Where to Stay
I cashed in my Expedia points for two nights at The Commons. I'm really glad I did; the hotel staff was wonderful and the room was great. The location was pretty nice- right in the middle of the University of Minnesota campus and also close to the freeways so it was easy to get around. The hotel itself is really pretty and parking was pretty good (we only had issues one night when there was an event but there's an overflow garage attached to the hotel as well). The room was clean and comfortable and the decor was nice. The hotel's location is also right by a lot of restaurants and cafes so there are plenty of options nearby!
What to Do
Landmark Plaza- I love the Peanuts Gang. I've had a huge Snoopy collection since I was a little girl so getting to see these large bronze Peanuts Gang statues was so cool. They're littered around the area and were so cute!
Mall of America- I'm not a big mall person (even though I really do love to shop) and really don't like crowds but Corey really wanted me to see the Mall of America just once. We didn't walk around too much but it really was pretty impressive. Bonus points- there was a Tim Horton.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory- I wish we had gone on any other day because it was literally field trip day for all the little kids! They were everywhere and it was almost impossible to walk through them in certain areas but we still had a good time. The zoo is small but well kept for and the animal exhibits are organized. Some of the animals were in the winter inclosures because it was still a bit chilly for some of them but we still got to see every exhibit in the zoo. The conservatory is really nice too- there's a great variety of plants and some gorgeous flowers.
What to Eat
Pizza Luce- So great for late night eats and surprisingly, still busy at 11PM. Corey forgot to feed me (booooo) and I was starving. A lot of the options by the university had closed already so we stopped here since it was a fave of his from when he lived in Minneapolis. We had the bruschetta and the Maximus (there's a nice late night happy hour too) and they were delicious.
T-Rex Cookies- Some of their goodies were voted the best cookies in America and after trying them, it's not hard to see why! The cookies here are the size of my face (see photo below) and they're delicious. A week later they were still soft and fresh and yummy. It's crazy!
Brit's Pub- I'm conflicted in recommending this place because on one hand, the food was good but on the other hand, the service we had that night was horrible. Our server managed to be super nice to Corey and extremely catty to me at the same time (did she not think he would notice). I think the experience was twice as disappointing because this was a place we really made a point to visit since it was another favorite of Corey's from when he lived in Minneapolis. I'd heard so many good things it was just such a bummer to be treated so poorly. At least the food was yummy!
Full details here.
Full details here.
Spyhouse Coffee- Super hipster coffee shop but without the snooty service. The coffee was great (I had the Spy Girl which has lavender and honey) and the service was fast and friendly. The prices also weren't super crazy like a lot of hipster joints.
Nico's Taco Bar- This place was a Godsend. We were having a horrible afternoon and to top it off, we were really really hangry. We randomly drove by this place and I muttered "tacos" and Corey made a u-turn and found parking so we could try and salvage our day. The service was outstanding and the food was really really awesome. We hit happy hour (yay) and got some delicious guacamole with bacon and an assortment of tacos. The margaritas were also really amazing- fruity and not crazy strong. I would definitely come back here!
Caribou Coffee- Like the Starbucks of the Midwest but so much better. They even had an amazing Cereal Milk Coffeeless Cooler that rivals the cereal milk at Milk Bar. So yummy! I had one of their fancy lattes too and it was delicious.