Oh, no. Did you “suddenly come down with a fever” this morning? Is your “car not working?” Shoot. Well, I guess you’re just going to have to stay home and call in sick.
We’ve all done it and let’s be honest, it’s going to happen again. Here’s a guide on how to make the most of your unexpected day off. Here are some of the best [guilt-free] places, in no particular order.
If you’re going to miss the morning meeting, do this right. Get up early and go for a run down by the river in Minneapolis. Maybe start somewhere in the Mill District and make Kramarczuk’s in Northeast your destination. The bakery is amazing, so treat your sinful ways with a one of its signature cream puffs. Chill for a cup of coffee or get back out there and show off that licentious attitude.
Go for a walk or hike around Minnehaha Falls. If you are not familiar with the area, just know the area is very different from any other park in the metro with the long trails and famous waterfall. Work up a sweat and head over to Peace Coffee for a latte and catch up on the news. You’re a fan of happy hour? Me too. It offers early morning specials on coffee, scones and muffins until 8:30 a.m. If you are vegetarian or vegan, they won’t look at you like you’re an alien. They’ve got you covered.
Science Museum of Minnesota
Do you like golf? Regardless, avoid double-bogey this year and practice with a round of mini-golf at the Science Museum. The Big Back Yard includes a nine-hole, 30,000 square-foot course. It’s challenging and cheap. Remember this is mini-golf. Leave your competitive nature and desire to be the “one-upper” in the break room. You’re on vacation.
A treat of waking up a little late is the ability to eat a complete breakfast. Skip the Hot Pocket and enjoy a little time to yourself. The the huevos rancheros are some of the best in the city, but it’s the recent recommendation of the corn pancakes that keeps me going back. If you can’t part from the need to fill out a spreadsheet, create a document titled “Best Breakfast, Salsa and Pancakes,” as they’ve won awards in each of these categories. Then filter it by “Made-from-scratch.” Maria’s will be at the top.
River Boat Grill
105 Harriet Island Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55107
“I’m on a boat.” The song that captivated millions may chime through your memory as you relax at the bar at this one-of-a-kind, historic staple of St. Paul. If it’s a cocktail you’re after, the happy hour is great and runs Wednesday though Friday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. If possible, choose a warm day to head over here as the breeze off the water and the views of the skyline are worth all the effort and anxiety of fooling those that give you a paycheck. Call the restaurant for the hours as it is seasonal (kind of like the mood of your “higher-ups”).
Shamrocks Grill and Pub
995 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Don’t get busted by updating your Facebook status and telling your friends where you are. The first thing you’ll want to do when you get to Shamrocks is announce to all your friends (even the ones you accepted for whatever reason) that its burgers are amazing. (They even have items for you vegetarians and pescetarians.) Be proud when you need to tuck in a napkin to your shirt collar. Its amazing happy-hour runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., everyday.
Sabai Body Temple
Are you a hard-working professional? Happy spending is the name of the game at this Eastern-inspired massage and alternative medicine location. I have been victim to several massage professionals who had little experience or I simply left disgruntled. Go here for a mental break and a time to part from reality.
Tin Fish Restaurant
I have been a long-time fan of the Tin Fish and its patio. I am always surprised how many people are here in the early afternoon during the weekdays. Now I’m realizing its a gathering place for people skipping out on work. Weather you go here to get its fish and chips or just a soda, go on a day when you can get plenty of sun. People-watching is at a high and as is your new desire to go kayaking (rentals are down by the water of Lake Calhoun). Sleep-in and make this your destination. This is the best place to loiter, hands down.
990 Central Ave. NE.
Minneapolis, MN 55413
This place is open to any lifestyle and is a chic place to treat yourself to a great cocktail — maybe even the night before you take the day off. Spice up your normal with something different. It’s patio is great to chill with a friend and the music is similar to the sounds of an intense, heart-pounding spin class. Parking is no problem and neither is your urge to order [another] martini. It may be when you return home from going to LUSH that you realize tomorrow is when you’ll head back to work, suddenly feeling “much better.”
Gold Medal Park
Sometimes its best to just sit back and relax. After a long run this is a great destination or think about heading over to Wasabi on Washington Avenue for some sushi to-go and have yourself a picnic. Minneapolis parks are one of the best treasures of the warm weather and escaping to this location will surly keep you out of the eyes of your co-workers (unless you work at the Guthrie, bad idea). Need an excuse when you get to work after everyone notices your fresh, crisp tan? I’ll leave that up to you. Bring plenty of water, reading material and a charged iPod.
-Justin Reis is a WCCO intern studying broadcast journalism at the University of Minnesota. His passion for finding the “best” in the Twin Cities is inspired by his role as a group fitness instructor and interests ranging from “anything artistic” to “anything social.” Please leave a comment on what you think of his recommendations.