Vol. 21, No.3/Spring 1999
Minneapolis: Welcomes the News Division on its 75th Anniversary
By Robert H. Jansen
The great state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul look forward to welcoming you during the second week of June. Minnesotans always do their best to make visitors comfortable during their stay but a little information about our city will be helpful. Snow will still be piled high along the curbs but the sidewalks should be clear for you to navigate your way from the hotels to the Convention Center. German, Swedish and Norwegian are the languages of commerce but most of the hotel and restaurant staffs will speak English. Credit cards and travelers checks are not accepted but cash works and bartering is commonly practiced.
Actually, as you probably have figured out, none of the above is true but Minnesota is rarely considered one of the trend setting capitols of the United States. But it is a very beautiful, progressive and livable state. In politics we have had Hubert H. Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene J. McCarthy, and the ever capable Governor Jesse Ventura. In music we have given you Bob Dylan, Prince, Jimmy Jam/Tery Lewis and the Trashmen. In the arts we have given you next to nothing ok - Sinclair Lewis. Other notable Minnesotans include Judy Garland, Charles Lindbergh, Jessica Lange, Garrison Keillor, Loni Anderson, .. and O.J. Simpsons new girlfriend.
The city of Minneapolis is located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. The headwaters of the Mississippi are in Northern Minnesota and the river flows down to New Orleans. All of those great food dishes made famous in New Orleans actually originated in Minnesota and then made their way by word of mouth down the Mississippi to the Crescent City. You will find our cuisine a little less lively than what we passed on to New Orleans but various shades of gray can be made to look downright pleasing on a paper plate.
Minnesotans are naturally friendly but reserved and modest. The motto on our license plate is Land of 10,000 Lakes but there are actually 11,842 lakes that are 10 acres or larger. All of those lakes mean that we can fish from a boat in the summer and in the winter we can sit frozen to a metal bucket and fish through a hole in the ice. Did I say friendly, reserved, modest and stupid?
Speaking of water, Minneapolis has 22 lakes within the city and four of them will be very visible as you fly into the city. Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet form a string of lakes just west of downtown. Lake Nokomis is visible on the eastern side of the city near the airport. Along with the lakes, Minneapolis has 153 parks providing 4,100 acres of recreational land. The lakes and parks offer visitors and residents a place to enjoy the natural beauty of the city.
It seems that we never have time to see much of a conference city but we want you to enjoy Minneapolis. The heart of downtown is the Nicollet Mall. This is a pedestrian mall with only buses allowed on the street. Orchestra Hall is located on the Mall about four blocks from the convention center and there is a plaza where one can sit and enjoy an outdoor lunch. The major hotels are along the mall and some of them are about eight blocks from the convention center but it is a pleasant stroll on a nice summer day. June is a good time to visit Minneapolis and St. Paul. The temperature will average in the high 70s and the lows at night will average in the mid 50s.
The shopping is very good downtown and all of the buildings are connected by skyways so the easiest way to go from one store to another is on the second floor. Shopping in Minnesota cannot be mentioned without talking about the Mall of America (MOA). The MOA is located in Bloomington which is in the first ring of suburbs south of Minneapolis. You will be able to get bus transportation from downtown to the Mall and back quit easily.
Minneapolis is the home of the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Soon the Minnesota Wild hockey team will be at home in St. Paul. There are not many cities that have four major professional sports franchises but we enjoy all of them. The Twins will be in town the week of SLA so I will reserve some tickets and here is the number if you want to organize your own outing (1-800-338-9467) The Twins will be playing Houston on June 4, 5 and 6 and Cincinnati on June 7, 8 and 9. All games are at 7:05 except the Sunday game starts at 1:05. There is also a minor league baseball team called the St. Paul Saints. The Saints are owned by Mike Veeck and Bill Murray and they put on a good show. Darryl Strawberry played for the Saints before he was signed by the Yankees. There is a rumor that Garth Brooks could end up playing for the Saints but every minor league team might be spreading that rumor.
On the cultural side, Minneapolis has many very good theaters with the most well known being the Guthrie Theater founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie. There are a number of museums including the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Weisman Museum on the University of Minnesota Campus.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are not great tourist destinations but the Twin Cities provide a great place to live and most of us have learned to live through the winters and actually enjoy them. I have a hockey party in January and if you want to show up for it next year just give me a call. Until then, enjoy your stay with us this summer and you always have an open invitation to come visit again.
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