Outside fun before summer is done

By Julia Quanrud

Before you start to worry about wind-chill and buying a decent pair of snow pants, put your homework aside and shamelessly show off those tan lines while you enjoy the last of the warm weather in Minnesota.The Lakes

Several lakes dot the Twin Cities metro, my favorite being Lake Nokomis. This south Minneapolis lake is located within a good-sized park, so you’ll find plenty of trees, picnic areas and occasional middle-aged Frisbee players who are willing to school you in a game of Ultimate.

There are two main beaches at the lake, one of which has an over-priced concessions stand, but considerably more beach and swimming room. If lifeguard supervision isn’t your thing, wander along the walking path that borders the shore until you find a little strip of sand just for you and your friends. Nokomis is easily reached by bus or bike if you head west on Ford Parkway.

Ice Cream

If your only experience eating ice cream in the Twin Cities has been at Dairy Queen or Café Mac, you’re about to have your mind blown. Head east on Grand for the best birthday cake ice cream in the Twin Cities at Grand Ole Creamery.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, jump on the 21 bus to Uptown and enjoy the decadent chocolate-dipped cones at Sebastian Joe’s. It has a rotating menu of flavors like Coconut Cream Pie, as well as long-running standards like Pavarotti, a blend of chocolate chips, caramel and bananas.

Arguably the best all-around shop is located a little over a mile away on Marshall and Cleveland. Izzy’s Ice Cream has an ever-changing buffet of flavors that range anywhere from Mexican Chocolate to Summit Beer to Peach Soy. Grand Ole is probably the cheapest of the trio, but if you’re going for the full waffle cone experience, expect to spend anywhere from $5-8.

Art Meets Mini-Golf

If you weren’t around this summer, you probably haven’t heard that the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis has opened a mini-golf course. Six bucks and a student ID will get you seven holes of golf on one of two courses designed by eco-conscious artists.

After you check out the mini-golf, wander over to Design for the Other 90%, a free outdoor exhibit that showcases creative, inexpensive ways the world’s poorer “90%” can find solutions to every day problems. Both the exhibit and mini-golf are open through September 7. The exhibit can be found in the Walker Art Museum’s sculpture garden, which is always free.

The Museum is free every Thursday and the first Saturday of the month.