International Meals for Delivery in Washington, DC to Quell Your #Wanderlust

Most of us are experiencing major wanderlust these days as the pandemic has prevented everyone from traveling as much as they would like. A creative way to explore other countries without even leaving your apartment is by delving into authentic cuisine. If you’re located in Washington, DC, you probably already know you’re surrounded by amazing international food options. Here are some restaurants with pickup and delivery options so you can sample the world’s many flavors and stay safe from COVID, too:

Japan: Daikaya

There’s not much more comforting in these winter months than a warm bowl of soup, and if you want to add international flavor, get some ramen. Daikaya offers a selection of comforting broths, noodles, and add-ons and they even have instructions for combining and reheating your takeout ramen order here!

Spain: Jaleo

Are you a night owl? Then you’ll want to make like the Spanish do and eat dinner LATE. Open for delivery until 9 pm, Jaleo has you covered for tapas, paella, chorizo, olives, and sangria. Since opening Jaleo in 1993, Chef José Andrés has been capturing Spanish flavors with traditional ingredients and cutting-edge techniques. The hard work has paid off, as the restaurant has been featured in the 2018 Michelin Guide.

The Caribbean: Cane

In these dark days of winter, we all want to be on a beach sipping rum. But when you can’t do that, you can still sip rum on your couch and enjoy traditional Caribbean roti tiffin boxes of curry, jerk, and slaw. Cane is owned and operated by a brother and sister from Trinidad and Tobago who are bringing the diverse tastes of their home island -influenced by African, Indian, Spanish, French, and East Asian foods- to you!

The Middle East: Maydān

Can’t decide on a particular country -or even continent? How about enjoying the varied flavors of the Middle East and North Africa? You’ll enjoy a meal centered around bread baked in clay ovens that you can enjoy with a variety of roasted vegetables, dips, spreads, meats, and salads. Check out their special to-go menu, which includes wine and cocktails.

The Philippines: Bad Saint

This tiny restaurant packs a real flavor punch! And now you can sample their creative Filipino dishes and craft cocktails at home. Delicious options include roast pork with steamed buns, chilled octopus salad, and vegetable stew in peanut sauce. In case you want more goodies to enjoy later, they also have an online “pantry” where you can get house-made sauces, CSA boxes, and Filipino grocery items.

Mexico: Taqueria Habanero

Taco Tuesday called, and it misses you. Luckily, Taqueria Habanero has 14 different taco options daily! You’ll be supporting a family-owned business while eating true Mexican food cooked by Chef Dio Montero, who is from Puebla, Mexico then immigrated to the US 15 years ago, and worked his way up from dishwasher to line cook to restaurant owner. So, get your Mexican fix with authentic food, fresh tortillas, and -if you want to go all out- to-go margaritas.

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One Day Getaways from Houston for #TravelTuesday

Have a work trip to Houston coming up and you’re looking for an awesome way to spend your day off? Or maybe you live in Houston, had to cancel your vacation away this year due to COVID, and are looking for someplace closer to home to go to scratch that travel itch. Either way, if you want some great getaways near Houston, read on for ideas!

Space Center and Boardwalk

Houston, we have a problem! But not if you visit these family-friendly destinations for a perfect Travel Tuesday with kids. Start your day just half an hour from the city center at Space Center Houston, where kids can learn a ton about space and space exploration or marvel at the largest collection of space suits and moon rocks on public display! You can also take a peek at the NASA Johnson Space Center next door where mission control is located.

From there, drive 20 minutes east to the water and you’ll find yourself at Kemah Boardwalk. Grab lunch the kids will love from options like chicken and fries to pizza to burgers and follow it up with a funnel cake or ice cream. Then let the kids have fun with activities like rides and midway games.

Galveston Island

Perhaps the Houston area’s most famous vacation spot, there’s so much to do on Galveston Island that this getaway is perfect if you have a full weekend to fill. But at only an hour’s drive south of the city, it still works quite well as a day trip!

This barrier island of the Gulf of Mexico has a robust tourism industry, which means you’ll find something to do no matter what you like. You can visit an eclectic variety of restaurants and nightlife, gorgeous beaches and fun boardwalks, and cute shopping districts. If you like history, you’ll be able to enjoy Victorian architecture and an assortment of unique museums. And for the outdoorsy folks, there are boat rides, fishing, birdwatching, kayaking, surfing, and more!

National Wildlife Refuge

A day trip to the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, located just an hour west of the city, is perfect for outdoor lovers. Birders will have fun trying to spot unique grassland birds like Attwater’s prairie-chickens, sandhill cranes, Sprague’s pipits, dickcissels, scissor-tailed flycatchers, and black-bellied whistling ducks that all make their home on this federally protected land! Even if you’re not a birder, you’ll find plenty to do here at one of the largest remaining stretches of coastal prairie habitat in the United States. There is an assortment of hiking and nature trails where you can learn more about the native flora and fauna and you’re sure to see wildflowers and butterflies on your walk.

After the wildlife refuge, make a pit-stop on your way back to Houston at Blessington Farms. They have pick-your-own berries and animal encounters, including feeding Quaker Parrots in their aviary and hands-on encounters with chickens, lambs, and goats. Plus, there are a ton of other exciting activities for kids in case you’re bringing the family.

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#TravelPhotography Tips in the Age of COVID-19

We all know travel is much trickier in the middle of a pandemic. But one aspect of your trip that you may not think about being a challenge is taking awesome pictures! Here are a few ways that travel photography is looking a bit different at the moment, and our tips for getting the best photos you can.

To Mask or Not to Mask

Generally, of course, the answer is to wear your mask! Masks are incredibly effective at stopping the spread of germs, and any time you’re in public and might come within six feet of other people, you need to be wearing one. This especially goes for group pictures, since while you’re posing with your friends, you’ll be very close to each other.

Of course, no one wants to look back at their vacation photos and see their beautiful smile blocked by a mask, but remember that we’re currently living through a major historical moment and you might actually like to look back on the pictures someday and be reminded of this very unique time. That being said, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Have fun with your mask and find one with an image of a fun pair of red lips, a catchy quote, or anything that will make you happy.

There is one exception to this rule -if you’re somewhere outdoors and not encountering many other people, such as on a large beach or a hiking trail, it’s absolutely ok to take your mask off for a picture. Some tips to combat what it does to your face? Bring oil-absorbing wipes to get rid of that mask sweat and a little bit of make-up so you can touch up after your mask messes it all up.

Getting the Perfect Shot

Before COVID, we were all very familiar with the situation of being at a crowded tourist location and having to get very close to other people to snap the iconic photo that everyone there is trying to get. You’re going to need to recognize that this isn’t wise at the moment, so leave yourself some extra time at photogenic destinations so that you’ll be able to wait for any crowds to clear to get the pictures you want.

Another challenge that some people are having while taking photos with their mask on is that it fogs up their camera’s viewfinder! This can be very frustrating because it makes it impossible to see if you have the image framed the way that you want it. A few tips to combat this phenomenon are:

·        Make sure your mask is tightly fitted around the bridge of your nose. Camera viewfinders and glasses lenses fog up when a gap between your mask and your face sends your warm breath straight up to the glass.

·        Bring a microfiber cloth that you can use to wipe the water vapor off your viewfinder. This can do double duty if you ever need to clean off your camera lens, too!

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Best Places to See Spring Wildflowers for March #Hiking

March can be a rough month for a lot of the country. All anyone wants after a long, dark winter is the arrival of Spring, but March days are for the most part still cold and trees have yet to get their leaves. Luckily, March is when the very first wildflowers start to spout, and there are a few places in the country that have fantastic shows of color during this month! So, if you need to quell your Spring fever with flowers and fresh air, plan a hiking trip to one of these awesome destinations and scout out some wildflowers!

Skagit Valley

Chances are when you think of epic hiking destinations in the United States, the Pacific Northwest already comes to mind. But with a reputation for grey, rainy days, you might not think to book a trip to Seattle for Spring color. But just an hour and a half north of the Seattle Airport is a region that comes alive with daffodils in March and tulips in April!

If you come at the right time, you can catch the La Conner Daffodil Festival or the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. And when you’re done tiptoeing through the tulips and looking for a more serious hike, nearby North Cascade National Park has 684,000 acres of “the American Alps” for you to explore.

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

This section of the Mojave Desert bursts with color from mid-February into May annually when the California poppies bloom. Other wildflowers adding to the beautiful tapestry include owl’s clover, lupine, goldfield, cream cups, and coreopsis. And birdwatchers can keep an eye out for hawks and meadowlarks while on this hike!

A word to the wise -this is not the place to go traipsing into the flowers for an Instagram shot. While it’s not recommended that you do that anywhere because you can trample on delicate plant life and compact the soil, making it hard for flowers to bloom in that spot in following years, it’s an especially bad idea here. Antelope Valley is home to rattlesnakes. While they’re not aggressive and you won’t have a problem hiking on a marked trail, if you surprise one while wading into flowers you could have a problem!

Texas Hill Country

Just to make sure we’ve covered all colors after yellow daffodils and red poppies, we’re throwing in bluebonnets! These beauties spread across a huge area of Texas just west of Austin and north of San Antonio. Go in late March through Mid-April and you’ll see them carpeting fields right along the roadsides.

A perfect hike to view the flowers for families with small kids or hiking newbies is at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. There are easy trails and educational materials so you can learn more about the flowers. And to cover more ground, hop in the car and do a wildflower driving tour around the region, stopping to stretch your legs and hike at state parks as you go!

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How to Quickly See London on a Long Layover at #Heathrow

We’ve all been there. You’re heading on an international adventure, but to secure the cheapest flight you need to book a trip that includes an awkwardly long layover. And if this is happening to you, chances are good it’s going to be at Heathrow, which sees a lot of connecting flights.

So, if you’ve found yourself with more time between flights than you care to spend sitting by your gate sipping a coffee and tapping your foot, read on for a guide to quickly see a little bit of London during your Heathrow layover.

The Nuts and Bolts

First things first, unless you travel extremely light, you’re going to want to stow your luggage before you leave the airport. You can check out this page for prices and how to reserve your spot ahead of time.

Once your bags are out of the way, it’s time to leave the airport. You have a few options here, including the Tube, which is cheap but takes around an hour each way, so it’s not a good idea for shorter layovers. You can also take a cab which will be more expensive but can be better if you’re tight on time. However, your best bet is to take the Heathrow Express Train, which will get you to Paddington Station in about 15 minutes. If you book online in advance, you can secure a reduced fare of £5.50 each way.

Attractions

You made it out of the airport! Now, what to do? Here are a few options for an awesome day near Paddington Station:

·        The Sightseer: Jump on the tube and in 20 minutes you’ll be at Westminster Station. This puts you right next to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. From there, you can walk about 15 minutes to Buckingham Palace or up the Thames for views of London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

·        The Cultural Aficionado: Take a 15-minute ride on the tube to South Kensington where you’ll be near three great museums on Exhibition Road.  Your options include the self-explanatory Science Museum and Museum of Natural History, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is one of the world’s largest art museums.

·        The Tourist: If you have kids with you or just want to lean in to the fact that you’re a tourist, then you’re only a 10-minute ride away from Baker Station, which is right next to Madame Tussauds. After enjoying the wax sculptures, head across the street for a stroll around Regent’s Park or a visit to London Zoo.

·        The Foodie: If you’re hankering for a good meal that’s not in the airport, the good news is that you’re less than 20 minutes away from London’s best food neighborhood: Soho. Take the train to Oxford Circus and then walk a short way to the heart of the neighborhood where you’ll be surrounded by lots of delicious options.

Once you wrap up your adventure, be sure to head back to Heathrow to leave yourself plenty of time to go through security, pick up your bags, and navigate to your correct terminal and gate. Arriving at the airport 2-3 hours before departure is suggested.

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The #Foodie Guide to Top St. Patrick’s Day Destinations

Americans love to party on St. Patrick’s Day -some cities more than others. But the holiday is about more than just parades, Kiss Me I’m Irish T-Shirts, and pints of Guinness. For foodies, it’s also about delicious Irish food.

Whether you want a classic boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage or something with a bit more of a modern twist, we’ve created a guide to the top St. Patrick’s Day destinations’ food that you absolutely must try. Sláinte!

Boston

The list has to start with Boston. Though it’s a matter of some debate, Boston may have hosted the United States’ first St. Patrick’s Day parade as early as 1724, and today, the largest ethnic group within the city is people of Irish descent! Here are some places you’re going to want to check out for authentic food:

·        J.J. Foley’s Café: This South End pub has been family-owned and operated since 1909. Enjoy classics like fish and chips and Irish brown bread, or feed that inner foodie with adventurous offerings like truffle mac and cheese or fig and goat cheese pizza.

·        The Black Rose: Reserve a spot for the 17th at this Faneuil Hall pub that offers authentic Irish hospitality and craic. You can eat a full Irish breakfast if you come early, or enjoy Guinness stew and bangers and mash on in the day.

Chicago

When a city goes so far as to dye their river green, you know they’re serious about St. Patrick’s Day. And the food scene is no exception. Here are our picks:

·        The Curragh: This Edison Park gem has over 30 beers on tap and the best Guinness pour in the city. If you’re not feeling beer, you can also choose from a selection of whiskeys. To eat, they have lots of “Irish Fayre” ranging from the creative veggie boxty to the old standby of corned beef & cabbage.

·         O’Shaughnessy’s Public House: This one is newer on the scene, but with its 1890 building, deep wood tones, and exposed brick, it looks every bit like a pub you’d find back in Ireland. It’s the perfect spot for foodies, with creative appetizers like corned beef-stuffed egg rolls and Irish curry popcorn!

New York City

Known for its massive St. Patrick’s Day parade that includes marchers all the way from Ireland, New York City knows how to party on March 17th. Here are your best options to eat on the big day:

·        Neary’s: Jimmy Neary’s pub has been an NYC landmark since he opened it on St. Patrick’s Day of 1967. This classy spot is often called “The Irish 21” and has the best hospitality around -Mr. Neary himself will greet you at the door. While you can’t partake in that hospitality at the moment due to COVID, you can support this fixture by ordering takeout on St. Paddy’s Day!·        The Dead Rabbit NYC: Get yourself a legendary Irish coffee at this award-winning Irish pub and cocktail bar. Traditional bites include lamb stew and corned beef sandwiches!

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Fun Destinations to Take Kids for Spring #FamilyTravel

Are your kids starting to feel a bit of spring fever? The combination of a full year of social distancing putting a damper on sports, clubs, and play dates, the strangeness of remote learning, and the winter blues can be challenging for kids. So, to brighten spirits, it might be time for a spring family trip! Here are some fun destinations that kids will love for a Spring Break trip or even a weekend getaway. And as a bonus, they’re all a little off the radar to help you stay safe during these times of social distancing.

Jamestown, Virginia

Take remote learning up a notch by making your Spring Break fun and educational! Jamestown, Virginia is perfect to check both boxes. Kids will have fun learning about colonial and Native American life in the region with a variety of interactive exhibits. You can visit Historic Jamestowne, the site of the original 1607 James Fort that is now managed by the National Parks Service. Kids will love the active archaeological dig currently happening on-site!

Next, you can head to the Jamestown Settlement, a museum with indoor interactive, and fun open-air, living-history exhibits with re-enactors. Kids will get to do hands-on activities and watch demonstrations from colonial times.

When you need a break from the educational side of the trip, the whole family can have some fun renting kayaks and getting out on the James River, taking a nature walk in one of the many parks, or visiting Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. Jamestown is well-located near several major cities for an easy weekend getaway. It’s a 2.5-hour drive from DC and a just over 3-hour drive from both Baltimore and Raleigh.

Ogden, Utah

Is your family super active? How about taking them on a ski trip! Ogden, Utah is perfect for families who love to ski -or those who want to learn. Local resorts include Snowbasin Resort and Powder Mountain, which have programs to teach new skiers how to start flying down the mountain in no time.

When you want a rest from the slopes, Ogden is a super cute town with epic mountain views. Kids will love the paleontology lab and life-size dinosaur models at George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, while adults will enjoy shopping and dining along Historic 25th Street.

Ogden is located just a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City International Airport.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Another great ski destination, believe it or not, is Blowing Rock, North Carolina. And even if your family would rather not ski, this adorable mountain town on the Scenic Blueridge Parkway has so much more to offer, too. Family-friendly attractions include an ice-skating rink, hiking trails, farms, a cute shopping district, a petting zoo, a fossil museum, an art museum, and zip lines!

Blowing Rock is well-located near several major cities for an easy weekend getaway. It’s a just under 5-hour drive from Atlanta and a just over 3-hour drive from Raleigh, and a quick flight from Cincinnati and Washington, DC.

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3 Surprising #Bucketlist Places to Attend St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Paddy’s Day is coming up, and here in the United States, that means parties, parades, and general revelry! The biggest celebrations tend to happen in cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago -but there are festive cities that may surprise you that you should add to your travel bucket list for the holiday!

Of course, the celebrations need to look a bit different this year due to social distancing measures, but either way, these 3 fun cities are places you need to check out -whether you’re ready to party this March or want to wait ‘til next year!

San Francisco

San Francisco has an assortment of bar crawls happening around town, but one of the more pandemic-friendly activities you can do is attend the Patrick’s Pawade. This benefit for rescue dogs includes yoga and meditation, picnicking, live music, a raffle, and more! Festive canine costumes are encouraged and prizes will be given to the best dressed.

You can stay safe because it’s being held outdoors in a park, just be sure to double mask and keep a six-foot leash length between you and other dog owners. Get your tickets here.

Orlando

Planning a trip to Disney World in mid-March? Just because you’ll be in sunny Florida doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday in true Irish style. Spend your day at Raglan Road, an Irish Pub and Restaurant in Disney Springs that always has a great St. Paddy’s Day bash.

Reserve your table now for this authentic and chill day of celebration. It’s less of a raucous party and more of an intimate day of great food and music that’s completely family-friendly. Irish hospitality includes gifts, competitions, and giveaways. Strict social distancing measures will be enforced for your safety, including 2-hour time slots and no gathering around the stage and bar.

While you’re enjoying the music and dancing onstage, you and your family can enjoy contemporary Irish fare prepared with local ingredients. Think of it as the next step up from pub food!

Houston

Texas normally doesn’t come to mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day, but Houston loves the holiday! This year, they will be holding their 62nd Annual Houston St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 13th at noon. It’s truly a community event that anyone can join whether you want to go so far as to build a float, decorate your vehicle, or just grab some buddies and put on some festive outfits.After the parade, head over to the 15th Annual Irish Stew Cook-Off, which will be going until 6 pm. Your $15 donation at the door helps support the parade. There will be dancers, bagpipers, and face painters, plus you’ll get to sample lots of delicious Irish food. They judge more than just stew, too -cooks will also be preparing chili (it is Texas, after all), Irish coffee, and Irish desserts and meals. After awards and raffles, stick around ‘til 11 pm for live music all evening.

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Here’s Your Update on How Top #Airlines are Currently Handling Health and Safety

The past two months we gave you an update that checked in on top airlines’ travel policies in response to the virus. This month, we’re adding a few more airlines to that list.

Air Canada

·        Safety: The Air Canada CleanCare+ Policy has new health regulations in place at every step of the process. These include sanitizing all high-touch areas onboard with hospital-grade disinfectant and social distancing during boarding.

·        Flexibility: A new policy allows you to make a one-time change without a fee for all new or existing bookings made through April 30, 2021 for flights that were scheduled between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022.

·        Requirements: Face coverings are required on flights for all passengers over the age of 2 (of course, the crew will be wearing them, too). You may be exempted if you a) provide a medical certificate that you cannot wear a mask and b) obtain a negative COVID test within 72 hours of your flight.

·        Other Things to Know: Anyone traveling to Canada from outside the country needs to get a negative COVID-19 test before departure, then quarantine in an approved hotel and take two additional COVID-19 tests.

Spirit Airlines

·          Safety: The Spirit Safe Travels program has put strict cleaning protocols in place both in the airport and onboard. All Spirit kiosks are frequently cleaned and there are wipes and hand sanitizer available in waiting areas. On the plane, they’re using EPA-registered fogging disinfectant treatments and HEPA filters for air filtration.

·        Flexibility: Spirit is currently continuing to waive all change and cancellation fees for travel booked by March 31, 2021. Canceled flights will earn a credit for the full amount paid to be used for future travel.

·        Requirements: Face coverings are required on flights for all passengers over the age of 2 (of course, the crew will be wearing them, too).

·        Other Things to Know: You can make your experience as contact-free as possible by downloading the Spirit App, where you can manage your trip, check in, and get your boarding pass all on your phone.

Frontier Airlines

·        Safety: Frontier’s Committed to You policy involves enhanced cleaning protocols both on and off the plane, as well as HEPA filters to keep air clean and circulating.

·        Flexibility: If you book your flight early and need to change your plans 60 or more days ahead, there will be no change fee. After that, it’s $39 up to 7 days before departure or $59 within 6 days of departure. If you purchase their WORKS discount bundle at booking, you won’t ever face a change fee and your entire purchase is refundable.

·        Requirements: Face coverings are required on flights for all passengers over the age of 2 (of course, the crew will be wearing them, too).

·        Other Things to Know: You must undergo a non-invasive temperature screening before boarding, and your temperature must be below 100.4˚ in order to fly.

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Why Minneapolis Should Be the Destination for Your Next #Adventure

Airport parking near MSP, try onairparking.com for the best rates!

Given the current situation with COVID-19, many people are cutting back on international travel and the number of places Americans are currently allowed to go internationally is very limited. So, if you’re looking to take a trip in the near future, your best bet is to make it a domestic trip. Read on to see why Minneapolis makes a fantastic adventure destination.

The Great Outdoors

Perfectly situated between The Chain of Lakes (Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet) and the Mississippi River, Minneapolis is a fantastic base for exploring the great outdoors. In addition to opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing on the lakes and river, there are many parks within and just outside of city limits. For example, Minnehaha Park is a 193-acre city park just 5 minutes from MSP International Airport that offers a hike to a beautiful waterfall.

Should you want to venture further out, Minneapolis is a gateway to more remote outdoor locations. To visit a National Parks site, you can drive 3.5 hours to Lake Superior for kayaking around the jaw-droppingly beautiful Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. Or if you want something a bit closer, Taylor’s Falls is a cute small town surrounded by bluffs with lots of opportunities for hiking, camping, and canoeing. You can peruse more epic outdoor options across the state here.

Foodie Paradise

Chances are, Minneapolis is not the first town that comes to mind when you think of great food. But believe it or not, the city has an incredibly colorful food scene, mainly thanks to its large multicultural immigrant community.

In Minneapolis, foodies will be able to explore authentic cuisines that include Korean, Indigenous American, Somalian, Hmong, Afghani, and Scandinavian! A few great restaurants to start with include:

·        Owamni, an exciting new restaurant by The Sioux Chef team launching this Spring.

·        My Huong Kitchen for unbeatable banh mi and bubble tea.

·        Swedish Crown Bakery for Scandinavian pastries with a healthy twist.

Culture Trip

Minneapolis is a fantastic city for the arts, culture, and museums. There are too many good museums to list, but here are highlights:

·        You can get your art fix by taking a stroll through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or dropping in to the Walker Art Center or the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

·        If you want to learn more about the immigrant populations that influenced the city, check out the American Swedish Institute, The Somali Museum of Minnesota, or The Museum of Russian Art.

·        To learn more about the original caretakers of the land, you should visit the Minneapolis American Indian Center, which has a gallery, a café featuring native food, and a gift shop with crafts by local artists.

And the city is also home to The Guthrie Theater who is working hard to participate in this new virtual landscape with virtual class offerings and streaming plays that celebrate Black voices. It’s been a tough year for the theatrical community, so you should be sure to give them some support.

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