Category Archives: Things to do

3 Winter Activities To Do This Weekend

It’s suppose to be in the 30’s this weekend. Cue the celebration! (If you knew how cold it’s been here in Minnesota you’d be celebrating too.) But all kidding aside when we see temps in the 30’s it’s time to get outside and experience the joy of winter. That’s right, I said outside. Not sure what to do? Here are our top picks.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival: This event runs through Feb 2 so technically you have some time but it’s going to be in the 30’s this weekend so why not. There are Ice Sculptures, Ice Bars, Parades and so much more.

Lake Harriet Kite Festival: This one is open from noon to 4 on Saturday. Go see kites of all shapes and sizes, colors and themes flying over a frozen lake. Other fun things to do include ice fishing, snowshoeing, and a marshmallow roast. This is a free event. Including a free ride from Metro Transit.

Minnehaha Falls: I saved the best for last, I’m not sure how many of you have seen a frozen water fall but it’s pretty amazing. I highly recommend that you dress warm, wear your warmest and sturdiest winter boots and go explore. When we went we went followed the creek and enjoyed a beautiful long walk. My last piece of advice, don’t forget your camera, this place is very Instagrammable.

The Nokomis Nest

We did it! We converted one of our three rental properties to an Airbnb and it’s now available for bookings.

I promise to share more on our decision and the process but for now let me introduce you to The Nokomis Nest, our sweet little 3 bed, 2 bathroom home in the City of Minneapolis.

Located within blocks of Lake Nokomis and so many fantastic restaurants and fun shops. It’s also close to the airport, Mall of American and both downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

When you stay at The Nokomis Nest you will have the entire house to yourself. That’s 1600 finished square feet of space.

There are two bedrooms on the main floor; one has a queen size bed and one has a full size bed. The third bedroom occupies the entire top floor and has a queen size bed.

Main floor bedroom with queen bed
Main floor bedroom with full bed

Upstairs bedroom with queen bed

Both the living room and the downstairs family room are equipped with High Speed Internet and 4K 55 inch TV’s and have Xfinity/ Comcast Cable.

If you’re headed to Minneapolis anytime soon we would love to be your host. We truly love this house and our beautiful city and can’t wait to welcome you.

Your Fall To Do List

  1. Rake and bag the leaves.
  2. Clean the gutters.
  3. Prune/trim/care for your plants and trees.
  4. Store hoses, turn off the water. If you have a sprinkler system blow out the lines.
  5. Empty and store your outdoor containers.
  6. Put away your outdoor furniture.
  7. Get your furnace serviced so it’s ready to go.
  8. Get your chimney cleaned, fire season will be here before we know it.
  9. Stock up on wood for the fire.
  10. Check the batteries in your fire alarm and CO detectors.

#fallcleanup #todolist #fall #home #mattengengroup

Our Favorite Kingfield Neighborhood Restaurants

One of the many reason we love living in the Kenny neighborhood of Southwest Minneapolis is the close proximity we have to so many amazing restaurants. We could head out in any direction and find a sweet neighborhood hot spot perfect for what ever we happen to be in the mood for; from date night to dinner with friends or the fam. The restaurants we’re highlighting this week are all in the Kingfield neighborhood. A hip neighborhood filled with charming old houses and a relaxed neighborhood vibe. Below in no particular order are our current favs.

Grand Cafe – First off the Grand Cafe is beautiful. Seriously one of the prettiest and most romantic restaurants in the neighborhood, from the lush plants in the front windows, to the frond wallpaper and the candle light, it has a vintage yet modern, relaxed vibe, the kind of place I could stay all night. Go here when you’re in the mood for extremely good food (order the chicken) a bottle of red and the soft and quiet conversation of your company.

Corner Table – Matt and I head here when we’re feeling a bit more adventurous. We love to get a spot at the counter and watch them prepare our food as we enjoy the energy of the people and a glass of wine. The decor is dark and whimsical and the menu changes with the seasons so it tends to match what we’re in the mood for, which changes for us from winter to summer.

Revival – I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the chicken is good here and we don’t disagree, not for a minute, but when we go we go for the burger and the Mac and Cheese. The atmosphere is light and lively and it’s always busy. Our advice be prepared to wait and go hungry.

The Lowbrow – A family friendly establishment and a family favorite of ours until the boys became teenagers and decided they would rather stay home than go out to eat with us. Thankfully kids aren’t required to eat here so we still go. When we go we love to sit at the bar, it’s lined with baseball cards or outside on the street patio, it’s lively and fun and the food always hits the spot.

KyatchiSustainable sushi in a laid back non pretentious environment. A fav of our oldest who loves sushi and a win for me since they serve hot dogs. A good thing because I don’t eat anything that swims in the water. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere is fun.

Our Favorite Southwest Minneapolis Restaurants

Small local restaurants are the backbone of our neighborhoods. Aside from their amazing menu’s they make our neighborhoods desirable by adding to the uniqueness of our communities. Sure we all love mainstream restaurants too but can you imagine what it would be like to live here with out all the charming and unique restaurants we so often take for granted? Without them our neighborhoods and our home values wouldn’t be the same. So go ahead, eat out tonight, after all it’s for the neighborhood.

Live in Southwest Minneapolis like we do? Here are our top 5 favorite neighborhood restaurants.

  1. Terzo – This is one of our favorite places to go when it’s just the two of us. We love the atmosphere. I describe it as warm and cozy, a friendly, quiet place. If there was a fireplace behind the bar I would never leave. It’s in the Lynnhurst neighborhood of Minneapolis so it’s close and we always seem to be able to grab a seat at the bar, which we love. The owner and the entire staff are knowledgeable and just generally delightful. The food and the wine are always a hit, we haven’t had anything here we didn’t like.
  2. Red Wagon Pizza – Located in the Armatage neighborhood this one is a family and a girlfriend favorite. My girlfriends and I like to go and meet for a glass of Red Car Rose. Matt likes the beer selection and we all like the pizza. The atmosphere is loud and friendly, the perfect place to bring the family. They have a beautiful bar, it’s seriously so pretty and the patio is one of the best in town.
  3. George and the Dragon – The owners and the staff are what make this place tick. Oh and I guess I shouldn’t forget the food, it’s pretty darn good. The Asian Hangover is by far our favorite thing on the menu with the burgers and the Katherine (a steak salad) tied for a close second. The atmosphere is comfortable and welcoming, there’s always a familiar face greeting you at the door. This restaurant is truly a neighborhood favorite so it’s best to call ahead.
  4. Wise Acre Eatery – Hands down the prettiest restaurant and patio in town. I could just sit for hours, sip my wine and let my eye wander from one gorgeous spot to the next. A true farm to table experience, seriously I think everything is actually grown on their farm in Plato, MN. Matt and I love to stop by for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s my absolute favorite spot to meet the girls for drinks on the patio.
  5. Grand Cafe – What can we say we love this place. They describe it as magical and well I can’t think of a better word to use. It’s French inspired and gorgeous. Seriously I think it’s one of the prettiest restaurants in the neighborhood. When Matt and I want to celebrate a special occasion or just forget about life for awhile this is where we go. I’m also a huge fan that it’s woman owned.

#minneapolisneighborhoods #minneapolisrestaurants # top5 #mattengengroup

Summertime in Minneapolis

Ah Summertime in Minneapolis. It really is the best time of the year. Maybe it’s because we’ve finally de-thawed and we can go outside without multiple layers of clothing and boots on. Oh the freedom of flip flops. And while many of us escape every weekend to the family cabin up north, a lot of us are left looking for fun activities to do closer to the city. Lucky for us there is no shortage of fun things to do. Here are our top 5.

  1. The lakes. It doesn’t matter if you want to relax on the beach, go for a swim, rent out a kayak or paddle boat our Minneapolis lakes offer something for everyone, including food. We love to walk around the lake and then enjoy a refreshing IPA for us and ice-cream for the kids. Our favorite places to go are SandCastle  and Bread and Pickle. 
  2. Outdoor concerts. There’s no shortage of places to go to see live music in Minneapolis. From Music in the Parks  to the Basilica Block Party and the MN State Fair there’s something for everybody all summer long.
  3. Baseball. And we have two really great options right here in our beautiful cities, the MN Twins and the St. Paul Saints. The stadiums are beautiful and both offer free fireworks on Fridays after the game during the summer.
  4. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It’s one of the largest urban sculpture parks in the country and home to the famous Spoon and Cherry.
  5. Visit one of the local Farmers Market. It turns out we have over 60 of them.

Summertime in the City | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

#summertime #minneapolis #mattengengroup #thingtodo #livinginmn

Family Fun Day!

Our family found ourselves with nothing to do yesterday. Amazing, I know. This almost never happens to us, no sports? no work? what to do? I was personally looking forward to curling up with a good book and staying in my PJ’s all day. But we live in a house with two boys, who are 12 and 14 years old. If we didn’t find something to do as a family they’d spend the day in front of the TV playing Fortnite with their friends. And that means I would lay in bed that night fretting about the massive amount of screen time I just let them consume.

Matt and I decided we’d go bowling at Town Hall Lanes. Both boys surprised us and quickly agreed to go. If you haven’t been to Town Hall Lanes it’s a neighborhood bar/restaurant and 10 lane bowling alley located in Minneapolis. Matt and I like the food and their beer, the Masala Mama is our favorite. The atmosphere at Town Hall Lanes is relaxed, clean and kid appropriate. It was busy, it always is, but we were able to get a lane immediately. We got our shoes, ordered drinks and appetizers, made new friends and bowled 2 really fun games. Turns out I can still kind of bowl, at least well enough to beat the boys!

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

We love the fun retro feel of the lanes.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

And the shoes.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Success, no one fought the picture and everyone smiled. #momwin

Everyone was feeling pretty good after bowling and no one was in the mood to go home so on a whim we decided to head to Can Can Wonderland for some mini golf.  When we arrived we were told it would be a 1 hour and 45 minute wait. I almost lost the family but I convinced everyone to step inside, (thankfully I had been here before and knew what to expect). Once inside they were blown away by what they saw and decided to stay.

We ordered a few drinks at the bar while the boys ordered popcorn and a pretzel from the State Fair themed menu. Then we played vintage pinball, foosball as a family but the majority of our time and money went to trying to conquer Donkey Kong. The time flew by. We were mini golfing before we knew it. Navigating our balls around lit up ferris wheels, a tornado and at one point we had to trade our golf club for a baseball bat. The boys were captivated and challenged the entire time. The atmosphere was fun, creative and definitely kid friendly. A quick tip, if your kids are older go a little later in the day, it was fun when they dimmed the lights and the place lit up.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Vintage pinball machines is really fun to look at, hard to play.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Mom and dad against Preston and Dillon for a couple games of foosball – we win!

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

I can’t remember what hole this was but this couch brought back so many memories. So did the blanket.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

The first hole starts with a bang. Your ball takes a ride on a lit up ferris wheel.

#thingstodo #minneapolis #sundayfunday #minigolf #bowling #family #mattengengroup

 

US Bank Stadium

Wow, the first game at US Bank Stadium was more than just a game, it was an experience.  Before we even got inside you knew this was going to be different, you could feel it in the air. Vikings fans were out in full force. The streets and the tail gating lots were packed, not a lot of room to throw around the football or move, but it was fun.

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The general mood and excitement continued as we moved inside and got to our seats. First family photo at US Bank Stadium. Not bad. I love that the person taking it captured the US Bank Stadium banner, this way we’ll always remember where we were.

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The Vikings got things started with a moving #wearenorth video and then Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem. This has always been one of my favorite parts of the game. I love how the anticipation builds with the song.

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Fast forward to half time, I knew after reading the Star Tribune article that morning that I didn’t want to miss the half time show and I am beyond thankful I didn’t. The MN Orchestra put on quite the show, the Prince tribute was amazing. I was so happy to be a part of it, yes I know my only role was to wave my cell phone and sing along but it was simply magical, an experience I will never forget.

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And to top it all off, the Vikings win! It was definitely a night we will always remember, according to our boys it was the best game ever. #SKOLVikings