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A Minnesotan’s guide for Virginia fans at the Final Four

RICHMOND, Va. — You may not know much about Minnesota and depending on your travel plans, you might not even spend 48 hours in my home state. But, if you’re planning on staying through Monday to (hopefully) see UVA cut down the nets at U.S. Bank Stadium, you will need a to-do list.

I was raised in a suburb south of the Twin Cities, and have been to all of these locations either during that time period, or on my return trips once or twice a year. So, if you aren’t watching the game on CBS 6, here are some things to do in the Twin Cities before and after tip-off.

Places to drink beer:

Surly: In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton signed what was nicknamed “The Surly Bill,” allowing beer to be served at breweries. It was named for Surly Brewing Company. You will not find this beer on sale in Virginia. They have a beautiful beer hall and restaurant headquarters, with large indoor and outdoor spaces.

Order a Furious (my favorite) or a Coffee Bender and enjoy cornhole outside, or pizza upstairs. Surly is very kid-friendly.

Other great spots:

Indeed Brewing Company (Great location!)
Insight Brewing Company (Just a few blocks from the Norseman Distillery)

Places to drink liquor:

Norseman Distillery Cocktail Room: Probably not the first reference to Scandinavian people or culture you will see in the city (Skol Vikings!). Norseman Distillery has an incredible space, and great cocktails. A visit will be a great addition to your Instagram page.

Other great spots:

Lawless Distillery (Great atmosphere)
The Commodore Bar and Restaurant (A favorite of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)

Places to spend an afternoon:

The Mall Of America: If you’re staying near U.S. Bank Stadium, you can hop on the METRO Blue-Line light rail and take it to the Mall Of America. The mall is huge, bring comfortable shoes! The Nickelodeon Universe theme park in the center of the mall hosts both gentle rides and exciting coasters. I spent two summers running rides like the ferris wheel and the scrambler. It was fine. There is also an IKEA next door.

The Science Museum of Minnesota (Very fun exhibits for people of all ages)

Places to eat:

Matt’s OR The 5-8 Club: It’s a friendly rivalry over a burger style you won’t find on many menus outside of the state. A Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy) is a burger made with cheese stuffed inside the patty. It becomes a volcano of molten cheese after the first bite. It’s delicious, but you may have to wait a few minutes for it to cool before digging in. At my high school, many claimed Matt’s was best. You’ll also find this burger on the menu at other bars and restaurants.

Other great spots:

Keg And Case (A very new, very cool indoor market with food and shopping. Great place for a souvenir!)

If you’re FANCY $$:

Bar La Grassa (Try several of the bruschettas, seriously)
Bachelor Farmer

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