On a spectacular Minnesota summer day, there’s every reason to forward your calls to voicemail, decline meeting requests and get out of the office with your favorite clients and colleagues. Should you need an additional incentive, workplace experts have concluded that play provides a host of mission-critical business benefits including increased trust, improved collaboration and enhanced teamwork. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we’ve compiled an array of fun and memorable experiences, with well-earned meals to follow.
Choose from the menu of “challenges by choice” at Base Camp (explorebasecamp.org), including archery, rock climbing, high ropes and other herculean tasks. Thoroughly exhausted and/or invigorated, head over to Shake Shack (shakeshack.com), the haute hamburger stand at MOA, eight minutes from Fort Snelling. Quench your thirst with locally brewed Lift Bridge beer and chow down on custom-grind cheeseburgers and crinkle-cut fries. Save room for a well-deserved Malt of America—thick, rich “concretes” blended with frozen vanilla custard, marshmallow and peanut butter sauces and cookie crumbles.
Meet your guide from Mobile Entertainment (humanonastick.com) at the St. Paul Curling Club, where a fleet of Gen2 Segways awaits. Fasten your helmets, find your balance and take off for a 7-mile tour of Cathedral Hill. Roll past F. Scott Fitzgerald’s houses, gangster hangouts, the James J. Hill House and other landmarks. Refuel and recharge at Revival (revivalfriedchicken.com) with a Southern-style repast of fried green tomatoes and fried chicken, washed down with sweet tea and Sunken City Saison from Insight Brewing in Minneapolis.
Gather at Above the Falls Sports (abovethefallssports.com) in the North Loop, where you’ll pick up your kayaks and roll them to the river. Once your team is afloat, your guide will navigate and narrate, pointing out Nicollet Island, Boom Island, the Grain Belt Brewery and other iconic spots. Back on land, stroll around the corner to Black Sheep Pizza (blacksheeppizza.com) and order the Brancaia Tre Super Tuscan, the Farmers Market salad and an assortment of coal-fired pizzas including the must-have meatball, ricotta and garlic.
Convene at Wheel Fun Rentals (wheelfunrentals.com) in the park and rent a fleet of low-slung choppers or vintage-style surreys. Cruise around and admire the bucolic fields, deep forests, craggy limestone bluffs and the 10,000-year-old, 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, immortalized in Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha. Head over to Sea Salt Eatery (seasalteatery.wordpress.com) in the park’s vintage pavilion. Savor the delicious irony of Southern-style seafood in a landlocked Midwestern park, along with chilled chardonnay, calamari, clam fries, crab cakes, catfish po’boys and other specialties.
Start your nine horsepower engines at Skyline Raceway (skylineracewayrochester.com), 10 minutes south of Mayo Clinic, and challenge your clients on the quarter-mile asphalt track. Once a winner is declared, head back to downtown Rochester and join the locals at Canadian Honker Restaurant & Lounge (restaurant.canadianhonker.com). Order the signature Westby Creamery cheese curds and thick Honker Melt sandwiches, followed by generous slices of the justly famous Bunnies’ coconut cake and steaming cups of Minnesota-brewed McGarvey Coffee.