dogs to keep us warm.
On our last morning in Minnesota and before we headed home, Phil and I made the trek from our hotel to The Basilica of Saint Mary to attend mass. It was an absolutely gorgeous church which was designed by a French architect in a beaux-arts style and was constructed starting in 1907. We really enjoyed taking in all of the architecture while attending mass there!
We talk very fondly of our trip to Minnesota since it was a quick yet really enjoyable weekend trip with just the two of us. We’re already brainstorming where our next mini vacation will be!