Roseville, Minnesota: Gateway to the Twin Cities

Continuing my “Midwest Summer Tour”, the Twin Cities of Minnesota was on my list of places to check out this summer. The nearby town of Roseville promotes itself as “perfectly positioned” near the Twin Cities, but I was skeptical. 10 minutes from downtown? My Chicago brain refused to believe any suburb could be conveniently located to the downtown area, but I decided to give it a shot. Hey! What do you know, not every metro area has gridlocked, soul-sucking traffic like Chicago! Much to my surprise, I was able to reach many spots within St Paul and Minneapolis within 10 minutes of my Roseville hotel, and I also found some fun things to do right in Roseville! There are tons of options for lodging, dining and shopping right in Roseville, many of which are also dog-friendly!

Bent Brewstillery

Roseville’s Bent Brewstillery started with a Mr Beer hobby kit and has grown into an award-winning operation. They offer a rotating selection of craft brews and spirits, including Poitin, which is a potato-based spirit. The owner, Bartley, has taken an innovative approach to business with unique ideas like partnering up with a local restaurant to use their potato peels to make the Poitin. Bent Brewstillery is dog-friendly (no kitchen) but they also have a rotating schedule of food trucks outside so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach. The brewstillery also has a calendar of special events, such as a visiting astronomer the weekend I visited. Bailey enjoyed the backroom tour while I enjoyed sampling each of the spirits!

Bartley, owner of Bent Brewstillery giving us a back-room tasting

Rosedale Center

If shopping is your jam, you will probably make a beeline for the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington. I consider shopping to be more of a chore, so visiting Mall of America is about as appealing to me as Disney World. That said, I had errands while I was in town (I like to take advantage of free parking and light traffic when I’m not in Chicago!) and found nearby Rosedale Center. I was pretty stoked when I found out there is no sales tax on apparel in Minnesota, so it was a great place to stock up on some basics.

Reservoir Woods

Reservoir Woods is one of many parks within Roseville city limits, with several multi-use trails throughout. Finding the main entrance was tricky, and we ended up coming in through the back. In hindsight, I wish I had printed out a trail map so I would have been more comfortable exploring. We stuck to the main paved trail, but saw several single-track trails veering off into the woods. There is also an off-leash dog-park here. This is a great, quick escape for a dose of nature as you hardly even realize how close you are to homes and streets.

Reservoir Woods, Roseville

Minnehaha Falls Park

Located in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls is a great urban oasis. The main attraction of the park is the 53-foot waterfall. There is a trail along the river and spots where you can soak your paws along the way, which was much-needed on the 90-degree day we visited. The park also features a wading pool, disc golf course, volleyball courts, public art, historic sites and the Sea Salt Eatery. Pay lots are readily available and inexpensive.

Mill City Museum

With temps soaring into the 90’s, it was time to let Bailey chill in the A/C while I explored downtown Minneapolis a bit. I headed to the Mill District and the Mill City Museum. The whole neighborhood is a restored industrial area which now includes the museum, a waterfront park and some cool loft apartments. The museum entrance ($12) included a ticket to the Flour Tower, where we ascended the old grain elevator and were treated to animated scenes from the history of General Mills when the elevator doors opened on each floor. The museum also had interactive exhibits for kids and a great gift shop full of local specialties. (I’m a sucker for museum gift shops!)

The observation deck also provided excellent views of the Mississippi River, and the Stone Arches Bridge.

Night Photography

I love night photography and the Twin Cities were a great place to give it a go. The skyline and numerous bridges are so photogenic, and I felt pretty safe walking around at dusk with all of my camera equipment. Many people stopped to chat, mostly about my dog, of course. (Story of my life – everyone knew an Airedale in their youth, apparently!)

Residence Inn Roseville

I stayed at the Residence Inn, Roseville for the weekend. I love extended stay hotels because I feel like I could totally just move right into one! (I actually did live in one for 5 weeks when relocating to Chicago and I was in no hurry to move out!) The Residence Inn is pet-friendly and didn’t prohibit leaving B alone in the room, as many hotels do. The pet fee is $75, which is high, but as an extended stay, it’s a reasonable fee if you are staying several nights. In addition to the indoor pool, the hotel also has a nice outdoor area with grills and patio furniture. Rooms here are slightly less expensive than staying downtown, but once you factor in free parking, it’s definitely a great deal!

Have you been to the Twin Cities? What’s your favorite spot?


Roseville Minnesota

I was a guest of The Roseville Visitors Association. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

This post is also part of the Weekly Postcard blog roundup. Click the photo below to check out other posts this week!


Two Traveling Texans
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Product Review: Ruffwear Palisades Pack

When it comes to outdoor adventure, being able to bring my dog along is always a plus!  Bailey’s first backpacking trip was an overnight winter trip in Wisconsin.  Carrying her bed, food and blanket in addition to my own heavy winter gear was just too much! After that trip, I decided to purchase the Ruffwear Palisades Pack for our outdoor adventures. I’ve always trusted the Ruffwear brand, as their products are high quality and well tested for outdoor adventure.  My favorite dog training guru, Cesar Millan, also recommends a pack for your dog as a way to tire them out.  (A tired dog is a happy dog!) To that end, I have used the pack for long city walks, too!

Outdoor Adventure Dog Backpack

The Palisades Pack comes with a separate harness to which the pack clips in.  It’s a good idea to start out with just the harness so your dog can get used to wearing this.  I’ve read of other dogs getting hot spots where the harness rubs.  This hasn’t been an issue for us, thankfully, but definitely something you need to watch out for.  There are plenty of straps you can adjust to get just the right fit.

The pack itself then attaches at 4 clips on the harness.

Outdoor Adventure Dog Pack

Each side has a large main pocket, plus small zippered pockets on the outside.  The smaller pocket is good for things like treats and poop bags.  There are also several lash points on the pack, which I’ve sometimes used to attach an extra blanket if we’re expecting low temps at night. Inside the pack, Ruffwear also includes two plastic water bladders.  These are awesome and eliminate the need to get out a water bowl at every stop.  I let Bailey drink from streams along the way, but it’s always important to have backup water on hand, as we learned from a very hot, dry hike in Colorado.

Outdoor Adventure Dog

The biggest issue with the pack, which I suspect is the case with any pack, is that it’s tricky to get the bags balanced out exactly even on both sides, especially as you use up water and food throughout the day.  You can see in this pic that the saddles leaning to the right. I have to fidget with them quite a bit when starting a hike until I get them just right.

Outdoor Dog Backpack

From what I’ve read online, a dog should not carry more than 10% of their body weight, and it’s very important to check with your vet, especially if you have a puppy as strenuous activity can affect development.

So, what’s in our pack?  Bailey carries her own food (pre-portioned into 1-quart Ziplock bags.)  Her food dish is a plastic Tupperware container with lid (the kind lunchmeat comes in) and she has a collapsible water dish. When we’re camping in bear country, I just string the pack up with my own food bag to hang from a tree.

So, even though my dog’s backpack actually cost more than my own,, it was money well spent as the quality is quite good and I think this will last us for many years of outdoor adventure.

Dog Backpack Review


What outdoor adventures does your dog join you on?

Note:  I paid full price for this pack and was not compensated for the review.

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