Axios Twin Cities

Picture of the Twin Cities skyline with MSP written across it.

December 03, 2022

Happy Saturday! It's Audrey.

β˜€οΈ Weather: Sun all weekend, with highs in the mid-teens today and high-20s tomorrow.

This newsletter is 712 words, a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Holiday light guide

Sever's Holiday Lights display in 2021. Photo: Sever's

Put on winter gear and grab the hot chocolate: 'Tis the season for holiday light shows. Take a walk through your neighborhood or drive across town to check out these displays.

Paid shows

🚘 Sever's Holiday Lights: Drive through more than 2.5 million lights synced to holiday music in Shakopee, or get out to walk through a forest of glowing trees. $25+.

🍎 Winter Lights: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's show features a giant walk-through apple, lit-up weeping willows and a s'mores station. $15.

πŸ› GLOW: The fan-favorite festival at CHS has over 1 million lights, an enchanted forest, giant slide and a 60-foot-tall tree. $20+.

🎢 Christmas in Color: Turn on the radio and drive through this animated light show synced to music at Valley Fair. $35+ per vehicle.

Free shows

πŸ—Ί Self-guided tours: Several suburbs have maps of lit houses, including Brooklyn Park, Bloomington, Chanhassen and the Kenny/Armatage neighborhood in south Minneapolis .

🏑 Schultz Family Lights: The home light show on York Avenue in St. Paul features over 90,000 lights synced to radio; bring canned goods for the drop box supporting Merrick Food Shelf.

🍬Candy Cane Lane: This Roseville house is decked out in holiday cheer, including a 180-foot lit-up walking path through the yard.

πŸ’‘ Yes, and: This extensive map, compiled by local guide-maker Mike Marcotte, has more under-the-radar houses within 50 miles of the Twin Cities (and beyond). Best viewed on desktop.

2. Review: Battle of the Christmas bars

Three cocktails side by side.

Cocktails from Mary's Christmas Palace and Stilheart Distilling. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

As a reporter, sometimes I have to go out of my comfort zone to best serve our readers. This week, that meant taking on the difficult task of visiting two Christmas bars.

  • Here are my thoughts.
🍸 Miracle at Stilheart:

If you were expecting a cozy bar full of Christmas cheer, you might be underwhelmed. This North Loop cocktail lounge had the energy of an on-a-strict-budget office holiday party.

  • There was a small window display, hanging lights, a single Hanukkah inflatable tucked in the back and Santa mugs more expensive than the cocktails.

Yes, and: Said cocktails ($12-$15) were too syrupy sweet.

πŸŽ‰ Holiday spirit: 3/10. For a national traveling pop-up, it could do a little more than gift-wrap some tables.

πŸ’₯ Mary's Christmas Palace

Psycho Suzi's pop-up is not for the faint of heart. Imagine the maximum amount of tinsel and Christmas lights you could fit in a basement, then triple it.

  • The space was packed at 9:30pm on a Thursday; with the narrow hallways and low-ish ceilings, it can feel claustrophobic.

Yes, and: The cocktails ($12-$17) weren't the fanciest, but the bar earns points for its creativity.

  • Snow globe glasses, names like "I Hate My Elf for Loving You" and multitudes of garnishes cheered me up.

πŸŽ‰ Holiday spirit: 8/10.

3. What I learned this week

Illustration of a pattern of beer taps.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ’Έ Owners of expensive office towers in the Twin Cities are choosing to walk away from their properties instead of continuing to make loan payments, Nick reports in this week's most-read story.

🌱 A pro-legal marijuana party lost its major party status after failing to receive enough votes in the midterms. Torey has the why it matters.

πŸ€ In a bad start to the Timberwolves' season, Karl-Anthony Towns will miss several weeks due to a calf injury, Nick writes.

🚫 A new taproom opening in south Minneapolis will skip the beer in favor of hard kombucha seltzer. I have the details, including more on its pop-up THC taproom this month.

4. The Spoon: News from around the state

Illustration of a snowman with a spoon and cherry as the nose.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

πŸ› No one ran for mayor in Whalan, Minn. The town of 67 tried to offer the job to write-in candidates, but has now posted the listing for the general public. (KARE11)

  • The gig pays $150 a month and the only requirement is attending two meetings.

πŸ“ˆ Duluth's tourism has now surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. The visitor's center reported 12,582 visitors since April 22, compared with 1,793 in 2019. (Duluth News Tribune)

🏈 This week's suggested long read: a heartwarming profile of the Red Lake Nation football team, which hasn't won a game in years. (Star Tribune)

5. πŸ”Œ 1 getaway to go: Get off the grid

An a-frame cabin in Grand Marais.

The Gaucho Cabin in Grand Marais. Photos: Audrey Kennedy

I unplugged at this cozy (and Instagrammable) A-frame cabin near Grand Marais last month.

  • Lake Superior was visible from the indoor net(!) by day. It's also a dark sky area, so you might be able to catch a view of the Northern Lights this winter.

Yes, but: In true off-the-grid style, there's no running water β€” hence the outhouse.

Thanks for reading! As always, send tips/thoughts/opinions on the second "Knives Out" movie (I loved it) to [email protected]

  • πŸŽ„ If you need me, I'm putting up my Christmas tree. Not for holiday reasons, I'm just really tired of it taking up most of my closet.

See you next week!