Are you starting to tire of all the talk of fall? Because I am here. for. it. This is my favorite time of year (for the weather, the clothing, the cozy layers!), but even more so at our Tree House. All the leaves surrounding our home turn the most vibrant yellow, and a simple drive through a tunnel of golden trees makes any trip to the grocery store – or let’s be honest, the hardware store! – more exciting.
But while we wait for the passing of the torch, we’re treasuring the remaining days of summer and planning for the projects ahead. We’re making the time for more rides on our tandem, one more run on the beach to watch the sun go down (see exhibit A: Warren Dunes, above). We’re letting Lucy stay up for just a little longer, for one more book, one more kiss, one more squeeze. It’s at this time of year that I begin to feel really nostalgic and look to surround myself with creature comforts – a hot cup of coffee to warm my hands. A fuzzy blanket on my lap. A lazy Saturday morning making pancakes. A good playlist.
Fall, we’re ready for you!
Your Minneapolis Recommendations, Please!
The Vargo family is heading to Minneapolis next week! This will be the first time that Scott and I take our annual trip and bring along our sweet Lucy. (Last year, we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in Malibu without her, and we promised each other that we would travel with her in 2019. We missed her so!) Our goal was to spend time in a city that we hadn’t spent much time in – Scott some, me none – but the kicker? We wanted to stay within driving distance of Chicago.
We kicked around the idea of Minneapolis for a few weeks (Nashville was a close contender), and after devouring this city guide and all of Melissa’s favorite places to eat, we were all in! We booked this adorable guest house in Kenwood, below, after spotting a free week in mid-September, and now we’re down to two more sleeps before we hit the road!
Minneapolis friends, where do you recommend we spend time in your city? Where else should we eat? Shop? What are your favorite things to do as a family? We’ll have our car, bicycles and – my favorite part – an open schedule. We’re taking in all your suggestions!
Jack and CC got a new dog bed, and everyone wanted to know what it was! We splurged on this nesting bed (in tan), and we love it so much, we got another for Tree House. Our digging, scratching, brute pups are no match for this fabric! But the kicker is tossing this faux fur throw on top. It’s already held up to countless washings!
Wild One keeps popping up in my feed, and I cannot get over how pretty these poop bag holders are. There, I said it.
Are you a city person or a country person? I’ll always, always, always be city.
I still get angry when I think about Avatar and its use of the Papyrus font, and it’s been a running joke between me and Scott for the last 10 years. I mean, I didn’t love the movie in the first place, but when those subtitles popped up on the screen, I wondered, how does something like that get through rounds and rounds of approvals?! It somehow came up in conversation with our friends this week, and they said, you must have loved the Ryan Gosling SNL skit! To which I shockingly let them know I hadn’t seen. So we dropped everything and watched it, and I can’t even remember the last time I laughed/cried this hard! It’s an older skit, but I’ve been watching it on repeat all week long:
Deuce Cities Henhouse has been sharing 10 years of before and afters, and I can’t get enough.
Treat other people the way they want to be treated.
Target’s fall collection is kill-ing-it, and I’m still wondering if I can pull off this bronze-y velvet quilt? So beautiful! I can’t get enough of all the fall colors: rust, gold and creams. Here are more of my favorites:
Just picked up these candles in iced coffee and toasted pumpkin. (Can you tell I’m ready for fall?)
Every last thing at Girlfriend Collective is 15% off right now, which, like, never happens. My favorites are the compressive high rise leggings with the 23 3/4″ inseam. (I have black, smoke and plum.)
Lastly, we completed a huge window makeover for our friends in the neighborhood! You can see the full article here, including a sweet short video (spoiler: handsome Pittie alert!).
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
Even though we’ll be OOO next week, we still have posts lined up that we can’t wait to share. We’ll also be taking you along with us on our Minneapolis adventures through Stories! xx
We love the Mpls sculpture garden at the Walker Museum. It is very close to where you are staying and it is free. It is the garden with the popular spoon bridge and cherry sculpture. St Paul has a wonderful children’s museum. The Lynhall is a beautiful little place to eat. You will be so close to the chain of lakes; Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake of the Isles. They are all connected with walking and bike paths so you can pedal your way around each or all, depending on your energy level. Stillwater is a charming little town on the St Croix River about 30 min from where you will be. (It claims the “birthplace of Minnesota” title.) Excelsior is the other direction…very charming town on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Goodness! I could go on and on! So many yummy places to eat and little neighborhoods to check out!
Awesome, thank you! You’ve basically just planned an entire day for us.❤️
Seconding the LynHall and Excelsior – Golden Rule Collective is a super cute shop, and there are plenty other great shops to stop into too. Quang restaurant is a perma-favorite of mine, and I suggest visiting the Foundry Home Goods and Forage Modern.
I recommend the Linden Hills neighborhood in Minneapolis! There are lots of cute shops and restaurants. Cafe Zumbro is great for breakfast with kids and Wild Rumpus is a wonderful children’s book store with animals (including Manx cats!). I would follow up with a walk or bike around Lake Harriet.
Tilia is right there too! Tilia is soooo good. The fingerling potatoes are the stuff of dreams.
Also, Martina is there! It’s incredible. Maybe stop there for drinks before Tilia. We have taken our toddler to Tilia for dinner!
What a beautiful photo the silhouette shot is – worthy of a place on your wall, I think.I’m an outer-edge of the suburbs gal – I feel claustrophobic in the city but I like to have someone within earshot if I scream???? … 10 years being angry about a font … ????? SMH ????
LOL my favorite is when she says, ‘Avatar? As in the movie from 9 years ago?’ I’m crying again!
Also, I realize that some may see a city as higher crime, etc, but I feel safest when my neighbors are within arms reach, haha!
So true! I love how our neighbor Pat’s back door is literally right there, we were out of TP one night & all I had to do was text Pat & there she was w/2 rolls waiting for me to knock on her door.❤️
You’ve got to eat at Colita for dinner, and Martina for brunch! I’d highly recommend a day trip to Minnehaha Falls for the playground, sightseeing the falls, and lunch or dinner at Sea Salt.
All my Relations Gallery and Two River Gallery are both small indigenous galleries in the American Indian Cultural Corridor, I like to visit, and I believe they are partnered on an exhibition of George Morrison, right now. Birchbark Bookstore is another place I appreciate visiting.
Como Park/Zoo in St. Paul – zoo is free (donations accepted). Northeast Mpls is the official Arts District. Check out the Northrup King Building, 300+ artists studios, and lots of great food options on Central Avenue.
OMGGGGGGGG, that SNL sketch! I am dyinggggggg!!! I also hate the lazy use of Papyrus. Also Comic Sans!
The ending with papyrus written with comic sans? I swear, I lost my mind.
P.S. Your AirBnB looks amazing! I hope you all have the best time!
Seconding the lakes, and the trails by the Mississippi River are also nice. My favorite place to eat when I’m in town is there Seward Cafe. It’s very hippie-ish, not fancy, but they have the best buckwheat pancakes I’ve ever tasted!
Oh man, you’re going to get so many recommendations! We Minnesotans are very proud of our state and can’t help but make suggestions to visitors :) Looks like there have already been some great ideas (sculpture garden/Loring Park and Stillwater especially!), so I’ll just make a quick pitch for a coffee shop/restaurant called Moose and Sadies that is right outside downtown. They have the greatest vegetarian huevos rancheros and the location is within walking distance to the river and Boom Island. Have fun in our city!
If you are looking for a trip in future years, St. Louis is also a blast. The City Museum is as much fun for adults as kids.
We’ve been and had a blast!
The Anchor Fish and Chips! It’s the best and close to some cute breweries!
Check out Hai Hai in NE Minneapolis for a really fun atmosphere, unique cocktails, and modern Vietnamese street food. Young Joni nearby is excellent, too. It will be booked out for a month, but you can usually get in at an off time, say a mid afternoon lunch. A walk or bike ride around any of the city lakes can’t be beat. Minnehaha Falls is a pretty waterfall with a park playground that includes a few historical sites, plus you can get tacos at Sea Salt. Linden Hills is close to where you’re staying: get brunch at Tilia, ice cream at Sebastian Joe’s, and visit the kids book store Wild Rumpus. Hope you have a wonderful trip!
Minneapolis/St. Paul is great for the little ones, I would recommend Wild Rumpus Bookstore, which is very close to where you guys are staying. Also seconding the Walker Art Center’s sculpture garden and the Minnesota Children’s Museum in Downtown St. Paul, it’s also next to Candyland which is a really old-school candy shop. Since you’re in Kenwood, you’re right next to Bde Maka Ska and the Chain of Lakes, both are great for an evening stroll. There’s a ton of great places to eat in the Twin Cities, you have to get a jucy lucy from Matt’s Bar, get ice cream from Izzy’s or Nelson’s (definitely get the kid’s size, their’ portions are massive), eat at Sea Salt while at the Minnehaha Falls, go to Punch Pizza for their Neopolitan pizza. There’s a ton of other places, and so many places to check out. Enjoy your visit!
Check out the Wild Rumpus Bookstore, while you’re there, it’s great for the little ones.
You should definitely go to Wild Rumpus Books in Linden Hills. It is a children’s bookstore with many store animals (2 cats, 2 chinchillas, 2 doves, 1 fluffy black chicken, 3 pet rats, 1 tarantula – caged). Right next door is my absolute favorite restaurant, Tilia, which has the most lovely, homey, seasonal meals. This is all a few blocks from Lake Harriet so it would be easy to incorporate as part of a day on the Chain of Lakes. Depending on the weather Bread and Pickle, the Lake Harriet food stand may still be open and there is a great playground right nearby. Lake Nokomis (a little farther afield but technically part of the chain of lakes and accessible via the lovely bike path along Minnehaha creek) has an awesome new playground near the rec center on the north side of the lake. My favorite cinnamon are at Isles Bun and Coffee which is super close to your Airbnb. The are amazing.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is near your Airbnb and is great (and free!) there are several galleries that are very kid oriented and I remember being totally mesmerized by the period rooms as a kid. It’s shares a building with the Children’s Theater Company which has day of rush tickets available. I’ve never been to a bad CTC performance. Nearby is “Eat Street” which has tons of restaurants. Special favorites are Lu’s Sandwiches, Jasmine Deli, Ichido Ramen, Copper Hen, Icehouse, and Black Sheep Pizza.
As a Saint Paulite by birth I’s be remiss in not suggesting spending a day downtown Saint Paul — the Children’s Museum and the Minnesota History Center are great. Great food around Mears Park and Rice Park. Finally, the Alexander Ramsey House (near downtown STP) is one of the best preserved historical homes. The last owners preserved everything from their childhood and meticulously documented every update they made so they could reversed after they donated the house to the historical society. I love it!
Other areas: Seward, Stone Arch Bridge/Mill City area, and Nordeast (check out the hours of some of the studios in the Northrup King or Casket Arts buildings, enjoy many amazing breweries).
Really there are so many awesome places in the Twin Cities!
My kiddos LOVE the MN Children’s Museum in St. Paul (if you go try for a Tuesday so you can avoid field trips)! I haven’t been (yet!) but there is a children’s bookstore called Wild Rumpus that has pets and, if Lucy likes trains, Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store has an incredible play area-the store is also close to Grand Avenue—the Grand Ol’ Creamery makes a good afternoon snack!
Great MSP recommendations so far! We love The Baker’s Wife and Mojo Monkey for excellent donuts. Wild Rumpus and Pacifier are fun kids’ stores (books and toys/clothing, respectively). If you want a fancier dinner, Spoon and Stable and/or The Bachelor Farmer are amazing and nationally recognized. Midtown Global Market is a great spot to browse and grab lunch. Though a little drive away, we also love Taylor’s Falls Park for hiking along the St. Croix. The town is also fun to walk through, as is The Drive In restaurant. Basically you could stay forever, which is what we accidentally did :-)
Cannot wait to see you discover a city I LOVE! As any good Midwestern, here are some of my top places to eat/drink. I’d highly recommend Wise Acre Eatery and a must stop are breweries in Northeast Minneapolis – Dangerous Man, Fair State brewing and Indeed are my top 3. If you’re in Northeast Minneapolis, it’s very bike friendly. Young Joni is by far the best place for dinner – and it’s one of the many restaurants by Ann Kim recent James Beard Award winner. You really cannot go wrong with any of Ann Kim’s restaurants – Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza and Young Joni. People don’t think of MN for barbeque; there are some fantastic options in Northeast Minneapolis – I’d suggest Animales barbeque and Minnesota BBQ Co. Also a top place to eat is Centro at Popol Vuh, which along the adjoining restaurant Popol Vuh, is in the top 50 finalists for Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 10 best new restaurants in America. Northeast Mpls has an amazing art scene too and the most picturesque views of downtown with walking and biking paths along the river. Enjoy!!!
You would love Golden Age Design @goldenagedesigns (pristine danish and mid century gems + the most beautiful hand crafted accessories and home goods) in Robbinsdale and only a 10 min drive from downtown. Then eat lunch at Pig Ate My Pizza @pigatemyza across the street. Always voted one of the Twin Cities best. (You have to trust me – I’m Kara Winkler’s aunt lol!)
Hahaha hi, Kara Winkler’s aunt! Thanks!
Definitely walk the downtown lakes – Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, hit up the North Loop and Linden Hills for some of the best new restaurants like Martina and Bar La Grassa, visit the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden to see the famous “Cherry on the Spoon” and if you have time visit Excelsior (about 20 minutes from downtown).
Everyone has great recommendations here! My standard (yet off-the-wall) suggestion is always Ax-Man Surplus. It’s essentially indescribable, although their Instagram will give you a small idea. My favorite location is the one on University in St Paul, but they’re all good. Fun to browse, and you would be hard-pressed to spend more than $15 there (once I spent $50 and got a CART of art supplies).
Oh my gosh. So much Minneapolis… Definitely spend time on the bikes on the the Chain of Lakes. Plan some eating and shopping time in the Warehouse District and Northeast. Also, highly recommend visiting Mercury Mosaics in Northeast for the eye candy. If you’re route takes you along I-90, there’s no better pit stop for kids than the Spam Museum in Austin. It’s my kids favorite place, hands down. Across the street is Piggy Blues with the best BBQ I’ve ever had.
Yes! I’m from Austin originally, MPLS transplant, but I still go to Austin to visit the parents and the kids LOVE the SPAM Museum. Although you won’t likely go that way, it would take you longer than just heading up 94 from Tomah. But if you’re up for a scenic route, go through La Crosse to Austin.
Pretty much all the great places have been mentioned, but I second someone that mentioned Colita. SO GOOD! And you must take Lucy to The Wild Rumpus book store in Linden Hills and ride the trolley!
Hope you have a great time!
My favorite spot is the Stone Arch Bridge near downtown Minneapolis. The Guthrie Theater is also right there and you can go in and sit on the “Endless Bridge” if they are open, whether you have a ticket for a show or not. Izzy’s ice cream is just a block or two farther. Stillwater is very pretty, but if you go a little north to Taylor’s Falls you’ll pass the Sven’s Clog Factory Store. And the Franconia Sculpture Park is right up there too. Minnehaha Falls is also very pretty and is a lot closer to Kenwood. The Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden are even closer. My favorite vintage shops are Succotash and MidMod Men in Saint Paul, FindFurnish in Minneapolis, Golden Age Design in Robinsdale, and Retro Wanderlust in Hopkins. And, of course, if you are into Prince, you could head down to Chanhassen to visit Paisley Park and purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Or swing by First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. My favorite restaurants are Maya Cuisine and Chimborazo, both in NE Minneapolis.
I second Chimborazo. Excellent Ecuadorian food.
Hi! September is hands down the best time to visit Minneapolis! With your little one, I would highly recommend the St. Paul Children’s museum and Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store (it’s near Izzy’s Ice Cream – the best!!). Also, Minnehaha Falls and Sea Salt for hiking/biking (you can rent Surrey bikes) and delicious sea food.
Do you just throw the hair covered dog blankets right in the wash? I do but my washer ends up covered in dog hair and I feel like it’s not the best, but not sure what else to do.
We do! We have front loading machines. Not sure if that changes things?
So excited that you guys be in Minneapolis! Here’s a few food recs: Bar La Grassa or Italian Eatery for pasta, Hola Arepa Latin street food, Due Focacceria (sister to Italian Eatery!) for quick bite Italian food, The Copper Hen (go for brunch!), Red Wagon Pizza, Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni (if you can get in!), and Milkjam Creamery for unique ice cream flavors. Coffee recs: Dogwood Coffee (NE location), Spyhouse, Parallel, and Northern Coffeeworks. Have so much fun! Minneapolis is the best :)
Ashely from the gold hive also wrote today about the Girlfriend Collective sale, so I finally bought a pair of the compressive high rise leggings. Looking forward to getting them!
They’re sooooo good!
Lots of good ideas here. If your trip stretches to next Friday or Saturday the Ananya Dance Company show is not to be missed! http://www.ananyadancetheatre.org/events/
Hey Guys! First of all, thanks so much for including my IG Before & After’s in your post!
I’m so excited that you’re heading to Minneapolis! It’s like a tiny Chicago, so I’m sure you’ll love it. Someone else mentioned Minnehaha falls, and it is so worth the trip. You can hike around and check out the falls and then head to Sea Salt eatery for a bite before or after – they have bikes to rent too. Lucy would love it. Bryant Lake Bowl is a fun spot for breakfast – you can bowl and have eggs at the same time! There is so much good food that I don’t think you’ll be able to screw up. Look me up if you wanna catch a happy hour. Have fun!
colita, popul vu, tilia, young joni or grand cafe (has the cutest animatronic window display right now) for dinner, boludo (empanadas and amazing pizza) or clancey’s sandwiches for lunch, animales bbq food trailer on the weekend at Able brewery, Martina for brunch (the grapefruit cocktail and savory churros!). Tattersall, Marvel bar, Norseman distillery or Young Joni’s back bar (look for the red neon in the alley) for cocktails.
Stillwater a short drive away has a lot of antique shops. Sculpture garden and the stone arch bridge, Minnehaha falls or walking around the lakes in Uptown for quintessential minneapolis sites.
You guys are just the best!????
oh my gosh, you have to do pizza on the farm in stockholm, WI. It’s a drive (maybe 90 min?) from MSP, and it’s only on Tuesday’s, but it’s the best pizza i’ve ever had (get happy pig!), they have new glarus beer, and ample space for the kiddos to roam. I moved away three years ago and still think about this place often. You feel like you’re doing some country living – I even asked them to host my wedding!
OMG, that SNL skit is hilarious……Ryan Gosling was seriously committed and now I am offended by papyrus as well, lol.
It seems wherever I go on vacation I always want to visit a local market so I’ll recommend the St. Paul Farmers Market which is open on weekend mornings. Everything is local and even when I only buy one or two things, I love going and seeing what’s available. It could be a nice start to a day in St. Paul. In a similar vein, Minnesota is home to the best apples in the world–Honeycrisp and Sweetango. While you may be able to buy these everywhere, they don’t hold a candle to those that are grown in Minnesota. Pepin Heights is a local grower and is stocked at the local grocery stores. I highly recommend stocking up and taking some back home.
Seeing papyrus used on signs an menus still makes me roll my eyes, but it also bring back my shame a guilt for having used it (once!) on a graphic design project – and I so regret that now. I’m not sure if I get a pass because it was in early 2002 but I feel like I’ll never live it down.
I think enough time has passed. ????
Isles Bun & Coffee, just across Lake of the Isles from where you are staying. Huge cinnamon buns and pecan rolls but you feel like you deserve it if you walked all the way around the lake (it’s an easy stroll and there are so many amazing houses to look at)!
Also, looks like we rolled the nice weather out just in time for your visit!
I recommend this highly! Close to where you are staying,
I’ve never been to Minneapolis, but these comments sure are persuasive! It sounds so fun. Have a great time, and I hope you’ll share a blog post about your trip. As for me, I’m definitely a country person. Anytime I go to a more populated place and experience the people, the traffic, the buildings, the noise, the lights… I’m always relieved when we’re on our way home. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy some of the things the city has to offer; I just don’t think I could live the full-time city life.
A half day downtown is a must to walk/bike ride over the Stone Arch Bridge. Park for free on a neighborhood street near Cafe Alma (on the other side of the river from downtown) and for sure go grab a bite to eat there first. Then bike over the bridge, park the bikes by the Guthrie Theater and take the escalator up to the 4th floor…hop out to the observation bridge…and then hop on the elevator to the 9th amber floor. Take fun pictures. ????????♀️ Then head over to Gold Medal Park (you’ll see it from the 9th floor) and Izzy’s Ice Cream. If it’s a Saturday, there’s an amazing Farmers Market between the Guthrie and Mille City Museum. Countless local yummy (Black Cat Natural for a hot breakfast ????????) and beautiful things. The museum is great too! (Both the Guthrie and museum have bathrooms ????.) Then bike on back knowing that you just had a perfect morning in Minneapolis. We downsized a year ago so we could live in this neighborhood and do this on the regular. We love our city so!
Just thought of something to tack on to this…Fairbault Woolen Mill Co. is a block away from Izzy’s. Minnesota made wool blankets and throws – a perfect souvenir to remember your visit, and just in time to celebrate your love of fall!
Make sure you go to Minnehaha Falls Park in Mlps! It has so many awesome areas including a huge rushing waterfall, many paths to walk or bike & much more. If the little restaurant in the middle is open, it’s worth a stop.
There are also great neighborhoods to walk or drive to see some beautiful homes! Summit Ave in St. Paul has stately Victorian mansions (including the house where F. Scott Fitzgerald grew up), while Tangletown (near Minnehaha) has winding streets and a collection of homes fabulously varied in style.
Make sure to visit Seward Cafe—great history & food—collective creamery to a co-op grocery to a worker-owned restaurant.
You guys are my people. The Papyrus sketch has been one of my SNL favorites for YEARS – nothing gets me like poor font choices!
I’m still watching it once a day. Still crying. IT’S SO GOOD.
Excelsior – sit by the lake, get pizza at Olives, shop the cute stores, eat ice cream (from the trolley!)
Welcome to Minneapolis! It is the wonderful place I call home. Check out Dogwood coffee, bachelor farmer (cafe, wine bar and restaurant), Edwards desserts, Hai Hai, Hola Arepa, local Vietnamese food on Eat Street (Nicollet Ave between franklin and lake). I could go on and on. Hope you have a great visit!
Welcome to Mpls/St.Paul! You’ve been given some really great suggestions so I won’t repeat them all over again, and instead will add a couple different ones.
Since you’re bringing your bikes and staying in Kenwood you are connected to all the wonderful bike trails through the park systems. Definitely go hit the city lakes as suggested. However, you can also go north towards Theodore Wirth Park and visit the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden (one of the oldest wildflower gardens in the state). It’s not big, or fancy, but it’s sweet and filled with wonderful mulched paths that wind through the woods. It’s a bike-ride away for my family and we went often with the littles. Great place to run around in nature but still be in the cities. Older kids like the little flyers of “what is in the garden right now” that has names and descriptions and it’s fun to play “catch them all” and try to see how many you can find (these plus much more are in the visitor center).
Second recommendation and a bit harder to do is catch a play running right now called “Cabal” that has been getting great reviews. It’s not really a play, it’s more like an experience – like an escape/puzzle room that has a play woven through it. You don’t have to interact and act in the play sections – but you do get to solve all the fun puzzles. Which is really fun if you’re a board game family. Although you’ll need a sitter for Lucy. I went and had the best time!
Hope you have fun in our city!