Today began my Willie Nelson drive through our great heartland (C’mon. Sing it with me).
Left Chicago this morning in my lovely white (I would later discover this was great for showing off the dead bugs on the front bumper) Kia Rio rental car. Usually when I rent a car it’s a fun upgrade from my old school, cassette playin’, pre-air bag Honda Prelude. But not today. This Kia is a tin can on wheels, no power nothing! I miss my cruise control. Forgot to request that. Shit.
So 400 miles and 1 taco bell stop later I’m spending the night in the City of Lakes, Minneapolis.
After checking in to my downtown Best Western in the style of some medieval tudor castle (odd, but nice), I trotted up to Nicollet Avenue—the lovely pedestrian street brimming with shops and restaurants. It kind of reminds me of the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, but of course, on a smaller scale. I stopped at the local Irish Pub—aptly named “The Local.” The place looks 100 years old with a carved wood bar and lots of Irish Whisky, but as I found out from the bartender, the place is just 10 years old.
Here, as I munch on my yummy salad with smoked salmon and drink a bass ale, I’m chatted up by each bartender plus the 60+ year old bookstore owner next to me. This is new to me—going to a bar alone. I feel slightly ‘on parade,’ but it was fine and I was happy to be out and about.
On the way home a guy in a car asks me “which way to the Target Center.” Oddly I know the answer and point him in the right direction. If you read the “Who is LL?” page, you know I love maps. So I’d already seen where it was. Once a Chicago Greeter, always a Chicago Greeter.
The next morning I go for a run along the Mississippi River and the Riverfront District. I ran across a bridge and into the Northeast neighborhood. This old Mill District is alive today with bars and bistros all along an old cobblestone road. It was hard to miss the new Guthrie Theater. The 250,000-square-foot theater just opened in June and sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. The building features 3 theaters, 2 restaurants, 11 bars and the world’s longest cantilever bridge extending toward the river.
Pretty Cool and charmingly innovative. I like Minneapolis.