The #1 Reason To Go To Minneapolis

Always pullover to see the sunset.

Always pullover to see the sunset.

After leaving a familiar city like Chicago, my confident self felt like I had this road trip on lock. But for the 6 hours driving to Minneapolis, I felt a little nervous. Maybe it was because I was finally driving somewhere new. But I was definitely taking precautions.

I was doing everything right: checking in with friends and family on the phone and via social media, did my best to not drive at night, and made sure to have mace and a pocket knife in my purse at all times when stopping to get snacks or gas. Um, not to mention the hammer under my car seat because it made my dad feel better.

When I wasn’t talking on the phone and listening to music, I was talking to myself. To many people, this isn’t a big deal but to me it was because I had never been able to do this. As funny as it sounds, I learned to talk to myself on this trip. A skill that now comes in handy when I am trying to process a situation or my emotions.

Then I started singing like a nutcase in the car by myself. It was Cindy Live in Concert every time I got behind the wheel. I even have a playlist called Carpool Karaoke. I would play a game wherein I would hit shuffle and whatever song came on I would have to my heart out to, it was such a good time.

Now one thing I did right was posting on Instagram that I was on my way to Minneapolis because a friend saw it and immediately reached out. I had forgotten that she moved there a year prior and her hospitality floored me. The road blessed me with another familiar face. Shout out to Nina Terrero!

But before I got to have breakfast with Nina, I got to my AirBnB and was feeling all kinds of creepy about it. Only because I arrived at night. Parked on a street with no lights on it. And, there wasn’t anyone to welcome me. It was an empty house and I had to enter from the backyard with a code. Don’t get me wrong, the house was beautiful and clean, but I was all alone in this big ol’ Victorian house and it felt like a ghost was going to pop out from the dark dining room corner. I took a photo of the room to let my family know I was safe and sound and that I was putting my heavy day bag at the foot of the door because it didn’t have a lock. Weird right? But I was way way more sleepy than I was nervous so I went straight to bed.

The next morning I had breakfast with Nina at Target’s headquarters and catch up. She told me all about what her experience was like moving there from New York City all while raising a new baby, and working in the communication department at Target.

I’ll admit that the only attraction I planned on seeing in the Twin Cities was Prince’s Paisley Park. Because I am all about Prince! I wrote a personal essay about him for Vivala way back when on how he was the other only flamboyant man allowed in my Peruvian home besides Walter Mercado.

Totally worth braving the cold. This piece is by German artist Katharina Fritsch who likes to play around with ordinary objects and make them kind of extraordinary.

Totally worth braving the cold. This piece is by German artist Katharina Fritsch who likes to play around with ordinary objects and make them kind of extraordinary.

Before heading out to Paisley Park, I went to check out The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which is home to more than 40 iconic sculptures, including Spoonbridge & Cherry and Hahn/Cock.

Now, Paisley Park was a wonderful purple wonderland and worth the ride! You have to book tickets in advance because they do NOT sell them the day of there. It’s also looks like a lab from the outside. Take a look:

Be ready to spend at least 2 hours in what feels like if Willy Wonka created a private estate dedicated to creative juices, epic beauty, and whimsical musical goodness. I will try my best to write in great detail so you can get a good feel but also not ruin it for you because you owe it to yourself to explore his remarkable complex. So, if you don’t want any spoilers, stop reading right now.

Fair warning: they do NOT allow you to bring in your cell phones because no photos are allowed.

You will get a guide. She or he will also love Prince and let you know how much his music meant to them. It will make you feel less alone but right when you think you’ve hit the feels, the tour will start with his ashes, up above in a mini version of a Paisley Park. The guided asked if we wanted a moment of silence and, of course, we all took it, because it’s PRINCE.

I cried. I thought about how his music made me believe there others as eccentric, creative and non-conforming as me. Sooner or later, we all find our people, right?

Then, you move on to his office, apparently just the way he left it, complete with a huge notebook on the table and DVD’s on the side of his desk. One was Coming to America. There is a room full of his stage costumes. The fluffy, the colorful, the petite. Prince was a small man with a big presence! You will walk down a hallway full of his awards and gold records. There is a room with his car in it, another room with Purple Rain memorabilia, and then much, much more I won’t ruin for you (Ha! Sorry!) and then you will end up in a concert venue. I repeat: a concert venue. Where he would hold private events for his closest friends which often included celebrities and other musicians.

Finally, you will end at the cafe/wall of memories that a curator comes to switch out every month. It’s all of the letters, photos, shirts, stuffed animals and so much more that fans left outside of Paisley Park when he passed. Then, there is a cafe with his favorite eats because Prince practically lived there.

My favorite part was a mural where Prince was in the middle. On one side were musicians who influenced him and on the other were musicians who he influenced. I won’t ruin that for you but I will say that Joni Mitchell was one of the artists who influenced him and that was when I realized that I had never really given her a chance.

I walked out of Paisley Park feeling like I finally checked off a big box off my bucket list, my stomach full of butternut squash ravioli (one of Prince’s faves!) and snow on my nose. To no surprise, it started to snow, and I was ready to hit the road and listen to Joni Mitchell which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip. More on that next week.