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If you're traveling to International Falls in the winter, don't miss these stops

Bronko statue

Bronko Nagurski was big in real life, but not that big! Photo: Torey Van Oot/Axios

I spent last week exploring International Falls while my husband froze his behind off biking — and finishing— the Arrowhead Ultra 135.

While Voyageurs National Park and Rainy Lake make "I Falls" a popular summer destination, it's a cool (pun intended) place to visit in the winter, too.

  • Here are some of my local picks, fueled by reader recommendations!

First look: Butcher & the Boar 2.0 stands on its own

A photo of a black building and a photo of a plate of chicken.

Butcher & the Boar's new location; the charred chicken, cheesy grits and Pearls Before Swine cocktail. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

Butcher & the Boar is back. The award-winning restaurant known for its smoked meats opens in North Loop Tuesday, Feb. 7, with a reimagined menu, new ownership, and plenty of whiskey.

Catch up fast: The original Butcher & the Boar on Hennepin Avenue abruptly closed in September 2020 after eight years, inciting a bidding war for the rights to its name, menu and building.

Rents in the Twin Cities rose slower than the U.S. average

Data: Moody's Analytics; Table: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Rents in the Twin Cities grew at a slower place than the U.S. average in 2022, according to a report by Moody's Analytics.

Details: The average asking rent for an apartment in the Twin Cities grew by 5.2% in 2022, reaching $1,510, per Moody's.

Dashfire's new bar features a banana-flavored cocktail, and it's actually good?

A yellow cocktail on a table.

The Whole Banana at Elusive Botanical Bar. Photo: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

I visited Elusive Botanical Bar, a new cocktail room by local spirits company Dashfire, to try a drink I expected to hate: a banana-flavored cocktail.

  • The Whole Banana ($13) features a banana rum blend, banana cordial, "green peel tincture" and a hint of lime.

Inside Chill State Collective, Minnesota's first all-in-one THC drink distributor

Two people on a production line.

Chill State partners with brands and produces its own drinks. Photo: Chill State Collective

THC companies across the country are clamoring to partner with Chill State Collective, Minnesota's first and only all-in-one distribution center exclusively for hemp-derived THC beverages.

State of play: The collective, started late last year by the folks behind cooperative brewing company Fair State, partners with brands across the country to co-pack, store and distribute their drinks here in Minnesota.

Ice in Bloom and hot air balloon launches: What to do in the Twin Cities this weekend

Illustration of snowflakes falling; one has the Axios logo.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Here's a list of events worth checking out this weekend:

🐶 Pet some pups at this weekend's Klondike Dog Derby in downtown Excelsior. Huskies are available for hugs Friday night before their big race around Lake Minnetonka on Saturday. Free.

🔭 The Bell Museum's Space Fest kicks off Friday night with a Mars viewing party (weather dependent). Stop by this weekend for a meet-and-greet with a retired NASA astronaut and a new Mars-themed planetarium show. Price varies.

🧊 Art in Bloom fans, listen up: The Minneapolis Institute of Art is opening Ice in Bloom on Saturday, a garden of over 500 ice flowers and sculptures outside the museum. On view until they melt. Free.

🚲 Find that one part you've been looking for at the Great Minnesota Bike Swap. Mechanics, collectors and casual bike enthusiasts will sell their wares in Prior Lake on Saturday. Free to shop.

🎈Over 30 hot air balloons will take flight from an elementary school parking lot at the Hudson Hot Air Affair this weekend. Launches are at 7:35am on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Free.

⛷️ Cheer on skiers, snowshoers, fat tire bikers and more as they race across Theodore Wirth Park during City of the Lakes Loppet Winter Festival this weekend. Free to watch.

  • Note: The festival's popular Luminary Loppet, where visitors walk, ski and snowshoe on a candlelit trail on Lake of the Isles, was delayed to Feb. 18.

🗓️ Last call for The St. Paul Winter Carnival and Great Northern Festival. Both wrap up on Sunday; this weekend's events include parades, scavenger hunts and a sauna village. Prices vary.

Audrey Kennedy
Feb 3, 2023 - News

Minneapolis tows hundreds of cars for winter parking violations

A car in the snow

Minneapolis began towing cars packed on the even side of streets this week. Photo by Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minneapolis towed 319 vehicles and issued over 2,500 tickets for winter parking restriction violations in the first three days of enforcement, according to city data provided to Axios on Thursday.

Nick Halter
Feb 3, 2023 - Sports

Then and now: 5 years after Super Bowl 52

U.S. Bank Stadium at half time of the super bowl

Singer Justin Timberlake performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium in 2018. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Saturday will mark five years since Super Bowl 52 was played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Flashback: The world has changed dramatically since the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in thrilling fashion that day.