While the trees outside have yet to bloom, the 8th Floor Auditorium at the Macy’s Downtown Minneapolis is filled with lush plants and flowers. Featuring an “America The Beautiful” theme this year, guests are transported throughout the country with various vignettes showcasing plants from specific regions including the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, New England and the Rockies. There’s an audio tour guests can follow with their own phones and earbuds, plus the flower display has a plethora of photo opportunities for photographers and instagrammers.
Open from March 20 to April 3, the annual flower show has been a classic spring event and a must-see for Minnesotans for decades. Perfect for brightening the dull and gloomy rainy days that will eventually make way for lovely spring weather, the flower show offers a gift shop with flower-themed merchandise, as well as treats. During the event, there’s also in-store flower-related events including a watercolor workshop and chef demonstrations.
It’s ideal for checking out on your lunch break or taking a family trip downtown!
In honor of Holy Week, this week’s Minnesota Mondays feature is about the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Perched high on the hill overlooking our capitol city, the beautiful structure was completed in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historical Buildings in 1974.
Situated at the corner of Summit and Selby Avenues, the Cathedral offers gorgeous views of the city from its steps. But perhaps the most breathtaking feature of the structure is the interior. There’s an Ernest Skinner organ in the sanctuary and a Aeolian-Skinner organ in the choir loft, plus ethereal stained glass work by Charles Connick. The sanctuary is surrounded by the Shrine of Nations, while the altar features seven bronze grilles demonstrating God’s grace.
Glorious from every angle, the Cathedral of Saint Paul is worth a visit. If you’re timing is right, you’ll hear the bells ring!
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this week’s Minnesota Mondays post is all about one of the state’s best Irish pubs!
There’s a reason this St. Paul establishment has been around since 1941—the food here is down-home-delicious and the atmosphere combines the feel of an Irish Pub with a local hometown atmosphere. The menu features a variety of American and Irish options, but my favorite is the Fish & Chips. Perfectly beer battered and served with a side of fries and coleslaw, O’Gara’s Fish & Chips are reminiscent of some of the best pubs in Ireland. Looking for something a bit meatier? The Shepard’s Pie is pretty delightful too.
O’Gara’s Fish & Chips
O’Gara’s Shepard’s Pie
In addition to the menu, the restaurant’s game room was once the home of Carl Schultz’ Barber Shop. He lived along with his son Charles Schultz (the creator of Peanuts) in an apartment above the barber shop. The restaurant features a variety of photos and Peanuts memorabilia, including a Snoopy drawing created especially for Dan O’Gara.
Can’t make it to the original location? You can also grab some classic fare to go at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport—Terminal 1 or enjoy special menu items and live music at the Minnesota State Fair at the corner of Dan Patch Avenue & Cosgove Street.
If you’re interested in the history of Minnesota’s suburban sprawl, the 1950’s or love anything related to Dayton’s Department Store, the Suburbia exhibit at the Minnesota History Center is a must-see.
Household Appliances and a Hope Chest
Chevrolet Station Wagon
Inside the suburban house
The display showcases how the Twin Cities’ suburban areas began including everything from floorpans of typical housing developments to interior design advertisements, a Chevrolet Station Wagon (which had me thinking of “See The USA in your Chevrolet”), plus a kitchen/living room reminiscent of the time including a council TV and a refrigerator that opens with display foods.
But for me the highlight of the exhibit is the Southdale Mall display. When it opened in suburban Edina back in 1956, the mall was the largest fully enclosed shopping center of its kind. It was filled with a variety of stores including a Red Owl grocery store, Dayton’s and Donaldson’s. There were several photos along with a variety of merchandise on display from when the mall first opened.
Seeing all of the merchandise was fascinating…I love the iconic fashion of the 1950’s but what really made my heart sing was the Dayton’s shopping bags. If you’re from Minnesota, Dayton’s is the store you went to for special occasions, the Eigth Floor Christmas display and the Bachman’s Spring Flower Show. For me, it’s where I went for special shoes and dresses for everything from First Communion to Graduation. Unfortunately, the stores were purchased by Macy’s…so the legendary department store locations are just shells of what they used to be, but the Suburbia exhibit made me remember all the lovely years and all of my Dayton’s memories…I’d give up all the other department stores in the world to have the Minneapolis Dayton’s back to what it was!
The Suburbia is a great limited time exhibit open until March 20. I highly recommend checking it out—and I would so love to see the Southdale collection become part of the permanent collection…
With the end of Downton Abbey fast approaching, my desire to get to Highclere Castle has only grown. But until I can get back across the pond, there’s a very special place in St. Paul I can visit to get a taste of Downton—the James J. Hill House, which has recently become known as “Minnesota’s Own Downton Abbey”.
Built by railroad baron James J. Hill in 1891, the magnificent mansion is perched on a hill on Summit Avenue overlooking downtown St. Paul. Stepping inside takes a person back to the Gilded Age. Featuring a grand staircase, fine woodwork by master carver Johannes Kirchmayer and an impressive three-story George Hutchings organ, visitors gain an understanding about high society at the turn of the century.
In addition, there’s a servant’s hall in the basement, along with a fine dining room with a wooden screen for servants to stand behind and go unnoticed. The grandness and the history is fascinating, and James J. Hill’s role in building our nation’s railroads makes it not only a Minnesota treasure but a national treasure as well.
It’s the perfect place to go when you’re needing a bit of a Downton-esque experience.