General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

What is the most awesome thing about where you live that no one else knows about?

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60 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

My back yard is better than any resort I’ve been to.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Zachary’s Pizza is better than your area’s pizza.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Why go to Vegas when Jersey girls are just as easy and right across the river?

AstroChuck's avatar

Both Tower Records and Shakey’s Pizza were born in Sacramento. Of course, both are now defunct.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@AstroChuck I’ve been to both of those.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Big City Burrito in Fort Collins, CO is the finest purveyor of burritos and tacos ever.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Powell’s bookstore. Biggest in America.

TaoSan's avatar

@eponymoushipster

Oh no you didn’t!!!

eponymoushipster's avatar

@TaoSan oh yes i did. have you been to Jersey? holy crap.

kevbo's avatar

The green chile sushi roll.

wundayatta's avatar

@eponymoushipster Jersey girls! Jersey girls! I’ve dallied with a few, and ended up marrying me one.

My city is full of wonderful restaurants. Foodie heaven! (Yeah, better even than NYC!)

TaoSan's avatar

@eponymoushipster

Only in rotten Cape May lol. You’d think they have skanks seeing as there is a military boot camp; but this filthy sailor had to spend his first 6 hours private time after 2 months drill with a sixpack of Coors!

Oh, am I being myself too much? Flame me!

;)

tiffyandthewall's avatar

antonio’s pizza, the nearby beach, and the ice cream joint on it. (:

SuperMouse's avatar

Umm, I’m still trying to find it, I’ll let you know when I do. Back home it would have to be Old Boney.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@daloon very true. the foodie scene (and the art scene) in Philly are in many ways better than NYC, mostly because no one knows it. yet. :)

@TaoSan you lost me.

Ivan's avatar

This question presumes that there are things in the area I live in.

TaoSan's avatar

@eponymoushipster

Happens a lot lately :)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Portland also hosts the world’s largest naked bike ride. And we have Voodoo Doughnuts. I could go on. The fact that people proudly sport “Keep Portland Weird” bumper stickers proves how awesome this city really is. :D

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Never been to Portland, but how can anyone not be behind the “Keep Portland Weird” campaign? I’m behind that.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic If you’re extremely open-minded, liberal, weird and kind of artsy… You’ll love it hear. I highly suggest a visit sometime. :)

eponymoushipster's avatar

@DrasticDreamer ..and an awesome indie music scene.

TaoSan's avatar

@DrasticDreamer

And the cops look like they’re about to invade Poland! Nice uniforms!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@TaoSan You should have seen it when George W. visited Portland. Helicopters everywhere, snipers on every roof you looked at, riot police lined up and waiting. They were prepared for the assassination of GW, I swear.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@DrasticDreamer——Really? Riot cops? Portland?

DominicX's avatar

DrasticDreamer’s description of the kinds of people who would like Portland sounds almost exactly like the kinds of people who would like San Francisco. It’s hard to single out one thing about San Francisco that people don’t know about. Almost all of it awesome and a lot of it is well-known. I love the sanctuaries within the city that some people may not know about without living there; the places where you get the best of the view of the bay, the views down those hilly streets, Dolores Street with all the palm trees, and of course the neighborhood I love: St. Francis Wood. The only area of San Francisco that’s even remotely suburban with beautiful homes and trees everywhere. Also, the Sea Cliff neighborhood. Not really on the route to any of the main areas, but a hidden gem. Otherwise, I have the knowledge that it is the best city of over 500,000 people to live in; that’s a fact. :)

WifeOfBath's avatar

I have a wine farm, a beautiful river, a porcupine, indigiouness trees, indescribable beauty, two hundred meters from my back door,I have Africa and her bush veld dawn right here in my sitting room…:)
And just as a added bonus trees that are 300 years old are down the road with a few good restaurants, yet I am still in the country side…

Gosh, I love where I live!!!!! ....=D

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@DrasticDreamer: We have a whole “Keep <city> <adjective>” campaign in Texas. We have “Keep Austin Weird”, then there was “Keep Dallas Pretentious”, I’ve also heard, “Keep Houston Rich”.

tinyfaery's avatar

I have access to 6 different freeways within 10 miles of my house.

The school scenes in Grease were filmed at my High School.

My neighborhood smells like orange blossoms when all the trees begin to flower.

Jack79's avatar

It is an Italian design built in 1936 out of stone. The roof collapsed sometime in the 70s and had to be rebuilt using modern techniques (cement and so on). The pipes are made of clay, because plastic had not been invented yet. I changed the windows last year and now it’s not as noisy.

Bri_L's avatar

@ dominicX – My all time favorite chinese restaurant was near the corner of California and Divisidero I think.

I used to live in Alameda. I LOVED San Fransisco.

cak's avatar

Lupies. It’s just the best restaurant on the planet…in my opinion.

dalepetrie's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic – tell you what, come to St. Paul, MN, try Red’s Savoy Pizza and if you still can say that, I’ll come to your town some day and buy you a pie at Zachary’s.

hug_of_war's avatar

There’s a field of concrete corn in one of the suburbs here. It’s kind of awesome.

whatthefluther's avatar

I’m a west coast guy. I love Portland and San Francisco but, come on, Los Angeles has it all. including the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers and our @Andrew, of course!

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’m working on finding something, bear with me…

dalepetrie's avatar

Oh, I’ve got a laundry list, but it will have to wait till tomorrow, must…sleep…now. I’ve traveled a lot and there’s nowhere in this country I’d rather live.

Bri_L's avatar

There is a little boardwalk type place called Bay Beach that has been in Green Bay for ever. It is about 10 min. from Lambeau stadium and people who have lived in WI there whole lives don’t even know it is there. They have rides and picnic areas and you can see the bay. The rides are 25 to 50 cents and they have been for about 7 years. They were 10 cents for 15 years when I was growing up.

They also have the Bay Beach Wild Life Sanctuary which, despite its absolutely shitty website, is a really neat place for little kids.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Still thinking…

La_chica_gomela's avatar

This is pretty high on my list, because it truly is the definition of the word “oasis”, but this has so many times, left me absolutely in awe when I wasn’t expecting anything. Sure, plenty of people have seen it from inside their cars, they might even know what it’s called, but if you haven’t felt the spray from it cut across your whole body as you’re running up Montrose on a hot, sweaty morning in late spring, you don’t know anything about the Mecom fountain.

Bluefreedom's avatar

The Phoenix Zoo is the largest non-profit zoo in the United States. During its first year of operation, the zoo was home to a captive breeding program involving the last seven known Arabian oryx. By 1980, more than a hundred of the oryx had been born at the zoo, which literally brought them back from near-extinction. Of the Arabian oryx that exist today, almost all of them can be traced back to the Phoenix Zoo.

Blondesjon's avatar

Me.

have I ever mentioned I can lick my forehead?

Aethelwine's avatar

Besides the guy above me, we have several hiking and mountain bike trails that surround our little town. We also have a rafter of wild turkeys that like to disrupt traffic now and then.

MrsNash's avatar

It’s NOT the capital of the free world!

After living inside the Beltway for 50+ years, it’s a lovely change of pace to be looking out my window right now and be unable to see another house! I loved D.C. but… aahhhhhh… this fits better now.

Jayne's avatar

There are twelve distinct ways to climb onto my elementary school roof from the outside, for the suitably athletic person.
I live a wild life, I know.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Okay I found something I consider awesome that I don’t think many people in my city know about- a lighting store carrying odds and ends for generations of fixtures. We did have some antique lamps re wired and also a custom switch and wall mount for an art piece.

Darwin's avatar

It is hard to say what it would be that no one else knows about, because we are a tourist destination, a birding center, and one of those Spring Break towns.

However, I would say the ability to buy just caught shrimp from the boats early in the morning, take them home, and boil them up for friends is probably high on the list.

I also like the smell of the yard just after it has rained, and the way the night sounds.

Likeradar's avatar

Denver may be inland, but it has some of the best damn sushi I’ve ever had.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Likeradar that’s the best you could do? for Denver?!

Likeradar's avatar

@eponymoushipster Erm… uh… it’s a bike friendly city and not as mountain-y or snowy as people think? We get an obscenely wonderful amount of sun? Colorado isn’t just a white myth, no matter what Tracy Jordan wants you to believe?

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Likeradar better. i’ll be watching you, though. (and, btw, Tracy Jordan is right)

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, first off, when you say, “that no one else knows about”, that’s pretty limiting, I guess I’m going to interpret that as “not widely known OUTSIDE your area”. I guess I could interpret it as “not widely known IN my area”, but stuff like that doesn’t tend to stay open very long…just about anything I can think of, some people need to know about, or what’s the point.

Basically, I love living in the Twin Cities of MN. I live right in the heart of St. Paul, our Capitol city, and what’s nice is that the core of the cities (Minneapolis on the west bank of the Mississippi River, St. Paul on the East Bank), is the core of a vast metropolitan area which stretches a good 30 miles in any direction. There is so much to see and do here, it would be impossible to ever be bored, no matter what you are into. Starting at my house, if I walk 2 blocks, I run into Como Lake, one of the many lakes we have right in the city. It has a walking path that I believe is 1.6 miles around. On the far end of the lake from where I live is a bandshell which has a small coffee and snack shop attached, and where many nights during the summer they host live music shows, usually by your old style big bands (the kinds with a huge brass section).

Right on the corner of the lake is the historic streetcar station, a mini museum dedicated to the memory of the streetcars that used to grace the streets of Minneapolis/St. Paul up until the early 1950s. This building is I believe on the US register of historical places. Go a little further and you run into the picnic and playgrounds at Como…complete with a full playground, mini golf, fire pits, picnic tables, etc. Across the street is the main attraction. First, there is ComoTown, a small amusement park with reasonable prices (all day rides are $16 I believe). It is geared towards kids ages 3 to 9, but if you’re too cheap for that, you can go to Como Zoo. We have the Minnesota State Zoo in a rather affluent south east suburb called Apple Valley, and that zoo is very nice, but Como is free (or by voluntary donation), and it has most of your major zoo animals. Also built onto the zoo is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, home to a 4 wing collection of flowers and plants from around the world, as well as a Koi filled reflecting pond (this is a favorite spot for wedding photos). Outside the Conservatory are the Japanese gardens which are only open during the summer. For those who want to golf, Como also has a full 18 hole golf course, which during the winter is converted to a sliding hill, complete with tow rope. The area and the paths are also home for cross country skiing, roller blading, dog walking, etc. It’s a very beautiful, serene, yet robust area for being so close to the heart of the downtown of a big city.

The downtown area of St. Paul is home to a few large companies, in fact, the whole of the Twin Cities is home to 19 of the Fortune 500 companies, but downtown is mostly where business goes on in the city, so there is not a ton of nightlife to be had. However, there are some notable spots. One thing which recently got national attention was the Xcel Energy Center, home to the Minnesota Wild hockey team (when it was the home of the RNC last fall), but this is where most of the major concerts in St. Paul happen. Though there are small clubs in or near downtown, notably Station 4 which hosts a variety of hardcore metal acts. For dining, there are a couple of exceptional restaurants, there is Patrick McGoverns, an Irish bar with a full menu where you can have all you can eat popcorn at your table, along with strong and delicious mixed drinks, while you’re waiting for one of the 2 best hot turkey sandwiches anywhere in town (the other is at Keys restaurant, which has several Twin Cities locations, is family owned, and which is soon to have one of it’s restaurants featured in the upcoming Coen Brothers’ film, “An Inconvenient Man”).

The other notable restaurant in Downtown St. Paul has been there since almost the turn of the century, it is an Italian shop which serves New York style pizza and a variety of authentic Italian dishes for dine in or carry out, and which has a gelato station and an Italian Market on the premises. Downtown also has a variety of interesting little shops such as Majarajah’s, where you can get your rasta on, and the Twin Cities Magic and Costume shop where you can buy anything magic related. On the outskirts of downtown you’ll also encounter a couple interesting steak houses, pawn shops, and tattoo parlors.

Downtown also has another big ticket attraction in the Science Museum of Minnesota. I’ll admit, it’s not quite as cool as the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, or the Exploratorium in San Francisco, but it is a surprisingly large and packed museum with a 3-D theater, an Imax and exhibits for every type of science you can imagine…and it’s right on the banks of the Mississippi, so the view is fantastic. You can go outside and play on their rooftop playground, complete with mini golf (for an extra fee). Also housed within the museum is the collection of the now defunct Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, which used to be a mainstay of the Minneapolis area known as St. Anthony.

Just south of downtown is “West St. Paul”, which no one can explain to me why it’s west St. Paul if it’s SOUTH of St. Paul, but such is the interesting part of life here. This is the Mexican area of St. Paul, and it’s also the home to the caves which used to serve as the hideout for many of the notorious prohibition era gangsters, particularly John Dillinger (for an interesting read on John Dillinger’s travels in and around St. Paul, there is a book called John Dillinger Slept Here). Anyway, go past the caves and there are a variety of authentic Mexican restaurants, one of our favorites is called Boca Chica, and they have positively THE best margaritas in town, which you can get 2 for 1 from 3 to 6 (unless they’ve changed it). When you continue on down the main thoroughfare towards the most southern reaches of St. Paul, you’ll see most of the same chain stores that are found everywhere else in town, but you’ll find a few unique places as well. Granny Donuts comes to mind, run by the same Asian couple for the last 23 years, their donuts are made fresh continuously, and they are open 24/7/365…they have never closed once in 23 years, and their donuts are better than anything you can get at a Dunkin Donuts or a Krispy Kreme, and are much cheaper. And they throw in a couple donut holes with every order…they are light and fluffy and creamy and simply melt in your mouth. Further down is Regina’s candies, a place that still makes all their own candy…they have the best English toffee anywhere. And every year they let kids in to watch them make homemade candy canes at Christmas (though this particular location is not where they make the candy, that is in an area of St. Paul called Highland Park which I will get to later.

In fact, no better time that right now…that was kind of the south east/south central part of St. Paul, go southwest and you head towards Highland Park. On the way you’ll encounter Cheapo Records, billed as the last authentic record store…where you can flip through stacks of new and used CDs, DVDs, Records and Cassettes, it’s a hunter’s paradise. Keep going to Highland and you’ll find a variety of local shops selling bird items, jewelry, fresh meats, gifts, etc., and most importantly, one of the 7 Twin Cities location Half Price Books, which are in some other, but not all other states. The great thing about this store, which sells pretty much anything printed or recorded is that prices never go higher than half the original price (well, except for a select few collectors items). Several times a year they have 20% off everything sales, and at the end of the year, you can get a calendar with 15% off your entire purchase coupons to use throughout the year, get enough of these calendars and you can get 15% off any time. Or, if you are as lucky as I am to be married to a librarian (also works for teachers) you can get a card good for 10% off any time. Often stuff is marked down to next to nothing…they usually have a huge variety of books, software, CDs & DVDs for $1 to $3. Highland is also home to a yearly festival, Highland Fest, which has a variety of street vendors and artisans, food, etc. Some of the finest artists in the city display their wares here, and often the stores have sales to coincide, such as the tent sale at the aforementioned Half Price Books. A couple standouts for dining in this area are the Highland Grill, which serves just about anything you want, and they use, fresh, organic and locally sourced foods. A little north are the twin restaurants Luci, and Luci Ancora, the place to bring a date if money is no object, you want the most authentic Italian food you’re likely to find in Minnesota…and about the only place I’ve ever been in to feature a $7,000 bottle of wine on their wine list.

Heading east you go to some of the less affluent areas of St. Paul, which can be bad, but also lends itself to some really great restaurants with dirt cheap prices. Two Italian joints in particular, within a mile of each other are the Dairy-ette, a 1950s style drive in complete with car hops, which serves home made Italian food, and DQ style ice cream treats. One of the best things about this place is that they deep fry their meatballs, which makes them some of the juiciest meatballs you’ve ever tasted. Even better AND cheaper is the Little Oven…here’s a cafe that specializes in Italian food, but also has a huge selection of American entrees. This is the kind of place where you can get a 24 ounce steak WITH a side of pasta for under $12. Their 2 specialties are pizza, which if you carry it out are buy one get one free, and pasta, Sunday through Thursday they have an all you can eat deal for $6, which includes your choice of pasta, and either 2 meatballs or an italian sausage…and for my money it’s the best pasta anywhere….a smooth, spicy red sauce slathered over noodles…served with hot, fresh baked bread and garlic butter.

Right where the east side ends and downtown begins is the best Pizza in the universe, Red’s Savoy Pizza, or at least the best thin crust pizza. They have a crust that is both crispy and chewy, and they cover it with a rich, spicy sauce, and simply HEAP the fresh toppings on…I’ve had thick sliced pepperoni stacked 4 deep from time to time, about a 1/4 inch, with the 1/4 inch of cheese, this pie is to die for. And yet another Italian place of note, just a couple blocks from Savoy’s is the Buon Giorno express, a small Italian market/liquor store, which serves hot lunches (and cold) M-F, like the spaghetti or rigatoni and meatball w/ garlic bread for $4.99, it’s more than you can eat.

North of the Highland Park area, but west of downtown, you have Grand and Summit Avenues. On Summit, you have a huge variety of stately mansions, mostly built at the turn of the century. Here you’ll find the Governor’s Mansion and the James J. Hill House and library, a great place to do your geneology and historical research. Keep going towards downtown and you hit the Cathedral Hill area, where you will see the Cathedral of St. Paul, a building probably more recognizable than the Capitol building itself. Keep going and you hit the Minnesota History Center, a sprawling museum dedicated to Minnesota history, including a massive exhibit on the Minnesota musical scene.

Go south from here past downtown (but before you hit the west side) and you hit Harriet Island, a huge island right in downtown, where ever year there are a variety of events, including a 4th of July festival called the Festival of Nations. Each year they bring in live music acts for free (this year Friday night is Judas Priest and Whitesnake, and Saturday night is Elvis Costello), along with a variety of food and artisan vendors, exhibits, rides, etc. Back into downtown for some night life, we have the Ordway theater, the place to go for Broadway shows.

St. Paul is also home to a number of other parks besides Como…there is Rice park downtown, or Keller Park or Phalen Park on the East Side (both with nice lakes). And all of this and much, much more is right within the city limits. One other thing of great interest right in town, being home of cartoonist Charles M. Schultz, every year for a few years they put something like 150 statues around town to commemorate his work…One year it was a standing Snoopy, the a Charlie Brown, then a Lucy, then a Linus, then a Snoopy on his doghouse w/ Woodstock. Each of these started as a blank canvas and a local artist painted it to his interpretation, and local businesses bought these statues which are now permanent fixtures all along downtown. Last year they did something similar with dinosaur statues, but did not continue it this year.

We have a variety of cultures, a huge Latino population leading to an explosion in authentic mexican dining everywhere, and a large Hmong population, culminating in a Hmong Marketplace where you can get anything your heart desires dirt cheap (one woman was recently arrested for selling monkey paws here…but it’s not all bad, where else are you gonna get a fresh pineapple for a buck?). I won’t even talk about Minneapolis or any of the suburbs, I’d be here till next year!

eponymoushipster's avatar

fyi, guys, @dalepetrie works for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Department of Tourism and Literature.~

La_chica_gomela's avatar

and his job title is ‘dissertation-ist’~

Bri_L's avatar

in his spare time he types Lorem Ipsum . That’s right. He is the actual genorator.

Just kidding dale! You know I luv ya!!!

dalepetrie's avatar

I wish they would hire me hell, I wish ANYONE would hire me, unemployment sucks

And I neglected to even mention our State Fairgrounds and all the great things that go on there.

Bri_L's avatar

@dalepetrie – I hear you. I am so sick of not being employed.

alive's avatar

@kevbo i saw your answer as i was scrolling and i knew EXACTLY what you are talking about!!!

i was going to answer by saying – the food in general and of course ESPECIALLY the RED and GREEN CHILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

people seriously do not know what they are missing. there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world (only New Mexico!). it is our best kept secret, that we love to share!!!

wundayatta's avatar

I looked a Como Lake with Google Earth. I think the satelite photo must have been taken in the fall. I saw the historic street car station and the bandshell. In looking at St Paul, I saw a picture of the Weisman Art Museum, which is one of the cooler buildings I’ve ever seen. Dunno why that wasn’t mentioned.

Nice!

dalepetrie's avatar

Weisman is actually in Minneapolis, that’s why I didn’t answer it. It is a VERY cool building…I can’t remember who designed it, I think it was Frank Gehry (sp?). Yeah, Minneapolis is way bigger, has at LEAST as many cool things as St. Paul (including a TON of nightlife), and we have at least a dozen suburbs, each with all sorts of cool things to offer.

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