Updated: 05/30/2016 9:35 PM | Print Story |  Email

The 5 Best Events in the Twin Cities: May 31 - June 5

Although the Summer Solstice isn’t until June 20th, it’s officially summer in Minnesota! The next three months are full of events to capitalize on the (mostly) beautiful weather we experience in June, July, and August. It’s always amazing when 9:00 pm hits and it’s still light outside!
If you have questions or comments about what to do around town (and how to navigate activities like a pro), please don’t hesitate contacting me on Facebook!
Here are my picks for what’s happening May 31 – June 5, 2016:
1. IT IS GRAND: Grand Old Days
For years, people would mistakenly call Saint Paul’s Grand Avenue one-day summer celebration ‘Grand Old Days.’ And for the first time, they’ll be right. Businesses along Grand Avenue will celebrate both Saturday and Sunday to spread the love for one of the cities’ most iconic business districts. Saturday’s focus is shopping local. There are great businesses to support and many are offering deals on Saturday. Golden Fig Fine Foods is the best place for hostess gifts in the Twin Cities, plus you can peruse Cooks of Crocus Hill, Red Balloon Bookshop, and Stogies on Grand. And food along Grand Avenue is lovely as well: Colossal Café, Brasa, and Café Latte are just three of the gems. If you’re looking for outdoor music and drinking beer in a parking lot (and not to forget people watching), go on Sunday, the traditional day.
Parking in the Grand Avenue neighborhood is really tricky. In the past, I took a MetroTransit bus (the number 84 runs up and down Snelling Avenue). Even with the wait and the crowd on the bus, it’s better than searching narrow neighborhood streets for a parking spot. Plus, you can download a pass to ride for free. You could park near University Avenue (or take the Green Line light rail).
There is a shuttle bus that runs up and down Summit Avenue, but be careful: Grand Old Days organizers claim there can be a 30 minute wait to catch the next party bus. No matter how you get there, wear good walking shoes. I should mention that Grand Avenue will be open to traffic on Saturday, and it should be much easier to find a parking spot closer to the action then. If you’re feeling lucky, give the parking ramp at Grand and Victoria a shot.
Note that although Grand Old Days spans 30 blocks, the main portion of Sunday’s festivities take place well east of Snelling Avenue. From my prior experience, the main chunk of action is from Ayd Mill Road to Dale Street. Hopefully that will help you create a game plan. Also: you legally can bring your dog, but it’s best to leave your four-legged friend at home, even if they’re cute.
Oh, and if you go on Sunday, look for me and say hello! I’m a judge of the Grand Old Days food competition and will eat my way up and down the street. I might need one of you to roll me home.
When: Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5, 2016
Time: 10 am – 6 pm Saturday, 8 am – 6 pm Sunday
Where: Grand Avenue (from Prior Avenue east to Dale Street) 
Cost: Free! If you want to drink outside (that’s the best part of summer in Minnesota!), you’ll need to buy a wristband. They’re $6 online and $8 the day of the event.
Parking: See above. You’re best off taking MetroTransit. Trust me.
Food: Saturday, grab a booth at a restaurant (see above for a couple options). On Sunday, you’ll be able to buy food on the street from vendors and restaurants. Bring cash.    
2. MY NAME IS EDINA ART FAIR AND I’M 50!: Edina Art Fair
The 50th and France neighborhood in Edina is celebrating the 50th edition of the Edina Art Fair this weekend. The free event features 300 artists from the United States and Canada, including plenty of local favorites whose work ranges from sculpture to photography to wearable art. Around 200,000 people attend the three-day event, and if you’ve been in the European-inspired neighborhood before, you know there aren’t 200,000 parking spots. To help, organizers are once again arranging a shuttle that goes to and from Southdale Shopping Center so you can park and hop a free ride. The Art Fair added a beer garden in 2015, and for this year, they’re extending the hours, so now you’ll be able to enjoy a beer outdoors until 10 pm Friday and Saturday.
When: Friday, June 3 – Sunday, June 5, 2016
Time: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Friday and Saturday (beer garden from 7:00 – 10:00 pm), 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Sunday
Where: Near 50th Street and France Avenue, Edina 
Cost: Free
Parking: It’ll be easier than Grand Old Days. Try parking in the neighborhoods. If you don’t want to deal with traffic or the hassle of looking for a spot, park at Southdale Shopping Center and take the free shuttle (park near the water tower).
Food: The event features a couple food courts. If you go Saturday or Sunday, say hello to the team from Hot Indian Foods. Don’t let their name scare you. Red Cow’s 60/40 burger is delicious and you'll be able to buy it on the street.
3. LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Colin Jost at ACME Comedy Company
ACME Comedy Company was in the news last week because of a proposal that would build a condo building on a current surface parking lot located across the street from the comedy club. As that gets sifted through, their North Loop location will host Saturday Night Live cast member Colin Jost Thursday through Saturday. The “Weekend Update” co-anchor will be solo up on stage for what I’m assuming will be a great show. Don’t bring the kids: his performances are 18 plus only.
What: 'SNL' cast member Colin Jost
When: Thursday, June 2 – Saturday, June 4, 2016
Time: 8:00 pm Thursday – Saturday, plus 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday
Where: ACME Comedy Company, Minneapolis 
Cost: $22
Parking: For now, there’s a surface lot across the street from the club, but to be completely honest, I have never experienced a problem finding a meter at that end of the North Loop. And the meters take your credit cards.
Food: ACME does have a restaurant on-site called Sticks and you can add dinner to your show ticket. My experience there last fall wasn’t anything to boast about, so if you have the time to do dinner at the other end of North Loop, try the bar at Red Cow or the bar at Spoon and Stable. If it’s nice outside, snag a table on the patio at The Monte Carlo
4. WIN A $400 SHOPPING SPREE: Girls Night Out at Woodbury Lakes
Grab the girlfriends and plan a happy hour for Thursday night at Woodbury Lakes. Their Girls Night Out event features refreshments, free mini-massages, cupcakes from Nadia Cakes, and your chance to win a $400 shopping spree. The first 200 ladies to register will receive a swag bag. All admission proceeds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest.
When: Thursday, June 2, 2016
Time: 4:00 – 8:30 pm
Where: Woodbury Lakes, Woodbury
Cost: $10
Parking: Plenty.
Food: There are three restaurants at Woodbury Lakes itself. I recommend checking out nearby Craft Beer & Kitchen and split a Prime Rib Grilled Cheese sandwich.
5. SUPPORT LOCAL THEATER: “Sons of the Prophet” at Park Square Theatre
Park Square Theatre, just one block away from Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul, is currently host to “Sons of the Prophet,” a raw play about family, death, and the relationships we develop with the people around us. I attended a preview night a couple weeks ago and appreciated how realistic the script felt. It’s centered around Joseph Douaihy (Sasha Andreev), a 30 year-old with chronic pain and just experienced the death of his father. Joseph’s brother, Charles (Maxwell Collyard) isn’t able to hold the family up, and their uncle Bill (Michael Tezla) has his own issues. Kudos to the cast for making the story come alive and holding me captive.
I went into this show knowing nothing about it, so when I sat down in the theater and read the synopsis in the playbill, I honestly thought it was going to be depressing. After a few laughs, I left reassured that every family deals with its fair share of issues. And it reminded me about how each of us deal with death and adversity in a different way (and that is okay).
Note that the show runs for 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission. Park Square does let you bring drinks into the theatre, but no food is allowed in.
What: “Sons of the Prophet” 
When: Through Sunday, June 5, 2016
Time: 7:30 pm Wednesday – Saturday, 2:00 pm Sunday
Where: Park Square Theatre, Saint Paul
Cost: $40 – 60  
Parking: Best option in downtown Saint Paul is the Lawson ramp, located two blocks from the theater at St. Peter and 4th Street.
Food: I had happy hour at Vieux Carre, a newcomer to downtown Saint Paul and located in the same building as Park Square. The speakeasy vibe is fun (it’s in the basement) and we enjoyed the guitar/piano music from the stage. Happy hour goes until 7:00 (which is rare and awesome) and there’s no cover if you stop by before then. The sangria was about $3.50 and is highly recommended.
Tell me about an upcoming event you’re excited about! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Have a great week!