Though they've only been leading paddling tours for a few years, the certified guides of Stand Up MN have already helped thousands of people explore the Twin Cities' local waterways up close. After equipping their guests with standup paddleboards, personal flotation devices, and ample training, they embark on trips along the quiet stretch of the Mississippi River that cuts through their urban landscape.
From St. Paul, groups glide under bridges and pass idyllic natural areas—and from Minneapolis, they can take a break from paddling to high-five low-flying birds from a rope swing over the water. Stand Up MN also leads extended paddling tours to Taylors Falls, where state parks and tumbling waterfalls abound. These excursions are complemented by the company's special events, which include speed-dating events at which participants spend most of the time hanging out while paddleboarding.
Water cascades over the precipice of a towering rock face, forming an elevated waterfall that overlooks the 18-hole circuit at Malt-Tees Mini Golf (formerly known as Adventure Gardens Mini Golf). Featured in CBS Minnesota's Best Things to Do in Richfield, the course winds through a labyrinth of colorful gardens and flowing streams, which players navigate via a system of bridges and putter pole-vaulting challenges. After rounds, appetites piqued by celebratory putter-gnawing can find relief at the concession stand, which serves up frozen desserts, drinks, and light snacks.
SweatShop's Stott Pilates-certified instructors focus on client goals and customized results inside a positive and friendly exercise environment. During Pilates mat classes, students work out using props such as foam rollers, bands, and weighted balls. A 12-class beginning mat program meets three times per week for four weeks teaching neophyte noggins the Pilates basics. Those with some Pilates training can try experienced classes, which place a longer list of demands on one's core. Benefits from Pilates’s controlled, core-strengthening movements include improved posture, skeletal alignment, and the ability to finally balance work, play, and a half-dozen lemons at the same time. Mat classes are scheduled almost every day of the week, and SweatShop provides child-care on select weekday morning and evening hours and Saturday mornings.
A five-minute drive from downtown, Uptown’s public spaces entice visitors with bike paths, sculpture gardens, and locals blasting impressions of Björk's pet swan over a megaphone. Nearby, rented canoes crisscross Lake Calhoun’s calm waters, and restaurants serve eclectic cuisines from fresh seafood to Japanese cuisine on outdoor patios. Visitors to Uptown can feast on American fare at restaurants such as Primebar, which serves up sandwiches, steak, and seafood with largely local brews; The Herkimer Pub & Brewery in Lyn-Lake, known for its small batches of craft beer; and the Uptown Cafeteria, offering trendy contemporary meals. Evenings out at Bar Louie tempt guests with martinis, margaritas, and other cocktails accompanied by pub food, and Chino Latino delights palettes with dishes small and large, spicy and explosive. Wayward mermaids dining at Stella's Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar can enjoy a feast fit for the sea with raw, grilled, and baked items, or step on shore and visit moto-i in Lyn-Lake to sample the food you’d find on Japanese streets.
The underwater experts at Air Down There SCUBA know that exploring the ocean’s depths can be both challenging and exhilarating. That’s why they fill their safety-focused dive shop with a dizzying array of SCUBA and snorkel equipment, arming clients with wetsuits, tanks, and dolphin-attracting flutes. Air Down There SCUBA offers a wide range of classes from beginning SCUBA all the way through technical and professional level certifications.