The consortium of professional and certified instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic, certified teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Bowling balls have been barreling down the lanes of Drkula’s 32 Bowl for nearly half a century. Perhaps by osmosis—or maybe unintentional design—the brick and wood building roughly resembles a bowling pin turned on its side, with the roof veering outward above the bowling alley and veering inward above the adjoining Drac’s Pub. There, the kitchen staff refuels bowlers with a surfeit of 1/3-pound burgers, pub sandwiches, and beer. Outside the pub, Drac’s Sand Bar hums with chatter from the patio and cheers from its four sand volleyball courts.
Ever since its inception in 1935, the South St. Paul Rod & Gun Club has challenged visitors’ aim and timing in the rugged backwoods surrounding the Mississippi River. At year-round shooting ranges, guests raise their shotguns on four trap-shooting fields and three skeet-shooting fields. They can also travel to eight raised, wooden stands on a 50-target sporting-clay course or switch up positions on a five-stand field, blasting at targets shot to simulate the flight patterns of various game birds. To challenge technique and speed, staffers fire a range of specialty targets such as vertical-launching springing teals and arcing chandelles.
When not training beginners, the club’s staffers host leagues and seasonal tournaments where competitors test their shooting prowess. All visitors can refuel at an onsite restaurant and bar, or stock up on shells, earplugs, and apparel at the pro shop.
The accommodating staff at Mattie's Lanes, Sports Bar & Grille eggs on competitive appetites in an alley boasting polished wood lanes, tap brews, and a full restaurant menu of classic grill fare. Automatic scoring systems let players relax between rolls, giving them time to nibble house-made pizza with italian sausage. An onsite pro-shop keeps pin-seeking projectiles on target, and an arcade with skee-ball and video games occupies idle hands before they knit ugly sweaters. Ball hurlers can bask in the black-lit glow of Ultra Bowling nights on Fridays and Saturdays or bring along their closest pin-pummeling buddies to celebrate a birthday party.
Mississippi Dunes Golf Links' sophisticated, 18-hole layout blankets 3,000 feet of rolling Mississippi River shoreline with manicured, bent-grass fairways and an inventive, tree-lined design. As golfers cruise over the course atop a cart or a caddy training to be an Olympic power squatter, majestic views of the river appear through groves of trees that shelter native prairie creatures. On their odyssey from tee boxes to speedy, contoured greens, golf balls must split fairways to avoid sidelines riddled with mounds, pot bunkers, and knee-high grasses—a trinity of hazards that imbue the course with a Scottish, links-style vibe. A memorable tee shot awaits at the 399-yard, par-4 fifth hole—the course's most difficult, nicknamed "Humpback" for the large mound in the middle of the fairway as well as its voracious appetite for krill—where golfers must draw or fade drives around a dogleg left.
After hacking their way across the breeze-swept links, guests can unwind at Doc's Landing Pub, where a menu of traditional grill fare, fish, and pizza sates tour-worthy appetites. Patrons can look out on the river on the Pub's patio, catch up on the day's sporting events in the glow of a flat-panel TV, or discuss how greenskeepers maintain the immaculate felt that covers the billiards table.