300 destinations for the Weekend Tourist!

I’ve been a tourist all my life. Everywhere I go I’m looking to see what’s around the corner or inside a building. I don’t want to miss anything. It’s always good to know the options. I’ve been known to make elaborate travel brochures for my trips (and for my friends trips) listing all possibilities in several categories of entertainment. Doing research is half the fun — it’s like you’re already there. Then you can pick and choose.

You can have a good time anywhere if you just look and learn and try a little harder. Anyone can spend a lot of money and go to Europe or Argentina and have fun. But how about a quick and easy half-day vacation in St. Cloud? Completely possibly. In fact, I can make you want to stay longer.

One of my mottos is that I always try to be positive. It’s easy to be negative. And negativity breeds more negativity. So when I’m out and about I try to keep a positive attitude. If you don’t like something, don’t go there. I try to do that with this column too. You don’t want to read about me complaining about things — you want to have fun!

My first column, about the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, hit newsstands November 19, 2001 in what was then Skyway News. My subheading was “a guide to art, architecture and cultural curiosities.” While there are no longer tours of the active trading floor, that lobby is still one of my favorite spaces and I pop in whenever I’m nearby.

After writing about 300 destinations in the Twin Cities a lot has changed. I think I’m one of the few people who miss the 1960s Central Library and John Rood’s “The Scroll” sculpture but a lot miss Cafe di Napoli and gems like Teener’s costume store. But most of what I consider metro-area destinations are still there and even improving. This city is growing and getting more interesting every day. I biked along Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis last weekend for Open Streets and saw the street like I’d never been there before. It was vibrant, packed with people, and full of new possibilities. This is a great city. I love living here and I love vacationing here. Yes, I can do both! One of the greatest moments of my life was when I was leaving one of the parking ramps Downtown and the attendant looked up from her paper to take my ticket and said: “You’re the tourist!”

Write in for copies of these old favorites:

• Foshay Tower

• Bios of Marquette, LaSalle, Nicollet and Hennepin

• Peter Woytuk’s 2,000-pound bronze bull sculptures at U of M St. Paul campus

• Macy’s Art Deco women’s restroom

COFFEE BREAK: I usually like my coffee coffee-flavored but I fell in love with cedar and maple at my new favorite coffee shop: Five Watt Coffee, 3745 Nicollet Ave. S.  

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