It’s hard to believe but another school year is almost over. I thought it would be fitting to reflect on my past three years here, how my knowledge of the Twin Cities has grown, as well as how my perspectives have changed.
Thinking back towards first year, I remember how huge the Twin Cities seemed to me and how little I knew of what it had to offer. I remember how close I stayed to campus, The Blue Door Pub was probably the farthest I ever walked and if I took the bus it was usually up to Rosedale Mall, or to the light rail so I could get to the airport to go home. I didn’t know much at the time about all the beautiful lakes in Minneapolis, let alone the food scene here. I still desired though to learn more about the different neighborhoods and places in the cities. During sophomore year, I learned more about the cities through classes, clubs, and field trips. My Urban Geography class tremendously aided in my discovery of how diverse and big the Twin Cities are — granted we did have a semester-long assignment that takes you all around the Cities.
Through this class and my own experiences, I became more confident in my ability to not only navigate the Twin Cities but also the mass transit system here. Taking the bus to Uptown and both of the downtowns weren’t ambitious goals any more but realistic possibilities.
Also during sophomore year — when the weather was nice — I took the time to go out explore the cities by bike. I no longer found myself exclusively biking up and down Summit Ave, but down Summit Ave, to the river so I could go up to Dinkytown and explore all of the unique businesses, as well as what the University of Minnesota campus environment is like. Taking both mass transit as well as traversing the cities by bike gave me a unique experience and perspective that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had been riding in a car. I hope that you too have had this experience, which will only be enhanced when the Green Line opens next month.
I began to appreciate the unique and diverse ethnic neighborhoods like Frogtown and Midtown, as well as the my realization that the Twin Cities are easy to travel by bike, car, and mass transit. I will admit, having my car here unlocked a lot of opportunities that I didn’t have before. Staying here last summer gave me plenty of time to go out with friends at night and just drive around the Twin Cities.
These drives, more than anything, taught me about cities — from the restaurants, streets, neighborhoods, and all the interesting places in between. I discovered places like Hidden Beach on Lake Cedar, just outside of Downtown Minneapolis, that I ended up frequenting with friends all summer long.
This past year I continued exploring the Cities. I began to frequent neighborhoods like the North Loop and Northeast Minneapolis. Turning 21 also allowed me to discover many of the excellent bars and clubs in the cities like Marvel Bar, Parlour, and Nye’s Polonaise Bar — a Polish Bar in Northeast Minneapolis.
While I could go on about my experiences, what is important is that, while you may be tired of doing the same thing and being in the same places this time of year, you will discover new places and new restaurants when you return in the fall, or, if you are lucky, this summer. For seniors, some will stay in the Twin Cities and learn even more, for others they get to learn what life is like in a whole new city.
What’s important to keep in mind is to always be willing to try something new, go someplace new, even for the sake of exploring. You never know what you may find.
On a final note, thanks to all my readers this past year.Writing this column weekly has been a wonderful experience for me and has taught me a lot. While this is the last issue of the year for The Mac Weekly, you can always find me at lovethyneighborhood.tumblr.com
Until then, thanks for reading and please get out and explore this summer.