Hot Spots on Cold Nights in the Twin Cities
No need to shiver at home. Winter is a great time to visit the communities of the Twin Cities Gateway, located just minutes away from downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul. When temperatures drop, moods soar at these hotspots. Take your pick among these local favorite evening destinations and the heart-pumping adrenaline and foot-tapping tunes will warm you right up. Try something new. It’s the best way to cure cabin fever.
What: Inspired by the entertaining and dining options of The Great Depression and World War II eras, this live music hotspot gives the dinner-and-a-show tradition a modern spin while nodding to the past. Named “Best Jazz Club of the Twin Cities 2018” by City Pages plus “Great Jazz Venue 2018” by DownBeat, Crooners features singers that range from soloists to great bands. Meanwhile, warm up with soups, pasta, steaks, and more deliciousness.
Where: 6161 Highway 65 NE in Fridley; 763-571-9020
What: A sports bar vibe warms this space and the big screens will be tuned to Minnesota Vikings games whenever possible. On Thursdays a DJ spins Top 40 dance tunes plus requests from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Live bands play a variety of music every Friday and Saturday night. When you’re not on the dance floor, fill up on nachos, soups, broasted chicken, burgers, pizza, pasta, and a variety of hot treats.
Where: 17646 Central Avenue NE in Ham Lake; 763-434-4970
What: Warm up sitting in front of the raging stone fireplace or sipping a hot toddy at the convivial bar. The menu offers soul-warming favorites like Grandma Moe’s meatloaf, beef stroganoff, an eclectic mix of hot sandwiches, Cajun chicken pasta and other dishes prepared from fresh ingredients. Every Thursday it’s BBQ & Blues night: Enjoy ribs and brisket barbecue specials plus $5 Jack Daniels cocktails from 5 to 10 p.m. and live blues performances from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Where: 2400 Mounds View Boulevard in Mounds View; 763-786-1800
What: Old and new mix playfully here. The circa-1885 building is filled with antiques from the 1890s while the kitchen cooks up more than a million of what’s billed as “the best wings west of Buffalo” each year alongside ribs, burgers, pizza, burritos and other bites. Karaoke is staged every Wednesday and a rotation of musicians play live every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night with no cover charge. Enjoy happy hour two-for-one specials every day from 4 to 6 p.m.
Where: 213 Jackson Street in Anoka; 763-421-7522
Live Theatre & Live Music
What: Enjoy “big city theatre with hometown charm” in the heart of Historic Downtown Anoka. Take in a show (including musicals, dramas, comedies, and children’s productions) or a live music event that’s part of the “Music in the ‘Burbs” concert series. Well-known local artists performing a range of styles from bluegrass to rock to folk are featured in what’s billed as “an intimate evening of song.”
Where: 420 East Main Street in Anoka; 763-422-1838
What: Enjoy a wide range of visual and literary arts programs from exhibitions to workshops. Get an eyeful of entertainment when the gallery displays exhibitions like Suburbia (Oct. 26 – Dec. 4) and The White Knuckled Project (Oct. 26 – Dec. 4) and pick out one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at Holiday Gift mART, Dec. 10-18. Listen to an author read from his or her works as part of the free reading series, held the second Friday evening of each month. Roll up your sleeves and get creative during weekly art sessions focused on fiber arts, drawing, painting, and other media.
Where: 6666 East River Road in Fridley; 763-574-1850
What: The water’s always warm and welcoming here, and a new 7,500-square-foot expansion offers even more inviting reasons to visit. Try the new zero-depth shallow water splash pool with an engaging, interactive play structure. Or the boat slide, challenging water walk, and interactive splashing palm tree. Play water volleyball, slam-dunk basketball, or climb aboard a giant floating sea creature. A three-story water slide boasts a one-of-a-kind jukebox-type system that lets you choose from over 100 songs and enjoy a custom light and sound show during the ride. An adults-only whirlpool is a relaxing haven on the patio. Pool wristbands also grant access to the Tropical Adventure Indoor Playground, renovated and expanded to include a much larger playground area, bigger toddler area, and improved seating area for adults.
Where: 4580 Victoria Street North in Shoreview; 651-490-4700