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Minneapolis

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==Understand==
[[Image:800px-Minneapolis_skyline_daytime_2.jpg|right|thumb|350px|Minneapolis Daytime Skyline]]
Towering glass skyscrapers, stunning blue lakes and rivers, tree canopied city streets, premier shopping, state of the art cuisine and entertainment, and a modern transportation network and infrastructure characterize this rapidly growing city and justify its identity as the upper midwest's premier (if not only) metropolis.
 
Minneapolis was destined to be a center of commerce due to its location at the Falls of St. Anthony, which was named by the French explorer Fr. Louis Hennepin in 1680. St. Anthony Falls is by far the largest source of water power on the Mississippi River. The falls were harnessed to power lumber mills in the 1840s and later for flour milling. By 1870, Minneapolis on the west bank and St. Anthony on the east bank formed the largest flour producing center in the world. In 1872, Minneapolis absorbed its older neighbor. Most of the old St Anthony township is now known as Northeast Minneapolis. A small part of the old township comprises most of the current suburb of St. Anthony.
The name "Minneapolis", meaning "Water City" in a mash-up of the Dakota word ''minne'' for water, and the Ancient Greek word ''polis''. The motto "City of Lakes" refers to the city's 22 natural lakes. The local jewels are the "Chain of Lakes": Cedar, Isles, CalhounBde Maka Ska, Harriet, Nokomis, each 3-4 miles around. The city's excellent parks department maintains walking and biking paths around the lakes, offering residents a place to exercise or stroll. The Lake Harriet Bandshell is a popular summertime event host often featuring the renowned Minnesota Orchestra. Don't miss a ride on the restored trolley between Lakes Calhoun Bde Maka Ska and Harriet operated by the Minnesota Streetcar Museum.
The city has done an excellent job fostering developed neighborhoods, each with a distinctive feel. Downtown is the visual anchor featuring the high-rise suites, sporting events (Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins all play downtown), and nightclub scene. Northeast is the oldest part of the city, showing off its working-class and immigrant roots in great ethnic food, neighborhood bars, and social clubs, and more recently home to an arts and riverfront redevelopment movement. Uptown historically has been one of the city's youth centers featuring funky food, drink, theater, and plenty of tattoos and mohawks, but is orienting more towards yuppies and young families as real estate anywhere near the lakes becomes an ever more prized commodity. Uptown and the Lakes area dissolves into quiet, tucked-away Linden Hills (a one-time bedroom community) to the south and Lyn-Lake, home to many indie stages, music-oriented cafes and boozers, and alternative lifestyles and hangouts of all sorts, to the east. The University of Minnesota's main campus straddles the Mississippi River in the southeast surrounded by the usual college campus environs.
Next is the '''Airport''' and then the '''Mall of America''', the gargantuan monument to advanced capitalism. The MOA is not quite as sparkling as it was on its opening over a decade ago, but it is still the largest mall around and by some accounts the leading tourist destination in the United States. Tour operators from as far away as Japan organize charter flights and hotel bookings for the single purpose of experiencing "The Mall". It offers an indoor amusement park, movies, restaurants and more shopping than is comprehensible. It's a day trip in itself, but not for the thrifty. Food, shopping and the Camp Formerly Known as Snoopy (now Nickelodeon Universe) can burn through your wallet fast. Not for those with poor impulse control. For the tourist in you, check out local kitsch such as the Lake Wobegon Store.
The return trip: by disembarking at the '''Lake Street Station''' and catching a #21 Bus going west, or by returning to the LRT headwaters at Hennepin Avenue and catching a #6 Bus bearing south, one can end up at Uptown and the jewel of Minneapolis, the gorgeous Chain of Lakes. If you're here between Memorial Day and Labor Day, rent a canoe [http://www.thetinfish.com/LC-MN/boat_rental/index.htm] at Lake Calhoun Bde Maka Ska (stop at the nearby Lunds grocery on Lake Street for picnic materials) and see four lakes, three enchanting sheltered canals, two islands, and one classic creosote-tastic railroad trestle from a duck's eye view.
The 21 brings you past the Midtown Market and Lyn-Lake on the way, while the 6 takes you through downtown and past the gleaming Loring Park area, featuring the spectacular Basilica of St. Mary [http://www.mary.org/events/tours/index.html], the infamous Spoon and Cherry [http://garden.walkerart.org], and the shiny metal Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Robot head that is the new Walker Art Center [http://walkerart.org/] expansion. Heading north on the 6 will take you across Nicollet Island, another of Minneapolis' abundant urban havens, and through the original Minneapolis/St. Anthony milling district and a touch of the ethnic food and drink haven that is Northeast Minneapolis on the way to Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota (including an old campus district which is on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as some of the top libraries in the world).
* As mentioned above, Minneapolis has beautiful lakes and riverfronts that the local residents work hard to keep clean. It is also easy with a car, the proper permits, and necessary equipment to go camping as close as twenty miles east on the St. Croix River, or as far as seven hours north on the Canadian border. And it can be delightfully cheap.
* '''Biking'''. An old freight train railway has been converted into the Midtown Greenway, [http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/citywork/public-works/transportation/bicycles/maps/midtown.pdf], which cuts through the middle of '''South Minneapolis''' beginning on the '''West Bank''' and crossing west all the way to the '''Lake CalhounBde Maka Ska''' area and meeting up with the Kenworth Trail, [http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/citywork/public-works/transportation/bicycles/maps/kenworth.pdf] which in turn connects with the Cedar Lake Trail, [http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/citywork/public-works/transportation/bicycles/maps/cedarlake.pdf].
*<do name="Twin Cities Food Tours" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="www.twincitiesfoodtours.com" hours="" price="$42.00" lat="" long="">Twin Cities Food Tours offers three hour walking tours which combine Minnesota history, cultural information and food tastings. Tours begin in the North Loop neighborhood and end in Northeast Minneapolis</do>
* Only beer in cans is allowed in Minneapolis Parks.
*'''Cedar Lake'''. Cedar Lake has three public beaches, and is accessible by canoe, rowboat, or kayak by its connecting lagoon to Lake of the Isles and, by extension, Lake CalhounBde Maka Ska. It is also the only one of the Chain of Lakes where private property actually fronts the lake.
*'''Lake of the Isles'''. Lake of the Isles has bird sanctuaries on its (officially off-limits) islands, and a public skating rink, with a warming house, is groomed in the winter months. Check the newspaper; you may get lucky and catch a world-class speed-skating competition here. Its shores also feature some of the best climbing trees in the city, particularly for those who carry a short rope ladder in their pack. Although residents can lease rack space for their rowboats, canoes, or kayaks, there is no public boat rental. Boats rented or launched from Lake Calhoun Bde Maka Ska can access Lake of the Isles via the lagoon which flows under Lake Street. There are also no public swimming beaches.
*'''Lake Calhoun'''. Lake Calhoun (briefly renamed "Bde Maka Ska") has several public beaches, including volleyball nets on the South beaches. It also has rowboat and canoe rentals [http://www.thetinfish.com/LC-MN/boat_rental/index.htm] (and lessons) and sailboat lessons. There is an active yacht club that sponsors several races weekly. Also, the surface conditions on Lake Calhoun Bde Maka Ska make this lake most popular among sailboarders, often well into the Fall. While sails can't pass the low street crossings above the lagoons, paddlers can easily reach Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. Recent years have seen more competitive bidding for food service contracts, and the current commissary is an affordable fish restaurant that's well rated by local residents and guides.
*'''Lake Harriet'''. Lake Harriet also has boat rentals. Lake Harriet's features include a bandshell [http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=4&parkid=266] at which numerous local and regional talent perform, and has included the Minnesota Orchestra, among others. It has several public swimming beaches, a marina, and is arguably the most popular and crowded lake among local residents for swimming, boating, walking, biking, and organized family and group celebrations.
===Clothes===
The entire state of Minnesota has '''no sales tax on clothing'''. Therefore, it is common for people from neighboring states and Canadian provinces to come to Minnesota if they wish to buy a lot of clothes. If you are in Minnesota, you should take advantage of this tax break and bring some clothes back with you, as you will probably end up paying less than you would at home. Clothing boutiques tend to be clustered along Nicollet Mall in [[Minneapolis/Downtown|Downtown]] and near [[Minneapolis/Southwest|Uptown and Lyn-Lake]].
===Bookstores===
===Alcohol===
The nightlife in general can be vibrant in several areas. The [[Minneapolis/Downtown|Warehouse District]] is great for clubbers, [[Minneapolis/Southeast|Dinkytown]] is good for college party-goers, [[Minneapolis/Southwest|Uptown]] is good for those with a bit more money, and [[Minneapolis/Northeast|Northeast]] is great for dive bar aficionados. Minneapolis is not the 24 hour city that New York is, but bars close at 2AM so that is still plenty of time, especially if you find a party to go to afterwards.
 
'''Remember''', as is the case everywhere in the United States, the '''legal drinking age is 21'''. Often to the surprise of foreigners, this law is enforced very heavily (many bars have been shut down for serving alcohol to people under the age of 21). It is common for restaurants, bars, liquor stores, and nightclubs to require photo ID's from anyone appearing under the age of 40, and some establishments have a policy of checking ''everyone's'' ID, regardless of how old they appear. Your ID may not be accepted if it is not in English, so a foreign identification card or driver's license may not suffice. While a Canadian driver's license may be accepted, foreigners would be well-advised to carry their passport if they want to purchase alcohol or be admitted into nightclubs.
Minneapolis certainly accommodates those seeking a good drink, a tendency which certainly complements the alcohol culture endemic to the Upper Midwest. There are over a dozen Irish, German, or British pubs, such as '''The Local''', '''Black Forest Inn''', '''Brit's Pub''', '''Gastoff's''', '''O'Donovan's''' or '''Kieran's'''. Local dining, clubs, pubs, and bars in general compete for the best Happy Hour specials. It's a good idea to pick up a '''City Pages''' or to do an internet search to find the best deals. Thrifty Hipster is a great website to use. It lists every bar and restaurant in Minneapolis and breaks them down by neighborhood and provides the locations, a description, and Happy Hour specials.
Downtown Minneapolis, Loring Park and Loring Heights/Stevens get a bad rep for drug activity and pervasive junkies on the streets, but tourists should have no issues strolling these areas; yet do exercise caution in Loring Park on Grant St. between Spruce Pl. and Nicollet Ave; this area is home to several projects and commonly becomes a very "ghetto" atmosphere after dark.
 
In public places which are frequently occupied by tourists, shellgame players try to involve visitors into a pseudo-game where a considerable bid has to be paid by the victim before a professional player places a nut or small ball below three small shells or cups, rapidly moves the cups, and asks the victim to determine under which shell the nut or ball item is now placed. Expect those pseudo-games to be fraudulent. Persons who appear to win the game before you bet are mostly part of the gang, even if they appear to be regular people from their looks. Never participate, as you are guaranteed to lose your money. 
When traveling, do not leave any items that can be quickly converted to cash in plain view in cars or unattended at restaurants and other public areas. These crimes can and do occur in all areas, especially where you would have your guard down.
Also if you are going to secure your valuables in a vehicle, make sure you store them prior to arriving at you destination. Thieves are experts at watching people store valuables in the trunk and then striking when they leave.
Due to its northern and inland location, Minneapolis is prone to weather extremes. During winter Minneapolis can be '''very cold''', occasionally reaching temperatures as low as -25°F (-31.6° C). Travelers to Minneapolis between the months of November and April should prepare for often extreme and erratic weather. Warm winter coats are necessary, as well as insulated and preferably waterproof footwear. '''Extended time spent outside without protective clothing may result in hypothermia and death'''. Locals will often brag to outsiders about their resilience, and complaints about the cold will be met with friendly mocking. If a local complains to you about it being cold you've become accepted as a Minnesotan. There is generally thick snow cover, though not as deep as closer to the Great Lakes it is still considerable. Summer weather can be equally extreme, combining somewhat high temperatures with very high humidity. Despite being far to the north, Minneapolis can feel nearly tropical on a hot day Tornadoes strike Minneapolis proper every few years. Recent tornadoes have been small, but Minneapolis exists at the northern boundary of Tornado Alley, and violent tornadoes are a possibility. Avoid outdoor activities if there are severe weather watches in effect. Spring and Fall tend to be cool, but quite pleasant. Rarely a freak storm will hit during these seasons, but should not be deeply worried. Waterways should be avoided in spring due to flooding caused by melting snow.
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