Nebraska Football: Preparing for the Corn Invasion, What to do in the Twin Cities

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Last year one of TDG's top-notch staff made the trip to Lincoln and had what appeared to be an incredible time. This trip may or may not have included Rex Burkhead's mom dancing on tables, as was reported via Twitter; but a good time was had by all who went down (until kickoff). With that said, I'd like give our Nebraska neighbors a guide as to what to do this weekend in the Twin Cities.

It appears as thought Friday is going to be beautiful. If you get into town early I suggest you resist the temptation to go to the Mall of America and do something outside. I know that the 0% tax on clothing and the largest indoor mall in the US and a giant indoor amusement park is more tempting than free Pappy, but save your money and enjoy what might be the last nice weekend we see for months. Things to do? 779390708_31024a5a22_o_medium

  • Target Field Stadium Tours - info here, I absolutely love Target Field and while I acknowledge I have a bias, I believe it is easily one of the most beautiful stadiums in MLB (I've been to about 16).
  • Walker Art Museum sculpture garden - iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry piece (pictured right) is seen here. This will not take up your entire afternoon but it is something a little different and fun.
  • Lake Calhoun - take a short walk around Lake Calhoun to burn a few calories before you put them back in the rest of the evening. Great place to people-watch and enjoy a unique urban lake.

If a sunny and 50 degree day is too chilly for you then by all means head to the Mall of America and spend, spend spend! I'm pretty sure that this is the only logical reason that Nebraska was allowed into the Big Ten.

Friday Evening, some dinner options for you around town. I'm trying to give you ideas for places sprinkled around the metro assuming that people are staying at various locations and not everyone will be downtown Minneapolis (though that is primarily where I'm directing people).

  • Figlio, Crave Rojo The West End, St. Louis Park - this is a newer development of shops, restaurants, a huge movie theater and condos just west of Minneapolis about 5 minutes. The three restaurants listed are my favorites. Figlio is good Italian cuisine, Crave is American and Rojo is Mexican with great margaritas. All three are excellent choices and if you don't care of any of these there are a few other solid options as well.
  • Toby Keith's, The West End - this is the place I suspect you will end up at (assuming you leave downtown). But I'm just making a blanket stereotype about all you country folk wanting to drink a lot of beer, watch sports and listen to country music with other farmers.
  • Butcher and the Boar, downtown Mpls - arguably the best bourbon selection in the Twin Cities to go along with a very good craft beer selection and a very tasty menu. This place is great and has won some local awards despite not being open all that long. Did I mention they have a great bourbon selection?
  • New Bohemia, Northeast Mpls - in an area affectionately called Nordeast, New Bohemia has a giant selection of gourmet brats and a bigger selection of world beers. I'm sure you'll be eating brats all day tomorrow but you'll be drinking beer too; and that won't stop you from drinking beer on Friday will it? This place is awesome and once you are done with your dinner there are some great bars within walking distance. Athletic Director, Norwood Teague has a condo in this area and often has parties on football Fridays, but keep your corn-heads away please.
  • Fogo de Chao, downtown Mpls - Yes, this is a chain but they don't have one in Lincoln (or Iowa City or Madison or any other Big Ten town). You like meat, this is your place. If you choose this venue on Saturday night you may see some Gopher recruits being wined and dined here as well (all dining, no wining though). If you are unfamiliar with the Brazilian steakhouse concept, they keep bringing you meat (all kinds of delicious meat) until you tell them to stop.
  • The Melting Pot, downtown Mpls - this is a fondue style restaurant that is a lot of fun if you are here with a group.
  • Mozza Mia, Edina (50th and France) - if you are staying on the south or southwest side of Minneapolis then head to 50th/France area and check out Mozza Mia. Gourmet pizza that is similar to Punch (only better). This would be an excellent lunch option as well on Friday. If pizza isn't your thing, Barrio is just a block away and worth the walk.

Friday Night Post Dinner - I'm sure there are things going on throughout the city but let me give you a few places to pull up a stool and drink. If you are looking for an event both the Gopher Men's Hockey team and the Minnesota Wild have home hockey games.

  • Toby Keith's - I'll bring you back to Toby Keith's because I think you'll like it here. I'm lumping you all in the same bucket but this place is pretty popular. The tricky part is getting back safely to your hotel.
  • Marvel Bar, downtown Mpls - Another bar with a great whiskey selection. But this bar also has outstanding drinks that are artfully crafted and brilliantly tasty.
  • Kieran's Irish Bar, The Local, Brit's, downtown Mpls - three Irish/Brit bars downtown. The Local might be my favorite downtown bar (at least it was before Bucher and the Boar or Marvel Bar came around). All three have good whiskey selection, good fish'n'chips and plenty of beer.
  • Town Hall Brewery, Mpls 7-corners area - just east of the Metrodome and getting close to campus. Town Hall has great, award winning, beer on tap.
  • Gasthof's, Northeast Mpls - Oktoberfest is over but Gasthof's is a lot of fun where the beer will be flowing all night long.
  • Nyes Polonaise, Northeast Mpls - very unique, complete with the Wold's Most Dangerous Polka Band every Friday and Saturday night. This place is a classic.
  • The Bulldog and Barrio, St. Paul lowertown - Two very good bars next door to each other. Go from one to the other and back again for the entire evening. If for some unknown reason you booked a hotel in St. Paul these are good options.
  • Alary's Bar, St. Paul - but this one is better (than the 2 above). I wouldn't advise brining your wife or young daughter to Alary's (you'll understand once you go) but this place is going to be PACKED on Friday night. There is a Wild home game on Friday night so downtown St. Paul should actually be lively and Alary's is a great place to watch the action!

Saturday Morning - in case you want some breakfast, here are a couple I would suggest.

  • Hell's Kitchen, downtown Mpls - award winning breakfast that can get pretty packed so don't be afraid to call ahead.
  • Keys Cafe - locations in Minneapolis, 2 in St. Paul and a few in the surrounding suburbs. Keys is great and will fill you up. Even just for a quick muffin or pastry on your way to tailgating.

Tailgating - if you do not already have your tailgating plan figured out, I would suggest heading to the East River Flats Park (map and pictures are in that attachment). The Daily Gopher had a rainy/cold/windy tailgate here for the Iowa game and the location is great. Easy access, tons of open space and just $10 to park.

Gameday Options -there are things to do that do not involve tailgating on Saturday. And in the event that you are just here for the fun of it and haven' t yet scored a ticket, here are some options for you as well.

  • Joe Senser's Bar and Grill, Roseville - this is probably a 20 min drive north of campus but this is THE place for Husker fans. Senser's is where you will find an entire restaurant full of red, usually complete with a pep band to play school songs. If you do not have a ticket to the game, drive here, you'll thank me later. In addition to the bazillion Cornhusker fans there will be dozens of TVs airing all of the college football world.
  • Stub and Herb's, on campus - this is a block from the stadium and a Dinkytown classic. It will be crowded but it is a good place to stop on your way into the stadium for a quick one if tailgating is on your agenda.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings, Station 19 - a unique BWW that is across the street from TCF Bank Stadium. Grab some wings and beer before finding your seat.

There are many more options, these are just some humble suggestions. I hope you enjoy your time here, spend a ton of money and then I hope you have a sad and long drive home.

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