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We may not get paid a lot, but we know how to have fun. For this month’s blog, C3 VISTAs shared some of their favorite pastimes – lakeside movies, football-stadium rollerblading, beer – that don’t break the bank. 

Chain of Lakes

It doesn’t matter to me when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun. Spring begins when ducks, geese and leaves return to my neighborhood.

I live close to the Chain of Lakes in southwest Minneapolis. When the cold grip of winter releases me from hibernation, I always look forward to walking around the lakes.

Lake of the Isles is full of forbidden treasures. The two islands for which it is named are protected wildlife refuges, and nobody is allowed on them. What creatures lurk in those virgin forests? And in those million-dollar mansions around its perimeter? No one knows. Must-sees: some of Minneapolis’s nicest houses and lawns, Isles Bun and Coffee bakery.   

Lake Bde Maka Ska has been called many names: Bde Maka Ska (Ioway), Mde Med’oza (Dakota), Loon Lake and, since 1817, Lake Calhoun. The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation board decided this year to renounce its former namesake, John Calhoun, who was U.S. Secretary of War when the lake was surveyed, but is better known for supporting slavery. Must-sees: paddle board and canoe rentals, free yoga lessons, milkshakes at Tin Fish.

Cedar Lake is less busy than Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska and feels far from civilization. Must-sees: wooded trails, Hidden Beach. 

Lake Harriet has free outdoor movies in the summer. I went once on a date, to see ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday.’ I recommend having a back-up plan. Must-see: Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.

-Ben Suker, Program Associate at the Pohlad Family Foundation


Stadium Rollerblading

Skaters of all abilities rollered around the concourse of U.S. Bank Stadium Tuesday night.  Jeff

Before breaking ground on the $1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority held a series of public meetings. The public’s top concern, according to reports, was opening the stadium to rollerbladers.

My affair with rollerblading began last August. I spent my first personal day of the VISTA year on a date with a friend of a friend. We went to Savers, bought cheap rollerblades and stumbled around Lake Nokomis. What became of the friend’s friend? Not much. The rollerblades? That’s another story.

The stadium isn’t far from my apartment, near Uptown. It’s where I transfer to the light rail every morning on my way to work, and on my way home. I’ve glimpsed hordes of Vikings fans during the football season. More recently, I’ve watched helmeted specks hurtling past the window. Rollerbladers flooded the cement concourse on 16 evenings this year, between December and March.

As a seasoned blader myself, I’ll tell you this: if you like Christian Music Night at the Roller Garden, you’re going to love Family Skate at U.S. Bank Stadium.

After work, I sail past row upon row of purple seats, dart between Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, and glide, eyes upturned gazing at off-road vehicles suspended from the ceiling. That is, until a pack of tween girls stop abruptly by the women’s bathroom. I stumble and flail.

Hart Hornor, Bridging and Communications Specialist at the LSS Eastside Financial Center


Urban Growler Brewery

Urban Growler Beer on Beer Garden and in Taproom

Looking for something fun, rewarding and yummy? I highly recommend visiting Urban Growler Brewery in St. Paul.

Order yourself a brew and a snack, and bask in the sun on the patio. I personally enjoy a pint of Cowbell Cream Ale. Oh and don’t forget this patio is dog friendly so bring along your pooch!

The owners love AmeriCorps members. They hosted the Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service 2017, and gave a big speech on the importance of national service. Also, Urban Growler is owned by a queer couple, was the first woman-owned brewery in the state, and buys its ingredients from local farmers.

I love this place but sadly they do not have a happy hour so their beers are a bit spendy. For me, supporting a business like this one makes it worth the expense. But if you aren’t interested in spending $6 on a beer, I would recommend you head over to the Groveland Tap at the intersection of St. Clair and Fairview Ave.

-Sarah Reiter, Youth Employment Coordinator at Project for Pride in Living’s LEAP Initiative 



Phillips Family Foundation

Author Phillips Family Foundation

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