Inside the family-owned Jumps & Downs, youngsters aged 1–10 tumble into a capacious ball pit, 5,000 balls strong—one of the many attractions that pepper the 3,600-square-foot facility. The indoor play center’s inflatables encourage airborne activities, building kids' motor skills every time they leap in one of the bounce houses, dive down the giant plush slide, or climb up the obstacle course. Groups of kids unleash cake-fueled manias on the playscape during birthday parties that come complete with all manner of festive accoutrements, including a private room, paper goods, invitations, and a copyright lawyer to make sure no scofflaw children sing "Happy Birthday" for free.
Beyond Canterbury Park's full casino and card club, the entertainment haven's 300,000-square-foot grandstand features three levels devoted to watching horses run amok on the dirt track. From the second level's stadium seating, crowds can rain roses or toss salt-lick bouquets to such superstar steeds as Sheso Dazzling, Gold Brew, and Redneck Richie. Patrons can heighten their horseracing experience with a slew of promotional events throughout the summer, including a food-truck festival on June 23 and August 10 that fills racegoers' tummies with delectable fare from around Minneapolis and a fireworks extravaganza accompanied by live music on July 3. A program lays out the day's lineup, and gambling guests can take advantage of Canterbury's online-education courses, on-track seminars, and handy wagering guide to ensure they aren't bilked by malevolent cigar-chomping stallions.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that compose America can unite in the common cause of toppling a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (up to a $4 value).
•For $10, you get $20 worth of dockside dinner and drinks, valid Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to close. •For $10, you get $20 worth of dockside lunch and drinks, valid Monday through Friday from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. •For $5, you get $10 worth of dockside breakfast and drinks, valid Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Poor Richard’s Commonhouse pays homage to the tavern's role in American history by summoning locals for conversation, drinks, and a menu of pub fare. Diners can begin meals with Prince Edward Island mussels in Sam Adams dijon cream sauce ($10.99), then use racks of St. Louis–style ribs, basted to order with sweet barbecue sauce ($14.99 for half rack, $18.99 for full rack), to play tunes written for meat-encased xylophones. Sautéed shrimp and peppers deglazed with pepper-infused vodka add richness to Vodka Diablo, a pasta dish with linguini and spicy marinara ($16.99). The house chicken sandwich comes crowned with cheese, thick-cut bacon, and zesty sriracha mayonnaise ($8.99). Diners can sip one of the daily draft-beer specials while cheering on favorite quarterbacks or referees on HDTVs.
On any given night, the crowd at McKracken’s might be gobbling up appetizers and pizza from the late-night menu, available until 1 a.m., and hanging out until the bar’s lights go dim an hour later. As regulars often stay late playing pool or watching sports on the room’s many flat-screen TVs, the pub’s proprietors team up with Last Call Car Service on Friday and Saturday nights to bring customers and their vehicles home safely for free within 10 miles of the pub.
On afternoons and evenings, bartenders pour top-shelf spirits, cocktails, and draft and bottled beers that complement McKracken’s regular menu of pub classics. Smoked pig wings come from the kitchen tossed in sauces such as habanero or mahogany, the tasty alternative to licking a coffee table, and six burgers offer protein options from veggie to pork shoulder. As groups chat during McKracken’s weekend breakfast or into the night, the remodeled space keeps them entertained with flat-screen TVs, pool tables, darts, and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Conversation at Mainstreet Bar & Grill moves in buzzing orbits around pool tables, live musicians, and big-screen and projection TVs broadcasting Minnesota Viking games. Banter slows to a halt as half-pound burgers and chicken sandwiches arrive with occasional adventurous twists, such as sliced pineapple or Cajun spices. Button-tufted red leather booths line one wall, where patrons chow down under railroad crossing signs and vintage soda signs. Thursday nights acoustic open mic shows let songwriters try out new songs when cover bands aren’t performing past hits or reading aloud from Elvis’s partially completed crossword puzzles.