Known to outsiders mainly for grueling winters, the Twin Cities are remarkably vibrant no matter what the temperature. Lush urban parks, dedicated bike lanes, outdoor festivals, and nearly two dozen lakes (many fringed with beaches and dotted with sailboats) draw the entire city outdoors in summer. In cold weather, although the streets may appear empty, the two downtowns still bustle, thanks to 8 miles of climate-controlled skyways that connect office building to office building and parking garage to shopping center. Spring and fall are the time to celebrate the thriving culinary scene, which reveres local ingredients above all else, and employs them with startling creativity. The cities' 100-plus theater companies keep the cultural scene hopping, and the two architectural powerhouses-the expanded Walker Art Center and the Jean Nouvel-designed Guthrie Theater, completed in 2006-add star power throughout the year.
Paddling a canoe around Lake Calhoun with the skyscrapers of downtown Minneapolis serving as a backdrop, followed by a lunch of fried walleye tacos at The Tin Fish.
A Minnesota winter: sled, snow tube, or cross-country ski at Minneapolis’s 759-acre Theodore Wirth Park, then check out the ice sculptures in St. Paul, carved for the annual Winter Carnival in January.
A walk through St. Paul searching for all things F. Scott Fitzgerald, including where he was born and where he lived with Zelda.