Things To Do In: A Google Exploration of The Twin Cities

The other day, my beloved elder child was looking around on Google for ideas on what we could do on a Friday night that included both his father and I as participants that was not “go to movie” or “bowling.” He used the very sane query “things to do in Blaine MN.”

The result?

Things to Do in Blaine

Well, okay. Bunker Hills is not actually in Blaine, although it’s nearby in Coon Rapids/Andover or somesuch. Rice Creek, which is nice enough, is in Lino Lakes. Springbrook is in Fridley; it’s actually operated by City of Fridley. And Interstate 35W does run through Blaine, but I’m not sure how one “does” I35W in Blaine unless this is a subtle suggestion to GTFO.

There are parks in Blaine, actually, as well as a Curling Rink, and a pretty big sports facility. So this really doesn’t reflect a case of “nothing to show here.” This is, as we say in digital marketing, algorithms gone wild.

I decided to Google some other cities nearby to see what Google thinks I should do in each.

Fridley, Minnesota

Things to Do in Fridley

Springbrook is in Fridley, as is Moore Lake Park. North Mississippi Regional Park seems to be in North Minneapolis to the best of my geographic knowledge. Silverwood Park is in New Brighton. On the plus side, there is something to “do” at each site, unlike Interstate 35W being a “thing to do.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Things to Do In Minneapolis

Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker are all pretty solid. Mall of America, however, is technically in Bloomington. The tax rolls say so, and who am I to argue?

St. Paul, Minnesota

Things to Do in St. Paul

Well, three outta four ain’t bad? Science Museum, Como Park and the Capitol are all legitimate suggestions. Minnehaha Park seems to be in a different county, though. Hidden Falls features “waterfalls in a lush park, plus biking,” if one is after that in St. Paul.

Richfield, Minnesota

Things to Do in Richfield

Kinda guessed we would get some quality Mall of America action here, and thus we did – both the Mall proper, and Nickelodeon Universe (which is bafflingly described as “Shop with TV station merchandise”). Neither is in Richfield! For that matter, neither is the Museum of Russian Art (98% sure it’s on the Minneapolis side of any border). Wood Lake Nature Center is legitimately part of Richfield.

Of note, Wood Lake also shows up on a Google carousel of “Haunted Attractions Minnesota.”

Haunted Attractions of Minnesota

Lakeville, Minnesota

Things to Do in Lakeville

Maybe there is not actually anything to do in Lakeville, I don’t know for sure. But I do know Buck Hill is in Burnsville, Lebannon Hills is in Eagan and Cleary Lake is in Prior Lake.

Maplewood, MinnesotaThings to Do in Maplewood

I am not strictly certain the Mississippi River touches Maplewood directly. If it does, it’s over near Pig’s Eye Lake. Battle Creek is a regional park administered by Ramsey County and definitely at least touches Maplewood, so I’ll grant that one. The Gateway State Trail goes through Maplewood without any question. The Bell Museum… is not in Maplewood. That one doesn’t even get any wiggle from me. New location is on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, which is either in St. Paul, or maybe Falcon Heights.

So, what have we learned here? A healthy bit of dubiousness around the map algorithm on Google, perhaps. But not how one “does” Interstate 35W in Blaine.

What’s to do where you live, according to Google?

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5 Responses to Things To Do In: A Google Exploration of The Twin Cities

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke February 27, 2019 at 9:08 am #

    The 35W one is great. I would like to see some tourist reports from that attraction here on streets.mn. Maybe some Yelp reviews…

    • Julie Kosbab February 27, 2019 at 10:35 am #

      Nathaniel said “let’s NOT do 35W. I want a burrito.”

    • Monte Castleman February 27, 2019 at 11:11 am #

      “Plenty of free parking for several hours every morning and afternoon”

  2. Tara February 27, 2019 at 5:58 pm #

    Brooklyn Center:
    –Noth Mississippi Regional Park (Minneapolis)
    –Theodore Wirth Park (St. Louis Park)
    –Theodore Wirth ParkWAY
    –Victory Memorial Parkway

    So, two parks and two parkways, none of which are in Brooklyn Park.

    • Tara February 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm #

      Ha! I meant Brooklyn Center. Too many parks in my comment.

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