Great Dates in 50 States: The Twin Cities, Minnesota


Great Dates in 50 States: The Twin Cities

By Nick Slade

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul have all of the great dating possibilities you would expect in a thriving Midwestern metropolis. Professional sports teams in all four major sports, with new and soon-to-be-new venues and teams that regularly fluctuate between first and worst, offer some great possibilities.

A vibrant waterfront along the Mississippi River in both downtown areas, Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater, St. Paul’s Orchestra Hall, and dozens of hot nightclubs, world-famous eating establishments, and destination malls can keep your dates new and exciting week after week.

Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino.


Spend the day betting on the ponies at Canterbury Park in Shakopee in the Southwest metro area. Canterbury also has poker and table games, but after the live racing, you might want to mosey over to the nearby Mystic Lake Casino. They have a top-notch buffet that attracts people from miles around, often featuring hand-carved prime rib, real Italian lasagna and heaps of other all-you-can-eat delights.

Then, catch a show with a national headlining act. Penn and Teller, Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Jay Leno, Chicago, Kid Rock, Donnie and Marie and dozens of others have all graced the Mystic Lake stage, making it the perfect venue for people with every kind of entertainment taste.

Of course, the experience would not be complete without passing through their never-ending Vegas-style casino with thousands of slots and casino games. If you’re too tired to drive home, just stay the night in their adjacent hotel.


A Day at the Drive-Ins.

How about an alien-themed ‘50s style drive-in diner to start off a great summer date? Put on your Federation Starfleet uniform, grab your light saber, and head to the Galaxy Drive-In in St. Louis Park.

Originally opened in 1951, this mecca for nostalgic nerds old and young has gone through a lot of changes and was recently given new life with an inter-galactic makeover. Try an out-of-this-world bacon and cheese earthling burger, a down-to-earth Chicago dog, or an old-fashioned shake or root beer float. They even have mini-donuts and cuisine for your dog.

From the drive-in restaurant, you can head right to the drive-in movie theater. Many have faded away, but the Vali-Hi in Lake Elmo and the Cottage View in Cottage Grove still bring in the people with blockbuster movies for just $8 for a double or triple feature and a buck or two for kids.

Play Frisbee beneath the gigantic screen while you wait for dusk, and bring some brats or dogs for tailgating. Of course, the concession stands offer popcorn, hot dogs, burgers, pizzas, and other standard movie fare as well.

 A Geeky Day at MOA.

The Mall of America in Bloomington has enough attractions to put anybody in geek heaven for hours, and you can float back into your cool alter ego whenever you want to as well.

Start out in the underbelly of the mall at the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium. You’ll be literally walking through a living ocean with a maze of glass walls all around you. Make friends with sea turtles, rays, jellyfish, seahorses and many more sea creatures. If you’re scuba certified, you can even swim with the sharks! Animal Planet called the 300-foot glass shark tunnel “the best shark exhibit on the planet.”

A newly remodeled Lego land right inside the south entrance features a 34-foot tall Lego robot and other larger-than-life Lego sculptures, plus an area to build and race Lego race cars. The sprawling food court is directly above and the movie theaters, bars and nightclubs (including Hooters and a comedy club) are up one more floor.

All of these great attractions are open to or overlook the five-acre indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe. Visit with Spongebob and Patrick, take a ride on one of the many rollercoasters, or check out the virtual movie rides. You might want to top off your day with some great cuisine at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Famous Dave’s BBQ Ribs or any one of a dozen other fine restaurants.


 St. Paul’s Science Museum of Minnesota.

It’s the most popular museum in Minnesota and the surrounding states. Built into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, it houses 1.75 million artifacts and specimens and is world-renowned for its many interactive exhibits.

Popular traveling exhibits include the human body, robots and space. Permanent exhibits include educational hands-on exhibits and dinosaurs! The museum also contains an Omni theater, which is unlike your typical Imax. You actually recline beneath a domed screen that surrounds you with amazing adventures in outer space, under the sea or flying through the air, as well as many other feature movies.

While you’re in downtown St. Paul, you might as well stop into Mickey’s Dining Car for a great diner experience any time of the day. The art deco 50-by-10-foot restaurant was built in 1937 and sent to St. Paul by rail. It’s been getting noticed ever since and has been featured in many films and magazines.

The list goes on. First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry in downtown Minneapolis features national talent, and Prince might still show up for an unexpected jam. Try the original Green Mill Pizza on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, the many independent shops in the Minneapolis Uptown area, the Juicy Lucy burger filled with molten cheese at Matt’s bar or the 5-8 Club in South Minneapolis, to name a few.

Whether you want to get your freak on, your geek on, or you’re tired from studying Econ, you’ll find something fun to do in the Twin Cities.

Nick Slade is a freelance writer with He writes on a variety of dating and relationship subjects, including how-to articles and do’s and don’ts for dating. is a one-stop site with a collection of dating experts who dispense wisdom on “all things dating” daily.

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