Places to eat, things to do, etc... in Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Chicago

I’m taking a two-week business training trip (well, technically two different week long trips one right after the other.)

The first is in Minneapolis, from Sunday, April 11th to Friday the 16th. I will be occupied with training until 3 PM (local time) each day, but if there are things to do that are satill open in the evening, like museums, local music venues, etc… then I’d be interested. I’m also interested in decent places to get dinner…the company’s paying, up to $40 a day, and since I’ll have breakfast at the hotel and lunch is provided at the training, it’s basically $40 all for dinner, so let loose with the nice steak houses. :stuck_out_tongue:

I do already have one thing planned. On Monday I’m going to the home opener for the Twins vs the Red Sox (I’m a Sox fan, and this will actually be my first Red Sox game ever!) I might miss the very start of the game (it starts at 3, I’ll get done at 3, so travel time and whatnot means I might not get there till 4, but since it IS the home opener, I forsee lots of speeches and fanfare to push back the real start time.)

A quick question regarding this: what’s the best way to get to Target Field? I’ll have a rental car, but will there be parking that’s not crazy expensive? Is public transit the best option? I’ll be leaving from Plymouth, MN, near exit 22 on I-494 (and it looks like I can easily get to I-394 from there, and I read something about an express bus service on I-394 for Twins home games?

At any rate, I leave the greater Minneapolis area Friday night and drive to Chicago. I’ll be getting in between 9 and 10 on the 16th, I hope. My company decided the best way for me to do this trip is fly to Minn., and then get a one way rental car between Minn. and Cleveland. But my Cleveland training doesn’t start till Monday the 19th, so I don’t need to check into that hotel till Sunday the 18th, so I have all of Saturday to spend in Chicago, since it’s perfectly halfway between the two and a good enough place to get a hotel for a couple of nights (I also could use suggestions for a Chicago-area hotel…they left it up to me where to stay for Fri. and Sat. night, as long as it’s around $100/night…if that’s even doable in Chicago on the weekend.)

I do plan on going to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, but beyond that, I have no plans for Saturday day. Sat. night I’ll probably be hanging out with a friend…she doesn’t live there, she actually lives in the same town as me now, but by a weird coincidence she has a job interview there on Friday, and some sort of skills/knowledge test/exam on Saturday, and she loves Chicago, so she decided to also spend the rest of the weekend there.

I’ll leave Chicago Sunday mid-day I reckon and get to the Cleveland area (the actual town is Solon) between 6 and 7. So once again, any suggestions on evening activities and places to eat is more than welcome.

Oh, and I’m a sucker for trivia nights at bars and restaurants, so if any place in Minn or Cleveland has a decent one, feel free to let me know (by decent I mean not themed, like ones that are primarily sports-related.)

Sorry for the long OP, and thanks in advance!

Not only is that the home opener, it’s the stadium opener. The Twins have a brand new stadium this year. It is an open stadium, so be sure to bring something warm to wear.
I’m guessing this is the express bus you were hearing about. It might be a problem, with you planning on getting out of your meeting after the game’s official start time. The site mentioned busses running every 15 minutes, for the 2 hours before game time. There is a Metro Transit phone number you can call, to get a person to help with your planning 612-373-3333. They should be able to tell you if you will still be able to catch an express bus.

The stadium website has lots of info on both mass transit and driving/parking options.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art has free admission except to special exhibits. I’ve only been once but it seemed really cool and I plan to go back.

Mill City Museum is fun.

The science museum is always cool and will have a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at that time.

And, as much as I hate to have to say it, there is always the Mall. ::shudders::

We usually go for cheap (but good!) eats so I don’t have high end recommendations. Eat Street is usually a good place to start. I haven’t tried most of those, but Harry Singh’s is excellent if you don’t mind spicy food. (I don’t like spicy food, but my husband loooooooooves Harry Singh’s.) If you get over to St. Paul, Everest on Grand is outstanding for Tibetan food. Get the momos. Also in St. Paul, there’s a Kurdish restaurant called Babani’s. Also excellent. And where else are you going to get Kurdish food? Broder’s is excellent for Italian. It’s a little neighborhood restaurant that has gotten really popular, though, so unless you can be there exactly at 5 when they open, expect to wait. There’s very good Afghan, excellent Brazilian, and really good, authentic Chinese food in the suburbs. The Dakota Jazz Club has both food and entertainment in downtown Mpls. That’s what I’m coming up with off the top of my head. We like to eat. :smiley:

I lived on the far outskirts of Cleveland for a while, and I don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of the city, but there are a few bits I can share.

First, IMO the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is ridiculously overpriced and kind of lame. I suppose the right sort of music fan would enjoy it, but I certainly didn’t.

If you happen to like a good brewpub, the Great Lakes Brewing Company is excellent. Their beer is very good, and they match it with exactly the right sort of savory (if heavy) Midwestern classics. Beer and sausage and pirogi, that sort of thing.

There are a cluster of pretty good (if not amazing) museums in the University Circle. There’s a decent museum of natural history, a solid art museum, a lovely botanical garden, and a few other odds and ends. They’re all in a circle around a nice park, so you can easily walk from one to another that day. It’s a great place to be if the weather is nice. But you might be a bit underwhelmed if you’ve just visited the much better museums in Chicago.

If you’re going to Target Field, you’ll be in the Warehouse District. Which means you simply must eat at Sapor- it’s a few blocks walk away. Go directly to Sapor; do not pass Go, do not collect $100. Seriously, you must eat here. It’s fantastic. I’ve been going for 8+ years and it’s always amazing. Main dishes run about $20-$25; they also have a bar menu and lots of little plates and “bites” for cheaper.

The Loop in the Warehouse District just down from Sapor is a nice bar, but can get busy and crowded. The Black Sheep is a neopolitan-style pizza place and is good (but there’s better Neopolitan pizza to be had in Minneapolis). I’ve heard good things about Bar La Brassa on the western end of the district, but I’ve never been there. It’s a higher-end eatery.

As for higher end places in downtown, Seven is a nice steakhouse not too far from the Nicollet pedestrian mall - their bananas foster is really nice. There’s also Fogo de Chao, one of those Brazilian steak houses - their meat is excellent, but I’m not 100% certain it’s worth the price. It’s certainly a spectacle, though. Vincent’s is a high-end French joint right on Nicollet and is very good. On theatre row (Hennepin Ave), Solera is a really nice tapas place that I love (but that I also haven’t been to in a while; my husband’s not crazy about it. It’s true that their service isn’t as good as it used to be).

Coming from Plymouth, it’ll take you 20-25 minutes to get to Target Field. You’ll definitely take 394. There’s a couple of huge parking ramps right next to the field that serves both it and Target Center (where the Timberwolves play), but I don’t know that it’s cheap - during basketball games, it’s $10. There’s a lot of street parking available too, but it’s only free after 6 PM (and it’s likely it’ll mostly be taken by other people going to the game). If you’re going for the home/stadium opener, it’ll be packed, so good luck to you there.

Sapor - learn it, live it, love it. Highly recommended. They’ve got a Facebook page too - my picture’s on it somewhere.

Drat, I can’t get the menu to load…maybe my flash or java or whatever at work needs updating. I’ll check it out later, but if it’s as good as you say, I’m sure I’ll be satisfied.

And I guess $10 for parking isn’t that bad, I was just afraid it’s be like $20 or $25 (I seem to recall it was close to that when I went to New Yankee Stadium last spring with my dad, uncle, and cousin.) Do you think it’d be ok to leave my car parked there after the game is over to go eat? Or are they going to wasnt me out! right away? I suppose I can ask them or try ot look it up on the Target Field website.

Thanks for the suggestions.

$200! I’ve driven and biked past there a million times. Never went in. Perhaps I should. If I don’t like it (glares) you’ll never live it down!

bouv, I don’t know if I’d really take the time to check out Sapor’s site anyway. Great food, lousy website - there’s really not much there to see anyway. (It does have their address and directions though, I believe.) But it is pretty. Their Facebook site is more active; I think it’s Sapor Cafe and Bar.

MeanOldLady, yes, yes you should. If you don’t like it, well, there’s no accounting for taste. :slight_smile: Tell Julie (one of the owners) or Topher (bartender) that Amy of Amy and Dave sent you. Not that you’ll need to - they have consistently good service, I think. But maybe it’s just because we’re there so much.

Oh, and bouv, your car’ll be fine to leave for a while. The parking ramp also gets a bunch of business from people who work downtown, as well as those who are parking there for proximity to other stuff, even when there isn’t any special events at the Target Center. They might ticket you if you leave it overnight, maybe, but they’re not expecting you to get out immediately and certainly won’t boot you.

$100/night in a Chicago hotel? Not likely…not and be a decent hotel anywhere near downtown.

OMG! Mean Old Lady lives in the same city as me?

I’m scared.

Solon is an southeastern suburb. You’re probably 30 minutes, maybe a little more, from University Circle.

If you jump on 422 West and take 271 north one exit to Chagrin Blvd., there is a fabulous Lebanese restaurant in an otherwise cookie-cutter (upscale, but cookie-cutter) shopping area. The restaurant is called Taza.

Here’s is link to the shopping area’s web site.

For Cleveland, I’m a Great Lakes Brewing fan. Also, if you’re an Asian art person, Cleveland’s art museum, though not world class overall–has an amazing Asian collection. Chicago’s a city I really enjoy walking around in. The classic tourist walk–and none the worse for that–would probably be starting in Millennium Park, up Michigan Avenue to the water-tower.

I work on Chagrin Blvd on the other side of the freeway, and I’ve heard good things about Taza, but never visited. There is also a very excellent (IMO) Thai restaurant on Mayfield (couple exits past Chagrin) called Bangkok. Their Thai Gra Pao is fantastic - order it with an egg.

My favorite Twin Cites steak spot is the St. Paul Grill, but I don’t think you are getting out of there for a $40 per diem for dinner. And its the wrong end of town for you. Most of what I know is on the wrong end of town for you.

I had an excellent and reasonably priced dinner at the French Meadow on Lyndale recently. Its sort of a hippie restaurant (one of those places where vegan dishes are on the menu, and there are salads made with organic greens), but the food is really good and pretty reasonable (i.e. you can get out for $40).

Hide your Bourbon!

I the hotel breakfast sucks in the Twin Cities, check out Hell’s Kitchen.

For your Chicago hotel, I’d start looking on websites like Travelzoo for deals. If you’re lucky you might find something for $120ish (probably not $100). Look for deals that include parking because that can easily stick you with another $40+ a night.

Well I did find a hotel in Chicago for Fri and Sat night that’s only $79/night, and it seems to be in the middle of the city? (It says just two blocks from Sears Tower.) I’ll have to make sure to check on parking, though…but I think I can have a seperate parking reimbursment as long as the actual room is still less than $100.

I second Hell’s Kitchen.

Spill the Wine is also a nice restaurant in Minneapolis.

I think you’d be surprised. I would try one of the Club Quarters Hotels first, Rates are as low as $79/night, and from the reviews I’ve found, they’re really well regarded. There’s also the Travelodge and Congress Plaza Hotel, which doesn’t have as good a reputation, but are both usually under $100/night.