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Penn State Minnesota Alumni Chapter


    Welcome to the Twin Cities! We're glad you're here and wanted to provide you with some background information about the greater Minneapolis / St. Paul region.

    The cities are flat, and lend themselves to walking, and many of our local attractions are within easy radius of your either downtown. Minneapolis is noted for its lakes, parks, and riverfront, and all are within walking distance for those inclined to explore on foot. The downtown area itself is noted for its architecture and access, and the Nicollet mall, the first to limit traffic in the downtown area, runs for about 12 blocks just east of your hotels, and has some of the more interesting shops and sights in the area. The riverfront area is noted for a variety of shops and restaurants, the best being at the Nicollet Island Inn, on a scenic island halfway across the river off the Hennepin Ave bridge.

    The walk around Lake of the Isles is beautiful, but is about 3 miles in length. Those trying it will recognize it as the venue for part of the lead-in to the old Mary Tyler Moore show, set in Minneapolis. Those wanting to try this walk typically start around Franklin Ave about 5 blocks west of Hennepin and at end of the walk, go to the uptown area, around Lake St (30th) and Hennepin for a chance to browse some of the tonier local shops, and one of the better Italian eateries in the area, Figlio. Lake Calhoun, across Lake St from Lake of the Isles, is another of the city's treasures, a center for in-town sailing, sunbathing and people watching.

    On a good day, you might also consider a trip west to Lake Minnetonka, about 30 min from downtown Minneapolis, and try the ambience and food at one of our own favorite restaurants, Lord Fletcher's (612-471-8503) to watch the local people at play.

    Another worthwhile trip for dinner is to a real favorite of some members', Sherlock's Home (612-931-0203), at Crosstown Highway (SH 62) and Shady Oak Rd in the Minnetonka area (SW of downtown). From downtown Minneapolis, this is approximately a 20 min ride. This is a real English pub, which makes its own brews, has top notch authentic pub food, and also has a stock of some 80 single malt Scotch brews, and offers a sampling of 3, a dram of each, for a very nominal cost-enough said. Carol Burdick, the owner's wife, is a Haddonfield native, and she and Bill are good friends of Penn State. Use my Al Starkey's name, he doesn't have any outstanding bills there as of this writing.

    In walking around downtown Minneapolis, you might also try Brit's Pub, between 11th and 12th on the Nicollet Mall, with similar food, but no home brewed ales (all are imports). They offer good outdoor dining, drinking and a chance to see real lawn bowling on their upper level.

    Another old favorite, for those liking hearty German food with Alfresco dining, is the Black Forest (612-872-0812), 26th and Nicollet. This is NOT in the best area of town, so we suggest that walking dinner off be done when back downtown, but the food and atmosphere are top rate.

    You might also want to take a tour of Target Center, on 1st Ave N, 2 blocks W of Hennepin. This is the home of the Timberwolves of the NBA, and hosts major music and entertainment events, and shows that we CAN build comfortable and appropriate sports venues here, as opposed to the Metrodome, considered by many to be one of the seven horrors of the modern world.

    Local theatre is within a few blocks of downtown. You may wish to check about productions at the State or Orpheum theatres, both nearby on Hennepin, or the Guthrie, a famous local institution, about a 3 min cab ride from downtown. We are also blessed with one of the world's better orchestras, the Orchestra Hall on the Nicollet Mall at 11th. It is worth at least a look and walk through. (Also just opposite Brit's Pub - see above).

    Local comedy and repertory theatre groups perform largely in the 7 corners area near the University of Minnesotat on Washington Avenue, about a 10 minute cab ride away.

    If you really MUST visit the Mall of America, as you've probably heard, the place will literally engulf you - it has the biggest assortment of all types of shops and is anchored by Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Sears.

    One last thought, a fun local afternoon/evening is a cruise on one of the riverboats which Run through downtown on the Mississippi, great view of the city, locks, surprisingly good food if you try the dinner cruise. The company is Padelford Packet Boat Co, sails From a park within a 10 min cab ride, is a bargain. (651-227-1100).

    Be sure to review to also review the 101 Things To Do in Minnesota as suggested by your very own Penn State Alumni whom have already call Minnesota "home" and our Minneapolis Restaurant Suggestions.

    Last, and maybe most important, the cities are among the safest in the Midwest for walkers, but ARE big cities, and normal caution is suggested. Otherwise, enjoy the time here, and appreciate the things which have made relocation here more than tolerable for others of us from hoagy and scrapple country.

    We look forward to meeting you at the next PSU Minnesota Alumni Chapter event.

For the glory.
- PSU MN Alumni Chapter Executive Board

A special thank you to Al Starkey for his assistance with the information provided above.