Somehow I missed it, but Giant Robot published a "My Perfect Day" story from the Twin Cities a couple of months ago. It's a feature where the writer describes the place they live in the form of a diary entry for a perfect day where they could do all their favorite things in a period of 16 - 20 hours. This one was pretty good, the guy works for the Walker and mentioned most of the cool galleries and museums. It's too bad he apparently never steps further east of the river than Dinkytown, though. Where's the St. Paul love? If I did a perfect day, I'd have to do a Minneapolis one and a St. Paul one, otherwise I'd never fit everything in. Here's my East Metro version, based on certain special days with my sweetie Dr. S:
9 AM: Early for me, but it's a perfect day and I have a lot to do, so Dr. S tickles my toes. I look out my balcony at the Mississippi: it looks like a perfect day.
10:30 AM. We walk along the Mississippi River and look for any new graffiti to photgraph. Who needs camping when you have the river in walking distance? I've seen bald eagles, wild turkeys, and a mama duck with ducklings. Then we go over to see if there's some new art at the railroad tracks at 280 and Pelham.
11 AM: Brunch at Key's on Raymond, a nice, homey Midwestern breakfast and lunch place. There are several in the Twin Cities, each run by a different family member, but the Raymond one has the most character.
12 PM: I check out Succotash to see what incredible midcentury-modern finds are there today. This is were I got my lovely tiki bar, they were so nice they delivered it to my house at no extra charge.
12:30 PM: More than just a surplus store, Axman is a museum of oddities. Employees create handmade signs suggesting weird uses for all their stuff. It has to be experienced to be believed. No Halloween is complete without it.
1:3o PM: We stop at Saigon in Frogtown for some yummy banh mi to take along for a picnic in Como Park. Frogtown is a neighborhood full of Southeast Asian businesses. Its name is ancient and shrouded in mystery.
1:30 PM: We check out the animals at Como Zoo. It may not be the fanciest zoo around, but it's one of the cheapest ($2 suggested donation). There is also a lovely park, a conservatory, and a slightly pathetic but sweet amusement park. It is a very St. Paul kind of place, small cute and not changed much by time.
4 PM: The Source is aptly named. Here is the source for all your most geeky needs: Role-playing games, comic books, miniatures, plushes, figurines, funny-shaped dice, DVDs, manga and a calendar of geek events. The staff is friendly and not freaked out by females.
6 PM: Tomodachi is a little slice of Akibahara in the Twin Cities. There are toys, CDs, stationary, stickers, t-shirts, robots, figures, and plushes from Japan, plus some Asian-inspired toys like Uglydolls. Where else would I get a poseable Tachikoma? Items I've purchased there include: a Domo-kun T-shirt, Badtz Maru slippers and a Samurai Champloo calendar. It's a perfect day, so the cosplaying employee with the furry pink leggings is there and some good J-Pop is playing.
7:30 PM: There are a lot of Ethiopian places in the Twin Cities, but Fasika is my current favorite. There is so much food for such a good price, we have to each get a giant platter on a big piece of injera bread.
9:30 PM: We go to the Turf Club and a great local band is playing. The Turf Club is small and unpretentious, just the right size, location, seat/floor ratio, and attitude for a show. The good band ends just in time for us to catch our bus, and we go home thinking of our perfect day.
Note: This is certainly not everything that could be done in St. Paul, only what could plausibly be done in one day (I'm still taking the bus, but I catch every connection perfectly). I didn't even mention the State Fair, the Art Crawl, the cool old buildings in West 7th and Summit Ave., the Black Sea, the Science Museum, Shish, Punch Pizza, Uncle Sven's. Babani's, Taste of Thailand, Peking Garden, the downtown St. Paul library and the three Carnegie branches, the Art Deco City Hall, Pino's, Khyber Pass, and a downtown that's not filled with ugly buildings because they tore most of the good ones down in the 60's.