Mid-America has never been on my To-Travel list, however a cheap bus ride plus the opportunity to meet a good old friend made me re-consider. Whenever I thought of Minnesota, images of …  basically nothing popped in my head. From what I was told by my friend KP, a native of Minneapolis, it didn’t seem too different from central Canada.
horse sculpture created by Kristen Piersa
Who knew a MegaBus ride from Chicago to Minneapolis would only cost $1.50!? Well, that was the first sign that I was destined to visit the home of the Vikings. The 8 hour bus ride felt nothing longer than about 3 hours due to the free wife and power outlets provided. This was definitely a HUGE difference to my previous experiences of travelling by bus in Asia .
hanging out in Minnetonka

My friend KP was my generous host. As a local artist she knew where to take me to get the real perspective on this state. I learned that Minnesota is where all the hippie artists went and as a result, it’s a living alternative art community. I had the opportunity to experience Minnetonka, which is rural Minnesota, an area filled with rich acres of horse ranches, barns, lakes, artists (new and old) and sculptures.

The landscape was beautiful even on a chilly November day and made for a great day of photo snapping.

Minneapolis is also home to the Walker Art Center, considered to be one of the top 10 galleries of the nation. It’s free on Thursdays after 6pm and you definitely need to have an open mind about art when walking in. The gallery is filled entirely of installations which are meant to evoke your emotions and abstract art. It was a unique experience to say the least!

the sculpture park                                                                                                                             The Walker
Across from the Walker is the Minneapolis sculpture garden which is 11 acres of local art, including a greenhouse. It’s fun to roam around, and an ideal spot for photo snapping. Plus it’s free and outdoors. Aside from all the art that there is to explore, the happy hours at the local pubs are pretty great. I finally had a chance to try fried pickles and fried zucchini, apparently typical pub grub in America. The bars here also serve more local beers which is refreshing. My favourite was Summit which has different brews for different seasons.
Downtown Minneapolis

Minneapolis is divided into uptown and downtown. There are pockets of ghettos in this city and the largest migrated population of Somalis are located here (fun fact!). It was a lot more multicultural than I had anticipated for a mid-west city.

Being here I also realize that Minnesota folks aren’t much different from their neighbours in the north. Besides, the state is directly north of Manitoba, and the accent and culture is very different from what I have so far experience in America.

KP insisted that I could not leave Minneapolis without trying a Juicy Lucy at Matt’s Bar, a typical American bar located in a small neighbourhood. Really, I felt like I was in a movie!
Well, one bite and I knew why everything was bigger in America! Beef patties with melted cheese inside the patties… YUM!

Minnesota exceeded all of my misconceptions of this state. It felt like home due to the cold yet still foreign (maybe it was the accent and the Mexicans! btw, how do they handle this cold?!).
Unfortunately the most popular tourist attraction in this state is the Mall of America, the largest mall in the country with 500 stores. And yes, I checked that place out too.. more than once.

my host KP and her inspirations

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