Reasons and Remarks - Welcome To Minnesota

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News May 2018

One nickname of Minneapolis is “The Mini-Apple,” as it’s second in live theater only to “The Big Apple,” aka New York City.

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It’s been some time, but I’m happy to see the Annual Paralyzed Veterans of America National Convention returning to my home state of Minnesota this month. The first two conventions in Minnesota, one in 1993 and the other in 2000, were both held at the Hilton hotel in downtown Minneapolis. I’ve always enjoyed downtown Minneapolis, but this time around we’re switching things up a bit.

This year, the convention will be held at the new JW Marriott located at the famous Mall of America, about 25 minutes south of downtown. Having lived my entire life in Minnesota until my relocation in 2014 to Phoenix to work here at PVA Publications, I have a little insight into the great state of 10,000 lakes. I realize only a small percentage of PN readers will be visiting Minnesota to attend the convention, but nonetheless, I encourage everyone reading this month’s column to consider visiting this beautiful state at some time in your lives. I grew up in a small town of approximately 5,000 people about 60 miles west of Minneapolis and only occasionally visited Minneapolis during my youth. However, I permanently relocated there after my time serving in the Navy. Mall of America boasts 40 million visitors per year and is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. I was at the mall the day it opened in 1992 and was most recently there this past February. The mall has undergone drastic renovations since its opening. Most notable to me was the removal of the carpeting that covered much of the mall. It was replaced with solid-surface flooring that makes rolling a wheelchair seem effortless. With all that being said, to some degree it’s still a shopping mall and at some point you may feel the need to escape. One nickname of Minneapolis is “The Mini-Apple,” as it’s second in live theater only to “The Big Apple,” aka New York City. Whether you’re attending the convention or on vacation, check out the play list at the many theaters, most of which are accessible by the light rail system from the Mall of America. The Guthrie Theater continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance and is located a short four-block roll from the light rail stop at U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

A convenient curtain time at the Guthrie during the convention will be 7:30 p.m. with showings of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner on the Wurtele Thrust Stage and An Enemy of the People on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. You can even make an evening out of it by enjoying pre-show dining at the award-winning Sea Change restaurant conveniently located in the theater. If theater seems boring to you, I promise a stop at the club made famous by music icon Prince in the movie Purple Rain will get your heart pumping. First Avenue is conveniently located in downtown a short distance from the light rail. I guarantee the experience will either make you feel young again or really old. It’s surrounded by great restaurants and will definitely make for an evening to remember. If you feel the need to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine, I highly recommend a visit to one of my favorite parks in Minneapolis — Minnehaha Falls. Take the light rail from the mall and in just 18 minutes, you’ll be at the park. The falls gained worldwide fame through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha. It’s a beautiful place to visit and when on a tight schedule, just plan on having dinner at the Sea Salt Eatery located just steps from the falls. 

If that’s not enough for you, then check out the Meet Me in Minnesota article for even more great ideas and places to visit. I’ll also be at the convention and will be happy to offer suggestions to help make your stay a memorable one.

See you in Minnesota!  


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Reasons and Remarks - Welcome To Minnesota


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