Your Guide to Living a European Summer… in Minnesota

Enjoy a taste of Europe this summer with these activities—no passport or airline tickets needed!

As Europe reaches its peak tourist season this summer, many of us scroll through social media posts boasting of a beautiful European vacation. Daydreams of bright blue skies, wine tasting, colorful buildings lining the streets, and gondola rides abound. While I cannot claim that Minnesota offers the same amenities as the various countries throughout Europe, you can capture glimpses of a European summer without leaving the state. Explore one (or all!) of the options to transport yourself overseas.

Gondola Romantica
Gondola Romantica in Stillwater, Minnesota

Courtesy of Gondola Romantica

Take a Romantic Getaway in Stillwater

Stillwater captures Old World charm with its walkable streets and scenic St. Croix River waters. Stay at Lowell Inn, located in the historic downtown, and enjoy its European boutique hotel-inspired design. Combine the riverside beauty with the romance of Venice and book an authentic gondola ride along the St. Croix River.

Learn to Cook like a European

It is no secret that Europe is famous for its excellent cuisine, and many tourists enjoy cooking classes in hopes of remaking their authentic meals at home. Cooks | Bellecour, a culinary school offering classes for adults and day camps for kids, has a few locations across the Twin Cities. Try their pizza workshop, croissant-making class, or macaron-baking class to learn from the experts and bring a taste of Europe to your own kitchen.

Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis
Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis

Photo by Augustus Isaac/Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Stop to Smell the Roses

Cities like London and Paris are known for their stunning green spaces and public gardens. For an escape, head to Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis, the second-oldest public rose garden in the United States, and you’ll instantly feel like you’re on the dreamy set of “Bridgerton”. The perfect place for taking pictures, taking a peaceful stroll, or reading a book amongst nature awaits.

Aster Cafe
Aster Cafe near St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis

Photo by Lane Pelovsky/Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Explore Minneapolis

Minneapolis has a variety of European-inspired restaurants and stores that are yours to explore. Try The Tasting Room in the heart of Uptown for various old-world wines. Their French-inspired tapas and charcuterie boards pair wonderfully with wine, and the experience will make you feel like you’ve left Minnesota and transported to the lush vineyards of France. For dinner, head to Aster Cafe to overlook the skyline and Mississippi River. Their outdoor patio and candlelit bar will surely bring you a European-esque dining experience. For an evening stroll, walk around one of Minneapolis’ many pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods throughout Uptown and the North Loop.

Sample French Cuisine

Experience the ambiance of Paris in Minneapolis with the Promenade Du Nord. From June 27-30, Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis will be transformed into a Parisian Street Fair. A collection of upscale vendors, outdoor cafes, and food trucks will be available. An Eiffel Tower replica and light poles will help you enjoy the charm of Paris along the streets of Minneapolis.

Julia Jacobson is a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame, studying political science and journalism. Outside of her coursework, she participates in her school’s mock trial team and works as a teaching assistant for an introductory political science course. Julia was born and raised in Minnesota, and loves traveling both domestically and internationally. In her free time, she enjoys reading and journaling.