MSP - that's Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Discussion in 'Midwest' started by NW cannonball, Aug 28, 2014.

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  1. Aug 28, 2014 #1

    NW cannonball

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    Well - the Minnesota State Fair is on, as it is every year for 12 days ending Labor Day Monday.

    Get here, do that. Biggest, best State Fair anywhere.

    For rail nuts (or foamers, whatever) there's the easily available mile walk from SPUD to Hoffman (where 5% of all trains in the USA run through, according to a recent SPP article),

    Or you could visit the JJ Hill house up on the bluff -- it's a museum now, but the "archetypal rail baron" his palace - open for tours most days.
     
  2. Aug 29, 2014 #2

    CHamilton

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    jebr says he is at the fair now, but he's disappointed that they don't have spam curds this year.
     
  3. Aug 29, 2014 #3

    jebr

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    I'm actually back home now from my second day at the fair. One more day on my roster. :) I did really like the mini donut beer...I think that deserves a repeat.

    In-line edit: For those wondering...it's basically a "malty" beer with some sweetness to it with cinnamon sugar on the rim. Maybe I just liked the cinnamon sugar...

    Also, picture:

    [​IMG]

    I'm curious: how easy/hard would it be for Amtrak (or, I suppose, a commuter rail service) to use that rail line just south of Como? I see it would require a backup move into SPUD (rather short, but one nonetheless.) It would be a nice one-seat ride to the fairgrounds from across the state (and beyond) if they could use that line temporarily during the fair for the Builder (or either the Northstar or a future Chicago - Minnesota train.)
     
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  4. Aug 29, 2014 #4

    SubwayNut

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    Through Labor Day you can take the Empire Service and Maple Leaf directly to the Great New York State Fair (kids ride free!) Amtrak makes a special stop after Syracuse since its along that line. It's a trip one of these years I'll make to photograph the one station on the entire Empire Corridor I haven't made it too (which now includes every Metro-North stop too, an ongoing project to sort through photos).
     
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  5. Aug 29, 2014 #5

    CHamilton

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    And you can take the Sounder commuter train to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup on September 13 and 20. I wonder if they will have the dancing pigs on the train.
     
  6. Aug 29, 2014 #6

    AmtrakBlue

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    Years past there was a train to the DE State Fair in Georgetown (southern DE). This year I read that the Anniversary train went to the state fair. Which seemed a little odd since there is no passenger rail in the lower Delmarva Peninsula.
     
  7. Aug 29, 2014 #7

    Bob Dylan

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    You can ride DART ( Green Line) and the TRE (from FTW to DAL Union Station)to the Texas State Fair @ the Cotton Bowl/Fairgrounds in Dallas!

    When Texas ( Hook 'em Horns!) plays Oklahoma in the Annual Red River Rivalry @ the Cotton Bowl, Amtrak runs the Heartland Flyer all the way to the Fairgrounds with the Big Game P-42 pulling Extra Cars on the Party Train!
     
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  8. Sep 6, 2014 #8

    NW cannonball

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    Back to the main point -- record attendance at the Minnesota State fair -- quarter million on second Saturday.

    If you hate or fear crowds - not the place to be. If you like safe crowds -- really really good. This Fair is one of the most peaceable crowds you are ever likely to meet.

    The cow-observing - on-a-stick-eating MN State Fair attendees -- seem to be - not very grumpy at all --

    If crowds of people lined up to eat roasted corn on the cob scare you -- sorry.

    If meeting alpacas seems good -- good.

    The food is good (of it's kind) the exhibits are OK - the people are -- just a peaceable crowd.

    This year I went 3 days -- my daughter rode the scariest things on the Midway ( I didn't) ( I hate being held a hundred feet above the ground upside down and spinning).

    Anyhow - it's a great state fair here.
     
  9. Sep 25, 2014 #9

    CHamilton

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  10. Sep 27, 2014 #10

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    Thank you for saying that about the Minnesota State Fair crowd. It really is peaceful as you say. It's like the feeling of Christmas Eve, when you're out walking around and you know no one is going to mess with you because it's Christmas. That's what the Fair feels like to me. I used to take my vacations at Fair time and go to the Fair and the Horse Show for five days. It's the main thing I miss about Minnesota. The Minnesota State Fair also has a lot of free music, many stages and the guy who books the free entertainment gets a lot of really great acts. It's worth going just for the free music.
     
  11. Dec 6, 2015 #11

    Rover

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  12. Dec 16, 2015 #12

    NorthShore

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    I love the little Como Park Zoo. And it's little amusement park. And its flower and plant conservatory. And its classic carousel. The grouchy old ladies who explain the proper way to ride a carousel horse and enforce it with the zeal of military police....I don't like so much.
     
  13. Dec 20, 2015 #13

    NW cannonball

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    The conservatory? The big glass-house with tropical plants - yeah? OMG sometimes in winter here we go to the Como conservatory just to remind ourselves that parts of this planet are well above freezing -- almost always !!

    For those who like the freezing pain in the toes, and cheeks, and nose, the Red Bull crashed Ice thing will happen again here.

    February 26-27 2016 -- Crashed Ice -- Saint Paul 2016

    Dozens of teams of ice skaters will race a downhill slalom frozen ice course from the Cathedral high above the bluffs - into a safety net only a few hundred feet above the frozen Mississippi . Never more than 60 mph - or so.

    Thrills, spills, freeze your tender bits, see them crash! see them fly!

    Observers should wear warm socks and insulated hats, and mittens,

    I actually watched this performance on-site close-up the last 3 years, never got frostbit, but the cold gets into your bones.

    Myself, this year -- I'm doing the museums and the Como conservatory
     
  14. Dec 27, 2015 #14

    NorthShore

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    Oh,I'd actually enjoy seeing them slide. What do they do...ice over the road?

    I'd like to come for the jazz fest some summer. Unfortunately, some of the old jazz hangs, like the Artist's Quarter and the Clown Bar, are now closed.

    Or maybe a little jaunt to experience Circus Juventas. Or some music and theater (the Twin Cities is one of the nation's best theatrical communities.) Or the State Fair.

    There are also a couple of significant model railroad displays in the cities.
     
  15. Dec 28, 2015 #15

    Ispolkom

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    No, it's a special built-up course.

    FWIW, the Artist's Quarter venue has reopened as Vieux Carre, run by the Dakota Jazz Club. I haven't seen a show there, so can't comment otherwise.
     
  16. Mar 9, 2017 #16

    Maglev

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    A good hotel across the street from Union Depot is the Hyatt Place, in a recently renovated former customs building. The room was very spacious, with dramatic high ceilings. Even though they do not really have a restaurant, they were able to provide me with adequate food for dinner, and the hot breakfast was very good.
     
  17. Jul 23, 2019 #17

    dogbert617

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    BTW it's funny you mention the Big Game locomotive, since I was surprised that one of the 2 locomotives pulling my westbound Empire Builder train #7 west to Glacier National Park, turned out to be one of those special 'Big Game' locomotives! Somewhere I have a pic of that I took(may be a tad blurry but not sure, will have to relook through my pics), that I may post on here later.
     
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  18. Aug 10, 2019 #18

    NW cannonball

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    The area near Saint Paul Union Depot is changing rapidly. Hyatt Place new, nearby live theatres gone, food and drink places changing, a quarter city block across the street from the Amtrak ticketing being rebuilt with something newer and bigger and taller. But the general scene is good -- the river, plenty of "Lowertown" new pubs and food and such. The Saints stadium is near. So is the river. And transit.
    BUT the actual depot is mostly empty except at the twice a day train times.
     
  19. Oct 27, 2019 #19

    oregon pioneer

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    OK, all you Minnesotans! Hubby and I will be in Minneapolis for a conference in December, and we plan to get there a few days early, so we will have a weekend and a Monday, Dec 7-10, to explore the wintry delights. Yes, we're taking the Builder to MSP. And we will be staying at the Hyatt Regency on Nicollet Mall.

    I found some fun things to do over the weekend, but I wonder if anyone has specific suggestions? There's a skybridge system, right? And I believe our hotel is connected, so how does that work? Long walks without ever going out in the snow? Yessss! And where to eat, not too expensive?
     
  20. Oct 27, 2019 #20

    v v

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    Hello Jennifer, how are you?
    Pleased to see you are both travelling, is the conference for clean energy?

    We enjoyed our short time in MSP because it was winter. They look after the twin cities really well when there is snow, we were there in a February and almost every sidewalk is easily walkable sometimes with huge piles of snow beside them.
    The tram system was a delight to use, efficient and runs to or near to most places we wanted to get to.
    Apart from meeting up with Jeb and Chelsea we wanted to experience a city(s) that is very cold during winter, how people coped and what were these winter dwellers like. We loved the place and hope one day to go back, there is more than enough to do if you just scratch the surface of this fascinating place, but of course depends on what you are looking for as a visitor.

    Look forward to reading your trip report?
     
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  21. Oct 27, 2019 #21

    oregon pioneer

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    I will post a trip report, and also report back here about city-specific things we did apart from the train trip.

    The conference is the Acres USA Eco-Agriculture Conference. The show rotates annually among various heartland cities. We have attended in the past, when they chose one that was in a city easily accessible to us with Amtrak (it was Lincoln, IL, in 2013). We had lots of fun learning about how to grow clean, healthy food and take good care of our heritage breed poultry.

    We live in a cold place, so we have the boots, layers, and heavy coats!
     
  22. Oct 27, 2019 #22

    jebr

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    The skyway system is basically a bunch of sky bridges that are open various hours. Since the bridges are owned by the businesses, and not Minneapolis, the hours can vary from place to place. The Hyatt Regency is on the far end, so while it's handy to get to/from the Convention Center, it's fairly roundabout to get along Nicollet Mall or other destinations. That said, there's some free buses along Nicollet Mall that run every 10-15 minutes most of the day, along with numerous other buses that are 50 cents along Nicollet Mall, or included with any other transit ticket/pass.

    A few ideas for places to visit and things to eat:
    • The State Capitol in St. Paul is beautiful, and was extensively renovated a few years ago. There's tours seven days a week, or you can do a self-guided tour.
    • Go to the Guthrie - if not for a show, at least for a few minutes during the day. Up on the top floor there is an endless bridge with stunning views of the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls. Going up there during the day (during open hours) is free.
    • The James J. Hill house is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in old homes and the history of one of the great railroad titans of the late 19th and early 20th century. Tours are during the day, and they may have it decorated for Christmas by that time as well.
    • For food, there's plenty of options! Eat Street along Nicollet Avenue (just south of downtown) has a ton of tasty restaurants, many of which are fairly reasonably priced (at least for a large city.) Over near the U of M on the light rail there's Afro Deli, a fast casual restaurant with African, Mediterranean, and American food. Midtown Global Market is also worth a visit, with a number of restaurants with cuisines from around the world.
    • Continuing on the topic of food - MSP's "famous American food" is the Jucy Lucy - a burger with hot, melted cheese inside of it instead of on top of it. Where the original from is hotly contested (between Matt's Bar and 5-8 Club) but I'd suggest going to The Nook in St. Paul instead. In my opinion, they have the best Jucy Lucy in the Twin Cities.
    • There's also the Mall of America. It's...basically a giant mall. It's cool for the novelty of experiencing it, especially since it has a full-sized amusement park inside, but at its core it's mainly chain shopping and entertainment. That said, it's super easy to get to on the light rail from downtown Minneapolis; just take the Blue Line about 30-40 minutes.
    If there's any other specific recommendations that you'd like, or have any questions, please ask!
     
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  23. Oct 28, 2019 #23

    oregon pioneer

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    Ooh, thanks for the suggestions jebr! They are all good. I particularly like the Guthrie, the James J. Hill house, and the Afro Deli. The Midtown Global Market is already on my mental map -- they don't provide meals at the conference, and I am hoping it is close enough to run over for a quick bite of lunch? We're good walkers!

    I found the Metro Transit site -- looks like, as Seniors, our fare downtown is $.50 and wider range $1.00. I also found the free bus page -- and I google to find the map. If the weather is good, and we have the time, we can easily walk that distance.
     
  24. Oct 28, 2019 #24

    trainman74

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    Since I've long been a fan of "Peanuts," the last time I was in St. Paul, I made a special trip to see this building, at the corner of Selby and Snelling Avenues.

    [​IMG]

    Charles Schulz's father's barbershop was in this building, and the family lived in an apartment on the second floor. (The bar had since expanded into the space formerly occupied by the barbershop, but had a couple of items on the wall that acknowledged the history.)

    However, I just discovered that the building was torn down within the past year. :(
     
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  25. Oct 29, 2019 #25

    oregon pioneer

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    Nooooooooo!
     

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