36-Hour Guide to Minneapolis Northwest

There's so much to see and do in Minneapolis Northwest, it's hard to decide what to fit into a weekend trip. Luckily, we did the work for you. From must-try restaurants or water adventures to picnicking and shopping trips, we have you covered. With only a few days to kill, this 36-hour guide will navigate you through the best spots for a quick getaway. While you may not get to visit all the places on the list, it's definitely worth a try.


Friday:

1. Step back in time

To start your three-day adventure in Minneapolis Northwest, step back in time by satisfying your appetite with old-fashioned recipes at 50s Grill in Brooklyn Center. For 25 years, diners have been sampling homemade chicken pot pies, and enjoying old-time tunes from the jukeboxes. Once you’ve filled up on traditional burgers, malt and homemade pies, it’s time to explore the great outdoors.

2. Immerse yourself in local nature parks

Arrive at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and you’re in for a real treat—an astonishing number of beavers frolicking by the dam. A 12-foot wide observation deck allows you to walk directly above the dam for a closer view of the water that separates Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids. Keep your eyes peeled for other wildlife like hawks, deer, turtles, mink and more. The park has an additional two-mile hiking trail for further exploration. 

3. Get the luck of the Irish

Being out in the sun will get you in the mood to grab a cold one, and that’s where Claddagh Irish Pub comes in handy. Expect to feel like you stumbled upon an authentic pub on a tiny island in Ireland, complete with stone arched walkways and stained glass windows. Sit out on the patio to enjoy the warm Minnesotan air. Order a pint to go along with your fish fry and other seafood dishes like baked stuffed sole and crab stuffed portabella. But don’t get too full; you have one more place to go.

4. Sip on local craft beers

Omni Brewing Co. is Minneapolis Northwest’s pride and joy. The brewery’s mascot, a large bear surrounded by Douglas Fir trees, can be found throughout the facility on everything from wall art to beer glasses. Although the brewery has a wilderness theme, it also has industrial touches of modern furniture and exposed beams. Sample some of the brews fresh out of the container and choose your favorite. Another fantastic spot to get a sip of local flavors is Wicked Wort in Robbinsdale. The brewery is a slightly smaller but cozy atmosphere, a perfect place to mingle with the locals. 

 

Saturday:

1. Have the most important meal of the day

Start your first full day with breakfast at Fat Nat's Eggs in Brooklyn Park. The restaurant uses the freshest ingredients and diners can order delicious meals like biscuits and gravy, green chili benedict, hearty omelets and more. Let the smell of freshly seared bacon draw you in and get your fuel for the day.  

2. Hit the waters

Your first outdoor adventure of the day will consist of a kayaking trip on Fish Lake in Maple Grove or cool off at Elm Creek Swimming Pond. This man-made pond surrounded by the sandy beach is the ideal spot to park your oversized umbrella and beach chairs. Designated shelters are available for changing in and out of your swimsuit. But, don’t linger too long, you have more adventures coming up.

3. Tee off

There’s nothing more relaxing than teeing off on a warm summer day in Minneapolis Northwest. You have two options: Rush Creek in Maple Grove or Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park. For a more challenging game with far-swinging holes, Edinburgh may be your spot. But if you are traveling with your friends or family and looking for a private experience, Rush Creek is the place for you. Both golf courses have received numerous awards for their design, and surrounding scenery of lakes and towering trees. If you’re hungry while golfing at Edinburgh’s, swing by Girvan Grille, right on the premises, for light appetizers and refreshing drinks.

4. Midday meal

As lunchtime rolls around, it’s time to visit 3 Squares Restaurant for traditional fish and chips, burgers, salads, soups and appetizers. The restaurant is located on Main Street in Arbor Lake, and is known for its breathtaking outdoor patio that overlooks the street—a great place to people watch. You cannot go wrong with a slice (or two) from Pieology Pizza located at Arbor Lakes, where you can concoct your own creative pizza pie with unlimited toppings and have it ready to eat in under five minutes. 

5. Check out local theaters

Show your support for the local theater at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo or Plymouth Playhouse in Plymouth. At the two theaters, you can catch exciting plays, hysterical comedy shows and concerts in an inimate setting. It's advised to purchase your tickets online early in advance. 

6. Get fancy at Travail

When it’s time for dinner, Travail is what all the locals are talking about. The restaurant treats its dishes like a work of art and specializes in molecular gastronomy. The portions may be a bit on the smaller side, but the plates will arrive with new exciting flavors you’ve never tasted. Expect to be wowed by up to 14 to 20 food presentations from aperitifs to desserts. Travail is popular, so it’s important to reserve your tickets (yes, tickets) in advance to dine at the establishment.

7. End the night with cocktails

For a change in scenery, head to Lookout Bar and Grill for some after-dinner drinks. Take advantage of the restaurant's drink special at its fully-stocked outdoor bar, such as Long Island Iced Teas or imported wine. If coming here on a Saturday night, there’s a good chance you’ll find live music out on the patio, as well.

Sunday:

1. Drive to your lunch spot

On your final day in Minneapolis Northwest, head over to Wagner’s Drive-In where you can park your car and walk right up to the old-fashioned concession stand, or order at the drive-through. Order burgers, chili dogs, chicken strips or roast beef sandwiches. You have a choice of eating at one of the outdoor tables, dining in your car or taking your meal to go (we suggest taking it to go and eating at your next location).   

2. Enjoy your lunch at a nature park

Central Park, located right in the heart of Maple Grove, has revitalized the area from a boring gravel pit to an outstanding recreational spot. Grab a picnic table and enjoy your chili dogs while admiring the view of this well-manicured park, complete with playground and an interactive water fountain with a nighttime LED light display.

3. Get some souvenirs

Don’t leave Minneapolis Northwest without stocking up on souvenirs from Albertville Premium Outlets. By souvenirs, we mean discounted designer brands from high-end stores like Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Nike Factory Store and more. The outlet has over 100 stores, so expect to spend a bit of time here. But just in case you haven't shopped 'til you dropped, head back to The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes and The Fountains in Maple Grove. You're guaranteed to find souvenirs for everyone on your list (but mostly for you, right?). 

Accommodations and other venues:

When looking for a convenient and affordable, yet luxurious place to stay during your visit, look no further than Marriott Minneapolis Northwest. The resort will offer all kind of deals and packages during your stay. Guests that are arriving earlier than Friday may want to swing by the Maple Grove Farmers Market that’s held every Thursday morning. Over 26 local vendors will be selling their freshest produce and artisan goods.

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