Minnesotans put way too much pressure on summer. Just because it's fleeting doesn't mean it needs to be a race against Mother Nature to collect as many monumental e
xperiences as you can before the first frost. The reality is, people are busy and only have room for one or two big summertime adventures, maybe. It's what you do with the rest of the time—the found moments between adventures and work and activities and obligations and chores—that makes or breaks your summer. These are the "rules" to help maximize those regular moments so that each summer day might be an amazing one.
DURING SUMMER, RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
Be it clever new things to toss on the grill, the best city lake for each day of the week, the prime way to shop an art fair , or a rallying cry for Minnesotans to raise their outdoor potluck game, the 40.5 rules to come (in addition to more warm weather to-dos, like new beach reads and liquid day trips to Waconia) aren’t steadfast. If anything, look at them as guideposts—places to check for advice when you’ve got a spare afternoon, weekend, evening, or hour. Follow some. Or don’t. Because, hey, come fall the only person grading how you spent this summer is you.
THERE IS AN ART TO ART FAIR-ING
Art fairs can be overwhelming places to actually find art. We asked Tricia Khutoretsky, curator and director of Public Functionary art gallery, for some insider tips about scoring solid art at a fair.
■ Have the right expectation for what you might find: “Our local art fairs are much more beneficial to jewelry designers, certain photographers, screenprinters, object makers, and Etsy-esque artists.”
■ Stay on your game: “A lot of people come looking for deals, treasures, and unique finds.”
■ Take the opportunity to chat with the artists: “I love browsing artist tents at the fairs because I love meeting and talking to artists in person. I stay open to discovering new artists.”
■ Pick a fair based on its turnover: “I tend to avoid [fairs] that for years and years show the same artists.”
While everyone knows that when it comes to finding the best scores at sidewalk art hunts, Uptown and Edina are the industry standard, sometimes hitting the institutions isn’t the way to go. Here are three less common options that are worth a shot:
YOU MAY CRAWL ON ART
Pack up the littles and a picnic and head to Franconia Sculpture Park, where you can climb on, in, and through the art installations. franconia.org
THE DRINK OF SUMMER 2015
Far North’s Navy Strength Gin + Joia Grapefruit Soda
Local gins can be floral or piney, but in this summer sipper, Far North’s Navy Strength is like a freshly starched seersucker jacket over Joia’s perfectly pink shirt. It’s appropriate, it’s refreshing, and it’s a day on the boat even if you’re landlocked.
THE BACKYARD BAR DOES NOT EXIST ON GIN ALONE
Here are four other local mixer matchups that will make you a backyard legend:
• L’etoile Vodka and Whistler cherry lime soda
• 11 Wells Bourbon and Yeti Cold Press
• Isanti Rye with Dashfire Bourbon Bitters
• Norseman Rum with Shrub & Co. shrub
FARMERS’ MARKETS ARE A BARTENDER'S SECRET WEAPON
Sure, you know you can buy a whole dinner party’s worth of ingredients at our amazing farmers’ markets, but did you know you can also stock your bar? Adding fresh herbs, spices, or veggies to your drinks will elevate your summer cocktail game. Visit our complete list of farmers’ markets
Summertime is a Pimm’s cup with lemon cucumbers. They’re also great in gin and tonics.
Seriously, basil is the perfect addition to a vodka soda or your new favorite drink, a rum and tonic.
A tad unsightly, but it’s underused for whiskey drinks, rumtinis, and sangria.
This is an elegant-looking and tasty addition to grapefruit and cranberry juice drinks.
Not rewriting the cocktail books with this one, but fresh mint slays in juleps, mojitos, and sours.
8. SAIL ABOVE THE TREES Don’t forget about the Sand Creek zipline in Jordan. Reward yourself for bravery with a stop at The World’s Largest Candy Store. (And, yes, that’s its actual name.) 9. CAMP IN A YURT Afton State Park added yurts to its campground and you can rent ’em. 10. WALK ACROSS THE STONE ARCH BRIDGE It’s 4 p.m. on a Sunday, but hey, the weekend’s not over yet. Head over to this iconic bridge for a stroll. 11. ATTEND A MOVIE IN YOUR CAR Drive-in movie theaters are not dead. We repeat, thanks to Vali-Hi Drive-In in Lake Elmo (valihi.com) and Starlite Drive-In in Litchfield (starlitemovies.com), drive-in movie theaters are not dead.
RIGHT LAKE, RIGHT DAY
You know how everyone Goes to Lake Calhoun on a beautiful Saturday? Yeah, let’s fix that by enjoying our urban lakes all week long.
MONDAY: CEDAR LAKE
If you steer clear of the poorly christened Hidden Beach, this is your Monday Walden. The surrounding trail is padded from busy streets by parkland and shade trees, and there’s no snack bar to draw crowds. Steal away. Your world will be waiting when you get back.
TUESDAY: LAKE CALHOUN
Leave the overcrowded beaches to the weekend warriors and swing by Calhoun on a cooled-off Tuesday. It’s still packed with runners and bikers, but there’s plenty of empty green space to find a quiet spot to finish that summer read of yours.
WEDNESDAY: COMO LAKE
The owners of Amsterdam Bar and Hall now run the food program at Como Dockside, which means New Orleans barbecue, a packed music schedule, and—yes!—craft cocktails. Sounds like a solid Wednesday.
THURSDAY: LAKE HARRIET
Catch the lake at its emptiest with a daily 6:30 a.m. yoga class. Or sleep in and hit Bread & Pickle (opens at 7 a.m.) for coffee. Be a hero and tote home some scones.
FRIDAY: LAKE NOKOMIS
Lake Nokomis is our pick for a busy Friday night—it’s spread out enough that your picnic will never feel infringed upon. Plus, it’s the only night you can catch the fried chicken special at Doug Flicker’s lakeside outpost, Sandcastle.
WEEKEND: LAKE PHALEN
The sprawling lake of the east contains multitudes: Sailboaters and practicing crew teams still leave room for casual kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders if you want to be in the lake. We’re typically content to watch it all from a dry spot on Phalen Beach.
WANT MORE WATER?
Day Trips To Stillwater Are Not Cliché (They’re actually just really nice and extremely convenient.) Find our guide to Stillwater and other eastward destinations at mspmag.com/goeast.
HALF-DAY FRIDAYS ARE FOR AT-HOME HAPPY HOURS
Psst, Governor Dayton, half-day Fridays should be a state law. Not only do they allow us to convene happy hour just a skosh early, but when we show up to each other’s decks with libations and snacks in tow, just think of how much community we’re building. Here are six combos worth a try:
MORNINGSIDE | Red wine for sangria from France 44 and sandwiches from France 44’s deli
NORTHEAST | Cava from Surdyk’s and meat and cheese from Surdyk’s deli
YOU DON'T NEED TO ATTEND ALL 30-PLUS OUTDOOR CONCERTS
...any combination of these best 10 will do just fine.
• June 3: Rolling Stones @ TCF Bank Stadium • June 9: Lucinda Williams @ Minnesota Zoo • June 20: Michael McDonald @ Minnesota Zoo • June 20: Luke Bryan @ TCF Bank Stadium • June 29: Symphony for the Cities @ various locations • June 26: Buddy Guy @ Minnesota Zoo • July 4: The Beach Boys @ Mystic Lake lawn • July 17: Indigo Girls @ Minnesota Zoo • July 18–19: Kenny Chesney & Jason Aldean @ Target Field • July 26: One Direction @ TCF Bank Stadium
DO DINNER AND A MOVIE OUTSIDE
Several Minneapolis parks show outdoor movies. There’s one nearly every night in the summer for FREE. Spend that savings on a spectacular blanket dinner by movie light.
+ If you’re hitting Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, a stop at Central Avenue/St. Anthony Main locales is the play and Aster Cafe, Wilde Roast, Surdyk’s, or Masu are all solid choices.
+ A tad farther north, an evening at Beltrami Park in Northeast could include any of the options above but also has even closer spots for nourishment like Maya Cuisine, Uncle Franky’s, Brasa, or Element Pizza.
+ Just east at Windom Park, be sure to hit Holy Land, Sen Yai Sen Lek, Crescent Moon Pizza, or El Taco Riendo.
+ When you’re in south Minneapolis at Powderhorn Park, enjoy Smoke in the Pit for barbecue, Jakeenos for pizza, and May Day Café for sandwiches.
+ In Uptown, Bryant Square Park’s got an array of go-tos like Szechuan Spice, Prairie Dogs, Tinto Cocina, and Sonny’s Ice Cream.
+ Just south of that, at either Lake Harriet or Lyndale Park, there’s Bread & Pickle, Broders’ Cucina, Naviya’s Thai, or Linden Hills standby Clancey’s.
PRO TIPS FOR MOVIES IN THE PARK
• Go early and set up your spot; the shows start at dusk. • Bring a cooler to keep bevvies chilled, and if you use a koozie no one will judge what’s in your bottle (ahem).• Bring camp chairs for the sitting and a blanket for the picnicking. • Bug spray or die. • Bring a Frisbee or a soccer ball for the downtime. • Don’t leave your trash.
SUMMER BEERS ARE CALLED "SUDS"
As temperatures intensify, so does a person’s longing for a more refreshing beer and a more refreshing name to call said beer: “suds.” Toss me a can of suds. Pick up a sixer of suds. Crap, I spilled my suds! On a boat, on a hammock, or on a patio, “suds” is a natural fit. Here’s a handful of local suds-worthy summer beers: Excelsior Brewing Big Island Blonde, Bauhaus Wagon Party, Summit Summer Ale, Bent Paddle Paddle Break Blonde, Surly Brewing Bitter Brewer, and Indeed Shenanigans.
Somewhere along the line, communal outdoor parties went horribly wrong. Instead of inspired celebrations of our fleeting summers, they became rote repeats of church basement drudgery: overconcentrations of bars, too many Jell-O salads, and multiple Crock Pots simmering some quasi-barbecue braised meat. Well, our patio party time in Minnesota is too short to settle for that type of uninspired potluckery any longer. It’s wicked easy to throw a whole hog roast these days, and crawfish boils are all the rage. Us? We’re kinda into paella parties.
HOW TO PLAN A PAELLA PARTY
THE THEME: For a paella party, it’s Spain, and let’s face it, that’s a country to celebrate with its gorgeous wines and penchant for three-hour lunches.
THE NEEDS: You can rent a giant 52-inch paella pan with a stand and burner from Kitchen Window. Shop for the best rice, chorizo, and shellfish (or let the KW guys do it for you ... no one has to know).
THE ASK: Tell guests to bring a dish with a Mediterranean influence (but stop short of controlling exactly what they bring); tapas are perfect and usually easy to assemble for a platter. Tell some people to bring cold dishes, some to bring hot, and some to bring wine. No Crock Pots allowed!
THE BEVERAGES: Sangria is the best pitcher drink you could ask for. Cheap dry red wine, a bit of brandy, a bit of sugar, and a boat-load of fresh cut fruit. Done.
THE PARTY ITSELF: Pump out some flamenco music, set up a dance area, see what happens.
18. WATCHING ANIMALS IS GREAT Do it at either the Minnesota Zoo, which has some new monk seals in Discovery Bay, or the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, which just turned 100. 19. YOU DON'T NEED A BIKE Thanks to Minneapolis’s ever-expanding bike share program (it added 20 new stations this year) Nice Ride, you can borrow one. 20. PLAY IN A BUSY STREET Open Streets is opening up eight of Minneapolis’s busiest urban drags—including Lyndale Avenue South (June 7), East Lake Street (August 2), and University Avenue (September 12)—to motor-less traffic for entire afternoons this summer.
THE FOOT WEDGE IS NOW ACCEPTABLE
The craziest thing to happen to golf since John Daly, footgolf—golf using your feet and a soccer ball—is taking over local golf courses. Ten-plus legitimate tracks, including Afton Alps, Majestic Oaks, Oak Glen, Baker National, and Hyland Greens, now offer truncated footgolf courses interspersed with their par 72s.
ROCK THE GARDEN
Thinking about hitting up a music festival this summer? We're down with what the Walker is rocking this year, thanks to a much overlooked girl group that's reunited and hitting the Sculpture Garden stage: Meet Babes in Toyland.
GRILLS AREN'T JUST FOR THE MEAT ANYMORE
Eight ideas that prove the side of a cow isn't the only thing worth a char:
■ The best, fastest way to cook a lobster is on the grill. Three minutes on each side and done.
■ Grilling clams is easy: When they open they’re done. For oysters, don’t spill the liquid, it’s gold!
■ Brie smoked on a cedar plank is heavenly.
■ Grilling sliced lemons and limes makes for a singularly smoky addition to your margarita.
■ Olive oil–tossed mushrooms directly on the grill top can pretty much replace chips.
■ Grilling melons is a thing. Try it.
■ Put a cooling rack the opposite way on your grill top (so it’s like a grid) and toss some olive-oiled green beans on for a solid char.
■ Oh yeah, and if you really want your mind blown, try grilling buttered pound cake or donut halves.
HAVING DRINKS? INVITE THE NEIGHBORS
Among neighbors, parties don’t have to be planned. So next time you’ve got a beautiful Friday, a full supply of summer sippers, and a hankering to hobnob, cast the universal Bat Signal for “BYOB on my patio”—a pink flamingo in your front yard. Worried the neighbors won’t see your kitschy call to action? Our friends at Red Stamp made us some customizable pink flamingo party invites that come in both paper and digital versions so you can either deliver door-to-door, inbox-to-inbox, or cell-to-cell.
➻For more on the party invites, visit mspmag.com/flamingo.
ENJOY A ST. PAUL SAINTS GAME
St. Paul’s new hyper-modern Lowertown stadium, CHS Field, is the most affordable, best baseball experience in town.
ATTEND A FOOD-AND-DRINK-FOCUSED FEST
Curb your summer corn dog consumption by hitting one of these singularly focused eating and drinking bacchanals.
Rhubarb Festival June 6 Rhubarb pie and rhubarb golf. Lanesboro, rhubarbfestival.org
June Bloom June 6–7 MN-grown wine and nosh. Great River Road Wine Trail, greatriverroadwinetrail.org
Sauerkraut Days June 26–28 Cabbage toss and free kraut! Henderson, kraut.hendersonmn.com
MN Food Truck Fair June 28 Ten hours of truck grub. Uptown, mnfoodtruckfair.com
Summer Beer Dabbler Aug. 15 All the beer. St. Paul, beerdabbler.com
Smack Shack’s Crayfest Aug. 8 AYCE mudbugs, beer, and music. Minneapolis, smack-shack.com
DRIVE TO HUDSON FOR PATIO BEERS
Hudson’s St. Croix River–facing patios sell some tasty ’sconi brews, like New Glarus, that ours do not.
MINNEHAHA FALLS AND SEA SALT EATERY ARE BEST ENJOYED ON A WEEKDAY
Beat the crowds and beer lines at Minnehaha Falls and Sea Salt by going on a Tuesday evening. Kids in tow? Don’t miss the universally accessible Wabun Picnic Area park next to the falls. 612-721-8990, seasalteatery.wordpress.com
BE A KID
Rollercoasters and waterslides were created by adults, so why can’t they be for them too? The next time you’re at Valleyfair, Jim Lupient Water Park, or Como Park, remember: You’re not just there to chaperone.
EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE
What other simple pleasure could bring out a neighborhood in droves to be pelted by candy? Dust off the lawn chairs and get a good spot at one of our favorite routes.
31. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR PEDICURE The new A La Mode in Wayzata is all-natural and all-heavenly. 32. WACONIA IS FOR DRINKING Head west to Lake Waconia and you'll stumble on a recent renaissance of summer-worthy watering holes. 33. FATHER'S DAY SHOULD BE CHILL And why shouldn't it? Find a happy medium between what Dad wants to do and what the kids like with a little help from Jason DeRusha.
DAYTRIP TO THE BOONDOCKS
Take it from resident Boonie-dweller (and lover) Stephanie March: There's more to the outer metro than meets the eye. She's stumbled upon a few hidden gems for you to check out, but there's something special about finding one for yourself, too.
READ LOCAL AUTHORS
The beach bag read is a marvelous thing. Trashy, challenging, dreamy, take your pick—but it's gotta be engrossing. A forget-how-long-the-kids-have-been-out-and-get-a-sunburn page turner. We rounded up a couple of local author's newest releases that do the trick.
WALK ON WATER
What's a northwoods summer without a little time spent on two skis? Read this ode to the humble water sport and be inspired to pass on the legacy of a cool parent who slaloms without fear.
37. SALT YOUR ICE CREAM You just gotta trust us on this one: put salt on your ice cream. 38. OUTFIT YOURSELF FOR THE OCCASION Go one further than maritime stripes and pull out accessories and home accents that reference the sea. 39. A ROLLING STONE GATHERS NO MOSS The Rolling Stones come through Minneapolis again, which leaves us wondering: is this the Last Tour Ever? 40. EAT MORE FRIED CHICKEN The new Southern joint Revival is all that and a back of just-fried pork rinds—but there's more to that little gem than meets the tongue.
INSTAGRAM IT OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN
While you're out having the time of your life this summer, take a second to tag your best Instagrams with #summerinMSP. Like last year, doing it might even get you a prize or two.