Top 10 Destinations for Gay Travelers
TravelNerd is kicking off Pride Month by highlighting underrated cities for gay travelers looking for fun. Instead of focusing on popular cities like New York City and San Francisco, we looked at underrated cities with thriving gay communities that boast great events and cultural sights.
With a rating of 91 on the Equality Index and a gay household percentage of 2.3%, it’s no wonder that city is great for gay travelers. The Twin Cities’ Pride celebrations go on for a full week, starting June 19 to June 30. On June 29, check out the Pride Festival for drag shows, music and dancing, and on June 30, be sure to participate in the Pride Parade.
Stop in the North Loop neighborhood to find trendy boutiques and bars to mingle with the locals. Then head over the Loring Park for a day in the sun, and eat at the nearby Café Lurcat.
Atlantic City, NJ
Las Vegas, NV
via Travel Nerd
Two Twin Cities Zoos Get “Cutest Baby Animals at U.S. Zoos” Acknowledgement From Travel and Leisure Magazine
Dmitri and Tamara, Amur Leopards, Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley
Less than 40 Amur leopards exist in the wild, so the birth of two cubs in May 2012 was a boon not just for the Minnesota Zoo, but for the worldwide species too. Their mother, Polina, has raised the cubs since day one, and they’ve already developed distinct personalities: Tamara’s the spunky one, while Dmitri is a bit sassier.
Stella Gray, Athena, and Mariah, Arctic Foxes, Como Park Zoo, St. Paul, MN
Arctic foxes Aurora (mom) and Zephyr (dad) welcomed a litter of nine pups in March. Three—Stella Gray, Athena, and Mariah—still reside at the Como Park Zoo. They’re quick and feisty and love to scamper around their grassy habitat. They’ve also shown off their artistic prowess by creating colorful “paw paintings” for zoo auctions and TV segments
In 1984, when I left my corn-and-soybean hometown for college, the Minneapolis skyline glittered before me like an icy-blue crystalline mecca. The all-window IDS tower sparkled against the wide Midwestern sky; to its right, the squat white Metrodome sat staid and stalwart like a sad dumpling. I would eventually come to occupy what’s called the “West Bank” area of the city, or Cedar-Riverside, a hippie-bohemian neighborhood near the University of Minnesota and the Mississippi River. It became my go-to place for buying woven Guatemalan bags, dusty yellow cones of incense, and pins that said things like “Out the Door in ’84: Dump Reagan!” and “I Pity the Fool!”
Minneapolis hums with paradox, which gives it energy and edge. But no matter how many hipsters you might see in their Buddy Holly glasses and rolled up jeans in the trendy Uptown neighborhood, it’s a city without sarcasm. Everyone still says “hi” as you pass, and if you don’t reply, you will be thought of as uppity. But fortunately (and somewhat surprisingly) this earnest Midwestern welcome is extended to everyone, including Somalis, Hmong, and anyone else who comes ashore. Having lived in New York for the past 16 years, I occasionally have to check my impatience with my home state’s relentless good cheer, and give over to its warm and welcoming embrace.
via Daily Beast
Former Campus Radisson To Become Commons Hotel
Minneapolis will soon get a new hotel that its owners are describing as “industrial schoolhouse chic.”
Noble House Hotels and Resorts says the new Commons Hotel, scheduled to open in October, is inspired by its ties to the University of Minnesota and the industrial history of the Twin Cities.
Guests will be able to stay in a Geek Chic suite with personalized concierge service. Among other unusual amenities and events: an in-room art gallery, mixology lessons, beakers of local beer, Soduku sleep-ins, and a tech “time out.” Other opportunities to socialize will come in the form of a Harlequin Happy Hour, Weekly Words with Friends Wine Hour, and Retro Bar Bingo. Guests can hang out at a roaring fire pit in the front drive, by the fireplace, or at the library lounge in the lobby.
Even the most serious executives attending meetings at the hotel will be offered Jenga and spelling bee breaks and a Mad Scientist Break with “experimental” treats.
The hotel will offer guests off-campus diversions such as a geek to chic makeover at the Aveda Institute headquarters, a Science Buzz meeting at the Science Museum of Minnesota, and a tour of the world’s largest Sherlock Holmes Exhibit at the University of Minnesota.
A Warehouse District Brunch Tour
The mood in downtown Minneapolis during the sunlit Sunday morning hours oftentimes feels hauntingly vacant. Gone are the quick-footed downtown employees rushing about sidewalks and skyways. The swarm of people who wait patiently at food trucks and peruse the Nicollet Mall Farmers Market have retreated, not to be seen until Monday comes again. Sure, there are stragglers wandering amid Block E, but perhaps they’re retrieving their car after a late Saturday night or simply a pair out-of-towners wandering the streets in hopes of a photo op in front of the Mary Tyler Moore statue and a view of the city from the Foshay.
via Heavy Table, click pic for full story
Union making a downtown splash
Hennepin Avenue’s lights are about to get a whole lot brighter. That’s because Union, the latest venture from Kaskaid Hospitality, is transforming the former Shinders building at 8th Street into an ambitious restaurant, bar, lounge and rooftop complex.
“I believe in downtown Minneapolis,” said Kaskaid CEO Kam Talebi. “This project is a powerful statement of that belief. We want to create something that’s unique to the marketplace. Hopefully it will become an iconic destination.”
The rooftop alone will probably guarantee that.The predominant feature is a retractable, 28-foot-high glass roof, which, when closed, will become a four-season, climate-controlled space. Talebi said that the structure — which will fold and unfold like a telescope, in 15 minutes — will be the largest of its kind in North America.
Talebi said the project is on schedule for an early November opening.
via StarTribune, click pic for full story.
America’s 20 Most Creative Cities
18. Minneapolis, Minn.
Innovation, high technology, and tolerance for racial, ethnic, and social diversity contribute to Minneapolis’s creative class ranking.
via The Daily Beast
Interchange: Coming in 2014
In summer 2012, construction will start on the Interchange, the new premier multi-modal transportation hub and community gathering space in downtown Minneapolis. Located next to Target Field, the Interchange will provide a unique gateway with a robust streetscape connecting the North Loop neighborhood to the historic Warehouse District.
The Interchange design highlights open, flexible public spaces that bring together transit and urban culture into a one-of-a-kind transit station that enhances commuters’ experience and promotes stronger neighborhoods. The Interchange will include an urban neighborhood plaza, with areas available for neighborhood bars and eateries, cultural and entertainment spaces and community events. This unique urban area will hold natural, recreational and entertainment spaces, including the Great Lawn. In the winter, steam from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center will melt snow and ice from walkways, paths and stairs.
The Great Lawn will be the heart of the Interchange. The Great Lawn will be a large green ‘stage,’ providing new opportunities for large pre-game events, community concerts, seasonal events, as well as a space for individual activities. The Great Lawn will create valuable green space and a new park for downtown, and provide 250 new parking spaces underneath.
An amphitheater and informal seating area will form The Cascade. The Cascade will be a flexible open space that will provide all year long entertainment and recreation opportunities, including a place for an informal lunch meeting between friends, street fairs or clients or an impromptu concert arena.
Opening in the spring of 2014, the Interchange will be a bustling urban park, transit station and neighborhood gathering space. The Interchange will be a one-of-a-kind destination for the region.
via The Interchange and a hat tip goes to Secrets of the City
Rembrandt show opens this weekend in Minneapolis
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will open its “Rembrandt in America” show on Sunday. The exhibit is the largest show of paintings by the 17th century Dutch master ever assembled in the United States.
MIA President Kaywin Feldman calls the 17th century Dutch master the greatest artist who ever lived. “I’d say his paintings are phenomenal because of the way that he captures human emotion,” Feldman says. “You can’t look at any of the portraits in the show without feeling like you have a sense of the person speaking to you in the canvas.”
“It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Feldman says. “The last time the MIA had an exhibition like this was 50 years ago, so there won’t be another one for perhaps many, many generations. And so people just have to come and see the genius firsthand, and it really is overwhelming.”
New face to grace Nicollet Mall
Plans for an expanded Xcel Energy Inc. headquarters campus in downtown Minneapolis may help a long-standing effort to revitalize a blighted expanse of north Nicollet Mall that stretches to the Mississippi River.
Minnetonka-based Opus Development Corp. released plans Tuesday to build a nine-story office building on the southeast corner of Nicollet Mall and 4th Street. Office space in the new building would be leased to Xcel Energy for roughly half of its 1,500 employees downtown, with the remaining workforce located in the energy company’s headquarters across the street.
Construction is slated to begin in 2014, pending needed approvals, with occupancy expected in 2016.