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20 Minnesota-made gifts under $100 for everyone on your list

Three photos side by side. Plates with personalized messages hanging on a wall, book lover themed candles and a stand of mittens and hands
The St. Paul gift shop i like you too β€” and its sister shop i like you in Northeast Minneapolis β€” have a variety of locally made gifts, such as book-themed candles. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

Did you make your holiday shopping list, check it twice then realize your gifts won't show up until 2022? We're here to help.

Driving the news: Supply chain shortages and shipping delays are heavily impacting shopping this year. Many retailers began urging consumers to start ordering as early as mid-October.

Catch these free winter light shows in the Twin Cities

crowd of people gathered outdoors watching christmas light show
The 2019 University of Minnesota CSE Winter Light Show. Photo: University of Minnesota

Put on your winter gear and grab your hot chocolate: In-person holiday light shows are back! Take a walk through your neighborhood or drive downtown to check out these free displays.

Where to volunteer in the Twin Cities this holiday season

rainbow string lights in the shape of a heart blinking on and off
Illustration: Allie Carl

Looking for ways to give back this month?

πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ Cook, bake or deliver healthy meals to Twin Cities residents via Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit serving people with life-threatening illnesses, their caregivers and dependents.

Nick Halter
Dec 3, 2021 - News

How 3 Minnesotans created The Oregon Trail 50 years ago

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Oregon Trail has turned 50 years old, and if you're scratching your head β€” a computer game in 1971? β€” you're not alone.

The intrigue: Yes, it was children of the 1990s who learned to ford rivers, replace broken wagon wheels and who tried to stave off dysentery.

  • But it was actually a bunch of baby boomers in Minneapolis who first played the game as middle schoolers in the early 1970s.

Things to do in the Twin Cities over the first December weekend

Illustration of neon signs with the days of the week. Lights go out one by one and "weekend" flashes.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

It's finally getting cold out there! Here's what's happening around town this weekend.

πŸƒβ€β™€οΈπŸΊ Want to run for beer, but not that far? The .5K Winter Beer Dash this Saturday is only a few blocks in length, and all participants receive two free beers from Able Seedhouse + Brewery and 612Brew, a holiday sweater and Brewery Running Series merch. $45+. Register online.

Torey Van Oot
Dec 3, 2021 - News

Voting by Minnesota college students jumped in 2020

Data: LeadMN/U.S. Census; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Pandemic-related barriers didn't keep Minnesota college students from voting in droves in 2020, a report released Thursday shows.

Driving the news: Voting was up across all types of Minnesota higher education institutions, including private universities and two-year colleges, according to a new State of Student Voting report from the student organization LeadMN.

  • The projected turnout rate of 70% beats the national average for college students and eligible voters in general, as the chart above shows.
Torey Van Oot
Updated Dec 2, 2021 - News

Omicron variant detected in Minnesota

Saliva samples from COVID tests.
Photo: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The new Omicron variant has been detected in a vaccinated Minnesota resident with recent travel history to New York City, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement Thursday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case involved a patient who developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22 and got a COVID-19 test on Nov. 24, per MDH. He is no longer experiencing symptoms.

Where are all the Twin Cities 24-hour diners?

Neon sign saying Open 24 hours
Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

If you're looking for a place to sit down and grab some grub at 2am in the Twin Cities, you might be out of luck.

What's happening: From Mickey's to Uptown Diner, the metro is losing its round-the-clock diners as COVID-19 safety concerns and labor shortages continue to challenge the restaurant industry.

Why it matters: Local diners are late-night institutions β€” a staple of graveyard shift workers, college students and night owls in need of hot coffee and a plate of eggs and bacon.