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self-guided tour of Macalester College

Explore and Eat Like a Local When Visiting Macalester College

College Scoops is excited to welcome Shira Gabry-Kalikow as our Monday guest blogger! Every week we invite guests to share a story or provide advice as it relates to college visits, best places to eat around campus, travel, life in college, admission tips, parenting or health, and wellness. If you are traveling to Minneapolis this summer for a family trip and college visit to Macalester College, Shira has outlined one tasty guide for you to follow.  Shira, a public health professional and freelance writer at, loves traveling, hiking, swimming and boating in lakes, ice cream, coffee, and dogs. Shira also used to have an ice cream blog called The Ice Cream Scoop. If you would like to share your story or insight, contact us 


Eat Like a Local

So you’re heading to Minnesota because your son or daughter is attending Macalester College. Maybe it’s your first time there and you’re dropping them off for orientation, or you’ve been there a number of times but haven’t explored much outside of St. Paul and the area immediately surrounding Macalester. Luckily, a short drive away from the college town is a unique city just waiting for you to explore. Either bring your child with you for a break from dorm food and college life or enjoy an adults-only afternoon or evening.

Depending on where you’re originally from, you might find Minneapolis to be a quiet city as I did, coming from NYC or a bustling city if you’re from somewhere more rural. Either way, Minneapolis has incredible coffee, an award-winning parks system, and awesome breweries. Keep reading for some of my favorites gathered from my time exploring Minneapolis!

Sweet Treats

Patisserie 46 is an adorable French bakery located on the corner of a residential neighborhood. We had the breadbasket and an incredible chocolate hazelnut cake. They also have sandwiches, coffee, and delicious chocolates and pastries if you were inclined to pack a picnic lunch for the day. Many people stop by after a long bike ride or run in the park so feel free to drop by sweaty! You will be in good company.

Best Sweets near Macalester College

Coffee Shops

Minneapolis is home to some of the country’s greatest coffee shops and there are so many of them, each with their own vibe. FiveWatt Coffee is a Brooklynesque coffee shop with a fantastic open space and plenty of seating. They are known for their unique coffee concoctions. Try the Big Easy (cold press, chicory + nutmeg simple syrup, Black Walnut bitters, cream or non-dairy milk of choice) or the Hibernator (Cold Press, Toasted Almonds, Honey, Milk) as they were both our favorites. Stop here when you are looking for something a little different than your usual latte or macchiato.

Next on our list is Dogwood Coffee Company, a Minneapolis-based coffee chain. Grab a coffee and take a look around as they sell adorable mugs and gifts. It is camp themed and they have the cutest logoed gear for sale at their locations. This is a great place to stop for a quick cup, while also picking up a travel mug for your tired college student to take to the library during late night study sessions.

Spyhouse Coffee Roasters, another Minneapolis-based coffee chain, has a wide open space with a myriad of seating to spend an afternoon reading or getting work done. Perfect for a group where some people want to try something a bit unique, and others like the classics. The lavender latte with oat milk was excellent.

Next Up are the Breweries

Dangerous Man Brewing Co is a small but really good brewery with great tasting beers. They have some seating though it can get crowded. One of my favorite things about this brewery is that they have lots of different card and board games around to play. You’ll definitely get cool points from your college student if you treat them and a few of their friends to a couple of beers here before taking them out to dinner.

Surley Brewing Company was hands down our favorite, we LOVED this place. Surley is a huge brewery with massive indoor and outdoor space for friends to gather and mingle while enjoying a beer. They have a restaurant and event rooms, and gas fire pits in the outdoor space. There were lots of dogs and kids milling about. We spent a few hours here before heading to the MNUFC game however I could have spent even longer there just hanging around one of the fire pits drinking beer and playing with puppies. This is a great place to book a room for a graduation celebration or weekend outing for multiple families with kids of all ages.

Best Places to Drink in Minneapolis


Burch Steak & Pizza Bar is a perfect place to stop after a Minnesota United FC game and it is delicious! We ordered both steak and pizza and both were extremely tasty. I also had a fantastic cocktail. This meal was easily our favorite and the fanciest of our trip. A wonderful choice for family dinner away from the college masses.

112 Eatery was our go-to spot after a night out at the Twins ballgame. We shared a number of dishes including steak tartar, fresh ricotta with white truffle honey, and pan-fried gnocchi all of which were very good, though I think the gnocchi was my favorite. We also had the chocolate torte with malted ice cream for dessert, which hit the spot.

The Bad Waitress Diner is fun a diner on ‘Eat Street’. They serve local and organic breakfast, lunch, dinner, and coffee. We ordered the egg scrambles and shared an order of strawberry rhubarb pancakes. The name of the restaurant comes from their unique ordering method. Instead of a waitress coming to the table, you write your order on a sheet of paper, bring it up to the counter and pay before you get your food.

Best Diner near Macalester College

Activities Any Age will Enjoy

Get tickets to an MNUFC Soccer Game. Even though it was only the first season for this team, the stadium was pretty full and there was a lot of team spirit!

Catching a Twins Baseball Game is a treat as the stadium is beautiful with lots of fantastic food offerings. I ordered ice cream and cheese curds – not the healthiest, but I can’t visit the Midwest and not have cheese curds!

Minneapolis has an award-winning parks system and Minnehaha Park did not disappoint. We rode a two-person quadricycle on the numerous bike lanes and walked around the Minnehaha Falls area of the park. It is also a great place for an afternoon picnic.

Best Activities around Macalester College


Lake Calhoun offers activities for everyone. We went for a run around the lake. There are canoes to rent and opportunities to bike, boat, or fish. Relax at the small café on the shore of the lake and take in the sites. I highly recommend spending an afternoon here, especially if you’re visiting in late summer.




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