For most of the country, March heralds the shimmering metamorphosis from spring to summer — but for Minnesota’s twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, this transfiguration happens in June. Restaurants roll chairs onto patios, young professionals skip work for a day at the lake, and everywhere flowers and trees return to vibrant color. Seize the chance to enjoy the most delightful weather of the year in the vibrant culture of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
The great June weather in both of the Twin Cities makes choosing a place to stay challenging. Should you stay in up-and-coming Lowertown in St. Paul, where artists and young families mingle among trendy restaurants and galleries? Or would the North Loop in central Minneapolis match your taste for the trendy, yet historic? Or would something like the Cathedral Hill Bed & Breakfast, a southwestern St. Paul favorite, put you most at ease near the foodie-approved intersection of Selby and Dale? No matter where you stay, you’ll need access to a car. It’s a big city. (Well, it’s two big cities.)
Once you’re settled in one of these downtown areas, it’s time to get out into the beautiful June temperatures. From June 11-15, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival features a five-stage Grand Prix race that makes appearances throughout the Twin Cities. On Wednesday, the first day of the race, you can watch some of the top cyclists in the country course through downtown St. Paul. Two days later, catch them again in the heart of Minneapolis. Live music, vendors and kids’ activities accompany the competition around the cities.
They call Minnesota the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” for a reason, so if you prefer to get some exercise for yourself rather than just watching others, rent a canoe or a kayak and get on the water! Start at Wheel Fun Rentals on Lake Calhoun, and paddle, pedal or row through Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake. Stop for a picnic with the kids at the sumptuously large Cedar Lake Park. Or if you prefer dry land, you can rent bikes and traverse the perimeter of the lake chain.
If all of that activity wears you out, relax at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival from June 26-28 at Mears Park in Lowertown, St. Paul. The lineup hasn’t been finalized yet, but last year’s event featured jazz heavy hitters like Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck and Esperanza Spalding. Admission is free, so you can spend as much or as little time at the highly rated concert’s three stages as seems appropriate to your trip.
The Twin Cities’ largest single-day community event, the Grand Old Day, happens a few weeks earlier. On Sunday, June 1, over 250,000 people from across the Midwest will converge on Grand Avenue, from Fairview Avenue to Dale Street, for a parade, entertainment, shopping, cuisine and games. In addition to the parade, kids will enjoy the bounce houses, water wars, petting zoo and pony rides at the Kids Adventure Zone (open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). If the kids are staying home, though, adults can purchase wristbands ($8) for admittance to all six live music gardens. Whatever you do, be sure to leave room in your luggage for the artisan marmalades, handmade necklaces and one-of-a-kind bow ties you’re likely to pick up along the way.
While not necessarily improved by the weather, the Mall of America still earns a mention as a universally appealing Twin Cities destination. In the southern suburb of Bloomington, the Mall of America houses over 500 stores appealing to every taste out there. Kids will love the Nickelodeon Universe theme park in the center of the 2.5 million-square-foot structure ($32 gets an all-day, all-you-can-ride wristband), and the new Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium will occupy their minds as well as their bodies. If you stay for lunch, Twin City Grill may be on the higher end pricewise, but its quality far outweighs the cost. (If walleye is on the menu, don’t hesitate to order it.)
The Twin Cities have a lot to offer any time of the year, but the area really shines throughout the month of June. Other cities might have attractive June festivals or exciting outdoor activities, but none have such a temperate atmosphere as Minneapolis and St. Paul. When summer gets hot in your hometown, head north to the Land of 10,000 Lakes!