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Briana Scurry on the Twin Cities

The first three things people think of when Minnesota is mentioned is snow, ice and cold…well, and maybe the movie “Fargo.” And, yes, it is cold for maybe nine months of the year. But for those three glorious months called summer, Minnesota can be a great place to be…especially Minneapolis/St. Paul.

How do we know?

Well, U.S. WNT goalkeeper Briana Scurry told us. A native of Dayton, Minn., a town of approximately 5,000 that’s a quick 25-minute car ride from downtown Minneapolis, Scurry has spent a few summers in and around the Twin Cities. And since so many soccer fans will be converging on the area for the WNT’s match against Sweden on Friday, July 16, we figured we’d ask Briana to give us some ideas on what to do through the whole weekend (without missing the game of course!).

UPDATE - Briana was taken off the roster due to some lingering effects from a mild concussion in training last weekend. She's bummed she won't get to partake in the match, and even more dissapointed she won't get to hang in her hometown. So she told us to tell everyone that they better take in the festivals, restaurants, shopping and other activities she outlined below to compensate for her absensce. Have fun!

Assuming you took at least a half-day from the 9-to-5 to get to Minneapolis, you’ll want to check out the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The Walker Center has wold-class modern art, including a permanent collection from Andy Warhol, while the Sculpture Garden (located in front of the Art Center) is possibly the largest outdoor display. It’s doubtful you’ve ever seen a 52-foot long spoon and a 9-foot cherry with the backdrop of a city behind, so here’s your chance.

If you’re looking for a chic place to go in Minneapolis, don’t look much further than Chino Latino, a hip bar/lounge/restaurant. The “IN” place to go, it can be a bit crowded, but one of the more interesting atmospheres and dishes you’ll find in the area. 

If different isn’t on your agenda, you can always fall back on a good ‘ole steak. Within a few blocks of each other downtown, there are the three M’s for steak – Manny’s, Morton’s or Murray’s. All located within a few blocks of each, I’ll let you decide where to go.

For a bit of Italian, Zelo is one of the more elegant and unique places to dine. Right away you’ll probably notice the dark, gothic atmosphere and vaulted ceilings, but don’t be frightened...the food is excellent.

They say it’s all about timing, and luckily for you today is the start of Minneapolis Aquatennial, a city-wide 10-day event that includes outdoor concerts, milk carton boat races, sandcastle building competition and numerous block parties. The Subway Block Party on Washington Avenue between Hennepin & 3rd Streets kicks off the festivities and is a great way to get into the swing of your Minnesota weekend. 

If your up for something a little less crowded and a little more cultured than college kids drinking from plastic cups, then check out the one of the live theatres in the Twin Cities. There are 30 theatres to choose from, which is only second to New York City in the number of theater seats per capita.

The newest and most impressive is probably Guthrie Theatre. The spectacularly designed building on the banks of the Mississippi River just opened and features three theaters, two restaurants, 11 bars and the world's longest cantilever bridge extending toward the river. You could go just to check out the building, but luckily they’re also currently showing “The Great Gatsby.” Tickets are limited though, so check on availability. If it’s sold out, maybe check out “Seussical,” based on the Dr. Seuss books, playing at Stages Theatre.

Minneapolis is also known for its great music scene and is home to tons of great local acts. The best part is you can see these bands pretty cheap. You could check out The Quest Club (and Ascot Room), which typically have the most national acts. Or for a bit of a different scene, you could check out the 400 Bar, The Cabooze, or the Triple Rock Social Club. Check online to see what acts are performing.

Late night
If after a night at the theatre, a concert or the when the block party shuts down (11:30 p.m.), and you’re still looking to head out for a night cap there are a few options downtown you could check out. Check out The Lone Tree Bar & Grill or Uptown Bar & Café, both of which are on Hennepin Ave., and are a short walk from the heart of the block party. Or head over to Williams Uptown Pub and Peanut Bar, where there are over 100 beers on tap and you can just toss your empty peanut shells on the floor.

And if you can’t make up your mind and want to bar-hop, just head over to the E Block in the Warehouse District. Lots of bars and clubs in the area…(at least from what I’ve heard since it’s a new area that’s been built up within the past year or two.) Then, if you get hungry you can hit Pizza Luce about three blocks away for some late-night grub.

With the game starting at 5 p.m. tonight, you probably don’t want to cram a bunch of activities in the morning and early afternoon, so today’s the day to hit the Mall of America. Sure, the weekends are the craziest days, but get there when it opens at 10 a.m., and you’ll miss at least some of the crowd. Remember, it’s not just shopping that goes on at the MOA with the indoor amusement park, Camp Snoopy. Ride a roller coaster, Ferris wheel or the water ride, but just make sure you do it before lunch at the multitude of choices from fast-food to casual dining.
Considering the game starts at 5 p.m., most people will probably eat dinner during at the stadium. No problem though, as there’s a good amount of vendors around the National Sports Center. You can’t go wrong with the hotdog and Pepsi, but you might want to try the chicken fries, funnel cakes or fried cheese, all delicacies during a Minnesota summer.

Obviously, you’re checking out the game, but when it’s over (probably around 7 p.m.) and we’ve hopefully won, it’s time for a celebratory toast at a quality soccer bar. You can’t go wrong with Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis, especially in the summer as patrons can hit up the rooftop deck to play croquet, learn to lawn bowl or just have a pint or two, all while barefoot on the green.

Late night
Later, you can cross the street and hit up The Local Irish Pub. It’s a large place with a young professional crowd that is definitely laid back and opposite of the trendy scene. Good place to grab a well-poured Guinness, and there’s also darts and pool if you want a bit of activity.

If you want something a bit more laid back, check out the aptly named, The Lounge. This is actually where some of the Minneapolis celebs hang out, like Prince (are there any other Minneapolis celebs?). It has cozy couches, but also a dance floor if you desire to cut a rug.

Aquatennial serves up two fun activities on Sunday morning to check out before you head out of town. At Thomas Beach on Lake Calhoun you watch the sandcastle building competition or the milk carton boat races, which both start at 10 a.m.

Otherwise, if you want to venture out of the city (10-15 minutes) you could check out Minnehaha Park. There you can check out Minnehaha Falls, which is part of Minnehaha Creek, a short tributary of the Mississippi River located in Hennepin County that extends from Lake Minnetonka. Minnehaha Falls is located near where it meets up with the Mississippi. The park is great for frisbee, hiking and grilling out, and it isn’t far from Fort Snelling.

After soaking in the sun on the beach, you’ll be mighty hungry. Check out Hell’s Kitchen located downtown for their well-known brunch. Their catch phrase is “Damn Good Food by Celebrated Chefs.” Might sound a bit cocky, but when you back it up there’s no problem.

If you’re still have a few hours to kill after the meal, you can either stay out in the sun and hit the links on one of the five golf courses within the city limits (not to mention more than 170 in the metro area) or head over to the Metrodome and take in the Twins-Indians game at 1 p.m. For those still in the city at 5 p.m., head over to the Target Center to catch the Lynx-Sparks WNBA game.

Well, if you’ve done everything on the list you’re probably pretty tired out. And if not, you’ve got something to look forward to when you return.

Take care everybody and see you in Blaine! Go USA!