Local things I love

I currently live in Mankato , MN and have lived here for about 5 years now. We originally moved here for me to do my medical training (family practice residency) and planned to move back to the cities when my training was done (after 3 years). And then, Scott got a job that he really liked and I ended up really liking my job, the Mayo Health System, and Mankato in general. So, we stayed.

But, I grew up in St. Paul . My parents live in Woodbury now. And even though we really like Mankato , there are things I miss about living in the cities. Thankfully, we get up to the cities pretty frequently – especially with both grandparents living there!

After my recent trip to the cities, I got thinking about all the places and things I love in the cities and thought I would share them with you –> Especially with new bloggers coming into Minneapolis for the Healthy Living Summit this weekend!! Smile 

MOA – The Mall of America

Scott and I spent a lot of time when we were dating wandering around the mall. He could even notice when a store had closed/moved/or changed. Parking is usually annoying, but it has all the good stores and some good food options too. And in winter in MN, is a great place to go walk around!

IKEA – right across the street from MOA. Another great place to wander. The downside is the crowds are always worse than the mall.

But a great place for furniture – I think my entire apartment was furnished by IKEA in medical school.

Byerly’s—> there is no better grocery store than Byerly’s.

It is spendy, but there are always fun new things to try, fancy products, cheeses, etc. You can usually find a Caribou Coffee in them! The meat counter is drool worthy. And don’t even get me started on the bakery. . that’s where we get these little dessert from!


On second thought, it is probably good we don’t have one of these in Mankato . Winking smile And Scott just reminded me that it is the only grocery store that I know that has carpeting throughout. Fancy, right?  

Summit Ave.

a good place for a run or walk. A very special place for me, because that’s where Scott proposed. And I have done more miles than I can count up and down the sidewalks. And every time I see something new – a house I never noticed before or some good people watching. There is always a dog dish sitting outside of one house for Abby.

The Lakes – Harriet, Calhoun, Nokomis

All great running spots, general hanging out spots. Good places to eat or hang out with beautiful views, especially in the summer.

Minnehaha Falls – nice picnic spot for the summer. And the Minnehaha parkway is a good place for a run.

Pike Island

Just down from Fort Snelling , a good place for a run, walk, or to cross country ski in the winter. Abby loves to go swimming in the MN river too!

Running Room – a great place for shoes, with knowledgeable staff. . . both Scott and I get most of our running shoes here.

Trader Joe’s –> obviously I love this place.

I already go there too often, so probably another place that is good we don’t have one in town. . . but with their cheap produce, I sure wish they were!!

Café Latte (and Grand Ave. )

Local people, have you been here? If you haven’t, you have to go. Like now. Seriously. The dessert selection is ah-mazing. Oh man, I am drooling just thinking about their cake selection.

And they have awesome lunch options too. And Grand Ave is just an awesome place to go and hang out, do some shopping, get some food, and dessert. And it is just one block away from Summit Ave ! I think it might becoming more obvious why I do so much running = more cake eating! Winking smile

MN Zoo – a little spendy, but they have a wide variety of animals that are pretty cool to see.


We are Zoo members, which would be way more useable if we lived in the cities, but still worth it (for us)

Como Zoo

2 words. Polar. Bears.

They are so much fun – especially to watch them swimming. And it’s FREE (*donations accepted)!

And Caribou Coffee. . .I know that you can find Caribous all over the place now, but they started here in MN!!


Locals – what did I forget? And tell me what is your favorite thing about your city??


Filed under Recap

30 Responses to Local things I love

  1. Wow I need to branch out and run outside of woodbury. Love Moa and ikea. I used to go to Moa with friends just to walk around and people watch.
    A restaurant that Scott and I love is bulldog in St. Paul. They have amazing food, truffle fries and TONS of beers on tap.
    In woodbury I love the convenience of woodbury lakes. They just opened an olive oil store which I used to drive to Mendota for my olive oil.
    There are so many wonderful hidden jems throughout the twin cities.
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  2. I love this list! Great job! I know Whole Foods isn’t just local to MN but I would add that to the list too!
    Mmm Cafe Latte. It’s a good thing I don’t live closer to that place!
    Melanie @ BeautifullyNutty recently posted..A Surprise from Bethenny Frankel!My Profile

  3. I really want to make it down the MN Zoo this fall! I also love Cafe Latte, especially in the winter, their treats and coffee taste better when its cold out!
    Katie recently posted..How Do You Do That: Packing EditionMy Profile

  4. Ooooh noooo skip the MOA. I still can’t believe how much you love that place…. although it wasn’t too bad when we visited together, haha! It does have everything but it would be cray-cray on the weekend!! 😉 I feel there are so many local restaurants and shops and cafes that everyone is bound to find something awesome! Great list! I never made it to St. Paul too often but everyone always glows about it.
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    • KT

      I can’t believe you are a MOA hater!! It is such a good place to shop. 🙂 When you come back to visit, we will have to go to St. Paul – especially Cafe Latte. Holy. yum. 🙂

  5. Minnesota is one of my favorite places to visit! I’ve been there 3 times for work and loveeee the area. I’ve been to the mall quite a bit, but I found some pretty good restaurants last time too. We went to Punch, George & the Dragon, and the Blue Door Pub I think it was called. All were REALLY good. I need to check out the lakes more next time I go.
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  6. I am excited for a Caribou Coffee for sure, I miss them from my Midwest days
    Casey @ Salted Plates recently posted..HLS 13 Growing Your Own Food Session Live BlogMy Profile

  7. I wish I was going to have more time to spend in Minneapolis! It looks like such a great city!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted..Nutbutter Hummus & Treat Yourself TuesdayMy Profile

  8. What a fun tour of your city! Looks like some place I wouldn’t mind visiting some day.

    I don’t really have a favorite about my city. I’ve lived in RI almost 10 years now, but I really miss MA. The town I live in we’ve been in for about 5 years now. The one good thing that I love is where we live, we are convenient to a LOT of stuff. Pretty much any store we could think of needing is within a 15 minute drive. Plus it’s RI, so there isn’t really any place that is all that far of a drive. You can cross the whole state in an hour! LOL
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  9. I love your list, it looks awesome there! Living in Williamsburg, VA I love all the history there. It’s also super pretty and sandwiched between two rivers, and I love being near water.
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  10. One of my high school buddies swears by MOA during winter time as a great place to wear out little legs! I’ve never been to either city. Not sure I want to visit in winter, but Summit Ave with fall colors looks very inviting!
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  11. These pictures make me so sad… I miss MN so much!! Florida is such a different state and even though I have lived here for many years now, I wish I could live in MN! Oh and no Caribou Coffee here : (

    oh and what if you want to be really bad and get Culver’s Ice cream… yeah we don’t have that either! : /

  12. The MOA is fantastic, but I could seriously get lost in there! 😉
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    • KT

      That’s how I felt before Scott and I started dating and we spent a lot of time there – now I know where most things are!!

  13. Oh my gosh Summit Ave is my favorite part of the Twin Cities Marathon—so beautiful! I also love Lake Calhoun too!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted..Girls on the RunMy Profile

  14. Living in Duluth, MN really makes me appreciate all of the hiking trails. I think Minnesota does a great job of keeping up on the trails. I also love Panera Bread. We didn’t have it in Duluth, but it’s coming soon!!! Can’t wait 🙂 Whenever I’m in the cities, I always, always get Panera.
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    • KT

      Duluth has a lot of great trails – and beautiful scenery!! But I am super glad you guys are getting a Panera. . . I don’t know how you live without one. 🙂

  15. Wow I definitely need to save this list! I just moved to Woodbury from Nebraska and there’s so much I need to check out! See you at HLS! 🙂
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