Much Different Mississippi In Minnesota

I learned last weekend that the Mississippi River is neither mighty nor muddy in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but it is quite scenic.

I learned last weekend that the Mississippi River is neither mighty nor muddy in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but it is quite scenic.
Lisa and I spent last weekend in the Twin Cities of Minnesota for the annual gathering of the National Newspaper Association.
There were few places you could go in Minneapolis or in neighboring St. Paul, where our hotel was, that the river doesn’t dominate the scenery. The water is relatively clear and the river in most places appears narrow enough to easily swim across, nothing like the rolling,  muddy water we see along the western border of our great state.
I was surprised by the Twin Cities, having always envisioned the appearance of one city, split by a river, with different names on each side. Similar to Carrollton and North Carrollton in Carroll County. It’s hard to know when you’ve left one and entered the other unless you take notice when you cross the bridge over the Big Sand Creek which divides the two towns.
The divide between Minneapolis and St. Paul is more like 10 miles of 8-12 lanes of interstate, sometimes winding around the Mississippi River. The skylines of both cities dwarf that of Carrollton as well, to say the least.
Minneapolis is a large modern city with a population of more than 370,000. St. Paul is smaller by Minneapolis standards, but its skyline and population of more than 280,000 dwarfs any Mississippi city.
Among our many highlights of the trip was a visit to the Mall of America and its 500-plus stores. We parked on the Hawaii level of the parking garage – each level of the different garages was named for a different state.
The mall itself wasn’t all that different from any other mall you would visit, except that it’s 10 times larger and has a kiddie amusement park in the middle. That didn’t hold my attention for long, and like any other mall, I was ready to escape far sooner than I could track down my wife.
We fit in numerous other shopping trips to the Galleria at Edina, the Nicollett Mall through downtown Minneapolis, and several other stores in both downtowns that Lisa found irresistible.
As always, two highlights for me were the evenings out at two of the top restaurants in the area.
The first night, the Mississippi delegation of Mississippi Press Director Layne Bruce, Brook-haven Daily Leader Publisher Bill Jacobs – an NNA board member, Bay St. Louis’ Sea Coast Echo Publisher Randy Ponder, Lisa and I hit Zelo – a trendy fish and steakhouse restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.
The next night we were at the St. Paul Grill, just a short walk from our hotel. The food was only topped by our company each night. The “bone-in filet” at St. Paul deserves special kudo’s. 
The best meal of the weekend may have come at a small French cafe on a sidewalk in Downtown St. Paul one afternoon.
Lisa and I were touring the city by foot and  had an upscale burger and fries, of all things from a French restaurant, that was as good as I’ve ever eaten.
There was so much more we wanted to explore in the area, only to run out of time.

You may email Joel McNeece at

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