7 Quick Takes – the MN Guide

Should I be all reflective and weepy for a few posts to really seal the deal on this moving thing? It’s not really my style. We’re moving soon. Woot. And, we had a great year here in the tiny pop. Seven of our favorite things?


ECFE and My Gym


These are the two things that we did to help socialize our little butterfly. Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is exclusive to MN, and it’s a way for kids to start learning about the idea of school well before they get there. We really liked this a lot. Ellen played with kids, sang songs, did crafts, ate snacks…all of the basic building blocks of a happy childhood, I suppose.

My Gym was another one of our weekly outings. The gal is somewhat of a timid one, so this really helped boost her confidence. She was able to climb and swing and dance and watch a puppet show all in an hour’s time. It was also a pretty good way to make sure Mike and I got out of our pjs before it was too late to do anything on the weekend. Bonus.


Wild Rumpus Bookstore

Our favorite children’s bookstore. Ellen was more interested in the wildlife than the actual books: cats, birds, hens, spiders, chinchillas and others. She spent each visit terrorizing the cats. Whatever works.


Lake Calhoun

There are two reasons you might go here: 1. you like to show off your gym body while rollerblading or 2. you want to take the kid for a walk around a lake in a stroller for some good people watching. I’ll let you guess reason this jello jiggler was motivated by.


Sea Salt


Our. Fave. Food. Ever. Scallop tacos? Peel-n-Eat shrimp? Oysters? Tons of cilantro? Gazpacho? Beer, wine and gourmet ice cream al fresco? Live folk, twang and blues? Right next to a waterfall? Do I need to go on? This might be the thing I miss the very most. No, it definitely is.


Edina Grill

When it gets colder and you still want good food, go here and eat. Lurve. Just everything. Eat everything. And they give the kids cups of Goldfish crackers and crayons while they wait. Thank you. So much.


Como Park Zoo


This is the free zoo in town, but it’s the one that has all the animals that Ellen knows. So, why wouldn’t we go to this one? Also, we saw a sloth this close to our face. Adorbs.



I loved this moms’ group at our church. It was the perfect social gathering for this introvert. Pop in at 9:30, chat for a few minutes while you get your food from the enormous and insane brunch they have each meeting, sit down at a table, listen to speaker, go home. Childcare provided. It was awesome. I could be around moms without feeling like I had to make conversation for hours on end. Is that weird of me?


Honorable Mentions: Golden Nugget in Minnetonka, Brasa in MPLS, the State Fair, Duluth, Gasthoffs in MPLS, Zumbro Cafe in MPLS, Children’s Museum (free every 3rd Sunday), any library here, MPLS Farmer’s Market.

So, there you have it. Maybe I am a little sad to be leaving. Crap.

Go visit Jen before I start to tear up.

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    • Jenna says

      Why are they so awesome? I have been weirdly obsessed since I had to do a report on them in 3rd grade. Why do I remember that??

  1. says

    Found you on Jen’s blog. I live in Chaska, so I’m a fellow Minnesotan too. Loved hearing some of your favorites here in MN. is that Moms Rock group at St.Huberts by any chance?

    Hope you find a good home in Michigan. I’m told I used to live there for a short time–when my mom was pregnant w/ me. :-) (Hey, technically I still lived there, just in the womb.)

    • Jenna says

      I’m not *super* familiar with this area since we were only here for a year, but I’m pretty sure that we are close to Chaska :) The Moms Rock group is at Pax Christi. I loved going there for the group, but we actually went to St. Hubert’s for Mass quite a bit. I liked that Church. If we had discovered it sooner, I might have even gone there exclusively.

      Where did you and your mom live in MI? (And, yes! You did live there :))

  2. says

    I am originally from MN. I LOVE the Como Zoo, one of my favorite places! Also, Valley Fair, Grandma’s in Duluth, love to watch the ships coming in, the beautiful road trip to Silver Bay and Lake of the Woods. I miss MN in the summertime :) Thanks for awakening my memories!

  3. says

    I enjoyed reading about this… because there is a possibility that we might be moving to Minneapolis next fall! …the opposite of your travels. haha It is just a possibility right now, but I am trying to do my research on the area. Your post makes MN sound lovely and appealing. So far, I haven’t found any real negatives (other than the cold, but I’m pretty sure I could handle that). Do you have any other thoughts on the city? Would you recommend it overall?

    • Jenna says

      I can totally see you two there! You would love it :) We obviously know a lot about the family aspect of the city, and I’m sure you’ll be in that position one day. But, until then, there is so much fun to be had as a married couple without kids hehe! If you do move to the area, I would suggest living in Uptown or St. Louis Park. There are a lot of people our age, and the nightlife and activity around the area is wonderful. And, by nightlife, I don’t mean bumpin’ clubs and stuff (although you can find that in the city for sure!). It’s more of a really relaxed scene with good food, chill bars and lots of live music around :)

      Other places I would go in the area:

      Nye’s Polka Restaurant
      Pizza Luce

      Fifth Element Records (I haven’t been, but it is highly recommended)
      Paper Hat
      City Salvage
      I Like You

      Laura Ingall’s Wilder House
      MN Zoo (Como is our favorite, but this one is cool too. If you go to Como, make sure you go for the flower festival they have around Easter too. Breathtaking!)
      Summit Ave (Just go for a run or a walk down this street and be blown away. It’s in St. Paul, and they are they most GORGEOUS houses you’ve ever seen in your whole entire life!)

      St. Paul’s Catherdral
      State Fair (all you can drink Milk, what??)
      mpls Farmer’s Market
      get a juicy lucy burger (more for David, I would think!)

      And, obviously, my fave things are all listed on this post. I have a ton of other recs that people gave me that we didn’t have time to make it to while we lived there. So, if you do end up going, let me know and I can send you the entire list!

      Keep us in the loop :)

      • says

        Wow Jenna – THANK YOU! I am saving the e-mail I got with this comment attached so I can reference all this glorious information again. It sounds like there is an endless list of things to do and see. I am glad you think well of the city too. Thanks again and I will let you know if it all ends up happening so I can get the full scoop (although this is already great!). :)