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Summer in the Cities

Last week, at a Memorial Day BBQ, a friend introduced a few out-of-town acquaintances who are interning in the Twin Cities this summer; as we made small talk, they asked the group what fun "quintessential Minnesota" things there are to do around here in the summer. Never have I heard a room of 25+ people go so quiet--we all looked at each other, feeling a little foolish, thinking "uhhh . . . there are lakes, and bars, and . . . " It wasn't the "what to do" question that threw us off, it was the "quintessential Minnesota" part; after a minute or so of thinking, we started to come up with some really wonderful things, things that we do every summer and really love, but we realized that we've all been in the Cities for a few years, so these things have become commonplace and we sometimes lose sight of the new-to-Minnesota perspective. The good news is, once we got going, they couldn't shut us up--there is so much to do, so much to see, and in true Minnesota-fashion, it all feels like home.
As I'm sure you know by now, Minnesota is the "land of 10,000 lakes" and summer is the perfect time to take advantage: from my experience, pretty much everyone and their dog has a cabin "up North" for weekend trips, but there are several hot-spots in the Cities, too, including Lake of the Isles (perfect for an afternoon run, always hopping with dog-walkers), Lake Calhoun (there's a beach, in the middle of the city), and Lake Harriet (conveniently close to Sebastian Joe's, the absolute best homemade ice cream in the world). After a morning walk around the lakes, I suggest stopping by one of the several popular Farmer's Markets (Mill City is a personal favorite). Should it be one of our more rainy days, there are many museums and, of course, the Hennepin Theatre District (music, broadways, it all comes through there).
If sports are more your thing, Target Field (home of the MN Twins) is a sight to see, and an easy walk from downtown. Some of the bigger events that draw crowds include the Twin Cities Pride Fest (Google tells me it's the largest free pride festival in the country), the Aquatennial celebration, the Minnesota State Fair (every, literally EVERY, food you could ever want, fried and served on a stick). Most weekends host a 5K, and several Saturdays mark music festivals (Stone Arch festival, Minnesota Fringe, etc.).
I could go on and on (in fact, just Google "summer in Minneapolis" and the internet will tell you more than you could ever want to know), but the point is: there is a lot to do here. Summer is a great time in the city, our little reward for sticking out school (and winter) most of the year, and I think you'll love it here, you just have to come visit to find out!

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