Grab your sunscreen. Hydrate. And enjoy your Minnesota Summer! Try a game of disc golf or rent paddle boards at Bryant Lake Regional Park. Explore over 120 miles of Eden Prairie’s bike paths and hike the conservation area trails. Summer is also a fun time to explore different neighborhoods. These four “hot dates” take you just a few miles away from our fair city, with a few suggestions for something to do back at home to burn off the calories. 

A Romantic Date Night in St. Anthony Main

It’s patio season! Drop in at Jefe Urban Hacienda on Minneapolis’s prettiest street to quaff a craft cocktail and nosh on happy hour Mexican bites. Take in Mississippi and Stone Arch Bridge views. Your sundress will look even flirtier when you’re sipping on a Hibiscus Spritz or their classic fresh lime margarita which works no matter what you’re wearing. Next, take in a flick at the retro-cute St. Anthony Main Theatre. After your movie, tuck into the Aster Café’s tree-covered patio. You’ll feel like you stepped into a quaint corner of Montmartre. The cobblestones are just the right amount of uneven to be charming, service is friendly, the lighting is romantic and there’s often music after about 8:00. Say “yes” to the chocolate mousse. After a two-mile hike around Staring Lake in the morning, you’ll be halfway to even.

A Night Out with Friends on Lyndale Avenue

This one calls for a three-mile run around Rice Marsh Lake the next day, but it’s worth it! Start your night sampling brews on LynLake Brewery’s rooftop patio, situated atop the intentionally rustic historic-theater-turned-taproom. Soak up some late afternoon sun and urban views with your choice of hop-forward or malty goodness brews. Opt for one of their flagship beers or dabble in their constantly changing seasonal brews. Stroll a few blocks to the edge of Minneapolis’s Whittier neighborhood for a casual dinner at Nightingale. Encourage your friends to sample a variety of locally sourced creations by sharing several small plates and bruschettas. Double back to Milkjam Creamery in LynLake where half the fun is choosing what decadent, cleverly-named flavor you want in your Jam Bun – an ice cream sandwich inside a Glam Doll Donut. Thank heavens drawstring pants are in style!

A Family Bike Trip in Minnetrista

Pack a picnic and bring your bikes to the Dakota Rail Regional Trail. Park your car at Gale Woods in Minnetrista and start your adventure at Three Rivers Park District’s working farm. Learn about growing food and land stewardship, then dine at picnic tables boasting farm animal or Whaletail Lake views. Hop on your bikes and earn your dessert! It’s a scenic five-mile trail to Spring Park, where Minnetonka Drive-in car hops bring frosty treats to your picnic table. Pedal back and wrap up your trip with another unique stop. Big Stone Mini-golf and Sculpture Garden is Bruce Stillman’s creative gift to Minnesota’s outdoor art lovers. It’s an inventive sculpture museum and mini-golf course boasting farm animals that’s amusing for all. Your car is waiting for you across the trail. Next time, ditch the kids and venture to Sovereign Estate Winery on Lake Waconia.

A Pup-friendly Afternoon in Hopkins

Downtown Hopkins is steeped in small-town nostalgia complete with a clock tower. Pretty brick storefronts and flower baskets line Main Street. The only dress code – a leash for your pup. Claim a patio spot at LTD Brewery and ask your beertender geeky questions about the ABV, IBUs and SRM of the rotating brews on tap. Mingle with audiophiles thumbing through vintage vinyl at Mill City Sound across the street. Amble back across the street to the best “yappy hour” in town. Pub 819 offers a three-course dog menu and  “Nama-stay” yoga mats on their back patio. The frozen marrow bone will keep your furry friend busy while you sip a whiskey flight with your burger. Take him to nearby Bryant Lake for a walk and a romp at the dog park if he’s a good boy.