7 Ways to Make the Most of a Long Weekend in the Twin Cities This Fall

Fall, MN, Twin Cities

Between its budget-friendly hotel rooms and prime location — smack dab in the middle of Minneapolis and St. Paul — it’s hard to think of a better home base for exploring the Twin Cities than Roseville. Especially in the fall, arguably the most beautiful time of the year to plan a proper trip. One of the best ways to take in the beauty of this season is with a bike ride through the city. For a look at the more than 60 miles of paved trails and bike paths in Roseville, check out a complete trail map here or follow our bike tour of Roseville. And now, here are seven other ways to make the most of Minnesota before winter hits.

Hit a hole in one at Can Can Wonderland

Can Can Wonderland Credit Mike Krivit Photography Saint Paul, MN

Photo Credit: Mike Krivit Photography

Peter Pan Syndrome isn’t discouraged at this carefree St. Paul complex; it’s celebrated, starting with a carnivalesque mini-golf course that was designed by local artists. Around 200 people submitted proposals for its 18 holes, which mimic everything from a massive tornado to a Ferris Wheel-sporting State Fair. If mini-golf isn’t your thing, you can save your scrilla for one of the many other things Can Can Wonderland offers, from boozy malts and banh mi nachos to a “Boardwalk of Amusements” that features vintage pinball and arcade games from as far back as the 1920s. There’s also a self-serve cocktail and beer station that’ll come in handy during busy events like soul line dancing and Friday night karaoke. 

Bag a beer or bottle of artisanal spirits at Bent Brewstillery

Bartley Blume Bent Brewstillery Roseville, MN

Minnesota state laws will keep you from ordering a cocktail at Bent Brewstillery, but owner/head distiller Bartley Blume is doing everything in his power to enact change at the Capitol. In the meantime, you can enjoy the beer side of Bent’s equation. Look out for its Funked Up series of sour and wild styles, as well as small-batch surprises like a cream ale laced with agave (Tyspolsion) and a nitro-powered Scottish light ale cut with Dogwood coffee.  You can also take a bottle of one of his many spirits to go. Try the award-winning navy-strength gin, and count all of its unconventional botanicals (Cascade hops, angelica root, and apricot kernels, for starters) in the comfort of your own home or hotel. Blume also makes an Irish-style moonshine (a.k.a. Poitín) out of scrapped potato peels from Minneapolis’ popular Anchor Fish and Chips shop, effectively putting flavorless charcoal-filtered vodka on notice. 

Up your kitchen game at The Good Acre 

Small farmers and a stellar CSA program are the focus of this non-profit, but that doesn’t mean The Good Acre has nothing to offer curious travelers. Local makers (such as You Betcha Kimchi) and chefs (such as Union Kitchen‘s Yia Vang) also lead classes on a wide array of cuisines and cooking skills. That goes for everything from pickling, canning, and fermentation techniques to foundational sauces and fresh pasta. Hot button topics are also breached, including how to make the most of sustainable fish (poke bowls anyone?) and health-conscious ingredients (helllllooo coconut date snowballs). 

Grab all the Honey Golds at Pine Tree Apple Orchard

First things first: You can’t pick your own produce at Pine Tree unless you’re looking for strawberries in the summer or pumpkins in the fall. There’s a reason for that. Apple season is an art form at this White Bear Lake wonder, which boasts century-old trees, picture-perfect fall views, and more than 20 different apple varieties they personally hand-pick. Start the season with bushels of Duchess, Whitney Crab, and the State Fair show-stealing First Kiss, and bring it to a bold close with Honey Gold, Golden Delicious, and slow-browning SnowSweet. Other attractions include live folk, blues, and rock bands on the weekend, a hay ride, and a corn maze that’ll actually take you more than a minute to complete (try 30). 

Test your mettle at the Haunted Basement’s most terrifying location yet

In a pretty apropos move considering the latest season of Stranger Things and the lingering legacy of a little movie called Dawn of the Dead, the lucky thirteen locale of the Haunted Basement is in a vacant Herberger’s at Rosedale Center. Expect more than 20,000 square feet of “absurdist psychological horror” and “immersive theater, created by a community of avant-garde artists and horrible creeps” who are allowed to touch and taunt you once you sign a waiver. Things get even freakier if you’re willing to shell out an extra fee for an “elevated one-on-one horror experience with exclusive environments.” If you’d rather see dead people than shake their cold, clammy hands, organizers are offering another option that’s frightening and freaky without any physical contact. Unlike a typical adults-only ticket, it allows children ages 15-and-up with a guardian and all the proper we-will-scar-you-for-life signage. 

Build an entire evening around the Guthrie Theater

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis’ most influential and beloved theater moved into a new $125 million home in 2006, immediately making it one of downtown’s most iconic buildings. Take a closer look with a 75-minute tour that brings you backstage and examines the eye-popping architecture of Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel. If you’re short on time, the Guthrie also encourages visitors to explore its public areas for free, including the ninth floor’s highly Instagrammable “Amber Box” and an “Endless Bridge” that reaches out towards the Mississippi River. Show wise, the 2019-2020 season kicks off with a Tennessee Williams classic (The Glass Menagerie) on September 14. Be sure to leave enough time to walk around the area, too, as it includes such essential stops as the Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Falls

Catch a world class football game

Minnesota Gophers Football TCF Bank Stadium University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN

With season tickets long sold out and a waiting list of more than 1,500 people in place, Minnesota Vikings games aren’t exactly the easiest tickets to get in town. Try your luck with single games at the team’s official site. This season’s most sought-after matchups include the Philadelphia Eagles on October 13, the Green Bay Packers on December 23, and the Chicago Bears on December 29. Don’t worry about the weather, either. The Vikings’ striking new stadium — a billion-dollar beauty with lots of smooth glass surfaces and a light translucent roof — is indoors. If college football is more your thing, games don’t get much better than the U of M’s Golden Gophers and its 10-year-old TCF Bank Stadium. The Big Ten standout cost $303.3 million to build and it shows; the video board alone is one of the country’s biggest, and its 50,805 seats are about as stunning as anything you’d see in the pros. If you’re facing a sellout during your stay, every touchdown can be tracked at such lively sports bars as Joe Senser‘s and Grumpy’s. Senser’s also offers a shuttle to both stadiums for $10 per person including one beverage, and a $12 breakfast buffet before Vikings games, making pregaming a snap.