Going on Faith

AUG-SEP 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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Debbie's Snowballs going on faith [ august | september 2016 ] T hough the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, are the second-largest metropolitan area in the Midwest after Chicago, they couldn't feel more different than the Windy City. Due to their location on the banks of the Mississippi River, the area's abundance of lakes and parks give the Twin Cities a laid-back vibe that makes you easily forget you're in a city — until you walk into one of their world-class cultural attractions. Dubbed by some the new "capital of Midwestern cool," the Twin Cities have reaped the benefits of a rising interest in experiential, hands-on cultural travel. A major locavore cuisine movement both in the cities and their surrounding agricultural areas has led to double-digit James Beard Award nomi- SNAPSHOT T R A V E L T WIN CITIES by G A B I L O G A N 'MIDWESTERN COOL' nations for years and a steady increase in overall visitor numbers, which reached a record 31.6 mil- lion in 2015. "We think the experiential side of things is some- thing people are really looking for — a little special experience that is memorable and best to share on social media," said Kristen Montag, communication and public relations manager for the Meet Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association. In 2013, Minneapolis launched its signature experi- ence program, which features prepackaged experi- ences at cultural, dining and outdoor attractions around the city that give groups exclusive behind- the-scenes experiences. The Twin Cities signature experiences aim not only to show groups an in-depth look at the cities' top attractions, but also to go beyond the typical tour framework, such as learning improv comedy hands-on from Brave New Workshop, the oldest comedy theater in the country. At the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, visitors learn about the ethnic groups that are changing the face of the Midwest today as they tour the market; they hear the stories of the entrepreneurs who immigrated to America and opened groceries and food stands specializing in their home cuisine. In the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, groups have the opportu- nity to go inside an artist's warehouse through the Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts, where they can learn how to blow glass and can bring home their own piece of the bustling new district. By Dan Anderson, courtesy Como Regional Park Courtesy Mill City Museum "Spoonbridge and Cherry" is the most recognizable piece of art- work in the sculpture garden at Minneapolis' Walker Art Center. Como Conservatory Mill City Musuem Courtesy Walker Art Center

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