Bowling is a fun, reliable social activity that, no matter what the skill level, always leaves people smiling. It is an activity for friends and for family, for a night with your high-school friends or college roommates, with your kids or with your grandparents. With such a great selection of bowling alleys in Minnesota, we’ll keep rolling for years. If your favorite didn’t make the list, check out the last one to find other recommended bowling alleys.
Midway Pro Bowl
1556 University Ave. W.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Surprisingly spacious for being tucked under a St. Paul strip mall, Midway Pro Bowl is a classic bowling alley with just a dash of the grittiness expected of the best of them. The characters you’ll see bowling often look like they’ve stepped right out of ”The Big Lebowski.” You can grab a pitcher of beer for practically the change in your pocket and roll next to some of Minnesota’s best league bowlers. No worries if you’re concerned about your skill level because the Midway offers lessons so that you can truly become a pro. Plan your next birthday or any other large party and see for yourself how awesome St. Paul’s hidden bowling gem really is.
Apple Place Bowl
14917 Garrett Ave.
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Inside Bogart’s Place, an event center that also features the Main Street Grill, drinks and volleyball, this bowling alley wows with state-of-the-art lanes and scoring system. Bring a large group or come for a date; it will accommodate groups of any size. If you want the finest in modern-day bowling, Apple Place proves that bowling is not going the way of the dinosaur. And for those who didn’t learn how to score bowling games in gym class growing up, it’s nice to relax and have machines do it for you. Apple Place also offers fantastic deals, like $10 All You Can Bowl on Monday through Thursday nights.
Bryant Lake Bowl
810 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
After being featured on programs like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and pretty much every “Best Of” list in Minnesota, Bryant Lake Bowl is a pretty obvious choice to include here. But with locally sourced food options, a theater with some of the more creative and lively stage shows and one of Uptown’s best beer lists, the choice only becomes more obvious. But the bowling is the real draw. There’s no pressure to bowl your best game here; just have a good time. It’s a great place to go with a group of friends for a night of bowling without embarrassing yourself in front of the lifelong leaguers.
490 1/2 Hamline Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55105
RanHam is so charming and quaint that it’s hard to believe it’s real and not straight from the “Happy Days” set. It is small, there are only (six) lanes, and chances are you’ll bump elbows at least once with the rollers next to you. But settling in with one of the best burgers in town from the Nook’s menu (the Nook is right upstairs), scoring each game yourself (no electronic scoring here) and laughing about the close quarters with the strangers in the next lane really takes you back to sweeter, simpler times.
Town Hall Lanes
5019 34th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Bucking the trend of closing alleys, the newest alley on this list opened just last year as another extension of the popular Town Hall Tap. Family-friendly, but with the bar nearby for those who want to stay out a little later, Town Hall Lanes’ funky decor, awesome food and, of course, great Town Hall Tap beer have already established the Lanes as a Minneapolis hotspot. It gets crazy busy on the weekends. Plan ahead, grab a bite to eat and enjoy one of the coolest bowling alleys in the Twin Cities.
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Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.