Midwest Mountaineering can trace its origins back to 1970, when avid rock climber Rod Johnson found himself frustrated with the lack of climbing equipment available in Minneapolis. When Johnson returned from a voyage to California with a backpack full of gear, he decided to sell his accumulated goodies to friends and local climbers out of his own kitchen, calling his operation The Johnson Company. As his business grew, so did its inventory—expanding to include tents, skis, kayaks, and canoes. Rod’s business quickly became too big for his kitchen, eventually landing at its current location under the name Midwest Mountaineering.
Today, the store continues to equip outdoor adventurers with quality gear and apparel. A cheerful blue-and-red sign splays across its historic storefront, which houses racks of apparel and specialty equipment for an array of extreme sports that includes long-distance backpacking, paddling, and ice climbing. Kayaks and canoes, which customers may try out before purchasing during regular boat demonstrations, dangle from ceilings next to life preservers, and shoes, coats, and athletic gear line the exposed-brick walls. An enthusiastic staff of outdoor aficionados stands by to offer customers tips on finding optimal products and the best clothing lines to impress fashion-conscious wildlife, as well as lead regular instructional workshops, hands-on clinics, and special events.
In 1962, Lawrence William Yanz opened Hastings Bierstube, where he dished out German delicacies such as bratwursts, Reubens, and 6-ounce sirloin steaks. After his passing in 1983, his sons, Jim and Mike, started two new locations before forming a fourth with a family friend. The sons expanded Hastings Bierstube’s already extensive menu, introducing the Taste of Deutschland sampler platter, which features a selection of wienerschnitzel, sauerbraten, and house-made spaetzle.
Along with slinging authentic cuisine, the owners send lucky diners on vacations to Germany during giveaways, which fall on special occasions such as Oktoberfest and David Hasslehoff’s half birthday. For visitors remaining on American shores, the restaurants host weekly events, including bingo, open mics, karaoke, and live music.
With towering pillars and sweeping arches, the lobby at Paragon Chateau 14 resembles an official monument to the pleasures of moviegoing. Sony 4K HD digital projection systems flash current-run films onto each screen. In addition to a fully-stocked concession stand, the theater hosts The Lot, a lounge where moviegoers can order beer, wine, and soda served in hollowed-out Golden Globes and listen to live music.
When the amusement value of people-watching starts to wear off, shoppers at the Mall of America can ascend to the fourth floor to Rick Bronson's House of Comedy for professionally dispensed laughs. In front of walls painted with off-kilter murals of the city skyline, nationally renowned comedians riff and banter on a thrust stage that makes it easy for audience members to offer hearty handshakes after each good joke. Meanwhile, guests munch pizza, burgers, and northern treats such as poutine and cheese curds. Past standup superstars include Norm MacDonald, Steve-O, Tom Green, and a who's-who of comics seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman.
Since 1956, Dick's Bar & Grill's welcoming waitstaff and suds-wielding barkeeps have filled bellies with classic American fare and frosty on-tap brews while its patrons socialize over bingo and other activities. Dick's menu brims with savory pub fare, from house-made pizzas ($9.25+) to a breaded pork tenderloin ($6.95+). Wild Turkey bourbon buffalo wings ($7.50) strum twangy tones accompanied by a percussion section of cool blue cheese. Chefs sizzle half-pound beef patties, melt monterey jack and cheddar, and stack crisp bacon slices for the Real Billy burger, sweetened with smoky barbecue sauce ($9.25). Reminisce about the days of barrel-transportation and 30-piece-choir telegrams with a cold draft beer such as local brewer Schell's dark beer ($4.50), Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss ($3.95), or Killian's Irish Red ale ($3.95).
The season finale of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra comes to a dramatic Deutschlandic conclusion, with a showcase of classical German music spanning three centuries. Join conductor, ivory tickler, and SPCO artistic partner Christian Zacharias, who has conducted both the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic orchestras, as he begins the evening with an elegant performance of Piano Concerto in D Minor by C. P. E. Bach. Zacharias will then resume vertical posture to conduct Schumann's Spring Symphony, a piece composed from Schumann's fast-flowing heart and mind during his honeymoon period with pianist wife, Clara Wieck. Enjoy this evening of joyous classical music, and attend the SPCO before the offseason starts.