Cool Fun: A Week’s Worth of Indoor Activities

Roller-skating, trivia, bowling, bingo, and live music fill up a week

 

Roller-skating at Skateville in Burnsville

Darin Kamnetz

Prince’s “Erotic City” blasts from the multi-speaker sound system as the mirrored disco ball ricochets colored prisms on the roller skaters moving in circles around the rink. We have been skating for about an hour now and my hips are starting to feel the exercise and I have to tie my sweater around my waist to cool off. Experienced skaters zip past me with remarkable precision, dancing to the beat, zipping around the rink and practicing spins and jumps while newbies hug the wall as they slowly wobble back and forth.

Welcome to Monday night at Skateville Roller Skating Rink in Burnsville, where every week from 7 to 9 p.m., “seasoned skaters”—anyone over age 18—is welcome to open skate to DJ Jeff Butler’s curated playlist. It’s a workout, it’s a movement, it’s a blast.

Roller-skating every Monday night is just one of the ways I like to get out of the house but still stay inside during these cooler months in Minnesota. I also meet friends for trivia almost every week, bowl a few nights a month, and get out to as many concerts that I can. I attempted this winter to do all of these activities in one week—I wouldn’t recommend that if you also have a day job—but follow along ad mix in one or two activities each week and you, too, for some Minnesota-style recreation.

The author roller-skating at Skateville in Burnsville

Darin Kamnetz

MONDAYS: Roller-skating

Everyone has at least one roller-skating memory—mine spans about four years. My hometown’s roller-skating rink, High Rollers, was where middle-school me hung out every Friday night with friends. I’ve heard from many Minnesotans, that Saints North rink was the hotspot here. For many of us, that nostalgia is part of the appeal and it definitely comes flooding back every Monday when I walk into Skateville with its gawdy swirled carpeting, vintage snack bar, and expansive skate rental area. I discovered the fun when two friends—who previously convinced me to take tap-dancing lessons with them—invited me to the Monday night sessions. There’s a welcoming group of regulars here, many with their own bedazzled skates and glow-in-the-dark wheels. Some prefer to rollerblade, but we all groove to the deep cuts from the 1970s through ‘90s the DJ plays. For many like me, we roller skate to some of the same songs we grew up on.

Roller-skating at Skateville in Burnsville

Darin Kamnetz

Amy Sacarelos is an administrator of a Facebook group dedicated to the Monday night “seasoned skaters.” She explains the importance to roller-skating for her: “Music and movement for me are high endorphins. In 2015, my husband and I and one of our daughters had to move to take care of my aging parents; we cared for them for seven years. Rollerskating was a life link for me to get away from home and be uplifted for a few hours.” She helps organize monthly themed nights, like movie night or a Bee Gees tribute. On this Monday night, a group of young friends watched TikTok videos on their phones after a few spins around the rink while some regulars showboated for a photographer, talented enough to be their own TikTok stars.

Amy Sacarelos roller skates Mondays at Skateville in Burnsville.

Darin Kamnetz

Other options: U.S. Bank Stadium’s Winter Warm-Up and Cheap Skate in Coon Rapids

TUESDAYS: Trivia

The question seemed so obvious: “Iran and Iraq are two countries separated by only one letter. What are the other two countries?” My team was on a roll that night at bar trivia in West St. Paul, but this question stopped us, and, frankly, drove us all nuts because we should know the answer immediately. Our table of four was in friendly competition with two other sets of friends who show up almost every week for some brain teasers, useless knowledge, and song snippets. Meeting for bar trivia is a great way to catch up with my friends mid-week—between the questions—and learn a few random facts along the way. Locally, the Trivia Mafia team seems to have a monopoly on the scene and run trivia nights at local bars and restaurants every night of the week and in locations from Duluth to Red Wing. The well-run organization started in 2007 simply as “Chuck & Sean’s Trivia”—both Chuck Terhark and Sean McPherson have left for other entertainment-related roles around town—and now operates out of six states. My friends and I have our favorite spots with our favorite hosts, Megan on Tuesdays and Caitlin on Wednesdays, and a winning track record that keeps us coming back. Some tips: Many places have developed regulars (like us) who arrive early to claim their “lucky” tables and settle in. Plan on spending roughly two hours at the bar or distillery for the full six rounds of questions and mid-event and final scoring sessions and stick around for the final results, which often require a tie-breaker question because the teams are all so smart and only a half-point or two separate the tallies. It helps to have a mix of expertise on your team, such as the sports fan, tech geek, world traveler, or music critic to cover the bases. We’ve also had success including our college-aged kids who tend to know the pop culture questions. As for the countries trivia question, it’s an icy answer that may raise your ire.

Other options: Bar Bingo (see Thursday) and meat raffles

The author bowling at Tuttle’s.

WEDNESDAYS: Bowling

I’m in a bowling league, two, actually. Last year, my team in the Wednesday night league came in second overall. My team in the Sunday night league took first place. My husband is on both teams and he’s the good bowler, but I’m improving. I love my globe-themed bowling ball that my family got for me as a Christmas gift a few years ago, too. Bowling is a unique way to bring together people across lots of different political and social views, according to a radio report recently. I think that’s true in both of my bowling leagues. The Wednesday league is sponsored by a former employer, Entrust Database. The company is generous to still support this league, which formed more than 20 years ago.

Bowling at Tuttle’s

Darin Kamnetz

Every Wednesday, the bowlers meet at Tuttle’s Eat, Bowl, Play in Hopkins for the Entrust league. Some are retirees and arrive for happy hour before while others stay for the bar bingo at 7 p.m. League president Jim Elder just retired after decades with the group and sent detailed and entertaining recaps each week.Our Sunday night league is every other week, arranged through Drkula’s in Inver Grove Heights, a league of grandparents facing off against Gen Xers. Bowling is not as physically strenuous as roller-skating, but it is possible to break a sweat (or pull a muscle) during the 30-plus frames in three games of league play. There’s a lot of ribbing and competitive commentary from opposing teams, but also a lot of support of each other as well. Some of the splits these bowlers pick up are video-worthy as well.

Other options: Top golf, mini golf, and arcade games like skeeball

THURSDAYS: Bingo

Bingo players at Tuttle’s

Darin Kamnetz

Bar Bingo people are intense. Many have their own daubers, bring their good-luck totems, and superstitiously sit in the same spot week after week. And that is why bar bingo people are my kind of people. I don’t do bar bingo as often as roller-skating and trivia, but do like to hit a weeknight session now and then for the chance at some spending change, get a bite to eat, and support the charity running the event. There’s not a business managing bingo like Trivia Mafia does for trivia, but a great website for bingo venues is mnbarbingo.com. It includes most of the VFW halls across the state that run bar bingo, as well as the bingo halls that offer rounds every day. If you haven’t attended bingo at your chosen spot before, make sure you know the house rules, such as the different games, and process of purchasing new cards before each round or only at the beginning and at break. Nothing’s more embarrassing than calling out bingo but being wrong. That happened to a friend at Tuttle’s last year, when the game was “small window” (only the numbers that surround the free space) and not the horizontal line he had. Other players were not very forgiving of the mistake. Purse bingo and gun bingo are popular variations, where the prizes are not cash but handbags and firearms.

Bingo at Tuttle’s after bowling league.

Other options: Trivia (see Tuesday) or meat raffles

FRIDAYS: Live music

Usually by Fridays, I’m wiped out from the week and want to just relax, but for this story I chose to go see a band at the Turf Club for a Friday night activity. There are dozens of venues with live music on Friday nights, so it’s just a matter of who you want to hear or how far you want to go. My favorites are some of the First Avenue-owned properties, including the Turf Club and Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul and Fine Line in Minneapolis. For this week, it was a Dolly Parton tribute concert at the Fine Line in Minneapolis. I love winding down my week with some live music, especially if I have a chair to settle into. There’s that happy feeling I get walking into a darkened club on a winter night to the warmth of live music.

Some people prefer to make the music themselves, performing at open microphone events throughout the week also at various venues, including beer halls and distilleries. It takes a decided talent that I don’t possess to perform in front of others, but it a blast to discover some up-and-comer or friend’s kid shine. I guess the same could be said for karoke, where you can try out your singing voice in a low-risk environment. Just like my own roller skates, bowling ball, and bingo dauber, I also have my own karoke song: “It’s So Easy” by Linda Ronstadt.

Other options: Pinball/arcades

Roller-skating at Skateville in Burnsville
As editor of Minnesota Monthly, Amy works collaboratively with a team of writers, designers, photographers, and digital producers to create impactful, surprising, timely and insightful content that reflects the Spirit of Minnesota. An award-winning newspaper and magazine editor based in the Twin Cities, Amy has decades of experience guiding coverage of luxury living, arts and culture, style and travel topics across multiple platforms. She has interviewed personalities ranging from Prince to Roger Goodell and has stories to tell.