Minnesota will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s where my family lived until I was seven, so I have tons of wonderful memories from my childhood, and we’d visit family in the southern part of the state, but I hadn’t spent much time in the cities in years! So naturally, since my sister and brother-and-law live in St. Paul, I decided to take over their couch for about a week. It happened to be during the Aquatennial, which was a marvelous coincidence. More on that (and one of the Top 5 fireworks shows in the nation) later.
The first thing I was happily surprised by was the number of coffee shops in the area – and they all happen to be adorable on the inside with delicious coffee and treats (basically my heaven).
My Favorite Coffee Shops in Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Spyhouse Coffee
- Glam Doll Donuts
- Dogwood Coffee Bar (kombucha on tap)
- Penny’s Coffee (AMAZING outdoor seating area)
- Vicinity Coffee
My sister and bro-in-law happen to be pretty big foodies, and they took me to some of their favorite spots (which are now some of my favorite spots). Keep in mind that I’m a veg-head, so these are some of the best restaurants for a vegan or vegetarian in the Twin Cities.
My Favorite Vegan-Friendly Places to Eat in Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Hola Arepa (also a great place to eat if you’re gluten-free)
- Crisp & Green (salads GALORE!)
- Milk Jam Creamery (ok, not exactly a place to eat, but they do have a few delicious dairy-free ice cream flavors)
- Glam Doll Donuts (vegan donuts are basically a food group for me…)
- The Herbivorous Butcher (all the vegan things, but also all of the gluten)
- Thai Café (seriously, if you like curry or Thai food, this little hole-in-the-wall is about to become your favorite spot)
- Truce Fresh-Pressed Juice (pressed juice, obviously, and delicious smoothie bowls)
Then, of course, there are the lakes. While it’s promoted as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, really, there are over 11,000 lakes that are larger than 10 acres, and if you’d consider any relatively large body of water to be a “lake” (like we do here in Colorado), it’s more like 40,000. Basically, the entire state in one giant lake with some land in between. Which is perfectly fine because it makes the state absolutely gorgeous! And if you’re into fishing, it’s a dream come true.
My Favorite Lakes in Minneapolis/St. Paul
- Excelsior Lake is where we used to go as kids, so it automatically makes my favorites list! There’s a great park for kids to play, and a fun “downtown” area with restaurants and shops, and the ice cream shop we used to go to with “super-premium ice cream” and a very eclectic interior – Lick’s Unlimited.
- Lake Como is beautiful to walk around, and they’ll sometimes have live music or shows at the Pavillion. It’s also right next to a zoo and park, making it a great area to spend the day!
- Lake Calhoun is a wonderful place to watch the sunrise over the city – just be sure to get there a little early to find a good spot with the sun rising behind the skyline.
- Lake Harriet is a great spot for boating, taking a jog, or sitting to eat the smoothie bowls you just got from Truce 😉
**Just a general note, take your trash with you when you leave, and maybe even pick up some trash that was left by someone else! I collected all this from one spot on the beach of Lake Calhoun in under 5 minutes. There’s a flip-flop in there. And a ton of plastic that will take between 450 and 1000 years to break down… unless it contains polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – then it will literally never decompose.
On a side note, my sister is a PureBarre instructor and she convinced me to take a couple classes with her… kicked my booty! If you’ve never tried a PureBarre class, you need to. ASAP.
Do you have a favorite spot in the Twin Cities? Comment below with your travel tips!