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.”
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.”
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.
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?