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.
Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the state?s storied past, the Minnesota Historical Society dutifully curates 26 historic sites and museums that help visitors delve into days of yore?from the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids to the Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfrey and Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore.
Explore the Minnesota History Center?s collection of artifacts, local artworks, and hands-on exhibits at the History Center in St. Paul, from Civil War battle flags to Prince's suit from Purple Rain. Temporary exhibits include American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, on display through March 16, and Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s, opening May 24. Mill City Museum in Minneapolis chronicles the linked histories of the flour industry, Minneapolis, and the Mississippi River, sending visitors through history as they traverse each floor on an eight-story elevator ride that depicts a working day at the mill. As a bonus, baking-lab demonstrations produce balmy bread samples and historically accurate stomach rumbles.
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.
Corralling groups for a night on the town can be difficult, as partygoers must wait for everyone to finish their drinks and grab their stuff before moving on. The team at Amsterdam Pedals helps smooth out such roadblocks with their 16-person pedal bar?a group bicycle outfitted with comfortable, inward-facing seats, a table, a cooler for BYOB drinks, and a driver to steer the whole rig. The trips cruise around the easy slopes of three signature routes, which can hit a variety of hot spots downtown, pubs and restaurants on 7th Street, or parks, where passengers can uproot and steal valuable trees. Guests can adjust their seats to suit their leg span, accommodating heights of 5 feet and taller, with three bench seats available for shorter clients. Tours can meander about St. Paul until 2 a.m., when the pedal bar must be returned to Amsterdam Bar & Hall.
In 1969, the founder of Padelford Riverboats, Captain William D. Bowell, Sr., launched the Jonathan Padelford steamwheeler into the Mississippi, hoping to bring visitors to the riverfront for leisurely jaunts. After more than 30 years of expanding his fleet and ferrying passengers along the historic waterways, he handed the reigs over to his daughters and nephew. Today, the family operates five boats equipped with dance areas, bars, sun decks, and the nostalgia that William hoped to keep alive. With the Twin Cities' skyline and the rugged, green banks of the river as the backdrop, US Coast Guard–licensed vessels float passengers past sights such as Pig's Eye Cave, Fort Snelling, and Pike Island. Some cruises also include dinner or fireworks, and special holiday cruises are also available.
Capital City Trolleys charters a fleet of vintage-style vehicles and trolleys, ushering up to 20 passengers through New Orleans's historical and picturesque streets. Certified drivers cart revelers to their desired destinations during chartered rentals, cultivating a memorable corporate outing or ride to the airport. For weddings, Capital can transport brides, grooms, and ring-bearing bulldogs around town in a classic 1952 Bentley Mark VI luxury car.