Group of friends on the rooftop of Hewing Hotel overlooking downtown Minneapolis

Treat Yourself to a Weekend Staycation in the Twin Cities

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Meet up with friends at the Hewing Hotel's rooftop bar and lounge in Minneapolis's trendy North Loop / Paul Vincent

Treat Yourself to a Weekend Staycation in the Twin Cities

By Jasmine Brett Stringer

I spent a perfect August weekend touring my hometown, Minneapolis, and its adjacent ‘twin’ across the Mississippi River, St. Paul.

Although they’re right next to one another, the cities couldn’t be more different. St. Paul, the older city and state capital, feels similar to many charming East Coast cities with its narrow streets and stately historic buildings. Minneapolis, the younger and more modern city, is where I go for nightlife and trendy new restaurant openings. On this staycation, I opted to enjoy both cities. 

Couple takes selfie at Minnesota State Fair

Take a selfie in front of the State Fair's historic streetcar archway / Minnesota State Fair

The State Fair & The State Capital

I launched my weekend at the Minnesota State Fair, the largest state fair in the country! During its 12-day run, the fair basically becomes its own separate city, and I happily explored dozens of unique shops, agricultural displays and food stands as I wandered the grounds.

After half a day on my feet exploring the fair, I headed to St. Paul and drove along historic Summit Avenue to take in its elegant Victorian-era mansions—what a grand contrast to the fun and games of the fair!

A Victorian mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul

A Victorian mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul / Kent Kanouse, shared under CC BY-NC 2.0

At the end of the day, I headed to Keg and Case Market for dinner—a cavernous food hall packed with culinary delights from across the globe. I grabbed a Kingston-style jerk chicken bowl at Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, took a seat on the patio and ate while listening to a great live band.

Prince atrium at Paisley Park

Step into the Prince-themed atrium on a tour of Paisley Park / Paisley Park and NPG Records

Paisley Park & Minneapolis Parks

My first stop the next morning was Paisley Park, Prince’s former home, recording studio and soundstage, now turned museum. I’m a huge Prince fan so I opted for the Ultimate Experience—an immersive, three-hour tour that’s probably the closest thing to understanding what the complex was like when Prince was alive.

Determined to spend the rest of the day outside, I headed to the trendy North Loop neighborhood in downtown Minneapolis to refuel at Wrecktangle Pizza before making my way to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Using the self-guided tour sheet, I took in the many sculptures and was, of course, captivated by the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry and Hahn/Cock blue rooster.

From there, I headed to the Stone Arch Bridge. The arches on this historic former railroad bridge are beautiful, and so are the views of the Mississippi River. The Guthrie Theater is just steps away, and since I was in full on design-appreciation mode, I simply had to snap a photo of this modern addition to the historic riverfront neighborhood. I made a mental note to come back to the theater to catch a play.

Minneapolis skyline behind Bde Maka Ska

Kayaking on Bde Maka Ska at sunset / Mike Krivit Photography, courtesy Meet Minneapolis

Finally, I explored the Chain of Lakes just south of downtown. After a 3-mile walk around Bde Maka Ska (Dakota for White Earth Lake), I headed to Trio Plant-Based—Minnesota’s first Black-owned vegan restaurant, and one of the best restaurants in Minneapolis—for dinner. What a fun and refreshing way to close out my weekend!

Jasmine Brett Stringer

Jasmine Brett Stringer is a keynote speaker, award-winning author, on-air TV personality, founder of #ShareTheMicMN and host of the podcast and lifestyle blog, Carpe Diem with Jasmine.