MYSTIC LAKE CASINO HOTEL
2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, 952-445-9000, mysticlake.com
GAMES: Just a quick drive from the metro, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel is ideal for anyone who wakes up on Saturday morning and decides to spend their afternoon among the glowing slots and lively table games of a casino (or under the black light of Cosmic Bingo—pro tip: wear white). Mystic also has 78 table games with bets ranging from $1 to $2,000, and an expansive gaming floor with about 4,000 slots.
RESTAURANTS: Mystic Steakhouse prides itself on its steak and seafood selection, but the menu also offers wine suggestions for each dish, which makes it easy to go from blackjack table to dinner table. There’s also a buffet, a 24-hour café, an Asian-influenced noodle bar, and The Meadows Bar and Grille, which overlooks the championship golf course.
STAYS: The casino is close to Valleyfair, Canterbury Park, and the Mall of America. But there’s also plenty to do without leaving: a massage or facial at the spa, a dip in the indoor pool or whirlpool, and a round of golf at the on-site course.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: June is action-packed with talented ladies taking the stage: Patti LaBelle (June 6), Martina McBride (June 19), and Melissa Etheridge (June 25).
1100 Canterbury Rd., Shakopee, 952-445-7223, canterburypark.com
GAMES: Canterbury is known for its live racing, but it also houses a variety of games, including simulcast, Texas hold ’em, and blackjack. Beyond games, the 24,000-square-foot exhibition space is open to a variety of trade shows, like the semi-annual Junk Bonanza thrift sale, plus fairs, festivals, and concerts. There is live music every Friday in the summer on the Mystic Lake Music Stage.
RESTAURANTS: No matter where you find yourself in the action at Canterbury, you won’t go hungry. The Finish Line Café is open 24/7, table game and poker players are given tableside dining service, and there’s menu service for anyone playing at the chips bar. During the races, Famous Dave’s on the second level and the new Pub Grub offer full menus. Chalk Pub carries local and national craft beer. If you want a no-fuss dining experience while you enjoy the races, the clubhouse level has a buffet in the Triple Crown Club.
STAYS: Though Canterbury doesn’t have a hotel, there are plenty nearby, so you can play all weekend.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: If you’re a concert junkie, score your tickets for the Van’s Warped Tour at Canterbury on July 26.
TREASURE ISLAND RESORT & CASINO
5734 Sturgeon Lake Rd., Welch, 800-222-7077, ticasino.com
GAMES: You can escape to this island any time of year and it always feels like a tropical paradise. Treasure Island is nestled between Larson Lake and Sturgeon Lake—a tranquil Minnesota escape—but step inside the 150,000-square-foot casino and it’s time to play. Gamers have their pick of nearly 50 table games: blackjack, poker, video keno, and bingo to name a few. Plus, there are more than 2,200 slot machines.
RESTAURANTS: If you need to refuel between games, the seven restaurants and seven bars will keep you full. Nosh on weekend brunch at renowned Tradewinds Buffet, snag a grab-and-go bite between slot pulls at Mongo Bay Grill, or celebrate a win with drinks at the Parlay Lounge. Newly opened Tado Steakhouse has a diverse menu, and offers teppanyaki dining—skilled chefs preparing your food on a hot griddle right in front of you.
STAYS: Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or prefer hotel comforts, Treasure Island accommodates both. Traveling by boat? Simply dock at one of the 137 slips at the marina. Traveling by RV? Choose one of the 95 pads with hookups; the park includes restrooms, showers, and laundry. There’s also a 500-room hotel with a VIP presidential suite, plus luxury and standard rooms.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: In June, the band Barenaked Ladies is joined by Violent Femmes and Colin Hay of Men at Work (June 12), while Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick take the stage the following weekend (June 20).
GRAND CASINO MILLE LACS
777 Grand Ave., Onamia, 320-532-7777, grandcasinomn.com
GAMES: Drive north and you’ll hit both of Grand Casino’s locations: Mille Lacs is just off 169 on the shores of Mille Lacs Lake, and Hinckley is along 35W. New to both locations is Colossal Diamonds, a slot machine with a top jackpot of $60,000, but if you’re not lucky enough to score there, you’ll have more than 1,800 other slots to choose from, plus poker, blackjack, pull tabs, and bingo.
RESTAURANTS: Grand Casino Mille Lacs’ Grand Northern Grill has steaks, ribs, and Minnesota favorites like homemade wild rice soup. There’s also a daily buffet and a 24-hour grab-and-go deli that has everything from fresh fruit to burritos to ice cream. Don’t forget to grab a cup o’ joe and a pastry at Grand Cup & Coffee before you hit the road.
STAYS: Stay for the games, but also the views of the lake. Mille Lacs’ 494 hotel rooms have access to the marina at Eddy’s Resort. Hotel rooms come standard with choice of Serta Presidential Euro Top mattresses, alternative down bedding, and pillows. The suites include a whirlpool tub and Keurig coffee maker. The bedding-choice program offered at the hotel is so popular you can purchase a new mattress downstairs at the casino’s boutique.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Country duo Thompson Square heads to Mille Lacs on June 27 before their third album drops later this year.
IF YOU'RE IN HINCKLEY...
Grand Casino’s other location offers much of the same fun as Mille Lacs. Hinckley’s got more than 2,000 slot machines, an outdoor amphitheater, Grand National Golf Club, and Grand Harmony Spa. Plus, there are three hotels within the Hinckley location, as well as an RV park and chalets. You’ll find six food options, from grab-and-go eats to buffets to a steakhouse within the casino where you can get pizza, crab cakes, salads, and ice cream. Reba McEntire will be performing at the Amphitheater on July 18. 777 Lady Luck Dr., Hinckley, 800-472-6321, grandcasinomn.com
PRAIRIE'S EDGE CASINO RESORT
5616 Prairie’s Edge Ln., Granite Falls, 320-564-2121, prairiesedgecasino.com
GAMES: Head west beyond the metro and you’ll find Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort, tucked among the grassy fields three miles from Granite Falls on Highway 23. New 3D games like Sphinx have recently been added to the nearly 1,000 slots available, and there are table games like blackjack and Silverado Stud.
RESTAURANTS: The Meadows Restaurant Buffet isn’t just your standard buffet; there are action stations where food is prepared by the order, meat-carving stations, and a daily variety of soups and desserts. The Firefly Lounge is the casino’s signature bar and grill with happy hour every Monday through Thursday. Or grab something quick at 24-hour Wotapi Deli.
STAYS: More than 160 rooms are available, including a top-floor poolside suite, six whirlpool suites, and two suites overlooking the river valley. Non-smokers can take their pick of 76 rooms in the hotel’s smoke-free wing. Or, park your RV at one of the 55 slots in the RV Park, 26 of which have water, sewer, and electric, and 16 of which have electric. Mark Your Calendar: TASZ, the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s classic rock cover band comes to the Firefly Lounge June 19 and 20 for a complimentary show.