A Little Night Music
Nicollet Island Park
If this is your client’s first visit to the Twin Cities, treat them to an enchanting evening on Nicollet Island. Score a table on the patio at Nic’s Bar and Lounge at the historic Nicollet Island Inn and admire the skyline views. Order two glasses of Terredora Falanghina, lobster bruschetta with avocado, crab cakes with lemon aioli, and explain how to pronounce Nicollet in localese (NICK-lit, not nick-oh-LAY). Afterward, stroll over to the park to hear music generously provided by talented local artists. Concerts Monday evenings through Labor Day.
95 Merriam St., Mpls., 612-331-1800, nicolletislandinn.com
Lake Harriet Bandshell
Introduce your clients to the discreet charm of Linden Hills with an early dinner at Tilia, the artfully unassuming haunt of hipsters, bohos and empty nesters alike. Order a round of locally brewed Chiswick, a British-style porter from Insight Brewing, and “haute” dogs topped with chili and served with KFC slaw, smoked potato chips and a side of affable irony. After dinner, it’s a two-minute walk to the iconic Lake Harriet bandshell for a free performance by local musicians. Concerts held Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday through Labor Day.
Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Mpls., 612-230-6400, minneapolisparks.org; Tilia, 2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-354-2806, tiliampls.com
The Minnesota Zoo
Give your out-of-town clients an only-in-Minnesota experience with a concert at the Minnesota Zoo. Kick off the evening with happy hour at Crooked Pint Ale House in Apple Valley. Tuck into tater tots and beer-cheese Lucys washed down with a can of Hamm’s or a pint of Grain Belt before heading over to the Weesner Family Amphitheater. The June lineup includes Marc Cohn and Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams, Los Lonely Boys with Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, the BoDeans, Michael McDonald and Buddy Guy with the Record Company.
Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, 952-431-9200, mnzoo.org; Crooked Pint Ale House, 15668 Pilot Knob Rd., Apple Valley, 952-891-3883, crookedpint.com
For an epic evening, start with a alfresco supper on the patio at Al Vento. After a couple of orange-hued Aperol fizzes, bruschetta with house-made ricotta salata and other savories, followed by pistachio semifreddo, take your clients for a spin through the verdant 193-acre Minnehaha Park. Admire the thundering 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, Longfellow House, Longfellow Gardens, the statue of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, and other tributes to the author of The Song of Hiawatha, then join the crowd of local music lovers for a free concert in the bandstand on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Minnehaha Park, 4801 S. Minnehaha Dr., Mpls., 612-230-6400, minneapolisparks.org; Al Vento, 5001 S. 34th Ave., Mpls., 612-724-3009, alventorestaurant.com
Cabooze Outdoor Plaza
Clients who love the Big Easy will appreciate Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue’s robust, soulful roux of jazz, funk, hip-hop and rock. On the third-longest day of the year (June 23), they’ll be playing outside at the Cabooze, the storied Cedar-Riverside blues venue, along with Willie Murphy and the Angel Headed Hipsters, and Jack Brass Band. To get into the spirit, start with happy hour at Smack Shack in the North Loop. Order a round of potent hurricanes, a plate of blackened catfish sliders, and fried shrimp po’ boys with a side of spicy cocktail sauce before heading over to the West Bank.
Cabooze Outdoor Plaza, 917 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-338-6425, cabooze.com; Smack Shack, 603 N. Washington Ave., Mpls., 612-259-7288, smack-shack.com