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12 Great Minnesota Experiences: Gift Guide 2020

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My favorite types of gifts are experiences. Call it the millennial in me, but my best memories are taking my Mom to Afternoon Tea in London, surprising Ryan with an NBA game and bringing my nephews downhill tubing. Of course, there are often small physical gifts, but I will always prefer experiences over things.

2020 presents an interesting challenge as we won’t be with family or friends in-person for experiences.  However, that just means we need to be more creative!

To help you gift experiences this holiday season, I put together an Experience Gift Guide for 2020, which supports local Minnesota businesses and creatives while doing our best to stay safe. Happy Gifting! (and don’t forget a gift for yourself!).

1. Afternoon Tea from The Lynhall

Perfect for: the foodie or London lover

Afternoon Tea in London

Afternoon Tea is one of my favorite experiences in life. I was thrilled to learn The Lynhall started a service this fall and even more thrilled to learn they’re offering it for takeout! Gift someone this fabulous experience and buy one for yourself to enjoy together virtually. Fancy hats optional!

2. Dogsledding Tour

Perfect for: outdoor, nature and dog lovers

Getting outdoors is so good for the soul and even better to spend time with sweet dogs! We went dogsledding in Colorado and had a wonderful experience. Luckily we have some great options in Minnesota! Below are two highly rated companies – one close to the cities and one further north in Ely.

3. Cooking Class

Perfect for: foodies and people who are uninspired by so much at-home cooking!

By now, I think we’re all tired of cooking at home but by taking a class, it can reinvigorate our meals and make the process fun again! Cooks of Crocus Hill is a great and popular local option.

4. Floral Arrangement Class

Perfect for: creatives and those who enjoy florals around their home

Flowers are one of the best things to have around the house, especially when we’re spending more time there than ever before. There are two local floral companies that host amazing workshops. I personally attended a session from Sip ‘n Bloom with a work team and we had a blast! David, the owner, is so creative, fun, timely and makes everyone feel welcome.

  • Sip ‘n Bloom – email David directly to set up your own private class. Rates are super reasonable!
  • Ergo Floral – based in St. Paul, their floral arrangements are gorgeous!

5. Staycation

Perfect for: your friend who needs a change of scenery or your favorite traveler

A change of scenery is so good for the soul and luckily, we have many restful spots around Minnesota.  By gifting someone an overnight stay somewhere locally, you can help them step out of the stress of this year and enjoy some well-earned “me-time.”  Below are 5 wonderful spots I’d recommend.

6. Facial Kit

Perfect for: the spa lover

Many people don’t have time to visit a spa or may not be comfortable visiting one right now but you can help bring the spa to them! Facial kits are an amazing way to gift someone an indulgent experience right at home. Check out the two kits below – I personally use Tata Harper (not a local brand but all their products are made on an organic farm in Vermont and I couldn’t recommend them more!).

7. Minnesota State Parks Pass

Perfect for: the hiker in your life

The Minnesota State Parks pass is good for one year and is a great deal if you visit more than 5 state parks in one year. It was one of my favorite purchases in 2020 since we explored 13 new parks.

8. Cider Tasting Kit

Perfect for: anyone who enjoys cider, trying new drinks (and is 21+)

The Cider scene has exploded in Minnesota and we have many great places to purchase cider can sampler packs from. Read this list for the Top 8 Cideries to check out.

One of the best gift experience ideas I’ve seen this season is the Cider Sampler Pack from Number 12 Cider. It comes with a tasting paddle, 4 different cans and 4 glasses for $35, while supplies last.

9. E-Bike Rental

Perfect for: anyone who loves biking and those who enjoy a little power boost!

While you may have to wait until spring to redeem this, a gift card for an electric bike rental is sure to give your friend/family member something to look forward to! E-Biking with Mike’s E-Bikes in Stillwater this fall was one of my favorite experiences. I wrote about it in my Stillwater guide here. Call Mike directly to purchase! (651) 342-1914

10. Virtual Gym Classes

Perfect for: everybody. We all need to stay sane and healthy right now!

We are spoiled with great local gyms in Minnesota and they need our support more than ever (just as we need their amazing exercise classes to keep us healthy and sane). Below are some of my favorite classes in Minnesota to gift someone a virtual workout:

11. Outdoor Sports Equipment

Perfect for: the outdoor adventurer

Okay while these are technically products, they lead to great experiences! My favorite purchase of 2020 was my Paddle North Paddleboard – it led to great adventures in both Minnesota and Florida (the Portager inflatable board is easy to check on airplanes!). Since we’re heading into winter, snowshoes would be another great experiential-based gift!

12. Local Restaurant Gift Cards

Perfect for: everyone. Aren’t we all needing a break from cooking?!

Rosalia in Linden Hills

Check out this list on MSP Magazine for the best restaurants!

Happy Gifting!

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  1. Alena on November 23, 2020 at 19:01

    We loved Hewing Hotel for a staycation last year!

    • Planet with Sara on November 23, 2020 at 20:39

      Another great idea!! I love the sauna and rooftop hot tub there – hopefully they can reopen soon safely.

  2. Rachel on December 23, 2020 at 21:56

    Love the State Parks pass idea!

    • Planet with Sara on December 30, 2020 at 01:11

      Thank you! It’s been a great purchase for us this year!

  3. The Darling Apron on December 24, 2020 at 01:02

    These are great ideas, thank you!

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