Friday, January 31, 2014

Windy City & Twin Cities: Things To Do

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I am doing a bit of a blog swap with Kendra over at Thornton Travel in Chicago.  She invited me to work on a collaborated project where we both discuss the things we love to do in our hometowns.  Here is what Kendra had to say about Chicago:

The Windy City is a great place to live. As a travel enthusiast, I love that my hometown is also a great place to visit. There’s a story that says that locals tend not to go and see nearby attractions, but for me that is certainly not true. Chicago has a lot to offer, and I enjoy taking advantage of the many things to do, see and eat here.
1. See Sculptures in the Windy City
I love art. One of the greatest places to see art for free in Chicago is along the Michigan Avenue Bridge. This bascule bridge extends the famous avenue across the primary branch of the Chicago River into downtown. The bridge itself is a must-see. The landmark also boasts several famous sculptures and otherworks of art that make it a great place to visit.
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2. Get Water Logged in the Windy City
You don’t have to experience Chicago’s lake-effect snow to appreciate the city’s relationship to water. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, my city has been shaped by the water in many ways. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the water is with a visit to Shedd Aquarium. Located on Chicago’s Museum Campus near the lake, the aquarium houses over 1,500 species of marine life. Their Beluga Encounter provides visitors the opportunity to come face-to-face with a majestic beluga whale. (
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3. Check Out the Windy City Skyline
Few skylines are as famous as Chicago’s. It features three of the country’s five tallest buildings. Two of the most iconic buildings here are the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Center. When picking a place to stay in the Windy City, be sure to select one where you’ll have a great view. There are plenty of hotels to choose from, luxury and historic, to budget and modern, there is something for everyone and every family.
4. Eat at a Windy City Diner
If you love diner food and Milk Duds, you’ll fall in love with Lou Mitchell’s. This iconic local diner serves up some of the best all-American food in the Windy City. While eating out in Chicago can be expensive, it never is here. As an added bonus, they always distribute Milk Duds to the kids and the ladies. This tradition started years ago when a friend and customer of Uncle Lou first invented the candy.

Of course, you can see, do and experience plenty more in my city. I always recommend coming more than once to get in as much sightseeing, shopping and exploring as possible. I hope you can visit soon.

Thank you Kendra!  We enjoyed hearing about Chicago.  It has been a few years since I was there last.  Lake Michigan sure adds beauty to the cityscape.  Now to tell you a little bit about my hometown, otherwise known as the Twin Cities area, or Minneapolis/St. Paul. 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons / PhotosByJeremiah
My family has only lived here a few months, so at times I still feel like a tourist when I am out and about.  Minneapolis/St. Paul area has it all.  They have history, architecture, night life, family fun, and events for any pallet.  We have first class restaurants and premiere shopping.

Forbes named Minneapolis #1 for America's Top Healthiest Cities.  There are parks, biking and running paths woven through the whole metropolitan area and suburbs.  Here are a couple main points that make the Twin Cities an amazing place to visit.

1.  Art and Theater
The Twin Cities area of Minnesota has arguably the best art scene between the East and West coasts.  They host world renowned theaters, such as the Guthrie and the Ordway Theaters, as well as more intimate settings such as The Children's Theater and the Chanhassen Dinner Theater.  Minneapolis/St. Paul also support dozens of art, cultural, and science museums, large ballets, dance and fold companies, filmmakers groups and more.  If you are in the mood for culture, you will certainly find it in the Twin Cities.  Some of our favorite museums are the Walker Art Center, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota History Center.

2.  Getting Reacquainted With Nature
If  green is your scene, Minneapolis/St. Paul is the location for you.  All around and through the cities are thick patches of tall, bushy trees and lush green grass intertwined with bike and walking paths for the residents and visitors to enjoy.  Deemed Land of 10,000 lakes, The Twin Cities carry on Minnesota's mantra from East to West.  Public parks dot the area and provide endless opportunities for fishing, picnicking, ice skating, biking, bird watching, boating and a plethora of other activities.  Due to their vigilance in keeping wetlands protected and maintaining dense forested areas even with urban expansion, along with their incredibly environmentally conscious residents, Minneapolis/St. Paul was named the 4th cleanest of cities in the world.  

Photo courtesy of Brian Roberts

3.  Whoop For Your Team!
I would probably make a whole group of Minnesotans mad if I left out their fabulous sports teams :0}
With so many of it's residents fit and health conscious, plus some that just like to be spectators to the sports, the Twin Cities area hosts an excellent selection of top performing sports teams. The Twins, Saints, Vikings, Timberwolves, Wild, and Swarm are all here to name a few.  Twin Cities is also home to two of the top sports venues in America: Target Field and Xcel Energy Center.  

4. Families Welcome!!!

I hear that the Twin Cities is a smoken' place to be young and single...or old and single for that matter.  I don't know much about that since I am married and the proud mother of three.  I can tell you that Parenting Magazine named the Twin Cities in the top 5 cities for families.  We SewCakeMakers are all about family fun and getting out to discover our beautiful new home town.  That is probably because we find ourselves in a new home so often {compulsive over-movers right here ;0}  If I were to go into all of the fun-filled family activities there are awaiting you here in the Twin Cities, this article would never end.  I can send you to some sites though that have fabulous lists of activities and updated calendars so you can pick and choose for yourself.  

Science Museum of Minnesota
Mpls/St. Paul Magazine has an issue out this month with a host of places to visit, restaurants to try and even volunteer opportunities here in our home town.  I was so excited to find this list while waiting at the doctor's office, I ran over to the book store and bought it.  After that, I realized every place mentioned was on the website.  So, whether you buy the magazine or just read online, check that list out before you visit or decide on what to do this weekend.

Theaters at Mall of America has an awesome list of activities and things to experience with your kids.  I have never heard of half of these.  I am really excited to start checking these activities off the list!

Last, but not least, check out or Tourism in Minnesota page and see what else we have to offer. 

Whether you live in the Twin Cities area now, or are simply thinking of visiting, I know you will find more than you ever imagined in the way of things to do and see.  With all of our sources for art, theater, nature discovery, sports teams,and host of family activities, I know that you will enjoy your stay in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.    

The following sites provided information for some of the material presented about the Twin Cities:,_Minnesota

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