Comedy Club – Acme Comedy Company
Acme has grown into a nationally revered club over the years among both stand-up newcomers getting their footing in the scene and old hats craving a break from the arena circuit. The club has survived threats of closure with a collective #SaveAcme movement last year, championed by comics like Marc Maron and Jen Kirkman.
Local Comedian – Nick Swardson
A Twin Cities native and passionate Vikings fan, Nick Swardson has emerged onto the national stage and the silver screen. Several of his standup comedy specials have been featured on Comedy Central, one memorably reimagining a Jack Daniel’s ad to simply say, “Jack Daniels: F*ck It.”
Theater – Guthrie Theater
Even among non-theatergoers, the Guthrie Theater is recognized as a quintessential fixture in Minneapolis’ skyline. The award-winning building stands as a beacon of a thriving local theater scene, one which has more theaters per capita than any U.S. city after New York.
Theater Company / Troupe / Group – Children’s Theatre Company
Since its first season in 1961, the Children’s Theatre Company has brought childhood wonder to the stage with performances ranging from “Hansel & Gretel” to Dr. Seuss’s “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins,” charming youth and adult audiences alike year after year.
Museum – Science Museum of Minnesota
OMNI films, dinosaurs, and a giant astronaut—the Science Museum of Minnesota has it all. Whether you’re exploring deep oceans or seeing through a newborn’s eyes in the human body exhibit, the museum never fails to make science cool.
Public Art single installation – Prince mural by Rock “Cyfi” Martinez, Uptown Minneapolis
Tucked behind a building at 26th Street and Hennepin Avenue is a mural that has attracted countless fans since its creation in April 2016. The artist said that he used the sign instead of Prince’s name to respect the reclusive artist’s desire to control his public image.
Bookstore – Wild Rumpus
No matter your age, Wild Rumpus guarantees to take you on an adventure with tales of mystery, magic, and romance. Plus, there’s a troupe of real shop animals to help guide your selection, including a ferret called Ferdinand and a cat named Booker T.
Tattoo Parlour – Leviticus Tattoo
Whether it’s the professional attention to custom, detailed tattoos, the rotating gallery of unique art, or that soothing Japanese koi pond, Leviticus Tattoo has left their mark on Growler readers as the best tattoo parlour.
Bike Shop – Penn Cycle
For 60 years, Penn Cycle has been a trusty local provider of the best in bikes, service repairs, apparel, and accessories to suit you up for your ride. They are Minnesota’s largest Trek bike dealer, and are your pick for this year’s best bike shop.
Outdoors Store – REI
Experienced rock climber? Avid kayaker? Expert marshmallow-roaster? Wherever your outdoor interests may take you, REI has you covered with the best in gear and guidance. They also host classes, events, and outings to familiarize novices with the great outdoors.
Clothing Store (Men) – Duluth Trading Co.
With five Minnesota locations, and more across the nation, Duluth Trading Co. offers high-quality performance gear for every kind of outdoorsman. Their website promises “no highfalutin designer theme or snooty sales folks”—just knowledgable staff and reliable gear to help you get the job done.
Clothing Store (Women) – Primp
What started in St. Paul with two fashionable friends looking to make boutique-shopping more affordable, has grown into nine retail locations across Minnesota and South Dakota. This “cheap boutique” offers a curated collection and personal stylists to help you dress up without breaking the bank.
Minnesota Heritage Brand – Red Wing Shoes
Though the times have changed since it started production over a hundred years ago, people still trust Red Wing Shoes to produce the best quality of work shoes and boots that can withstand the harshest of conditions, including many loyal Growler readers and little-known actor Ryan Gosling.
City Park – Minnehaha Regional Park
One of Minneapolis’ oldest and most popular parks features a majestic 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs, and river overlooks, attracting more than 850,000 visitors annually, and attracting our readers to call it the best city park.
State Park – Tettegouche State Park
Standing at the edge of the sharp cliffs, watching the fog roll in from Lake Superior over the craggy shoreline, it’s safe to say that Tettegouche State Park can’t be beat. It’s truly the jewel of Minnesota’s North Shore, and this year’s pick for best state park.
Lake – Lake Superior
The legend lives on, from the Chippewa on down, of the big lake called Gitche Gumee. The truth lies in the name and its sheer size, making Lake Superior a tough one to beat and your pick for best lake.
TV Weather Person – Belinda Jensen, KARE 11
It’s safe to say that Minnesota weather can be a real beast, but Belinda Jensen is always a guiding light in the storm. She has a rare talent for looking poised in any type of weather, and is your pick for your favorite TV weather person.
Radio Personality – Mary Lucia, 89.3 The Current
Known around town as “Luch,” Mary Lucia has become a household voice over the years. Her passion for rock music can be felt over the waves, and her punk-rock aesthetic has made her a local fan favorite.
Community Fairs / Festivals (MSP) – Minnesota State Fair
From the fried foods on a stick to the creative concoctions of beer, animal barns to seed art entries, the Minnesota State Fair takes home a blue ribbon.
Community Fairs / Festivals (Metro) – Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Shakopee
Hear ye, hear ye! Readers, you have knighted Shakopee’s
Minnesota Renaissance Festival as the crowning winner. Bring on the turkey legs and barrels of mead.
Community Fairs / Festivals (Greater MN) – Defeat of Jesse James Days, Northfield
This celebration marks the anniversary of the famous Northfield Raid, a bank robbery that turned into a 400-mile chase and capture of members of the James-Younger gang. Events include a parade, a rodeo, and a downtown festival.
Music Festival – Rock the Garden
Returning to the new-and-improved Sculpture Garden this year, 89.3 The Current and Walker Art Center’s winning two-stage summer festival made people boogie with The Revolution and listen in awed silence with Bon Iver.
Block Party – Basilica Block Party
Basilica Block Party is somewhat of an anomaly—the two-day block party started back in 1995 as a fundraiser for the restoration of the eponymous Basilica of Saint Mary. It’s become a summer must for music fans, featuring headliners like Gary Clark Jr., Brandi Carlile, and The Shins.
Live Music Venue – First Avenue
First Avenue’s Mainroom stands as an essential piece of Minneapolis history. Rising to fame in Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain,” the venue has been a tour destination for everyone from Joe Cocker to Eminem, hosting shows for nearly any musical palette.
Outdoor Music Venue – Lake Harriet Bandshell
Bring a picnic supper, lay down a blanket, and enjoy some music at this iconic Minneapolis structure. Each summer, people flock to not only enjoy the stunning stage and lakeside air, but to also enjoy the numerous music concerts.
Record Store – Electric Fetus
Fun fact: when it opened in 1968, the Electric Fetus held a “Streakers’ Sale” in which customers could take as much as they could carry for free so long as they were completely naked. From its revolutionary beginnings to now, it’s been a vital resource for those looking for CDs and LPs with just a touch of obscurity.
Local Music Group / Band – Doomtree
What started as a group of friends making and distributing their own music underground has grown into the rap collective you’ve voted as our winner. There are seven members, all of whom have their own recorded solo and collaborative albums, but the collective still remains central to Twin Cities hip-hop.