School is out, or close to it anyway, and the time has come to start planning out all your summer fun! While I have a lot of ideas and more posts to come about that, I want to focus this post on road trips. Not just any road trip, but the one my little family took over spring break. As I share the adventures we had in Minnesota, I will share some of my tips and tricks for road trip vacations that have worked with our family and all the road trips we have taken.
This road trip to the North saw us enjoying time at Mall of America (my ten year old had it on her bucket list, ha!), exploring a beautiful sculpture park, and testing out some local breweries and donut shops. Usually our road trips are just with our little family, but we decided to ask the Grandmas to come along for this adventure too. Before I jump into our adventures, let me just say this: I am a planner, like down to each meal and I have my lists of adventures and pit stops at the ready (Hello Pinterest). However, there are times when it is best to just roll with the road and see where the adventure takes you.
So, off to Minnesota we go! Tip: We packed a large bag of snacks and a cooler full of drinks. This saves both money and time as you head out to your destination. Once we settled in for our first night there, we decided to test out Northbound Brewpub for dinner and taste some local craft beers.
Our first full day there we tackled the Mall of America head on and never looked back. This first day had us enjoying Nickelodeon Universe and Hard Rock Cafe. For us, it made the most sense to purchase the all day arm band since we had never been before and wanted to get the most out of it.
After we had all the fun we could, it was time to settle down and enjoy our evening. This second evening took us to Blue Door Pub, famed by Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It did not disappoint! The Juicy Lucy (Minnesota famed cheese stuffed burger) and the fried green beans were amazing! Definitely worth that juice running down your arm.
With our adventure at Nickelodeon Universe feeling complete, we headed back to the mall to enjoy everything else it offered the next day. From candy stores to the Crayola Experience, there was just as much to do walking the mall as there was in the amusement park. We enjoyed the large Lego store and found some new to us stores that were so much fun. They do offer SeaLife Aquarium there as well, but we enjoy this in KC so decided to stick to what we cannot enjoy at home.
That afternoon we headed to a local sculpture park and art museum to see what else Minneapolis/St. Paul offered besides the mall. It was a great way to relax a bit and decompress from what is Mall of America. After we enjoyed the art in the park we decide to head to an industrial area where a great little brewery was hiding. Urban Growler grows all their own herbs on site and has great farm to table food. The beer was great too.
Our final day in Minnesota was one that has no pictures to show, just the memory. We took a little trip outside Minneapolis and visited Paisley Park and paid homage to Prince. This was worth the drive, the money, and is a must do for anyone that loves music. It was informative, interactive, and left you wanting to jump into a little red corvette. With the music of Prince filling our hearts we headed out to the one brewery that everyone mentions when you say you are going to Minnesota, Surly. There is a reason this is the one everyone mentions. It is industrial and cozy at the same time with a great setup for kids to enjoy some fun right along with the adults. The beer selection is great and the food is delicious.
As our trip comes to a close, it was great knowing we created not only memories with our daughter, but also with our moms. When you plan a trip, especially a road trip, you think you have everything planned out. While we did hit most of the restaurants and breweries I had written down, there were ideas I had that no longer existed both in the mall and around town. This is where it is best to relax and enjoy where the trip takes you. Which is exactly how we found a cute little breakfast place and a great donut shop, neither place were on my radar but they were exactly what we needed when we found them.
Enjoy your summer and the vacations you plan, but learn to enjoy the changes and new places you find along the way. If you ask me about Minnesota vacation tips, I will tell you this: Yes, go to Surly and the Mall of America. Yes, get yourself to Paisley Park then enjoy a Juicy Lucy burger somewhere. Most of all, just enjoy the adventure and listen to locals as they tell you their favorites because most of the time they know what they’re talking about.