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In 2014 Food network star, chef, and writer Amy Thielen won the James Beard Foundation Book Award for American Cooking for her cookbook, 'The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes.' Earning the Oscar of the food world was a milestone for the Park Rapids foodie, who moved back to Minnesota after working at some of the most elite restaurants in Manhattan.
If all this food talk has you hungry, here are a handful of places you can eat right now that are run by JBFA winning chefs.


When Craig Minowa, frontman of the alternative rock band Cloud Cult, wants to write music and be inspired, he doesn’t seek the bustle and bright lights of the city, he retreats to the Minnesota woods.
From Minowa’s boyhood woods to one of the oldest woods in the state, here are five Minnesota forests worth a jaunt.


The Twin Cities is teeming with legendary theaters and a cast of world-class thespians to populate their stages. But chief among the talented lot are a pair of actors from a theater for kids: Dean Holt and Reed Sigmund, resident acting company members at the Children’s Theatre Company.

In the Twin Cities arts scene, an equal emphasis is put on experiences for kids. From theaters to science exploratoriums, here's a handful of the Twin Cities’ most unique kid-centric destinations.


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In 1860, just six years after New Ulm was founded, August Schell opened a brewery that would eventually come to define the city. In the 157 years since, the two have been inextricably linked. And at the center of it all, always, August Schell’s family. Today Ted Marti runs the show while his three sons—the sixth generation of the business— do their distinct parts to help.
After you're done drinking beers at Schell's, here are five other things to do on your next New Ulm trip.


Designer Genevieve Gorder bid adieu to Minnesota right after high school and soon found a TV career in Manhattan. And while the HGTV star is now living large in N.Y.C., she still yearns for the humbleness (and lakes!) of her home state.
Genevieve grew up in south Minneapolis surrounded by Midwestern aesthetic. Here are a handful of places around Minnesota where an aspiring designer can go for inspiration.


When the co-founders of the rock band Low, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Rogers, look out their front window, they see the endless expanse of one of the most storied lakes in the whole world: Lake Superior. The globally renowned electro rock band set deep roots in Duluth—a location, they say, that drives their creativity.
Inspired by Low's love for Duluth? Here are eight must-do things for your next visit to the North Shore city.


When Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä isn’t running one of the most celebrated orchestras in the world or watching hockey (he is a native of Finland after all), he’s probably cruising on his motorcycle across the state.
Osmo's preferred bike route is along the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley in southern Minnesota. Make sure to stop at these unique destinations when you decide to make like Osmo and explore Highway 61.


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Internationally acclaimed photographer Alec Soth is known for his haunting, large-scale photographs of the modern American diaspora. His far-flung travels have given him a newfound perspective and appreciation for the cultural life in Minnesota.
Alec has an eye for spots off the beaten path, including his favorite steak joint, The Best Steak House. Visit these five other steakhouses for the best cuts in town.


Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu has called the state of hockey home during the season since 2004. The Finland native felt at home right away, both on and off the ice, and he is happy to have found a place where hockey is truly in the blood.
One reason the Finnish-born superstar has felt so at home here is the amount of Finns who’ve preceded him. Minnesota even has a town called Finland. Here’s our prescription for a pretty perfect Finland day.


When NFL Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page isn’t writing children’s books or working with the Page Education Foundation, he’s up at his cabin north of Brainerd communing with his maple trees and making syrup.
Even when it’s not syrup season, here are five ways to make leisurely use of our Minnesota trees.


Kylie Bunbury, the star of Pitch on 'Fox,' may be soaking up the Hollywood limelight these days, but she is always itching to come back to Minnesota to visit her family and take in the lakes, fresh air, and, of course, some cheese curds and Sweet Martha’s cookies at the Minnesota State Fair.
Kylie plays a MLB pitcher on TV, throwing pitches in San Diego's PetCo Park, but these five Minnesota town ball diamonds prove that SoCal isn't the only place with beautiful outdoor ballparks.


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Explorer and educator Ann Bancroft has been all over the world (and was the first woman to trek the North and South Poles), but she always looks forward to coming home to her farm in Scandia, Minnesota after her journeys. Ann founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation to empower girls to reach their full potential.
Ann might be best known for her polar expeditions, but canoeing is one of her favorite things. Here are a handful of Minnesota's best river paddles.


Nearly a decade ago Marlon James moved from Jamaica to Minnesota for a teaching appointment at Macalester College. Today, the 2015 Man Booker Prize-winning author of “A Brief History of Seven Killings” is a bonafide literary superstar but chooses to stay in Minneapolis because the city inspired the sense of openness and potential that allowed him to write his breakout novel in the first place.
Visit the hometowns and hangouts of some other notable Minnesota authors with this guide to Minnesota book towns.


After growing up in Minnesota, Zach Parise knew he wanted to capitalize on his free agent status in the NHL and return home to play left wing for the Wild.
As Zach puts it, hockey is in our blood. Check out these essential hockey pilgrimages in Minnesota.
Photo courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn


A native Minnesotan, Tyus Jones attended Duke University and returned home to play Point Guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves are named for an animal that northern Minnesota has thousands of. Plan an adventure worthy of wolves with these Minnesota destinations that’ll make you howl.


Chef Gavin Kaysen was beckoned back home to Minnesota after stints at top-notch restaurants in New York and California. The James Beard Award-winning chef owns Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis.
Inspired by Gavin’s love for Minnesota winters? Get out there and enjoy the season by hitting the slopes at one of these great ski areas.


Nora McInerny is a co-founder of Still Kickin, a non-profit that assists local families through difficult times, the host of American Public Media’s podcast ‘Terrible, Thanks for Asking,' and author of ‘It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool, Too).’
The Twin Cities creative community has fostered many great writers, including Nora, but the metro area isn’t the only Minnesota spot with a robust arts community. Check out these charming small town that offer whimsical art scenes.


Catch up with internationally-renowned polar explorer Will Steger, the man who led the first dogsled journey to the North Pole. A native Minnesotan, Steger traded in the comforts of urban living more than 25 years ago and now lives “off the grid” in the wilderness outside of Ely (the gateway to the famed BWCA) in Northern Minnesota.
Want to plan your own adventure? Check out some of the best ways to explore Minnesota’s glorious winter season.


Comedian Louie Anderson
Comedian Louie Anderson was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota and is an alum of Minneapolis's Brave New Workshop. He currently stars in the Emmy Award-winning role of Christine in FX's Baskets.
Want more odd-ball places to visit in Minnesota, like the Twine Ball that Louie mentions in the video? Here are six not-so-obvious Minnesota bests.