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Summer in the (Midwest) City

Stone Arch Bridge Meet MinneapolisI’m a Midwest girl through and through. I was born, raised and educated in the heartland, and now I live in Minneapolis. If it’s one thing that Midwesterners know how to do, myself included, it’s enjoy the outdoors as much as possible during the few months it’s nice enough to be outdoors. And, in my experiences living and road tripping around the Midwest, I’ve developed a repertoire of favorite summer places in various cities.

I grew up visiting family in the Chicago suburbs and started taking the train in on my own as a teenager. The Windy City is very near and dear to my heart, and nothing beats summer afternoons on Oak Street Beach, impromptu picnics in Millennium Park, Wrigleyville bar-hopping before and after Cubs games or the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park. I have yet to try the infamous Rainbow Cone, but I’ve stuffed myself silly with every other notorious Chicago food, especially pizza. Lou, Uno, Gino, I love you all.

Summer in Milwaukee is one continuous party, as one festival turns into another, including Irish Fest, Indian Summer Festival, Riversplash! and one of the world’s largest music festivals, Summerfest. I particularly enjoy strolling along Lake Michigan and spending an afternoon cooling down inside the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by one of my favorite architects, Santiago Calatrava.

Madison is gorgeous in the summer. I especially love strolling along State Street, a pedestrian thoroughfare that runs from the University of Wisconsin to the Capitol, and popping into the many independent shops. Locavores will love the Dane County Farmers Market, one of the best in the country. And when I was a kid, every family trip included a visit to Ella’s Deli for Blue Moon ice cream and a spin on the 1920s carousel.

When I lived in Missouri, I was a regular on the patio at Flat Branch in Columbia for a nightly dose of their own Honey Wheat beer and chokes & cheese dip. In St. Louis, the City Museum is fabulous for the young and the young at heart. For a super-spooky experience, go after 10 p.m. on Friday or Saturday night when the museum dims the lights—bring a flashlight!

Now that I live in Minneapolis, I have another city’s greener areas to explore—and there a lot of them in the Twin Cities. One of my favorite activities is running downtown along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and stopping for a breather on the scenic Stone Arch Bridge (pictured above). I haven’t found my favorite patio yet to sip or snack, but the frontrunners so far are Tuggs Tavern on the Mississippi for the relaxed, backyard barbecue feel and Stella’s Fish Café for its great views of the Minneapolis skyline. Suggestions are welcome, Minneapolis readers!

My Midwest summer adventures continue this month with a trip to Des Moines. I’ve driven through the city on I-35 plenty of times, but it has never crossed my mind that there may be something worth stopping for. My colleague, Jason, assured us all this past January that Des Moines is fabulous in his blog post. I’m looking forward to discovering a new patio bar or a scenic running path!

Photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis


Don't forget Omaha. Turn right at Des Moines. Des Moines is cool, but Omaha's got a great vibe these days.

Asten on 7/9/2010 10:08:19 AM
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About Sarah Elbert

Sarah Elbert

As executive editor of Delta Sky, Sarah Elbert lassos the best writers she can find to cover the world—as well as contributing some prose of her own. Before coming to Sky, Sarah was editorial director of magazines including Northwest WorldTraveler and Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Postcards. She has been a newspaper editor, a freelance writer and an Associated Press reporter, riding with the White House travel pool (back in the Clinton days) and covering everything from natural disasters to a cat kidney transplant. Sarah has written for The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Sun—but not the NY Daily News. She now lives in Minneapolis, which she finds lovely and underrated, but does occasionally miss Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry. Sarah would like to think she could again go backpacking across Europe, and she still loves to travel, but she knows that train has left the station. It's just so much quicker to fly.

About Deborah Caulfield Rybak

Deborah Caulfield Rybak

Senior editor Deborah Caulfield Rybak interviewed the Who’s Who of Hollywood during her years as an entertainment industry reporter at the Los Angeles Times. She still prefers writing about the arts to almost any other journalistic activity, so it’s a good thing we’ve got her on that beat at Sky. She’s pocketed numerous journalism awards and co-written three books.

But that’s just her journalistic cred: she’s also worked as an FM deejay in Aspen, a speechwriter in Washington and an environmental film festival director in Colorado. She considers herself happiest when she’s out of town—and out of cellphone range. She’s hitchhiked across Kenya, spent the night atop a pyramid in Central America, hovered face-to-mandible with giant manta rays during a night dive in Hawaii and hiked the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. Still left on her to do list: Bhutan and marlin fishing.

About Liz Doyle

Liz Doyle

After a few years navigating the trenches of New York's fashion scene as a stylist assistant at Harpers Bazaar, fashion editor Liz Doyle is excited to be back in her childhood hometown of Minneapolis. When she isn't scouting the latest trends in fashion and travel, she moonlights at a local Parisian brasserie where she says "welcome" and "enjoy" a lot and occasionally tries to improve her French. Though her foray to the editorial side of the magazine industry is a new one, she welcomes the challenge and can't wait to see what this new adventure holds.

About Amanda Welshons

Amanda Hoffstrom

Associate online editor Amanda Welshons maintains the web and social media presence of Delta Sky. She enjoys using new media and exploring how different platforms enhance the reader experience. Based in Minneapolis, Amanda has several destinations on her bucket list including London, Paris and Sydney. She just spent a blissful week in St. Lucia for her honeymoon, and can't wait for upcoming trips to Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver and New York. When she’s not in the office, she's a pop culture junkie, soaking up as many movies, television shows and magazines as possible.