16 Signs of Spring in the Twin Cities

By Joseph Alton and Grace Sell


Who in their right mind isn’t losing it as we find ourselves still held fast in winter’s seemingly unending grip? As impossible as it may seem to imagine at the present moment, time will march on, and daffodils will soon supplant the snow drifts.  And if there is anything Minnesota can boast, it’s the hardy nature of its citizens who make the best of the state’s annual big chill, and their subsequent and unbridled enthusiasm for warm weather once it finally, thankfully, arrives.

Whether you honor the same springtime traditions each year or are newly discovering the diversity the metro area has to offer, there are adventures and exploits of all sorts to pursue.  It’s time to pack away our woolen underthings and overcoats, to uncover old pleasures and new as we delight in springtime and come back to life.  Our list should help get you started.

1) Tournament time

Whether its for the Minnesota State High School tournaments, the Frozen Four, or the Big Ten tourney, Saint Paul’s West 7th Street comes alive this time of year with hockey fans of all shapes and sizes. This year the ‘Saintly City’ plays host to the Big Ten Hockey Tournament. Check out the event page from our friends at Visit Saint Paul for more information.


2) Sea Salt

We can’t imagine summer in the cities without a few visits this Minneapolis institution. Easily one of the best places in Minnesota for casual seafood eats — Sea Salt opens its doors for seasonal business on April 11th. Dust of your bike and cruise over for opening day. Word to the wise: Get a beer before your get in line. You might get thirsty waiting to place your order.


3) Baseball and beer

Spring training is well underway and that means that outdoor ‘beer and baseball’ must be right around the corner. The Twins’ will welcome the Oakland A’s for the home opener on Monday, April 7th.

And don’t forget the other professional baseball team in the Twin Cites. The Saint Paul Saints open their season May 4th on the road at Fargo-Moorhead. The Saints will also welcome back the Beer Dabbler Bullpen at Midway Stadium — a craft beer bar area serving 21 craft beers at 2014 home games.


4) (Almost) patio season!

‘nough said


5) Potholes

We at The Growler don’t remember a pothole season quite like this one. I can’t imagine how many tires, rims, mufflers, oil pans, or otherwise have fallen victim to the innumerable amount of crater-like potholes dotting Twin Cities’ roadways. Stay safe out there — especially if you are on two wheels. For more info, or to report a pothole, visit MNDot’s website.


6) Charcoal in the air

Undeniably one of the most visceral signals of the season change is the olfactory stimulation brought on by the smell of charcoal wafting through the spring air. So, stop by your favorite butcher or meat market and get to grillin’.


7) Fishing opener

One definite sign you’re from the Land of 10,000 Lakes: “Ice out” is a thing. The fishing opener is such a big deal in Minnesota that even our Governor gets down on an annual trip. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an everyday angler, the fishing opener signals the coming of warmer weather and cabin trips.


8) Beer fest season kicks off

An annual rite of spring for Minnesota’s ferverous beer fans — The Happy Gnome hosts their annual Firkin Fest on March 22nd. The St. Paul bar — considered by many to be a craft beer destination — will offer “over 90 casks from nearly 50 breweries across the country.” This celebration of ‘real ale’ should be added to your ‘Minnesota beer bucket list’ if it hasn’t already.


9) Green things growing

Each year the 8th Floor Auditorium of the Downtown Minneapolis Macy’s is transformed by their annual flower show. This year’s theme is ‘The Secret Garden’ and will run Sunday, March 23 – Sunday, April 6. Stop by for a dose of green while we wait for this year’s pesky winter weather to let us get at our own gardens.


10) Bikes on Bikes on Bikes

April must be close. Our Twitter feeds have already starting to fill up with #30daysofbiking chatter. So what is 30 Days of Biking? “Very simply, it’s a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, however far you want, no matter the weather!” There are all sorts of different group rides planned out. More more info visit The Growler Events Calendar.


11) Seasonal spots

The only Blizzard we could tolerate right about now. Dairy Queen’s are opening for the season all across the metro.


12) Street festival season begins

Saint Paul’s West Side celebration of Mexican heritage and pride is one of the best in the nation, according to USA Today. Cinco de Mayo in Saint Paul’s ‘District Del Sol’ is Saturday, May 3 — 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


13) May Day Parade and Celebration in Powderhorn

No one is too old–or too young–for parades. Especially the May Day Parade in Powderhorn where The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater provide endless entertainment from street dancing to 10-foot-tall puppet performances. This year’s festival celebrates 40 years of the May Day Celebration on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Grab your picnic blanket and claim a spot! Join HOTB at Powderhorn Park after the parade for food, performances, and other good fun.


14) . . . more green things growing

Whoever thought of having the Friends School Plant Sale on Mothers Day Weekend was a genius. Bring Mom out to a nice brunch and then to the annual Friends School Plant Sale at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand. This year’s sale runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 9, 10, and 11. Go early for great selection, late for better prices.


15) Team “sports”

Time to get your balls out! Gather your friends and start thinking of the perfect league name, sign-ups are just around the corner (Monday, March 24) and leagues start April 7.


16) Summer in a glass

We know. Its not a “local” beer, but c’mon. . .  Bell’s Oberon has been signaling signs of spring for Minnesota beer drinkers longer than most of our local breweries have been making beer. Bell’s eagerly awaited summer seasonal is a wheat ale that comes in 6-packs, 12-packs, on draft, and for those special occasions — a 5 liter (1.32 gal.) mini-keg.

About Joseph Alton

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