Plan the Ultimate Guys Weekend in Minneapolis
No matter whether your daily grind consists of work, school, kids or a mix of it all, let’s be real: It’s hard to find a time and place to hang with the guys. But it’s always worth it, especially if you pick a destination that delivers the perfect blend of fun and chill time. In Minneapolis, you can have it all: epic eats, stadium tours, active adventures and the Mighty Mississippi reminding us that sometimes, life is best enjoyed when we go with the flow.
Where to stay:
Going back to school never felt as cool as this trendy hotel planted in the heart of the University of Minnesota campus. Smart, playful touches include headboards and lamps printed with North Woods fishing scenes, air hockey in the lounge, and even Topgolf Swing Suites where you can virtually up your golf game. After exploring the surrounding Dinkytown neighborhood (known for its eclectic foodie scene) or catching a Gophers sports game, kick back with a Minnesota Nice cocktail at the hotel’s Beacon bar.
Alternative: Radisson Red
Bold red art print wallpaper covers the bedroom walls at this trendy hotel in the heart of the downtown action. Black-out shades cover the oversize windows when you’re ready to rest, and other in-room perks like rain showers and in-room streaming service deliver the perfect home away from home.
Breakfast: Consume your saturated fat in style at downtown’s Cardigan Donuts. One look at the display case with rows of housemade jam-filled bismarks, churro rolls, and bourbon apple fritters, and you’ll want to try it all. Pro tip: Order a dozen among your group for maximum sampling nirvana, and pair ‘em with a cup of primo local Blackeye Roasting Co. coffee.
Explore: The Twins and Vikings don’t need to be in town for you to visit their incredible digs. In fact, the 90-minute tours that navigate Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium take you places you’d never see during a game. Check out Target Field’s press box, clubhouse and swanky suites while learning about the 39,000-seat ballpark, once voted the No. 1 baseball stadium experience in North America. Built in 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium boasts some impressive stats, too, housing more than 66,000 football fans and concertgoers under its transparent roof. Tours take you through the team locker room, across the stadium floor and past the stadium’s art collection.
Lunch: There’s no talking smack about the lobster rolls at North Loop favorite Smack Shack. The Smack Shack Original sandwiches chilled lobster salad, cucumber and tarragon between two crunchy slices of griddled milk bread. Not a fan of surf? Go turf with the southern fried chicken sandwich, made extra tasty with its drizzle of house bacon ranch dressing.
Shop: Just a few blocks from Smack Shack, Martin Patrick 3 oozes sophistication with its line of custom suits and accessories. Treat yourself to a new wallet or cologne, and browse the collection of sleek furnishings on display.
Explore: All aboard the Hoppy Trolley for a drinking tour of the city without having to worry about a designated driver. The trolley (technically a small bus booked through UffDa Adventures) takes riders on the itinerary of their choice to three breweries, distilleries or cideries. A personal guide provides some background on each stop and offers tasting suggestions.
Dinner: You can’t leave town without stuffing your face with the iconic Juicy Lucy, a burger filled with melted cheese. But don’t dive in right away … that cheese is hot. Blue Door Pub serves up some of the most creative variations of the classic, such as the Mount Blucuvious with ghost pepper cheese, fried avocado and bacon. Tame the heat with a side of fried green beans or tots at one of five Twin Cities locations, including Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood.
End your night: By design, no two shows are ever the same at Uptown’s HUGE Improv Theater, and that’s what makes it a repeat favorite. Many performers use audience suggestions to craft on-the-spot sketches, and the result is often hilarious. Show’s run about 10 bucks each, giving you and the guys some serious comedy bang for your buck.
Brunch: You’ll likely have to wait a little before squeezing into 10-foot-wide Al’s Breakfast and finding an open bar stool at the counter, but it’s worth the effort. Your payoff: fluffy blueberry-walnut pancakes and eggy omelets filled with a vast array of ingredients.
Play: If you weren’t bonded already, you’ll really get close to your crew after being “locked” inside one of the spaces at Trapped Puzzle Rooms. Teams have 60 minutes to escape scenarios like Harry Potter-inspired Diagonal Alley or A Room of Fire and Ice (a sendup of Game of Thrones) at the North Loop location.
Explore: Trace the Mississippi riverfront by renting a bike from one of dozens of Nice Ride docking stations scattered around the city. Pedal past Mill Ruins Park, the Stone Arch Bridge and former warehouses that have been beautifully restored into businesses and apartment complexes. Hop across to the north side of the river to drool over the European pastries and Polish sausages at Kramarczuk’s, a local staple since 1954.
Alternative: If you’re here in winter, use Metro Transit to navigate downtown and the cultural corridor of eateries and shops along Central Avenue. Must-stops include Holy Land for hummus and Aki’s Bread Haus for soft pretzels.
Play: Drive north of downtown to drive golf balls from one of more than 100 climate-controlled hitting bays at Topgolf. As much a social hub as it is a sporting venue, the sleek complex buzzes with activity in the on-site restaurant and on the rooftop terrace decked out with a fire pit. More than 200 HDTVs broadcast just about every sports game you can imagine … and then some.
Alternative: Up for walking across a narrow plank 80 stories off the ground? How about an epic battle against zombies? It’s all possible thanks to the ultra-immersive technology at REM5 VR Lab.
Dinner: Carnivores, unite! Butcher and the Boar masterfully grills steaks and chops, plating them with richly flavorful sauces and sides. They’re also known for their award-winning bourbon selection; try one of nine curated flight options.
End your night: Cap off your guy time with a round of brews and river views at Pryes Brewing Company. Signature beers on tap include the citrusy Miraculum IPA. You can also try your hand at feather bowling: a bocce-style game that involves rolling wooden wheels toward a feather target.