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Just off the top of my head:
-Visit Fort Snelling.
-The Mall of America (though not all that exciting, it's worth a visit just to say you've been there).
-Catch a game at Target Field.
-The Minnesota Zoo (now with dinosaurs!).
-The Como Park Zoo, which is completely free and has some really fun stuff for kids.
-Watch a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul.
-Eat breakfast at 2:00 am at Mickey's Diner.

I'm not from the Cities but I have family there. I'm sure a local could tell you more about cool little nooks and crannies. Those are just some of the things that my family does when we visit.
 

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Thor, can you give us some examples of activities or attractions you would be interested in?

It's fairly difficult to suggest things not knowing what your time constraints will be, where you'll be staying, what you're willing to spend, etc. I would definitely love to give you some ideas for things to do if I knew a bit more about your interests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I'm going tomorrow, and will be staying a few days in Edina. As to interests, mostly things to see I suppose. I'm a shutterbug (yes I know I need to post more). I wander a great deal. Somebody in one of the photo threads mentioned some long street that goes through a variety of different types of neighborhoods?

Restaurant suggestions might be nice, but I just found out what my books will cost for the semester so the recommendations have to be cheap, lol.
 

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The Walker Art Center is a must for anyone visiting Mpls. A truly great collection of contemporary art, housed in an awesome pair of buildings.
Oh, and a walk or bike ride around the three most central lakes (Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet) is also a must-do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Walker Art Center is a must for anyone visiting Mpls. A truly great collection of contemporary art, housed in an awesome pair of buildings.
Oh, and a walk or bike ride around the three most central lakes (Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet) is also a must-do.
Just got back from a bike ride (a very, very long bike ride, to and around downtown and back). These trails are amazing. Super dehydrated now though...:down: That is one thing I noticed: there aren't many water fountains.

Oops.
 

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Just got back from a bike ride (a very, very long bike ride, to and around downtown and back). These trails are amazing. Super dehydrated now though...:down: That is one thing I noticed: there aren't many water fountains.

Oops.
There are water fountains at all of the lakes, I regularly do 30 mile bike rides and only carry one bottle of water because I just fill up when I need to. :)
 

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Don't forget St. Paul. Many visitors forget there is a whole other city in the Metro.

St. Paul's Como Park is a gem with a beautiful lake, a conservatory, Japanese gardens, and a zoo (which is free, by the way). I also suggest a spin down Summit Avenue which has the longest contiguous stretch of Victorian architecture in the country (and come back via Grand Avenue which is parallel, just one block away).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well thank you all for the suggestions. Unfortunately due to time, budget, and just generally not feeling well I didn't get to most of them. I do plan on returning soon though.

I did get to ride around on the bike trails, explore downtown (including Nicolet Mall), wander a couple skyways, see the park with the cherry spoon, see Calhoun lake, visit the Mall of America (I miss Camp Snoopy), and see downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul at sunset as I left.

I'll post pics later. Beautiful city though! I unfortunately didn't get into St. Paul this trip.
 

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There are water fountains at all of the lakes, I regularly do 30 mile bike rides and only carry one bottle of water because I just fill up when I need to. :)
I hate to piggyback but I live in Chicago and I am planning a trip to the twin cities in September or early October. (1) Is this a good time to visit, weather wise (I like to bike and walk) ? (2) Where is most of the vibrancy and nightlife, including dining scene? I like central areas and neighborhoods. (3) Are the bike lanes easy to navigate? Can I access them from a downtown hotel? are they safe? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks
 

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I hate to piggyback but I live in Chicago and I am planning a trip to the twin cities in September or early October. (1) Is this a good time to visit, weather wise (I like to bike and walk) ? (2) Where is most of the vibrancy and nightlife, including dining scene? I like central areas and neighborhoods. (3) Are the bike lanes easy to navigate? Can I access them from a downtown hotel? are they safe? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks
1. Should be nice, not too hot or cold.

2. Warehouse district (just west of CBD in downtown), uptown (southwest of downtown), northeast minneapolis.

3. Use this bike path map: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles/maps/pan/index.htm

The cedar lake trail will take you from downtown to the chain of lakes. That's your best bet. The greenway path seems to be the only path where you could have safety issues, and it's only at night.
 

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^^I'd say that late September/early October is probably the best time of year to visit the Twin Cities. This is right around the time fall colors are close to peak, the weather is predictably pleasant and mild, and biting insects have already been killed by frosts. It's about as close to perfection as it gets in Minnesota!

As far as biking goes, you can bike to-and-from virtually anywhere in the core cities. As anti-cheesehead showed, there are bicycle lanes on major streets throughout Minneapolis (and St. Paul, too), so you'd have zero trouble getting around town on a bike if you want. For a visitor, I would recommend using Nice Ride, which is a bicycle rental service that allows you to pick up a bicycle at a Nice Ride station. You can ride it to wherever you're headed within Minneapolis or St. Paul, then leave it at the next station. It's a cheap way to get around if you have some extra time and you're planning to stay within the core cities.

What exactly do you mean when asking if bicycle lanes are "safe"? I'm assuming you mean clearly marked and separated from vehicular traffic? It's a "yes" for both of those, but you will always want to be on the lookout because there are clueless and inept drivers out there who simply aren't paying attention. I have a few friends who have been hit by cars (no serious injuries, thankfully). That being said, 99.9% of the time if you follow the same traffic rules as a person driving a car, then you'll have no trouble.

For the dining scene...it's all over the place really. Generally, the key areas would be both downtowns, Nicollet/Lyndale/Hennepin Avenues between downtown Minneapolis and Lake Street, Uptown, the Old St. Anthony area of Northeast Minneapolis (across the river from downtown), Grand Avenue and 7th Street in St. Paul.

Nightlife (clubs) are almost exclusively confined to the Warehouse District of downtown Minneapolis, but there are great bars of every type and price range galore in most of the areas already mentioned for dining.

Hope that helps a bit!
 

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I too will be in Minneapolis soon. I don't think I'll have much time though to wander around the city though due to most of my trip being in Winona. Plan is to catch the light rail from MOA to Target Field, so hope to catch some skyline shots. :)
 

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I too will be in Minneapolis soon. I don't think I'll have much time though to wander around the city though due to most of my trip being in Winona. Plan is to catch the light rail from MOA to Target Field, so hope to catch some skyline shots. :)
best skyline shot from the train would be while going across the bridge right after the Lake st/midtown stop. you have to be sitting on the left side of the train though.
 

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best skyline shot from the train would be while going across the bridge right after the Lake st/midtown stop. you have to be sitting on the left side of the train though.
I'll hope to remember that. I believe it's the last home game on Wednesday I'll be heading to, so get some daytime shots. And the rest of the group plans is go back to MOA after the game, so I might be able to break off for a while and stay in Downtown. I'll try to enjoy the most of the city I possibly can.
 

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I hate to piggyback but I live in Chicago and I am planning a trip to the twin cities in September or early October. (1) Is this a good time to visit, weather wise (I like to bike and walk) ? (2) Where is most of the vibrancy and nightlife, including dining scene? I like central areas and neighborhoods. (3) Are the bike lanes easy to navigate? Can I access them from a downtown hotel? are they safe? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks
For a really spectacular view of downtown ( especially at night) , go to the Prohibition Bar in the W Hotel located on top of the Foshay Tower. The bar is located in the former office penthouse of real estate mogul Wilbur Foshay who developed the building. The Foshay (designed after the Washington Monument ) was the tallest building in Minneapolis until the early 70's ( It was built in 1929). The art deco lobby and elevator doors are great !
 
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