What’s not to like about the Twin Cities?

I recently visited the Twin Cities for the first time in my existence. I spent two days in that beautiful city.

Let’s just say it’s better than I thought. The best two days I ever spent in a city. It’s been a week, and I still miss it. I was so happy to be stranded for a day with my flight being canceled as a result of thunderstorms in New York City on Wednesday night, so this gave me another day to explore Minnesota. I was so sad to leave when I entered into my plane back home. I felt like doing a Minnesota goodbye (Google it up to know what I mean) to anyone at the airport, but it would have been awkward since I only knew the people for two days.

Not only is Minneapolis-St.Paul a great sports town, but it’s a great entertainment town. There’s so much to do over there. People over there are diverse than people give credit for. As a food lover, plenty of food options are available. Most importantly, people are so nice over there. It’s different in a good way.

It’s no New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston or Los Angeles, and you know what? That’s a great thing. The Twin Cities forged its identity for being nice, eclectic and laid-back.

The bottom line is Minneapolis-St. Paul is a world-class city.

I knew I was in Minnesota when I entered a clean and organized Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport that featured polite attendants and so many Best Buy ads. I knew I was in the North Star state when I saw the newspapers of Minneapolis (Star-Tribune) and St. Paul (Pioneer Press) instead of the New York tabloids. I knew I was in a different world when I was in a clean light rail where I felt comfortable talking to anyone sitting next to me or near me to talk about the Minnesota Twins.

Just taking in the sights of Fort Snelling, U.S. Bank Stadium, The Armory, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, Stadium Village (Minnesota Golden Gophers athletic facility), The Loon Cafe, Nicollet Mall, Warehouse District and Target Field through the Blue Line was life’s pleasurable moments. It’s what makes Minneapolis a major league city.

Entering Target Field made the highlight of this trip. What a majestic stadium it is! Just getting off the last stop of the Blue Line, you are there. You enter the stadium looking at the limestone wall of the stadium and seeing the banners of current Twins players and Twins teams that won the American League West, AL Central and World Series. Seeing the statues of Carl Pohlad, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek and others follow by seeing old baseball cards of the Twins past players can make a grown man feel like a kid remember what it was like back in the day. Seeing kids run around the grass by Gate 34 without any care in the world make one forget about the problems we have in society.

Hrbek’s should be a must for every baseball fan to go to when he or she goes to Target Field. Everyone should congregate there before the baseball game. Nothing like enjoying a spicy Bloody Mary (it’s a must to have at Hrbek’s) and having the time of your life over there while looking over the portraits of Hrbek’s playing days and his trophy case. The bar represents what Hrbek was all about: Bigger than life and the life of the party.

For me, going to Hrbek’s turned out to be the best part of going to Target Field. Engaging with people, eating good food and getting drunk made me forget about reality for a day.

The baseball atmosphere at Target Field made this special with everyone in Twins gear. Twins fans were into every pitch. It was loud alright. They griped about their team’s bullpen at the game. They even did it outside the stadium after the game. Anytime one can hear a baseball conversation about the game in a local city, it’s a sign that’s a baseball town, and Minneapolis-St. Paul is that.

Even Mets fans showed up, which is remarkable since their team stinks. Yet it says how loyal and passionate they are to pay to watch the Mets on the road. I checked out on the Mets after Edwin Diaz’s meltdown in Philadelphia that ended the Mets’ season for all intents and purposes last month.

Just watching outdoor baseball in Minneapolis was an experience to remember. It was just yesterday (nine years ago to be exact) the Twins played at a dome stadium, which I grew up watching when the Twins won the World Series in 1991. Never thought that day would come. It was fun soaking all of this in on a hot, humid Wednesday afternoon while I drank fluids such as beer, flavored ice and frozen margarita to keep me hydrated.

Target Field will be 10 years old next year, but my first visit ever to Target Field felt like pomp and circumstance.

It did not matter the Twins took a 14-4 beating by the awful Mets. It was about enjoying this special day. It was about the experience. It was just being at Target Field and Minneapolis with a friend on Twitter that made this a special day. Nothing would take away from it.

I was ready to go home on Wednesday night until I found out at MSP Airport that my flight was canceled, so it was a night at Minnesota by staying at Quality Inn and Suites at Bloomington. Not only was it an opportunity to stay in my favorite city, but it was a chance to go to the Mall of America.

To say the Mall of America is huge is an understatement. You have to be there to see it. That’s a must for anyone to visit Minnesota. I spent my money buying some good food over there. Going to the Culinary Level should be an obligation for anyone that goes to the Mall of America. So much food. So much enjoyment. So little time. Let’s put it this way: Go early in the morning or early in the day because it’s a four-hour visit there.

Time flew for sure, and once it hit 6 o’clock central time, it was time to leave the mall and head to the MSP Airport.

All good things came to an end. It was fun while it lasted. Nothing lasts forever.

But memories of the Twin Cities last forever.

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