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Wander Minnesota: Summer’s Bucket List

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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Summer was so late in arriving this year that it’s almost heresy to talk about it coming to an end. But as of this writing, the Minnesota State Fair is only a little over four weeks away. The clock is ticking—it’s time to make sure you get as much summer fun in as you can. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

Have you spent any time exploring the Chain of Lakes yet? Why not? There are tons of things to do: walk, bike, canoe, wind-surf, paddle boat, kayak, get a bite to eat at Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun or Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet—and speaking of Lake Harriet, there are still a whole lot of concerts scheduled at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.

Summer is prime time to brush up on your Minnesota history. The Minnesota Historical Society’s calendar is packed with events, many of which take place at sites that are only open during the summer.

Minnesota State Parks are open year-round, but it’s hard to beat summer for full nature experiences. Camping? Hiking? Horseback riding? Paddling? Fishing? Rock climbing? It’s all here.

Save the Mall of America for inclement weather. While the sun shines, stroll along St. Paul’s this name, which offers not as many shops, but plenty to keep you entertained and spending. And there are plenty of places for a bite to eat as well. Or venture a bit further out and explore White Bear Lake or Wayzata, both of which offer shopping and dining along with lake views.

Summer is prime festival season in Minnesota. From now until the State Fair, there will be options pretty much every weekend to take in a community, ethnic, or historic event of some kind. Keep an eye on my other blog for updated monthly event listings.

Another thing we only have a short time left to enjoy this year is drive-in restaurants. There are several either within the greater Twin Cities metro, or a short drive away. St. Paul’s Dari-ette Drive-IN is a perennial favorite (brace yourself to wait, but it’s worth it). Wagner’s Drive-In has been a staple in Brooklyn Park for over 35 years. St. Louis Park’s Galaxy Drive-In changed ownership recently, but has lost none of its “back to the future” retro, futuristic feel. Bonus: burger with cheese curds. Another long-time community gathering spot is Delano’s Peppermint Twist, known especially for its raspberry shakes. The Drive IN in Taylors Falls has been around since 1956. Bonus: you can visit Taylors Falls and the adjacent Interstate State Park while you’re there, then stop by the Franconia Sculpture Park on your way home.

Speaking of outdoor dining that will be gone before we know it, there are tons of wonderful patios, decks, and rooftop dining options around the metro. But only one offers the opportunity to relax on the rooftop while being a spectator at a lawn bowling tournament: Brit’s Pub.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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