The baseball world turns its attention to Minneapolis and the MLB All-Star Game this week, so I thought we would, too. I had the opportunity to visit the mini-apple last fall, and surprisingly fell in love with the area. Here are my nine – get it? nine innings – favorite things to see and do, and eat, in the city.

  1. Mall of America: First things first – I’m in no way, shape, or form a girl who likes to shop. But I must say, this mall could sway me. A bit. Its 520 shops are divided into “neighborhoods” throughout 4.2 million – MILLION – square feet. Overwhelming? To be sure. During my visit, though, I planned ahead and conquered.

    Skyway to the Mall of America.

    Skyway to the Mall of America.

  2. No Sales Tax: Speaking of shopping, if you love to do so, remember – no sales tax in Minnesota!
  3. Radisson Blu Mall of America: Adjoined to the massive mall, the hotel offers respite to worn-out shoppers, visitors and business travelers alike. Not only is its decor super hip and cool in teals and black, but guestrooms are accessible via the elevator, and only by key card, so it’s super safe, too.

    Looking down into the Radisson Blu Mall of America lobby.

    Looking down into the Radisson Blu Mall of America lobby.

  4. The Walker Art Center: The iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” is in the sculpture garden across the street from The Walker Art Center, which features permanent and traveling contemporary visual and performing arts exhibits and programs. A definite must-stop for art-lovers, or those looking for a bit of culture.

    "Spoonbridge and Cherry" at the Walker Art Center.

    “Spoonbridge and Cherry” at the Walker Art Center.

  5. Prairie Home Companion:” The perennial NPR favorite, which celebrated 40 years this season, makes its home at the historic Fitzgerald Theater in neighboring St. Paul. Though the show is traveling for the summer, it’s certainly worth planning a return trip to see!

    Garrison Keeler onstage at "Prairie Home Companion."

    Garrison Keeler onstage at “Prairie Home Companion.”

  6. Lingonberry Mosquito: No, this isn’t a deadly mosquito found only in Minnesota, but rather a tasty cocktail created and served at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, inside the Radisson Blu. The lingonberry is a nod to Minneapolis’ Scandanavian roots.

    A delicious Lingonberry Mosquito.

    A delicious Lingonberry Mosquito.

  7. Fresh Seafood: In Minneapolis? You betcha! Not only fresh fish from the area lakes, but flown in fresh from the sea daily. At least that’s how UNION Fish Market rolls. I tried the Point Judith Skate Wing. Strange? Sure. But delish!
  8. Lobster Roll: Far from Maine, I found one of the best lobster rolls I’ve ever had at Smack Shack. Order it Connecticut-style, like I did, and the roll is served warm with drizzled melted butter. My mouth is watering…

    Readying dishes at Smack Shack.

    Readying dishes at Smack Shack.

  9. Fulton Brewing Company: In the shadows of Target Field, where the all-stars will take the field to show their stuff, this family- and friend-owned and run brewery is a fave with the locals and visitors alike. I don’t care for beer, but did sip a refreshing shandy as we toured the craft brewery’s facilities. Complementing its brews are the people – really outstanding!fulton

Sure, there are plenty of other highlights to showcase Minneapolis – these are just a few of my favorites. What do you like best about the city?