In a past life, my friends and I called ourselves “Weekend Warriors” as we energetically biked from one Minneapolis neighborhood to the next. We satisfied our curiosity in a city that had something new around every corner. Like sponges we soaked up live music, art exhibits, awesome food and drink, and even stopped to count clouds or take a siesta at a local park.

I moved to Mankato just a couple of years ago and quickly realized this city holds up on any Weekend Warrior checklist!

Although my bike is hanging from the garage rafters, a baby stroller having taken its place, by the looks of this weekend, if I could arrange some Grandma time with the babe here’s what my perfect Warrior Weekend would look like.

Friday

On Friday we would all meet at The Hub Food Park around 1:30 pm to grab us some quick and yummy fuel (lunch). I heard there will be a meat smoker called TNT Eats alongside Lola’s and The 507.

Photo by Don Lipps – The 507 Food Truck, Mankato, MN

From there we would bike around town, checking out the City Artwalk while remarking how amazing Dana Sikkila Murphy Junior from the 410 Project is for taking on her upcoming Bike Project.

Half the gang would branch off around 5:30 pm to hit up the Bent River Outfitters Happy Hour Float, while the rest of us would relax with Hootenanny Annies at the Wine Cafe. By 7 pm we would need a pick-me-up, so of course Coffee Hag and some live music from singer-songwriter, Kaleb Braun-Schulz. Then we’d coffee buzz across the street to the Midtown Tavern and half the group would get their actual buzz on while the other half would try out some Merengue Lessons & Social Dance.

Those who could get back on their bike would join Key City Bike for their Sunset Cruise, catching some phenomenal views. Sunset would be my cue to head home to the babe, but I would hear all about the interesting Karaoke song selections picked in the wee hours at The Loose Moose.

Saturday

10:30 am Saturday morning would be zen for some and hair of the dog for others at the Mankato Brewery, Yoga and a Pint. Gotta start this day off right, because it’s got Weekend Warrior written all over it!

nakato bar and grill
The Nakato Bar & Grill in lower North Mankato

I would need to dip out early to set up sound at PRIMP+Coconut Whisk as I’m playing their launch party, but a few buddies would brave biking up the hill to catch a few songs by Colby Straka at Busters at 3 pm.

After playing my own rendition of Harry Nilsson’s “Lime in the Coconut” for Coconut Whisk’s ribbon cutting ceremony (at 4:45 pm), I’d be able to make it over to The Hag but would more than likely get lost for a second at Music in the Plaza with Tri Eight (6pm). A text would reel me back to The Coffee Hag around 7 pm to check out Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute with Kevin Torbenson & Friends and of course I’d get one more cup of coffee for the road.

With Dylan tunes stuck in my head like a radio, I’d bike across the bridge singing “To The Valley Below” on repeat while making my way to some good ol’ boot stomping country music at The NaKato with Slim Stone, Whiskey Jeff and the Beer Back. I would more than likely need to chill for a while on their outdoor patio before diving back in.

Sunday

Bent River Outfitters
Photo by Tina Thomas – Kayaks ready for the water at Bent River Outfitters

Sunday morning and the weekend is still very much alive!

Awaking with “One More Cup of Coffee” in my head, back to the Coffee Hag I go. I’d expect to run into Bob Dylan but would be pleasantly surprised to hear some sweet tunes from the voice of Betty on the acoustic guitar instead. Stepping outside there would be a pull towards the Blue Earth and I would wander with intent over to Bent River Outfitters and say, “Take me to the river, drop me in the water!”

Just before dusk with pizza on the brain, I would jump into my ‘79 Toyota Camper with my sweet little family and head to the Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm to listen to Betty & Ocho and eat an entire pizza to myself.

We’re not called Weekend Warriors for nothing!