DAY 91: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Miles traveled: 13,091
States visited: 31 (just added: Minnesota)
Weather: 86, sunny
Raise your hand if you knew the Mississippi River went all the way up to Minnesota! I sure didn’t, but I got to spend a few days hanging around the Mississippi while visiting Minneapolis. My couchsurfing host Heidi was a lot of fun and I stayed an extra day here because she had an extra ticket to Saturday’s Basilica Block Party, featuring The Hold Steady and the Counting Crows.
The Hold Steady are from Minneapolis, so it was a homecoming concert and it was freaky hearing Craig Finn sing about all the Twin Cities spots I’ve come to know over the past few days. When he sang a lyric about driving on one of the city’s main roadways – “Take Nicollet up to the Vietnamese” – I got excited because I realized, I did that today! And the song “Constructive Summer” just gets better every time I hear it.
The Counting Crows were just ok but fortunately closed with my favorite song of theirs, “Rain King.” We also saw Matt Nathanson, of “Come on Get Higher” fame.
Minneapolis has a neighborhood called Dinkytown. This is the college area, where the University of Minnesota is. Everything in this town is maroon and gold, the school colors. Even the police cars. It’s cool to see that an entire state almost has its own official colors.
Dinkytown has lots of nifty restaurants and shops. I had a cheap meal at Mesa Pizza. Actually it wasn’t that cheap, come to think about it – it was $5 for two slices. Heidi cooked chicken for us one night which was great. We also checked out a tiki bar called Psycho Suzy’s that had strong drinks that tasted like kool-aid and the most amazing tater tots ever.
There’s a famous statue in Minneapolis of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat off, as she did in the tv show. I tried on two occasions to find it, but I couldn’t find parking anywhere – downtown Minneapolis is a mess right now due to construction.
Minneapolis also has a weirdly high Muslim population. There are a couple of neighborhoods where you see a lot of Muslim women wearing head scarves and men wearing traditional garb.
Interesting tidbit I just realized: I’m visiting all 3 cities in a row where the Penguins have won a Stanley Cup. This was the first stop on the mini-tour. First Minneapolis, then Chicago, then Detroit.