The Fun Before The Storm

If you’ve been in the Twin Cities this week, you have seen that our most famous fall/winter decoration has made its first appearance for the season—snow. It accessorizes our highways, sidewalks, tree branches, rooftops, and even us. I’m a native Minnesotan, so snow feels like a special tradition. It’s not winter without snow. Minneapolis has even been considered one of the top places for winter activity, so there’s a lot to look forward to. But even though it’s a warm hello to winter, it’s also a bitter cold goodbye to green grass and above zero temperatures. Here are some things you might want to do before we promenade in a world of white:

Go for a drive. Driving in the snow is tough, especially without a reliable four-wheel drive vehicle. Luckily our plows are usually fast at cleaning up the streets, but driving during a snowfall is often inevitable and unpredictable. Enjoy the drive now! There are some amazing routes to travel while the leaves are still colored on the trees.

Take a scenic bike ride. The 50-mile Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is recognized as one of the best scenic byways in the country. Shortcut through Minneapolis on the Midtown Greenway, a biking thoroughfare that connects Lake Calhoun to the Mississippi River, and good news—it’s plowed in the winter. Slicing between the two cities, the 20 miles of scenic pathways along its shore attracts runners, bikers, and walkers in every season.

Sebastian Joe’s;
Photo by Todd Buchanan

Get something cool. Before you make large, hot frothy mochas your winter regular, get a fresh brewed ice tea from French Meadow Bakery & Café, or a tropical tasting margarita from Barrio. You might even want a homemade ice cream cone from Sebastian Joe’s before those below zero temperatures hit.

Walk down Nicollet Mall. At the end of November, Nicollet Mall transforms into the city’s heart of tradition and holiday cheer with the opening of the Macy’s holiday display and the Holidazzle parade. However, that means Nicollet Avenue also becomes an insanely popular attraction for both locals and tourists. Experience its charm and its shopping glory pre-holiday and pre-snowfall action.

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping. I’m not a fan of running outside from store to store, getting repeatedly wet and cold in winter’s wrath, so I usually stick to indoor malls. Until that first snowfall though, check out the local boutiques in neighborhoods like Uptown, Grand Avenue and the North Loop. Outdoor shopping centers like Albertville Premium Outlets and Shoppes at Arbor Lakes are also popular holiday gift shopping destinations.

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