My friend and I are leaving on our annual Baseball Trip in a couple of weeks. We go from town to town (many of which we’d have no reason to visit otherwise) seeing baseball games and enjoying the local flavor.
Our usual MO, to avoid drinking and driving, is to lodge within walking distance of the ballpark, and finding taverns and whatnot in the neighborhood for after the game. In most cases we’ll arrive in town a few hours before game time, and thus can do some exploring by car at that point.
So, I’m asking anyone familiar with these cities to recommend places to see and visit while we’re in town. Welcome suggestions include great bars near the ballpark; local diners, drive-ins and dives; unique points of interest such as the World’s Largest _____; unusual shops, stores, or kitschy museums; etc.
We are not interested in high culture or fine dining on this trip. I think you get the picture.
Here’s the itinerary:
Cedar Rapids, IA
St. Paul, MN (but staying an extra night in Minneapolis and driving to a day game)
Sioux Falls, SD
Ah, yes. Been there a few times already and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Unfortunately we’ll be a bit squeezed for time on both our passes through Iowa – and Dyersville is not really on our route anyway – so we’ll probably have to skip it this year.
A touristy area known as The Forks is adjacent to the ballpark. Basically, it’s two buildings of shopping, but there is some neat stuff to check out. You are also very close to Union Station and its railway museum. Go through the building itself when you’re done, turn right and walk a little; across the street you’ll see The Fort Garry Gate, which is the only part left of an original Hudson’s Bay Company Fort that was located here. Go ahead and cross the street and check it out; after you’re done that, cross the street and keep walking in the same direction and you will see VJ’s Restaurant up ahead. It’s not really a restaurant – it’s a burger stand and it makes a fantastic Fat Boy – order the fries too, and you’ll be stuffed.
As to bars, if I knew what hotel you were staying at, I could better recommend them, depending on what kind of bars you like.
Okay, you’re right downtown. What you’ll find there are hotel bars, and tons of them.
One of the better ones is the Elephant and Castle at St. Mary and Hargrave (the ground floor of the Delta Winnipeg), which is an English pub type of place, and further down St. Mary is the Pony Corral, which is just okay.
If you want sidewalk type bars (some with music), grab a cab from here and tell him to take you to Bar Italia on Corydon Avenue. There are a few interesting bars in a two block area here, so if Bar Italia looks full, you can walk down the sidewalk to the Red Cactus or one of the others. If you walk back the way you came, go to the left at what is locally known as “Confusion Corner” and go through Osborne Village – it’s full of bars, and here you’ll find “The Toad in the Hole”, which is an English-type bar. Your taxi probably brought you this way out to Corydon.
If you want, PM me and I’ll Google Earth you a map with all these on them.