With over 22 lakes, Minneapolis, “city of lakes”, is the perfect place for walkers, hikers, joggers and nature lovers. Bébé Voyage Ambassador Kaitlin Lytle shares her favorite spots.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your family?
A. My husband Hans and I live in Edina, which is the adjoining suburb to Minneapolis. We actually just moved here from Minneapolis right before the lockdown. Our family is multicultural/multilingual English and Spanish. I work locally as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at a hospital that treats Eating Disorders. I also have my Master’s in Public Health, specifically infectious diseases, I work mostly with families and adolescents. Hans works as a software engineer for a company based in San Francisco. We have two daughters, Solvei (aged 3) and Maren (aged 1).
Q. What do you like the most about the area of Minneapolis you live in?
A. We love the walkability of our area. We can easily walk to stores, restaurants, coffee shops, school, and, best of all, the lakes. It is great to live in a neighborhood but have the city benefits just around the corner. The community that we live in is also really supportive. Our block has been doing Toast Tuesdays since the start of the stay at home order and everyone goes to the end of their driveways and shares a toast and a drink at a distance.
Q. How are you keeping the spirit of travel alive?
A. We are cooking a lot! We pick a dish from a different country and cook with the kids as a family. If we are feeling really inspired, we also listen to music from that country and try to talk about it with the kids.
We like to daydream about recent vacations and talk about our favorite parts. Our three-year-old was having a hard day last week and decided to pretend we were at the beach in Costa Rica. We even made jugo fresco for our snack.
[Related: Check out this article for a great Swedish cinnamon roll recipe or this one for 3rd generation Italian meatballs!]
Q. What are your tips and tricks about homeschooling?
A. Do what you can, this is really hard.
Q. How are you and your family enjoying the extra family time we get to enjoy now?
A. Every weekend we go to the woods for a hike and picnic. It has become our new normal to find a park that offers a variety of things to do like playing in streams, rock climbing, and venturing in deep forests. We then find a spot off the beaten path for a picnic. It often reminds me of the picnics I used to have with friends when we lived in Norway.
We make the most of it and go on daily walks, bike rides, scooter rides, rolling in the grass, and digging in the dirt. Sometimes we have a fire in our backyard and cook dinner outside. We are trying to slow down as a family and enjoy not being rushed.
Q. Any good tips on teaching your children about different cultures, now that we cannot travel?
A. Read, listen to music, cook, and ask questions.
Q. Are you going for daily walks with the kids? Which parts of your city would you recommend?
A. Absolutely! During the week we stay close to home and walk around the neighborhood. We have discovered a number of small wooded areas that have been great for building forts and seeing wildlife.
Minneapolis has many lakes with walking and biking trails. The city has been great and to encourage social distancing, it has closed down the roads around the lakes and along the Mississippi River to all cars so they can be used by pedestrians.
We have also been going to a number of state and regional parks, like Afton State Park, Carver Park Reserve, Lake Harriet, Big Willow Park, Wolsfeld Woods, and Hyland Park. I find the parks to be easier to socially distance myself and the kids as we can just step off the trail and go into the woods to explore.
Q. Everyone is dreaming about where they would like to travel once it’s safe to do so. What makes Minneapolis the place that families should consider for their first adventure once they can get out and explore again?
A. There is so much to do and explore. Minneapolis is ethnically diverse and there are so many hidden gems: amazing restaurants, museums, lakes, farmer markets, community events, and so much more.
Before the pandemic, we often found ourselves hopping on our bikes and hitting the local breweries, outdoor concerts and coffee shops.
When we liked to venture out more, we would drive to St. Paul and visit one of the many museums, like the Transportation Museum or the Children’s Museum.
Sporting events are big in Minneapolis so there is always an event or another going on.
Another one of our favorite places to visit is Wayzata, a lovely town on Lake Minnetonka. It has a summer trolley which stops at all the right places like the library, beach, and the ice cream shop.
Q. If you’re still in lockdown/quarantine, what do you still love about the city despite movement in your area being restricted?
A. It is finally spring and the snow is gone! We have enjoyed checking out the rose gardens by Lake Harriet and strolling through the peace garden. We are loving playing outside and talking to neighbors from afar.
Twice a week we are also having online game nights with friends.
Q. What is the first thing you would like to do once the restrictive measures are lifted?
A. Go out to eat with friends, have a dinner party, go on a trip, go camping, go to the playground, and visit family.
Q. What is the first trip you would like to take once we can travel again?
A. Next on our list are Montreal, Canada, Costa Rica, and Grand Tetons National Park.