Here are some events, places and things unique to Minneapolis and St. Paul. Some are quintessentially Minnesotan, some are charmingly out of place in the Midwest.
On the quiet, southern shore of Lake Harriet, in a small tree, lives an elf. The elf that lives in the Elf Tree will answer messages if you leave a note in the tree. Minneapolis' children also think that the elf likes candy and often leave some for the elf with their letters.
Minnehaha Falls, in Minnehaha Park, is a beautiful destination and an all-in-one geology lesson. The 58-foot-high falls are spectacular in the summer and freeze to a dramatic wall of ice in the winter. And late at night during the winter (probably because the parks department wouldn't approve) you might see alpinists climbing up the frozen falls with ice axes and crampons.
Contrary to popular belief, zombies don't just feast on brains. They also enjoy Pabst Blue Ribbon and Brain Hemorrhage shots at the many bars in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood during the nation's first and largest Zombie Pub Crawl.
This burger is Minneapolis' version of the Philly cheese steak or the New York dog. A Jucy Lucy, or Juicy Lucy, depending on the bar it's served at, is a cheeseburger with the cheese cooked inside the meat. The cheese attains volcanic temperatures and Juicy Lucys are served with a warning against scalding your face. Does the danger add to the flavor? Matt's Bar and the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis both claim to have invented the Jucy Lucy sometime in the 1950s. Which leads to the obvious question - which bar does it better? Matt's does in this author's opinion but don't let that stop you from making your own investigations.
Next to the Walker Art Center is a large public sculpture garden, which holds the unofficial icon of Minneapolis, the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. Unlike a lot of modern art, this one is plainly and descriptively named, it's a huge spoon balancing a gigantic cherry. It's all the more charmingly out of place since there's really no connection between Minnesota and cherries. This, and Minnehaha Falls, are where everyone brings their out-of-town friends for photo opportunities.
The Minnesota State Fair isn't the only state fair serving foods on-a-stick, but it has some of the most interesting ways of combining syrup, bacon, deep-frying and other forms of cholesterol into novelty and delicious fair food. And another cholesterol-related and uniquely Minnesotan attraction at the fair is the butter sculpture head of the current year's Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Fairgoers can watch the winning Princess's likeness be carved in butter.