Visiting hip and happening Minneapolis

“Why on earth are you going to Minneapolis?” a question I was asked a handful of times a couple weeks ago. As many of you know, I’m a member with the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto here in the city and each year the Icelandic National League of North America (yes that’s a real thing) holds an annual convention. Two years ago it was in Seattle, last year in Winnipeg, next year it will be in Vancouver. This year, the convention was held in the lovely hip and happening Minneapolis and I was sent to represent the president. What? What?

I arrived on Thursday night and sat down for some hotel beers with Ashley, a new friend from Ottawa.

Hilton Hotel Brews
Hilton Hotel Brews

On Thursday I was a part of panel focused on youth engagement within the Icelandic community. I’ve attended three conventions now and I still don’t have a good understanding of who the INL is talking about when they say youth. Anyways… look, it’s me!

Yapping away, as per usual
Yapping away, as per usual
The "youth" panel
The panel – Me, Ashley, Erin and Joe

During one of the breaks, I decided to hop on the shuttle and make my way to the Mall of America, because when in Minneapolis… walk around a giant mall. I bought a bathing suit, ate Chipotle and checked out the Verizon Destination Store. The store was a standout. When I walked in all I could see was IoT products (Internet of things). Fitness, speakers, home and toys, all controlled by your smartphone. All the phones and cases were found in the back of the store, behind a large digital display wall. One of the reps showed me around and told me how this location was being used as a tester, focusing on the latest consumer tech with a great in-store experience. Pretty neat and work-nerdy of me, but whatevs.

Mall of America
Mall of America

We had a bit of free time on Saturday and while the forecast was calling for showers, it cleared up as I made my way downtown via the light-rail transit. Dear Toronto, can we please get transit stops like this? Also, $1.75 fares please?

We need these... and at these prices
We need these… and at these prices

I walked a fair amount downtown. It reminded me of a mixture of Seattle and Winnipeg. Big streets, big sidewalks, big buildings. After a couple days of convention food I was seriously craving some freshness. I spotted a Whole Foods and grabbed a juice because that’s the kind of person I’ve become.

Thank you whole foods!
Thank you whole foods!

My feet kept me walking a bit longer and I stopped to grab some pictures along the way. This was outside of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. I can’t help but think it’s representing how financial freedom is a false dream, how just when you think you’re escaping, you realize you’re legs are stuck… or maybe it actually is more positive than that…

Money on my mind outside the bank, art making me think

Anywhoodle, here are some other pics…

Hennepin Avenue Suspension Bridge
Hennepin Avenue Suspension Bridge
Most creative skateboard deterrent I've ever seen
Most creative and cute skateboard deterrent I’ve ever seen
Mill Ruins Park
Mill Ruins Park
Mill Ruins Park, several flour mills were abandoned here
Mill Ruins Park (several flour mills were abandoned here)
Football is serious stuff
Football is serious stuff. New Viking stadium to come

That night we had our big gala dinner with keynote speaker Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. Vigdís is Iceland’s and Europe’s first female president, she served for sixteen years and stands as the longest-serving, elected female head of state of any country to date.

After the dinner there was dancing followed by a balcony after party.

Group selfie while waiting for a group photo
Group selfie while waiting for a group photo
Snorri  and Snorri Plus
Snorri and Snorri Plus (Photo: Erin Arman Jones)

The convention wrapped up the next morning and my new friend Joe gave me a lovely tour of Minneapolis. I wouldn’t have realized just how many parks, lakes and rivers there were if it hadn’t have been for Joe. Everything was so green and lush!

We drove around looking for somewhere to eat when we spotted a Ferris-wheel. It was quite obvious that we had to stop and eat there. We pulled up to Betty Danger’s Country Club and embraced the hipness.

“In the Village of Mexampton, Betty Danger’s Country Club serves to protect the creative class from the tyranny and tragedy of the 1%. In Mexampton, classism doesn’t exist and everyone drinks Margaritas. Welcome to the Country Club for the 99%.  Membership not required.”

Love it. Here are some snaps.

Tour Guide Joe
My lovely tour guide, Joe!
Mmmmm 'Merican/Mexican fusion food
Mmmmm ‘Merican/Mexican fusion food
Betty Danger's Country Club
Betty Danger’s Country Club
Betty Danger's Country Club. LOVE.N.IT.
Betty Danger’s Country Club. LOVE.N.IT.

After eating what we could manage, we made our way to the airport and I flew home. While I don’t think I would have ever planned a trip to Minneapolis on my own, I’m glad I made the trip out there. It would have been great to have had a bit more time (and a car… and a canoe) to do some more exploring, walking and wandering around the parks and lakes.

If you find yourself in Minneapolis sometime, visit the country club and take a ride on the Ferris-wheel!


  1. Gamli
    June 9, 2015 / 6:16 pm

    Was never downtown, except in a hotel in Bloomington(?), but many times at the Airport. Looked nice from the air….

  2. Pingback: Playback: May ’15 |

Leave a Reply