Savor summer

We hate to remind you that summer is winding down and we’re hoping the warmer temps stay with us well into the fall. It’s not too late to get out and enjoy some of the best outdoor activities Minneapolis has to offer this time of year. Here’s an overview of fun ways to pass the time before the season ends.

Tube or canoe Minnehaha Creek

The scenic creek stretches from Lake Minnetonka’s Gray’s Bay to the Mississippi River. It meanders for about 22 miles through Minnetonka, Hopkins, Edina, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis.

It takes about six to nine hours to canoe the creek, according to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s website. For a special treat at the end of the ride, stop for a bite to eat at Sea Salt near Minnehaha Falls.

Before embarking on an adventure, check out a canoe route map, safety information and creek conditions at minnehahacreek.org.

Shop at a farmers market

Minneapolis is home to about 30 farmers markets, according to the city of Minneapolis’ website. Southwest has some of the most popular ones. The new Fulton Farmers Market is open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m., through the end of October. Its sibling market — the Kingfield Farmers Market — meets Sundays, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m., through the end of October, too. The Uptown Market meets Sundays, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., until the end of September. For more information about farmers markets and locations, visit minneapolismn.gov and search for “farmers markets.” The site also has a link to recipe ideas.

Hang on the beach

Minneapolis lakes had new swimming docks installed earlier this summer. Head to Nokomis, Harriet or Calhoun to test them out. Wirth Lake has a new floating boardwalk, too. Park officials have relaxed beach rules this summer to make them more family friendly. For an adventure, check out the mud pit near Hidden Beach on Cedar Lake. (Read Jim Walsh’s column on dipping in the mud in our Aug. 8-21 edition.)

Get on a bike

If you don’t have your own bike, check one out at one of the Nice Ride stations. For station locations and rental rates, visit niceridemn.org. There are a couple of new trails to visit: the RiverLake Greenway runs east-west along parts of 40th and 42nd streets — between the Midtown Greenway and the Minnehaha Creek.
The Cedar Lake Trail, a 4.3-mile trail linking downtown Minneapolis and St. Louis Park, now extends to the Mississippi River. A portion of the path cuts right below Target Field. Other great rides to try are the Minneapolis Bike Tour routes. The 2011 event is scheduled for Sept. 18. The 36-mile route runs along the Grand Rounds Byway system and the shorter 14-mile course loops around the Chain of Lakes. For maps and event details, go to minneapolisbiketour.com.


Kayak or try paddle boarding on the river

You don’t have to wait for the vision for a new kayak park north of Boom Island to come to fruition to experience paddling the river. Above the Falls Sports (abovethefallssports.com) in the North Loop neighborhood offers kayak tours of the Mississippi. For short trips, you can kayak around the channels near Boom Island, or for a longer adventure, you can paddle all the way to St. Paul.

There’s another new way to enjoy the river, too. Stand UP MN (standmn.org), a local tour company, offers tours of the Mississippi on paddle boards. Tours include local food and beverages. Many of the tours start near Psycho Suzi’s, 1900 Marshall St. NE.

Paddle or sail around the Lakes

There are so many ways to enjoy the lakes these days. You can wind surf, kayak, canoe, sail or try paddle boarding, among many other activities, on the Chain of Lakes. For watercraft rentals, head to Wheel Fun Rentals (wheelfunrentals.com) on Lake Calhoun. From Lake Calhoun, you can paddle to Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake. Stop by the Tin Fish at the Lake Calhoun Pavilion for some fish tacos and if you haven’t had a chance to try Lake Harriet’s new eatery, head to Bread & Pickle at the band shell.


Stop and smell the roses

The Lyndale Park Rose Garden near Lake Harriet, the second oldest rose garden in the country, has 100 different varieties of roses. The peak display time lasts until early October. The Lyndale Park Peace Garden, located next to the rose garden, is another great place to visit. One of the garden’s highlights is the Peace Garden Bridge — a bridge featuring granite peace stones from Hiroshima and Nagasaki found in the rubble from the 1945 atomic bombing. Another garden gem is the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Theodore Wirth Park (for more details, see page B11).

Visit Walker Art Center’s Open Field

The Walker’s gorgeous green backyard is a cultural commons space through the end of September. It’s a place to chill out, meet friends and take part in all kinds of fun activities — Sculpture Garden tours, drawing club and yoga, among many other things. You can also propose your own activities for the Open Field. D’Amico also has an outdoor Garden Grill where it serves up summer classics: burgers, potato salad, hot dog and lemonade. To learn more, go to blogs.walkerart.org/openfield2011.

Dine on the roof

It’s doubtful another city embraces the patio and rooftop dining as wholeheartedly as Minneapolis. Uptown and Lyn-Lake have some of the best venues for outdoor dining. In Uptown, the Cafeteria and Stella’s are popular hotspots.  In the Lyn-Lake area, moto-i, the sake brewpub at 2940 Lyndale Ave. S., has a cozy rooftop with a beautiful view of the skyline. Heidi’s new location at 2903 Lyndale Ave. S. also has a lovely outdoor patio.