With a passion for boating the waters of Lake Minnetoka to take in views of the region's natural beauty and lush green landscapes, Wayzata Bay Charters' owners charter their 60-foot lake cruiser to make the experience accessible to all. The owners decked out their two-level cruiser—which can host up to 60 people—with a full bar, two satellite TVs, satellite radio, a 2,000-watt sound system, and enough helium balloons to keep both the boat and the party afloat. Believing a jaunt on the lake makes for an ideal event whatever the occasion, they've designed packages specifically for weddings and bachelorette parties, and they still offer public cruises to assure everyone has a chance to take to the water.
Since 1985, the experienced captains and crews at Paradise Charter Cruises & Minneapolis Queen have been shepherding guests along the azure surfaces of Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River. Their fleet of five vessels steers customers around the area while accommodating them with full-height glass windows, enclosed outer decks, bar and restaurant options, and karaoke performances by prize-winning big-mouth bass. Boats glide along the coastline of Lake Minnetonka, catching sights of small lakeside towns, and down the Mississippi River to the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, Saint Anthony Falls, and the setting sun.
Tour de Cure raises money to benefit the American Diabetes Association by sponsoring bike tour events in 44 states. Events include rides of various lengths ranging from 7 to 100 miles and support riders with rest stops and snacks to keep them fueled. Riders with diabetes get to wear Red Rider jerseys and lead the events through farmland, down city streets, past waterways, and over daunting hills. At the finish line, festivities include live music, lunches, vendor booths, massages, and activities for kids, depending on location.
Despite spinning's reputation for being an intense workout designed for the super fit, CycleQuest Studio's classes welcome students of all shapes and sizes as long as they bring the willpower to pedal. Unlike full-service gyms or the Addams Family mansion, the practice space is refreshingly minimalist with just a few rows of bikes with magnetic mechanisms that churn out a quiet hum, a couple of TVs that play motivating clips of the Tour de France, and locker-room facilities. During calorie-burning rides, Mad Dogg Spinning–certified instructors play their favorite upbeat tunes to give hearts something to pump to, and some classes incorporate strength-training exercises to balance calorie burning with muscle building.
Successful restaurateur Supenn Harrison made her first foray into the restaurant business more than 30 years ago, when she bought a burger joint in the Twin Cities. For Supenn, slinging patties wasn't enough to satisfy her love of the culinary arts; the Thailand native and former teacher quickly traded deep fryers for woks and opened her first Thai restaurant.
She eventually launched the first Sawatdee in 1983 in an abandoned warehouse, transforming the unlikely setting into something you might see in the heart of Bangkok, with gold-leaf ceilings and traditional artwork. Now, Supenn owns seven Sawatdee restaurants throughout Minnesota and has expanded the menu to include sushi dishes. Besides sharing her culinary skills through hands-on cooking classes, Supenn has disseminated her authentic Thai fare by catering birthday celebrations, family reunions, and the Rolling Stones' anti-retirement party.
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.