2014 Insiders Guide

    The Ultimate Resource to the Area’s Favorite Everythings



    » TRAVEL




    Arts & Entertainment

    Burnsville Performing Arts Center


    Burnsville Performing Arts Center

    12600 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville, MN 55337 • 952.895.4685 • www.burnsvillepac.com

    » We are… a beautiful, modern performing arts center in Burnsville, featuring regional and national dance, theatre, concerts, comedians, and written word acts. We’re also a great local venue for business and meeting planners looking for unique rental spaces, and brides looking for a memorable wedding and reception location.

    » You might not realize… we have a 2,000-square-foot art gallery that is free and open to the public.

    » Other highlights: We’re home to two theatres, a 1,014-seat proscenium main stage and 150-seat black box theatre. Our large two-story lobby offers sweeping views of Nicollet Commons Park and the Minneapolis skyline (our second floor alone is 4,000 square feet!)  We’re located just off Highways 35W and 13, come visit us!

    Minnesota Opera

    Minnesota Opera, Manon Lescaut, 2013
    manon lescaut, 2013 /
    Photo courtesy of Michal DanieL

    Ticket Office – Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. • 612-333-6669 • mnopera.org

    » We are… a leading American company, admired as an innovative creator of compelling opera productions, programs, and new works.

    » Our audiences are… everyone: from grandparents who have subscribed for decades, to high school kids getting their first taste of opera at one of our Student Matinees; from grade school children involved in our training program, Project Opera, to parents enjoying a night out on the town; from seasoned empty nesters, to young professionals trying out opera for the first time through Tempo, our group for opera-goers age 21-39. We see a cross-section of culture from the Twin Cities, from Rochester and St. Cloud, from around the Midwest, and from farther afield.

    » We take pride in… presenting the highest artistic quality, innovative and fresh productions and a wide variety of repertoire. The second half of our 2013-2014 season introduces three new productions to Minnesota audiences with some of opera’s greatest talent. Verdi’s masterwork Macbeth, based on Shakespeare’s classic thriller, features bass-baritone Greer Grimsley and audience favorite soprano Brenda Harris. The Dream of Valentino, a tango-tinged opera based on the life of the infamous film sensation and written by Minnesota’s own Dominick Argento, stars internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti. The season closes with a reimagined, boundary-busting production of Mozart’s masterful comedy The Magic Flute, which has thrilled audiences with its stunning interaction between film animation and live performance.

    » You might not realize: Opera is not all about horned-helmeted women, hard-to-understand stories and attendees in tuxedos and furs. It was the popular music of its time and is an art form that continues to thrive because the stories of love, death, life, and the human condition resonate now as much as they did centuries ago. At Minnesota Opera, with translations projected above the stage (even captions for operas in English), our audiences won’t miss a thing. Most importantly, there is no dress code and our tickets start at just $20.

    » Other highlights: Get social with Minnesota Opera on Facebook (MinnesotaOpera) and Twitter (@mnopera), watch videos of our performances and interviews with our singers at YouTube (minnesotaopera), pin your favorite production pictures on Pinterest (mnopera), and follow our blog at blog.mnopera.org.

    If you blog or tweet, email Communications Manager Daniel Zillmann at dzillmann@mnopera.org or sign up at mnop.co/preview for our free Social Media Preview nights, held at the final dress rehearsal of each production.

    Northrop at the University of Minnesota

    Northrop at the University of Minnesota, American Ballet Theatre
     American Ballet Theatre, Giselle /
    photo by Gene Schiavone

    84 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN • Tickets can be purchased online at northrop.umn.edu or by calling 612-624-2345.

    A revitalized academic, cultural, and performing arts center is cause for a large celebration, and that’s exactly what’s planned at the new Northrop at the University of Minnesota at their Grand Reopening Gala on April 4, 2014. The grand reopening celebration will showcase the center’s world-class, multipurpose 2,700-seat theater with state-of-the-art-acoustics, clear sightlines, cutting-edge technology, and updated amenities. The new Northrop, complete with a café, coffee bar, smaller 168-seat theater, and multipurpose rehearsal room, will continue to fuel innovation and creativity, and serve students, faculty, artists, and audiences from around the state. It will be a vital center of academic distinction and discovery that brings together three University-wide signature programs: The University Honors Program, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the College of Design’s Travelers Innovation Lab. It will be a bustling, dynamic destination for collaboration and study, central to everyday life on campus.

    In honor of the grand reopening, Northrop is putting some of the most compelling artists and thought leaders on the stage this spring, starting with American Ballet Theatre performing Giselle April 4 at 8 p.m., followed by Inside Out After Dark at 10 p.m., a tented party on the Northrop Plaza. Other highlights include provost Karen Hanson talking about Northrop April 7, an evening with novelist David Mitchell April 9, popular website  CollegeHumor.com on stage April 10, Condoleezza Rice April 17, contemporary ballet company, Trey McIntyre Project, April 22, a live broadcast of Garrison Keiller’s A Prairie Home Companion April 26, We Can’t Go Home Again, Nicholas Ray’s last experimental film April 29, Osmo Vänskä & the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra May 2, The U of M School of Music’s Symphony Orchestra May 3, Irish singing sensation Daniel O’Donnell June 2, and many, many other performances from April to June. For a full list, check http://northrop.umn.edu/events.





    763-795-8082 • centurylink.com

    » We are… the company keeping you connected at home, at work and on the go.

    » Our customers are… families, schools, small businesses and some of Minnesota’s most well-known Fortune 500 companies.

    » We are proud of… our many local community programs including CenturyLink Teachers and Technology which provides funds to transform technology in schools and impact student achievement statewide.

    » You might not realize… CenturyLink is the official communications services provider behind the state-of-the-art fan experience at Target Field®. 

    » Other highlights: CenturyLink offers a special low-cost internet service for low-income Minnesotans called Internet Basics – for qualifications and to learn more go to centurylink. com/internetbasics • CenturyLink offers fast Internet connection speeds up to 40 Mbps – the speed you need for working from home, streaming videos and playing games at superfast speeds! • CenturyLink has more than 3,000 local employees living, working, and volunteering in Minnesota.

    Centerpoint Energy

    Centerpoint Energywww.CenterPointEnergy.com • 800-245-2377

    » We are… a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. We serve more than 5 million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy has operated for more than 140 years, during which time it has provided safe, reliable natural gas and related services to over 806,000 customers, while making large annual investments in the state and communities we serve, creating good paying, stable employment and supporting more than 300 communities. CenterPoint Energy’s Home Service Plus® (HSP) provides HVAC and home appliance repair and maintenance plans and services, replacement assistance plan, pipe protection plan and new product sales and installation services to over 350,000 appliances annually. We continue to be a leader in energy conservation and contribute more than $3.5 million annually to health and human services, environmental initiatives, community development, education and youth development. We also believe it is vital that our workforce and community outreach efforts reflect the diversity of our customers and communities. Our long tradition of dedication and hard work adds up to a company of people who are always there for our customers and neighbors, for our employees and their families, and for our shareholders.

    » Through our… education, environmental and community outreach efforts, we work each day to improve the quality of life in the communities where we do business. With our employees and retirees dedicating more than 32,250 hours in 2012, we provided services valued conservatively at nearly $703,000. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Community. In 2012, our conservation efforts were evident in saving a total of 1.55 BCF of natural gas in Minnesota, Arkansas and Oklahoma, enough energy to supply 13,000 households with natural gas, adding up to $9.3 million in energy-cost savings annually. Our customers have reduced their carbon footprint by 82,600 metric tons, or enough to remove 13,800 cars from U.S. roads annually..

    » You might not realize: In Minnesota, thanks to our Conservation Improvement Program, residential customers can benefit from rebates for high-efficiency natural gas heating and water heating equipment, fireplaces with electronic ignition, rebates for furnace tune-ups , free low flow showerheads, as well as Home Energy Audits and a joint gas/electric program with Xcel Energy called the Home Energy Squad. Minnesota commercial and industrial customers can also benefit from a healthier bottom line with a variety of rebates for high-efficiency heating, water heating and foodservice equipment, as well as custom process equipment and other energy saving programs. Learn more at CenterPointEnergy.com/SaveEnergy.  In addition to having the option to participate in our natural gas efficiency programs, customers also benefit from lower natural gas prices, and are therefore saving even more on heating their home, water, cooking meals, and drying clothes with clean-burning natural gas. Natural gas is safe, it’s clean, it’s affordable (it costs less to use than electricity, propane and heating oil, keeping monthly bills lower), it’s abundant (there is more than a 90-year supply of natural gas in the United States), and the natural gas industry currently employs nearly 3 million Americans, and is adding even more jobs, providing a boost to the American economy. To learn more, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/GasIsBetter. We are also a proud promoter of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs), which offer a cleaner, more affordable transportation solution. Visit CenterPointEnergy.com/NGV for details.

    » One More thing… CenterPoint Energy is proud to be a 2013-2014 BBB Torch Award for Ethics Winner. Each year, the BBB Torch Award is given to companies who exemplify ethics in all aspects of their operations.




    Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts: Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior, Surfside on Lake Superior, Temperance Landing

    www.bluefinbay.com • 1-800-BLUEFIN (258-3346)

    Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts

    » We are: Minnesota’s most incredible lakeside resort and the North Shore’s best opportunity to get closer–to Lake Superior and to each other. Our three properties—Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing—offer an incredible spectrum of comfort from upscale to high-end luxury, with friendly hospitality around every corner. Experience the North Shore through our complimentary cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment, guided tours, ice skating rink, shuttles to/from trailheads and Lutsen Mountains, evening campfires, and more.

    » Our visitors are: Families, friends, and couples. Some are looking for relaxation and romance, and can unwind at our full-service Waves of Superior Spa. Others want high-adrenaline adventure, and can find that on miles of trails perfect for cross country skiing, or downhill skiing or boarding at Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort, just a short shuttle away. Yet others just want to unplug and reconnect. Our lodging options offer the perfect setting to slow down, talk, get comfortable, and reenergize those special relationships in a romantic setting close to Lake Superior.

    » Other highlights: We offer Ski and Stay packages (featuring discounted lift tickets), Honeymoon, Romantic Retreat, and Couples Spa Packages, and live acoustic music Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights.

    Lutsen Mountains

    Lutsen Mountains

    lutsen.com • 1-218-663-7281

    » We are… the “Vail of the Midwest,” with the most ski acreage in the state—92 sweeping runs and 1,000 feet of vertical drop. Our downhill terrain is not typical of the Midwest, with beginner’s terrain on Ullr Mountain and more challenging terrain on Eagle Mountain.  New to the 2013-14 ski season is the new Leitner-Poma six passenger high-speed chairlift on Moose Mountain. Known as The Caribou Express, the lift triples the capacity from the load station and reduces the 10-minute ride to a quick 3.5 minutes. Strategically located to take full advantage of Lutsen’s 800 feet of skiable vertical, the Caribou Express can access 95 percent of the terrain on Moose Mountain, effectively serving more than half of Lutsen’s total skiable acreage.

    » Our visitors… came from 30 states last year (including Texas, Florida, and New York), but the majority of the 100,000 annual skiers are from the Twin Cities area.

    » We take pride in the fact that… the snow is reliable, the runs are up to a mile long, and there are some beautiful, breathtaking views of Lake Superior from the top of the mountains. We’re also proud to offer an incredible value. Purchase lift tickets online (up to 72 hours in advance of arrival) and save both time and money. Lutsen partners with the region’s best lodging facilities to offer the lowest prices on ski and stay packages.

    » Other highlights: Not only is there excellent skiing and boarding, Lutsen offers on-mountain dining and entertainment—providing an aprés-ski experience—along with groomed, tracked trails for Nordic skiing, dog sledding, backcountry snowshoeing, and sleigh rides.

    Hudson, Wisconsin


    Hudson, Wisconsin
    waterfall / photo by Jeff Bucklew

    » We are: A vibrant riverside community! Find the perfect blend of unique restaurants, boutiques, lodging, history and a scenic river just 30 minutes east of the Twin Cities.  Set on the banks of the St. Croix River, Hudson invites you to enjoy the beauty and amenities of a quaint river town built on rich history.  

    » Our visitors are: Energized by the opportunities to have FUN in Hudson. Historic downtown Hudson provides visitors with several blocks of one-of-a-kind shopping and exceptional restaurants. For those who love spending time in the great outdoors, we offer scenic beauty for biking, golfing, boating, birding, and hiking. We also have a vibrant arts community and memorable historic sites. Walk along the Historic Toll Bridge Road and experience a bit of history.  This was the original river crossing from Wisconsin into Minnesota before the interstate bridge was built. Hudson is also the Gateway entrance to the Yellowstone Trail, the first east-west highway from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound.  Drive the trail and experience a piece of Americana!

    » We take pride in the fact that… we are surrounded by natural beauty and offer an unforgettable vacation experience.

    » Next winter event: Visit during the Hudson Hot Air Affair hot air balloon festival Feb. 7-9, 2014 for an evening parade, hot air balloon launches, geocaching, shopping, smooshboarding, arts and crafts, a hot air balloon moon glow, and great food. Check out other stay and play itineraries at www.sayhellotohudson.com.

    Winona, Minnesota

    Winona, Minnesota

    visitwinona.com • 800-657-4972

    » Our destination is… the best of both worlds for outdoor enthusiasts and arts lovers. We are a playground with breathtaking beauty meant to be enjoyed from our many trails, parks, waterways, and scenic bluff overlooks, and we have a world-class art, music, and theater scene that rivals even the best offerings of our metropolitan neighbors.Our lovingly preserved historic architecture provides a backdrop of old-world charm for a destination that proves you really can have it all in one enchanting place.

    » Our visitors are… always surprised by the number of ways they can entertain themselves here–whether they are into Picasso or paddling, Beethoven or biking, Shakespeare or skiing–and we are a favorite return destination because one visit just isn’t enough.

    » We take great pride in… the fact that no other city our size is home to a museum with greats like Monet and Van Gogh, a Beethoven Festival with performers like Yo-Yo Ma, and Shakespeare, film, and music festivals that draw talent from across the country.  

    » Upcoming festivals or events: The Frozen River Film Festival January 22-26, 2014, brings dozens of acclaimed documentaries and educational events to Winona, the Mid West Music Fest April 24-26 will bring more than 100 bands to stages around the community, and our summer Great River Shakespeare Festival and Minnesota Beethoven Festival will draw thousands for their renowned performances.

    » One more thing: Winona was recently awarded a bronze level by the League of American Bicyclists for its many bicycle-friendly routes. Also, Winona is home to Bloedow Bakery, named Minnesota’s favorite donut shop and one of the top 50 donut shops in the country.



    North Dakota State University

    North Dakota State University

    ndsu.edu • Fargo, North Dakota

    » Tuition: Academic year, Minnesota resident basic – $7,097.  

    » Type of institution: Public Doctoral Research University

    » Our mission: North Dakota State University is a student-focused, land-grant, research university—an economic engine that educates students, conducts primary research, creates new knowledge, and advances technology. The university provides affordable access to an excellent education at a top-ranked research institution that combines teaching and research in a rich learning environment, educating future leaders who will create solutions to national and global challenges in an effort to shape a better world.

    » Distinctions/awards: Recognized as one of the nation’s top public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

    » Our reputation: NDSU uniquely combines the commitments to students, community needs, and research. Our students learn from the best.

    » NDSU alumni compete successfully, nationally and globally, and are known for having a strong work ethic and working alongside top researchers in their fields.

    » One more thing: NDSU combines access with affordability and an academically rigorous, demanding environment within a rich, diverse, supportive community.

    Minnetonka High School

    Minnetonka High School


    » Tuition: Free

    » Type of institution: College-prep public high school

    » Distinctions/awards: Recognized among the Top High Schools in America, by Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and the Washington Post. Minnetonka was also named to the 2013 AP Honor Roll by the College Board for increasing AP enrollment and performance.

    » Our reputation… depends on academic excellence, inspiring in students a passion to excel.

    » The District 276 community… values excellence in education: academics, athletics, activities and the arts. The community is very supportive of its public schools.

    » Our graduates… are the visible measure of our success, with an average ACT score of 26.3, 93% are college-bound.

    » Other highlights: All students in grades 8-11 are issued an iPad as their primary instructional tool, replacing many textbooks, paperback novels, notebooks, and paper assignments. Minnetonka’s specialty programs include the International Studies Program, fine arts and theatre, Project Lead the Way (preengineering), International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Advanced Placement, and TonkaVANTAGE.com (providing advanced professional studies in business, health services, iMedia and big data).



    AAA Garage Door Company

    Abba Roofing & Windows

    Able Energy Co.

    Abode Design Solutions    

    Above & Beyond Construction

    American Exteriors of MN    

    APEX Siding System

    Aquarius Water Conditioning/Kenetico

    Armstrong Air

    Aspen Air Heating and Cooling

    Aspen Building Contractors, Inc.

    Basement Finishing System: Owens Corning

    Bath Fitter

    Betterliving by Portico Sunrooms and Patio Solutions

    Bluewater Services    

    Boyer Building     

    Boyle Architects    

    Budget Exteriors, Inc.    

    Builders & Remodelers, Inc.    

    Building Arts Sustainable Architecture+Construction LLC

    Bulwark Coatings    

    Cabinets by Dan, Inc.    

    California Closets


    Central Vac Solutions

    CertaPro Painters    

    Chris Doehrmann Architect, Inc.

    Complete Basement Systems

    Craftmasters Remodeling

    CSC Exteriors

    Custom Drapery & Blinds

    Custom Remodelers

    Designer Exteriors

    Desq, Inc.

    Dish Network – Excell Wireless

    DJD Construction

    Eastman Brothers Remodeling

    Expert Exteriors/New Windows for America

    Finished Basement Company

    Floor Coverings International

    Great Day Improvements, LLC

    Great Lakes Window & Siding

    Gutter Glove of Minneapolis

    Gutter Helmet of Minnesota

    Hanson Home Improvements

    Heat My Floors

    Hom Furniture / Gabberts

    Home Team Remodelers

    Inspiration Design Center

    Insurance Advisors


    Joseph Otto Enterprises    

    JRG Custom Deck & Design    

    K2 Bath Design & Remodeling

    Lakeside Hardwood Flooring

    Legacy Design – build

    Lifetime Shingles, LLC

    Lowell Russell Concrete, Inc.

    Luxury Remodeling and Bath

    Magnolia Masonry Stone and Tile, Magnolia Landscape & Design Co.   

    Mahowald Companies

    Manomin Resawn Timbers    

    Marvin Windows and Doors

    McDonald Remodeling

    Michael Lee, Inc.

    Minnesota Exteriors, Inc.

    Minnesota Rebath

    Minnesota Rusco, Inc.

    Minnesota’s BestPainting Company Inc.

    My 3 Quotes

    Neil Heating & A.C.Inc.

    NKBA Minnesota Chapter

    Northern Cabinets and Remodeling

    Northrup Remodeling

    Pella Windows & Doors

    Pro Vision Construction

    Rasmussen Cleaning Service

    Reface Experts

    Remodeling Dimensions

    Renewal by Andersen

    Republic Services

    RetroGreen Energy

    Roberts’ Residential Remodeling, Inc.

    Sandau Construction Co, Inc.

    Sears Home Services

    Sleep Number

    SLH Home Systems – A Sure-Lock-Homes Company

    Solar Midwest

    Sunspace Twin Cities

    Superior Protective Coatings & Polyjacking    
    www.superiorprotectivecoatings.com, www.superiorpolyjacking.com

    Syndicate Sales Corporation

    The Connected Home

    The Home Depot

    TLC Remodeling

    Twin Cities iCOAT, LLC

    Twin Cities Permit Guy

    Twin City Home Remodeling

    Wellington Home Improvements

    Window Concepts of Minnesota Inc.

    Wings Financial Credit Union


    Your Home Improvement Company



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