comScore

Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST POLITICIAN

Al Franken

Minnesota is home to several unique legislators. We can claim the country's first Muslim congressman (Keith Ellison) as well as the nation's flakiest (Michele Bachmann). But Al Franken is our unlikeliest politician. The author, comedian, radio host, and St. Louis Park native fought charges of carpetbagging when he moved back home from New York City to wage a contentious and seemingly endless battle against incumbent Norm Coleman for a U.S. Senate seat. Though the protracted recount and legal machinations threatened to give us all Franken fatigue, the nasal-voiced wonk with the unmistakable laugh has already proven himself. One of the first bills he authored was designed to stop the flow of federal money to government contractors whose insidious fine-print policies prevented employees from filing rape or sexual harassment charges in court (creating a few awkward moments for the 30 male Republican senators who voted against it). Shortly thereafter, Franken pointedly silenced Joe Lieberman during one of the Connecticut senator's many attempts to prolong the health care debate, making for one of the best political YouTube videos of the year. And the man who was Stuart Smalley continues to prove himself a scrapper. A month before passage of the health care bill, Franken famously berated Obama adviser David Axelrod over the White House's lack of leadership on the issue, and he was one of the first senators to support (unsuccessfully) using budget reconciliation to pass the public option. With a freshman-year record like that, Franken has shown that it's his colleagues, both obstructionist Republicans and impotent Democrats, who are the real jokers. Good enough and smart enough, indeed.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARK Valleyfair

BEST BATHROOM Macy's Minneapolis, fourth-floor ladies room in Intimate Apparel

BEST BUS ROUTE 21

BEST CHARITY Second Chance Animal Rescue

BEST CORNER Lyndale Avenue South and 26th Street, Minneapolis

BEST CURE FOR WINTER DOLDRUMS Learn to skate ski

BEST DAY TRIP Red Wing

BEST DOG PARK Airport Dog Park

BEST FESTIVAL Soundset

BEST GRAFFITI Jimi Hendrix in Uptown

BEST KARAOKE Cloggy's Tavern

BEST LAKE Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis

BEST LIBRARY Franklin Library

BEST LOCAL BLOG The Adventures of Johnny Northside

BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD Dessa Darling

BEST LOCAL WEBSITE Minnesota State Legislature

BEST MAYOR Chris Coleman

BEST MISSISSIPPI RIVER EXPERIENCE The view from the Guthrie

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD Northeast Minneapolis

BEST NEW HIPSTER HANGOUT Angry Catfish

BEST NON-FOOD THING ABOUT THE STATE FAIR Feeling better about your lot in life

BEST PARK Loring Park

BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE Loring Park Summer Music and Movies

BEST PLACE TO BREAK UP Minnehaha Falls

BEST PLACE TO DO SOMETHING FOR FREE Aquatennial fireworks

BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT WITH THE KIDS Midtown Global Market

BEST PLACE TO MAKE OUT Middle of frozen Lake Harriet

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (GAY) 19 Bar

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (STRAIGHT) Vertical Endeavors

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (LESBIAN) The Town House

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (STRAIGHT) Bar 508

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH Mayo Clinic

BEST PLACE TO STAY WARM IN WINTER Water Park of America

BEST PLACE TO STUDY Dunn Bros, University Avenue and Sixth Street

BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS Linden Hills neighborhood

BEST PLACE TO WASTE AN AFTERNOON Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

BEST PUB CRAWL Zombie Pub Crawl

BEST SCANDAL Denny Hecker's fall from grace

BEST SHOUT-OUT TO THE TWIN CITIES BY A NON-NATIVE Ringo Starr's plug for the Electric Fetus

BEST SIGN OF SPRING Art in Bloom at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

BEST STATE FAIR FOOD Pig Lickers

Best Staycation Bloomington

BEST STREET Summit Avenue, St. Paul

BEST TWEETER Jason DeRusha

BEST UNDISCOVERED NEIGHBORHOOD Dayton's Bluff

BEST VIEW The High Bridge

BEST VILLAIN Michele Bachmann

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY Madeline Island, Bayfield, Wisconsin