A Bigger, Better Minnesota Children’s Museum

Few people enjoy a good construction site more than children, what with all the diggers and piles of dirt. Downtown’s beloved Minnesota Children’s Museum is currently a full-fledged construction zone and is officially closed to the public as they work on a “bigger, better and bolder” museum. Highlights of this $30 million expansion and renovation include 10 permanent exhibits (featuring a four-story climbing structure, an expanded gallery for toddlers and maker space), a café with a coffee bar (finally!) and more places to go potty. The brand spanking new museum is set to open mid-April with two new outdoor exhibits, Tip Top Terrace and Backyard set to open in the summer of 2017. Can’t wait until April for your MCM fix? The Mall of America has a pop-up location with a condensed museum experience.

Soccer in the Midway

This made last year’s list, but is closer to reality as we head into 2017. Ground has been broken to turn a dilapidated graveyard for Metro Transit buses into a state-of-the-art, 20,000 seat soccer stadium, along with a vision for the surrounding 24 acres to include offices, residential, entertainment and hotels. Minnesota United FC will be the primary tenant in the $150 million stadium and the community will be able to use the venue on a regular basis.

Street Parties Return

Saint Paul’s two major street parties on West 7th will be back in 2017 with the Red Bull Crashed Ice Village and LuckyPalooza – the kickoff to St. Patrick’s Day in Saint Paul.  Crashed Ice Village will take place Saturday, February 4 in conjunction with the championship up on Cathedral Hill.  LuckyPalooza will get rocking on March 11 and will take place on the same day as the Minnesota State High School League Hockey Championship.  These two street parties shut down West 7th from Walnut St. to Kellogg Blvd and include food, beverage and music in the street along with activations from Afton Alps and Red Bull athletes.

Minnesota Lynx Bring Hoops to the X

This summer, Saint Paul will roll out the red carpet for the Minnesota Lynx to play championship-caliber WNBA basketball at the Xcel Energy Center. Forced out of the Target Center while renovations are completed, the Lynx will bring their talents to Saint Paul along with their passionate fan base, for the 2017 season.

The New Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre has sat idle in downtown Saint Paul for the past 40 years (excluding a brief 1984 Praire Home Companion stint), but that’s all about to change. The theatre underwent a $15.6 million renovation after being purchased by the City of Saint Paul in 2014 and will host its first concert since 1977 when Regina Spektor comes to town this March. First opened as a vaudeville theatre in 1916, the venue managed to maintain its historic charm throughout the renovation process. The new Palace Theatre will play a major role in the Saint Paul (and larger Twin Cities) music scene with a total capacity of 2,800 – nearly double that of First Ave in Minneapolis.

Can Can Wonderland will be Can’t Miss Awesome

Once a sprawling complex that manufactured metal food cans for Carnation, Campbell’s Soup, Del Monte, and others, the former American Can Company will be home to Can Can Wonderland. This ultra artist-inspired destination includes an 18 hole mini golf course, arts-based fauna and flora, a boardwalk full of attractions and amusements, two stages, beer and noshes – there are even a few unicorns! Additionally, Can Can Wonderland will also be home to The Break Room which will provide “recreational destruction for the masses.”  It’s all expected to open in early 2017.

New Restaurants…Lots of Them

Several new restaurants have opened recently with a few more are slated to open in the year ahead.  Pajarito recently opened in the old Glockenspiel location and according to the Star Tribune, “offers up modern interpretations on popular Mexican classics while shaking up libations that will rival the market’s cocktail bars.”  Revival opened its Saint Paul location the day after Christmas in the former Cheeky Monkey location.  The Pioneer Press shares 10 things you should know about this Minneapolis restaurant opening a Saint Paul location.  Looking to 2017, the owners of Revival have a new concept, Keg and Case, that will be located in the old Schmidt Keg House on West 7th Street. Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone of Minneapolis’ Corner Table and Revival described their Saint Paul concept to the Star Tribune as “vegetable-forward, rustic and primal” noting “everything will be touched by fire and smoke.”  Another Minneapolis staple, New Bohemia, is getting ready at the corner of Chestnut and West 7th and plans to be open for the Red Bull Crashed Ice event February 4.  Die hard Saint Paulites can’t wait for the re-opening of The Lexington and have hope given the recent “Now Hiring” signs in the front entryway.  At the corner of Snelling and Stanford, Tryg Truelson, formerly of Tryg’s restaurant in Uptown, and Chris Corlett, a trained chef who has been working at luxury hotels in California for the past seven years or so, are launching a new concept, which they’re calling Rah’mn, sometime in early February according to the Pioneer Press.  Corlett’s describes it as “the Chipotle of Ramen.”  Finally, look for a My Burger and Nothing Bundt Cakes to rise at the corner of Grand and Snelling where the iconic Stoltz Cleaners once stood.

The Concert Lineup at Xcel Energy Center

We always say the biggest names in music come through Xcel Energy Center and 2017 will not disappoint. The lineup is packed full with Bruno Mars, Tom Petty, Miranda Lambert, Bon Jovi, Faith Hill & Tim McGraw, Green Day, Lionel Richie & Mariah Carey, Panic! at the Disco, Neil Diamond, New Kids On The Block, Shawn Mendes and Roger Waters.  We’re sure a few more will be added to this list in the months ahead.