Northern Vineyards is a shared winery owned by the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative, a group of winemakers who own 1- to 15-acre vineyards across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Members grow Frontenac, Prairie Star, and other grape varieties that perform well in the region; since the region has a cold climate and short growing season, grapes grown here must tolerate lower temperatures, ripen early, and be able to knit their own woolen mittens. In the fall, growers lug their mature grapes to the main winery in Stillwater, where award-winning winemaker Robin Partch transforms them into 30 kinds of wine.
The winery’s barrel room hosts wine tastings seven days a week at a glossy, wooden tasting bar. There’s also an outdoor deck that overlooks a historic lift bridge along the St. Croix River. In nice weather, visitors can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with a glass of wine on the deck.
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.
Pump It Up's Inflatable Party Zone balloons kids’ excitement with an enormous playspace that welcomes open-play sessions and private parties. Tots 34" and taller run and leap in huge bounce houses, soar down an inflatable slide, and practice for future zero-gravity triathlon events in a bouncy jousting arena and basketball court. Various open-play sessions give kids of all ages free rein to the fun zone while accompanying parents stand by to officiate bounce-house property-line disputes. Pump It Up also boasts myriad celebratory and special-event shindigs, with friendly staffers supervising jumpers, and serving pizza and favors in a vibrant party room.
A non-profit organization, the Irish Fair of Minnesota vibrantly shares cultural heritage by providing a summery celebration of all things Irish. Today's deal grants Emerald Isle lauders access to a plethora of concessions, whiskey and beer tastings, and pub fare to sate bellies as they explore the expo. The Liffey and Cooper Pub tempts tasters with a Irish stew ($6), but those whose carnivorous hankerings are inclined toward other meats can tuck into corned beef and cabbage rolls ($5) at Claddagh Irish Pub. Kieran's Irish Pub warms up shamrockers with fish and chips ($7), while Maggie's Irish Cookies' baked oatmeal and chocolate chip confections ($1 each, $10 baker's dozen) sweeten meals quicker than a lick from a gummy bear.
As the only on-site brew-it-yourself brewery in the Midwest, Vine Park provides almost all necessary equipment (wine, corks, helpful services) for a fun batch-brewing session for up to three people per kettle. Like a finely aged bag of chocolate cheese-puff mix, blended fruit wines take only 30 minutes to prepare but can be enjoyed after six weeks of aging. Savor flavors such as peach apricot chardonnay, wildberry Shiraz, or pomegranate zinfandel after completing the brewing supervised by a friendly brew coach’s expert eye (his left eye). After a half-hour wine-blending session, wine batches will ferment for six weeks before being bottled into 28 to 30 bottles. Bottles are not included with this Groupon (they cost $1.40 each, and a batch big enough for this session costs $42), but you are welcome to bring your own clean bottles and Vine Park will help you sanitize them onsite. This Groupon can also be used to upgrade to a regular wine brewing.
When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Over the past 70 years, Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked on site, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu remains the same. Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.