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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Weekend Getaway

    North Shore

    Summer or winter, no part of Minnesota compares to the breathtaking scenery of the North Shore of Lake Superior. Start your day in Duluth with a drive all the way to the tip of Lake Avenue, a long, thin strip stretching into the vast great lake. Winter brings glimpses of hardy folk engaged in sports you've never considered; in summer,… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Drive around Lake Pepin

    There's nothing better than an adventure down twisty country roads to revel in the smug knowledge that we live in the best part of this country. A drive south around Lake Pepin, straddling the borders of Minnesota and Wisconsin, is a day trip full of winding roads and scenic stopping points. Head out of town on Highway 61 south through… More >>
  • Best Twins Player

    Joe Mauer

    It isn't just that Joe Mauer is the best player on the team—an "off" 2010 produced a .327 batting average, along with Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards—it's that he is the face of the small-market franchise that can compete with the big boys from New York, Boston, and Chicago. It's Mauer's face that has graced the cover of baseball… More >>
  • Best Vikings Player

    Adrian Peterson

    That unforgettable 2009 season sure seems like an eternity ago, doesn't it? If Brett Favre's arrival in Minnesota was all about making the impossible seem effortless, then his sad swan song started with the embarrassing and moved steadily toward the unbearable. By the end of it all, few had been spared: Brad Childress lost control of his team and was… More >>
  • Best Timberwolves Player

    Kevin Love

    Kevin Love was created in some sort of diabolical basketball lab under test conditions extrapolating what would happen if you gave Moses Malone an outside game. He's the Next Big Kevin, the man who threatens to turn the humble rebound into highlight-reel fodder every game, and the main reason anyone outside the FSN North broadcast radius pays attention to the… More >>
  • Best Lynx Player

    Rebekkah Brunson

    While the Lynx this year mirrored the playoff drought of their Timberwolves counterparts, Minnesota newcomer Rebekkah Brunson was having the season of her life. Acquired from Sacramento in the dispersal draft, six-year vet Brunson came in second in the league in rebounding (10.3 per game) while tallying a dozen double-doubles (sixth in the WNBA). For the campaign, Brunson would chart… More >>
  • Best Wild Player

    Martin Havlat

    The former first-rounder has proven to be a tough-minded right winger over the past two seasons for the Wild, helping to buoy the team into NHL playoff contention. A steady 20-goal or more scorer through most of his 10-season North American career, the Czech right winger isn't afraid to mix it up, as past suspensions from the league have proven.… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Emily Palkert, Concordia University

    The U of M's big sports programs have been a challenge for local fans. But followers of the college game don't need to look far to find a winning team. Across the river at Concordia University in St. Paul, the women's volleyball program has proven to be the antidote to our general sporting woes. The team claimed its fourth consecutive… More >>
  • Best Swarm Player

    Ryan Benesch

    When Ryan Benesch was signed by the Swarm in July 2009 from the Edmonton Rush, a lot of fans weren't sure the Kitchener, Ontario, native would display his star potential right away alongside veteran attack men Callum Crawford and Aaron Wilson. But his star is most assuredly shining now. Since last season, starting in February 2010, he's notched hat tricks… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Ron Gardenhire

    Let's not beat around the bush: A certain vocal portion of Twins fans are never going to be entirely happy with Ron Gardenhire until he brings home a world championship. His bullpen usage will always be second-guessed, his tendency to jaw-jack with umpires will get a few cynical eye rolls, and even this year's Punto-free roster doesn't guarantee that Gardy… More >>
  • Best Boxer

    Jason Litzau

    In Minnesota's burgeoning boxing scene, no fighter has made a bigger connection than St. Paul's Litzau (28-2). In November 2010, "the All-American Boy" further earned his stripes on the national stage by putting stars in the eyes of former WBA and IBF super bantamweight world champ Celestino Caballero at the MGM Grand in Vegas. Litzau was a 13-to-1 underdog in… More >>
  • Best Golfer

    Troy Merritt

    After a convincing 2009 win at Q School, Spring Lake Park High grad and former Winona State golfer Troy Merritt had an eventful rookie season on the PGA Tour. Playing in 29 tournaments during the 2010 season, Merritt made 14 cuts and tallied four top-25 finishes. At the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April 2010, he fired a Sunday… More >>
  • Best Place to Run

    Mississippi River Road

    When the Chain of Lakes looks like a New York City sidewalk, it's time to hit the river. Both sides of the Mississippi River are replete with scenery, and the stretch between the Plymouth and Franklin Avenue bridges is among the most spectacular. On the West Bank, the Guthrie and the old Mill City overlook St. Anthony Falls and the… More >>
  • Best Trail Running

    Hyland Lake Park Reserve

    Nestled into the southwestern corner of Bloomington, Hyland Lake Park Reserve offers an oasis of accessible nature just minutes from the bustle of the city. Its 17 miles of trails wind around lakes, through sun-dappled forests and sweeping prairie grasses and meadows, up serious glute-chiseling hills, and over terrain ranging from paved paths to leaf-encrusted dirt trails. With its ample… More >>
  • Best Bike Trail

    Grands Rounds, along the Mississippi River

    You don't need us to tell you the Twin Cities is the best place to bike in the country—Bicycling magazine bestowed that very honor upon us last spring—but if you need some convincing, the Grand Rounds make a persuasive argument. Of this 50-mile series of trails, the stretch along the Mississippi River is the most majestic. Start among the old… More >>
  • Best Hike

    Interstate State Park

    In 2010, the nonprofit group American Trails named Minnesota the "Best Trails State" in the country, so it's a tall order to pick just one representative hike. But the astounding natural beauty found within the boundaries of Interstate Park along the St. Croix River is a resource all Minnesotans should take advantage of. The landscape has been carved out literally… More >>
  • Best Urban Hike

    Pike Island, Fort Snelling State Park

    The Mdewakanton Dakota once considered the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to be the sacred center of the world. You will understand why once you have sat quietly on the small beach at the tip of Pike Island, at the very point where the two mighty rivers meet. It can seem a palpably spiritual place, made all the… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Boom Island Park

    There's no more idyllic spot to plant your picnic basket and bottle of wine than the shaded bluff where Boom Island nearly kisses its neighbor, Nicollet Island. There are two ways to get there. For the more adventurous route, follow East Island Avenue toward the island's northern edge and park. You'll see stairs leading down to a bridge connecting Nicollet… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course

    Chaska Town Course

    As George Harrison penned: "Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter." The quiet Beatle obviously wasn't a Minnesotan, but his words mirror the pain of every Minnesota golfer. So it's with the return of the sun that we can collectively clean off the sticks and prove why our home claims more golfers per capita than any state in… More >>
  • Best Beach

    Hidden Beach

    A lot has been said over the years about the changing "vibe" at Hidden Beach, but it is still the best of the Twin Cities' lakeside hangouts. It may no longer be the hippie bastion it once was, but neither is it your typical neighborhood splashing pond. The beach on Cedar Lake retains a certain counterculture cool. Its regulars are… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Bryant-Lake Bowl

    If bowling is an ideal game for socializing, one best enjoyed with a cold beer (or three) and a handful of friends, then Bryant-Lake Bowl must be the ideal bowling alley. There's none of that impersonal, computerized scoring or other gimmicks, nor do you have to worry about leagues hogging all the lanes if you come on the wrong night… More >>
  • Best Place to Shoot Pool

    Grumpy's Bar

    Finding a good spot to shoot pool can be a far trickier proposition than it ought to be. For anyone who can't make the trek to one of the many suburban pool halls, finding an open table at a local watering hole is littered with obstacles—from overcrowded bars to expensive tables to those pesky groups of players who refuse to… More >>
  • Best Outdoors Store

    Gear West

    Let's admit it: Except for about four months of the year, Minnesota is all about winter. And as the largest retailer of cross-country ski gear in North America, Gear West specializes in equipping you to thrive in our longest season. Jan Guenther, the shop's owner, is one of the best athletes in the region and regularly wins cross-country events in… More >>
  • Best Place to Walk a Dog

    Minnehaha Off-Leash Dog Park

    Pity the poor dog whose exercise is limited to the minimal exertions of a walk around the block. Can such creatures really be blamed for releasing their pent-up energy by devouring home furnishings? Thankfully dog owners have their choice of six off-leash parks throughout Minneapolis where dogs can run free, the crown jewel of which is the Minnehaha Off-Leash Dog… More >>
  • Best Winter Resort

    Lutsen Lodge

    Humble though it may be, tucked on the edge of the Iron Range beside Lake Superior, Lutsen is Minnesota's answer to Colorado's Aspen, Utah's Park City, Wyoming's Jackson Hole: a bona fide destination ski resort that offers plenty to do—even, in our case, when Minnesota's legendary winter weather turns from bracing to unbearable. If you make the trip north, 90… More >>
  • Best Ice Skating

    Lake of the Isles

    Winters here are fierce, and it's better to admit that fact and find a way to enjoy the season than to stay home depressed. Ice skating, with its low requirements in start-up costs and athletic prowess, may be the perfect way to beat the winter doldrums. It's charming and cheap—in fact, at Lake of the Isles it's absolutely free. Wannabe… More >>
  • Best Sledding

    Kenwood Park

    Kenwood Park is a perfect urban retreat for a long, chilly afternoon of sledding. Not only does it have a scooped-out center with hills of varying degrees of difficulty, it also offers the double black diamond as well—"Suicide Hill." It's a treacherous and steep course stippled with formidable trees, man-made moguls, and the bodies of other sledders gasping for breath… More >>
  • Best Winter Sport You've Never Tried

    Skijoring

    Minnesota winters can be tough on dogs, who can feel just as cooped up indoors as their owners. Maybe that's why Minnesota is a major hub of a growing dog-lovers' sport: skijoring. The basics of the sport involve strapping a dog into a harness and letting it run along a ski trail pulling its owner behind it. Essentially, your dog… More >>
  • Best Winter Escape

    Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como

    As winter drags on and the herbs on your kitchen's window ledge wither under the cold, gray skies, there's no better way to lift the mood than a trip to a flower garden. The Sunken Gardens at Como Zoo will refresh and restore your senses. Suddenly, you'll believe that spring isn't just a figment of your imagination—it really will come… More >>

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