Tag: Highland Park
The big deal in St. Paul is, of course, the Taste of Minnesota fireworks display. In years past, the Taste has popped off fireworks on each night of the festival, but this year they are only doing one display on the actual 4th, so it ought
to be a doozy. I for one, am not a big fan of standing in a massive crowd on a hot summer night, so I’ve whipped up a quick guide on the best “secret” places to watch fireworks in St. Paul — without having to brave the crowds.
1. Highland Reservoir: The man-made hills that lie beneath the big blue water towers near Snelling & Ford Parkway double as additional water storage, but neighborhood peeps know that sneaking up onto the top of the reservoir on the 4th of July is pretty awesome. A perfect view from the highest point of Highland Park, seeing the Taste of Minnesota fireworks is easy, breezy and unobstructed. You’ll surely run into more people from the neighborhood up there, but it’s a large, flat surface with plenty of spreading-out space.
3. Smith Avenue High Bridge: Avoid the fray of the Taste while still reveling in the camaraderie of your fellow
Americans on the High Bridge this 4th of July. One of the couple bridges that connects West St. Paul to Downtown, the High Bridge is a perfect place to leisurely watch the ‘works. Plenty of other neighborhood folks come out to watch from this classic landmark located on Smith Ave & River Road, so you’ll still get in your people watchin’ minus the claustrophobia.
2. The tops of parking ramps: This may require a little recon to find the best spot, as ramps change their policies frequently. You need to find a ramp with an open air roof. Most ramps are designed this way unless they are built into a building or underground. You’ll just need to check the ramp’s hours and make sure you can see the river from your vantage point. There are many ramps that dot the landscape of Downtown St. Paul along Kellogg. Once you get closer to the edge of Lowertown they become pretty cheap too. Surface lots further down along the river are probably a good bet too. $5 for a stampede-free fireworks experience? We can deal. (costs may vary the closer you are to the Taste).
St. Paul’s got your nightlife and music needs covered this weekend. Check out the highlights of Thursday, July 16 through Wednesday, July 22:
Fancy Ray and John Conroy at Station 4
If the name Fancy Ray doesn’t seem familiar, his face will. Chances are you’ve seen him hawking products in local commercials looking like a dead ringer for Little Richard, for which he’s become relatively well-known since the mid 1980s. When he’s not being a TV pitchman, running for governor of Minnesota (which he did in 1998), or auditioning for realty TV shows like America’s Got Talent, the self-proclaimed “Best Looking Man in Comedy” also happens to have a comedy act. Though his slapstick act may elicit more groans than belly laughs, it’s worth seeing for the sake of witnessing a longtime local fixture. (8 p.m. Free. 21-plus. 201 E. 4th St., St. Paul. 651-298-0173.)
Also Thursday: Renowned folk singer Arlo Guthrie at the Fitzgerald Theater…Music in Mears featuring The Melismatics in Mears Park…The University Of Minnesota’s Noontime Concert Series featuring Chris Koza at the St. Paul Student Center…Golden Animals, The Suits and Hildur Victoria at the Turf Club.
As much fun as we have doing things together as a family, St. Paul offers us a chance to have some fun when just hanging out with friends , without having to leave the area. For me, I rarely even need to leave Grand Avenue. It’s a street that I consider the perfect locale for a “Split up Session”. My guy friends and I can find a game on TV at one of the great bars and restaurants. Or sometimes we just enjoy a beverage on one of the pub patios while our wives check out the what they call “too cute” shops all along Grand.
Since St. Paul is my neighborhood, here’s by “Best of” list for spots around town:
Best burger joint- The Nook
Best place to go have a beer and strike up a conversation at the bar- Groveland Tap
Best get dressed up and have dinner place- The Lexington
Best breakfast served til 2:30pm- The Grandview Grill
Best street to go take the kids for a walk- Along Mississippi River Boulevard
Best place to go sledding- on the huge hill across from the Town and Country Country Clubhouse
Best summer programs- St. Paul Parks and Recreation Urban Tennis
Best arena- Xcel Energy Center (I’ve been to over a hundred different arenas in the country and this is one of the best)
Best way to enjoy the river- Paddleboat ride from Harriet Island
Best Mom/Dad overnight trip away from the kids- Saint Paul Hotel with a do not disturb sign
-Matt Thomas is the primary host of Twins baseball coverage on AM1500 KSTP. Listen to him on AM1500 as you drive to the stadium. Look for him broadcasting live from the plaza when you head into the ‘dome.