Summer is here!

June 8, 2009

Summer has arrived in Minnesota and in the spirit of getting out and about, I thought I’d talk about my top ten favorite things to do around town (outside of being in the office with my Fast Horse peeps, of course!).

1.Grand Old Days, which took place this weekend, claims to be the largest one-day festival in the Midwest and features an 8k run and inline skate, 5k run/walk and ½ mile run just for the kids, art fair, parades, family fun zone, and live music all day. Each year, the event is free and open to the public, but the festival gardens in the entertainment district require that you are over 21, and wristbands to prove that will cost you $6. Not a bad deal for access to eight different stages of all kinds of music. 

2. Hop a bike and do a day tour of the cities. Starting on the greenway near Lake Calhoun, take the path to Lake Harriet, up Minnehaha Parkway to Minnehaha Falls, follow the River Road, through the U of M campus to downtown Minneapolis, back through Loring Park and the Sculpture Garden to Lake of the Isles and back to Lake Calhoun. Stopping along the way at a DQ for a snickers blizzard or dilly bar, of course.

3. Lawn bowling at Brits. Not necessarily original, but a darn good time at only $20/hour for a game for four. And you can’t go wrong with a snake bite, black and tan or bootlegger. Chips are a must. 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

4. Lunch or dinner at either Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun or Sea Salt near Minnehaha Falls, with a stroll before or after to work it off. Tin Fish Lake Calhoun, 3000 Calhoun Parkway East, Minneapolis.  Sea Salt: 4825 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis

5. VimLab Boat Parties are taking place on June 12th and August 14th. The Minneapolis Queen departs from Boom Island and travels along the Mississippi River. Featuring local DJ’s including Jevne, Love & Payne in June, and Alexander East plus others in August. These parties always have a great vibe and this is one boat that’s always rockin’. 9:30 pm – 1:00 am, $30, tickets available at

6. While not outdoors, I was recently introduced to the Chatterbox and played music bingo. It was a really fun way to break up the week. Takes place every Wednesday at the Minneapolis location (2229 E 35th Street ) and Thursday in St. Paul (800 Cleveland Ave S).

7. The 15th annual Basilica Block Party takes place July 10th-12th and features great local and national talent. Headlining this year is The Counting Crows. Tickets are available at The Local (10th and Nicollet Mall, Downtown Minneapolis). Grab a pint while you’re there and people watch. (You can get tickets through Ticketmaster, too, but I’m much more about supporting the locals- literally.)

8. Rent in-line skates in Uptown and glide around the lakes.

9.  The Minneapolis Aquatennial takes place from July 17-25. My favorite part: the fireworks that wrap up the week. This year, they take place on July 24 at 10p. Take the light rail downtown and be sure to there early to get a good seat. Last year, I had half a tree in my view, but they were still awesome, especially with the 3D glasses.

10. And finally time for some shameless self-promotion. My alter ego, Big Mama J, will be hosting Sunset Sessions at Solera every Saturday night this summer along with Patrick James. Stop by between 8pm- 2am to enjoy the fantastic rooftop, some great house music, and drink specials on sangria, Spanish wines and beer. Located on 9th and Hennepin, Downtown Minneapolis.  

For other great ideas, visit

 What are you favorites? Would love to hear them so I have more fun stuff to do!