Casino slot machine
Weekends are precious, especially in the summer, so maximizing the fun is essential. These casinos and their surrounding areas give a glimpse into what to eat, see, and experience during a long-weekend adventure.
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, 952-445-9000, mysticlake.com
Escaping from the city doesn’t have to mean a day in the car. Prior Lake, a 25-minute drive from the metro, is home to Mystic Lake Casino and Canterbury Park, plus hot spots the whole family can enjoy.
What to play: Wander the maze of more than 4,000 slots and 100 blackjack tables that have bets ranging from $1 to $1,000. For those seeking a calmer game day, bingo sessions run afternoons and evenings. Save Friday and Saturday night for Cosmic Bingo—come early to snag a seat where you can try your luck spinning a prize wheel or catching glowing bracelets, all while dancing to the hits as an emcee calls numbers.
Where to eat: For the surf and turf crowd, Mystic Steakhouse has wine pairing suggestions for nearly every dish. If you’ve worked up an appetite after a day on the golf course, The Meadows Bar and Grille overlooks the fairway and is a great place to plan the next adventure. The buffet is ideal for grab-and-go bites between games or daily activities.
Where to stay: Mystic Lake Hotel has 586 rooms and suites, an indoor pool, a spa, 10 bars and restaurants, and a complimentary daily shuttle to Mall of America and select suburbs within the Twin Cities area. Hotel guests have access to Dakota Sport and Fitness, which houses an indoor ice rink, gym, bowling alley, pool, and more fitness areas.
What to experience: Celtic Woman will be at Mystic on June 10, fresh off its 10th Anniversary World Tour. The four-woman ensemble features new style, stage design, and choreography. Kesha takes the stage on June 14, followed by Styx on June 26.
1100 Canterbury Rd., Shakopee, 952-445-7223, canterburypark.com
Canterbury Park is down the road from Mystic Lake Casino, so you can easily work both into your weekend schedule. The two have made it even easier to visit both by hosting shuttle service on Canterbury’s race days.
What to play: You can place bets on horseraces, or head to a table for card games like Texas hold’em, seven card stud, or blackjack.
Where to eat: The always-open Finish Line Café has sit-down or grab-and-go options within the casino, and tableside menu service is available from the casino floor, including Asian cuisine, rib-eye steak, and 24-hour breakfast platters. Full-service Chip’s Bar is open from 11 am to 2 am.
Where to stay: Nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel or another nearby hotel, like America’s Best Value Inn or Best Western Shakopee Inn.
What’s nearby Mystic Lake Casino and Canterbury Park: Less than 10 miles from the casino and racetrack, Valleyfair amusement park, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, and Badger Hill Brewing offer a mix of entertainment.
Fortune Bay Resort Casino
1430 Bois Forte Rd., Tower, 218-753-2611, fortunebay.com
Fortune Bay Casino is nearly four hours north of the Twin Cities, just past Duluth, so it’s a great getaway for weekend warriors who want to pack adventure into every moment. Spend Friday night in Duluth and grab a cold brew from Bent Paddle Brewing Co. You can make it to Fortune Bay by late Saturday morning if you decide to sleep in or take a morning stroll along Lake Superior.
What to play: Head to the Blackjack Pit for ultimate blackjack and Texas hold’em with bets ranging from $3 to $500. Or, opt for playing the 750 video game slot machines—including video poker and video keno, Tuesday slot tournaments, or progressive slot machines.
Where to eat: Sunset Steakhouse is a sit-down steaks-and-seafood affair. Tamarack Buffet serves three meals a day, and Gold Mine Grill has grab-and-go snacks. Head to Wilderness Bar and Grill for a prime view of the golf course, grab coffee and pastries at Tim Horton’s Café & Bake Shop, or savor a bite and a brew at North Star Bar, which also offers Game King video poker and keno machines.
Where to stay: The on-site 173-room resort is luxury in the Northwoods, and some rooms overlook Lake Vermillion and feature a fireplace and whirlpool. For the outdoorsy set, there’s an RV park nearby with 36 slots (16 with full hookups).
What to experience: Every Thursday night there is karaoke in the North Star Lounge. On July 30, Fortune Bay’s annual outdoor concert features Eddie Money and .38 Special, and The Wallflowers.
What’s nearby: Pier 77 is a family-owned 18-hole mini-golf course that’s Northwoods-themed. Don’t forget to have the course’s famous soft-serve ice cream and Sven and Ole’s pizza. Stop by 1930s-themed The Good Ol’ Days bar and grill happy hour where you can score drinks at 1930s prices.
Running Aces Casino & Racetrack
15201 Running Aces Blvd., Columbus, 651-925-4600, runaces.com
A roughly half-hour drive north takes you just outside of Forest Lake, which makes for a quick post-work Friday drive so you have the weekend to relax.
What to play: No commission and no antes table games like blackjack, blackjack switch, pai gow, MississippiStud, three-card poker, four-card poker, Texas hold’em, and EZ baccarat, and live tournaments. There is also horseracing.
Where to eat: All-In Grill offers everything from burgers to tacos to Asian-inspired dishes. In 2015, Trout Air Tavern bar and restaurant reopened, offering weekend live music. There’s also a trout pond where guests can catch their own fare—you can bring your own pole or rent one there.
Where to stay: Running Aces doesn’t offer lodging, but there are hotels nearby in Forest Lake.
What to experience: On Saturday, June 18, Summit will give away a year’s worth of beer to one winner, and on Sunday, June 19, the first 500 people receive complimentary fishing lures. Running Aces will also host its first outdoor concert on June 23—an ’80s rock show theme with performances by Lita Ford, Warrant, and Firehouse.
What’s nearby: Nearby Forest Lake is loaded with things to do: free fall from a plane at Skydive Twin Cities, tour a craft beer taproom at Big Wood Brewery, head to Tanners Brook for a round of golf, or take a trail hike at the local parks.
Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort
5616 Prairie’s Edge Ln., Granite Falls, 320-564-2121, prairiesedgecasino.com
Head nearly due west for about two-and-a-half hours and you’ll find Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort in quiet Granite Falls.
What to play: There are roughly 1,000 slot machines, including 3D games like Sphinx, and table games like blackjack and silverado stud.
Where to eat: Meadows Restaurant & Buffet and Wotapi Deli both have sit-down or to-go dining experiences. Firefly Bar & Grille is the casino’s signature bar with sit-down service. The casino’s buffet has nightly food themes like Asian-inspired, Mexican, or prime rib.
Where to stay: There are more than 160 rooms at the casino’s hotel, including a top-floor poolside suite, six whirlpool suites, and two suites with a view of the river valley area. The 55-slot Prairie View RV Park and Campground includes a variety of slots with water, sewer, and electric hookups.
What to experience: Multi-gold country singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn performs on June 24. On July 3, the casino hosts a firework show billed as the largest display in the area.
What’s nearby: Check out Grandview Valley Winery, a 16-mile drive from the casino, where all of the wines available are made from Minnesota-grown grapes, and have names like Rockin’ Coyote and Cougar. The pizzas aren’t to be missed either, save room for a 3 Little Pigs or a Seafood Alfredo 14-inch pie.
Grand Casino Mille Lacs
777 Grand Ave., Onamia, 800-626-5825, grandcasinomn.com
Drive about an hour-and-a-half north of the Twin Cities for a jam-packed weekend: fishing, ATV riding, boating and sailing, golfing, and a casino among the pines. You can also split up the weekend and stay one night at Grand Casino’s Hinckley location (777 Lady Luck Dr., Hinckley).
What to play: Try your luck among more than 1,700 video slot machines, keno, and poker machines. There are also 24 table games with limits up to $2,000. High-limit blackjack has tableside food and beverage service, and limits start at $10. There’s also a bingo hall and pull-tabs.
Where to eat: Variety abounds, from crab cakes, salads, and steaks to pizza and ice cream sundaes. Grand Buffet Mille Lacs is open daily, Grand Cup & Cone is open daily except Monday, Plums grab-and-go never closes, and there’s sit-down service at Grand Northern Grill.
Where to stay: A swimming pool, whirlpool, and four restaurants accompany the 494 rooms at Grand Casino Mille Lacs Hotel, which also has access to shopping. Nearby Eddy’s Resort has 64 rooms, and package specials throughout the year that entice anglers looking to fish between rounds on the casino floor.
What to experience: On June 3, grab your favorite grunge flannel for The 90s Revolution: Blind Melon, Vertical Horizon and Tonic. Air Supply comes to Mille Lacs on July 22, and The Wallflowers arrive on August 12.
What’s nearby: Lake Mille Lacs is a popular fishing destination, but it’s also a hot spot for boating, sailing, and water sports. The Mille Lacs area has more than 300 miles of ATV trails between two counties, three golf courses (Northwood Hills Golf Course, Izatys Resort, and Fiddlestix Golf Course), as well as shopping.
Treasure Island Resort & Casino
5734 Sturgeon Lake Rd., Welch, 800-222-7077, ticasino.com
When you travel south in the summer, you miss the majority of traffic jams that occur with the Northwoods cabin lot. Treasure Island is less than an hour from the Twin Cities, on a little island on the Mississippi overlooking Wisconsin, which means you’ll check in and be sitting in the glow of a slot machine before the sun goes down on Friday.
What to play: The 150,000 square feet of casino floor space houses more than 2,200 slot machines, more than 50 table games—blackjack, poker, video keno, video poker, and bingo—as well as pull-tabs. If you’re a non-smoker in search of a smoke-free casino, this one bills itself as one of the largest non-smoking casinos in the Midwest.
Where to eat: There are plenty of food and drink options with seven restaurants and bars on-site, including Tado Steakhouse and Tradewinds Buffet.
Where to stay: The casino’s 500-room hotel includes a VIP presidential suite, along with luxury and standard rooms. There’s also an RV park, which has 95 pads with hookups, as well as showers and laundry. You can skip all the road traffic and take your boat—dock at one of the 137 slips at the marina for a quiet weekend stay.
What to experience: Country music star Josh Turner will perform on June 11. On July 22, Boston celebrates its 40th anniversary with a high-energy show. For foodies, Food Fest from June 17 to 19 has a packed lineup: steak cook-off, barbecue competition, live entertainment, and food vendors.
What’s nearby: From May through October, Falconer Vineyards & Winery ignites the wood-fired oven on its deck where you can smell, swirl, and sip your way through a Saturday afternoon while noshing on one of its crispy pizzas. Cannon Valley Trail and Bay Point Park have places to run, walk, or play if you’re itching to get outdoors.