“On your left,” nine year old Megan shouts as politely as possible while simultaneously ringing her bike bell a few times as a warning.
I’ve been taking care of this little girl (and her two older sisters) since before she could ride a bike. It makes me one proud nanny to watch her confidently and responsibly cruise the bike paths around her neighborhood. You can usually find us riding together as often as possible during the summer months, so long as camp schedules and soccer practice permits. Our favorite bike path, by far, is the one that loops around Lake Calhoun, also known as Bde Maka Ska, just two blocks from her house. Whether it’s to ride our bikes just to feel the wind through our helmets, or we have a destination in mind, we always have a good time when we’re riding around Lake Calhoun.
A favorite stop for us has always been Tin Fish. In the eight years I have nannied for Megan and her big sisters, we have made plenty of stops for lunches or a quick ice cream treat. Tin Fish is known for their fresh, delicious fish tacos. You don’t want to miss out on one their many varieties. No worries if your kids aren’t into seafood cuisine. They have your standard chicken strip basket with fries, along with a few other sure-to-please kid menu items. The lines can be long on a sunny day, but thankfully they have you covered with a fun selection of games for the kiddos to play while you await your food’s arrival. I am hard pressed to think of a dining view more beautiful than one from the shores of Lake Calhoun. Be sure to snag one of their oversized adirondack chairs. Sink into it and watch the world go by…if those kids let you.
Once your tummy is full, you have your pick of three beaches along Lake Calhoun. Calhoun Thomas Beach is on the south side of the lake, while Calhoun North Beach is, you guessed it, on the north side. My favorite is the more family friendly, Calhoun 32nd Beach, which you will find on the east side of the lake, not too far down from Tin Fish. It is also adjacent to a great, well-maintained park where your little ones can work their wiggles out in between jumps in the lake. Don’t forget to hit up the tire swing! Lifeguards are generally on duty during the busier parts of the day as well. As a former lifeguard myself, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind everyone that lifeguards aren’t there to take over your job. They are, however, a great asset, and I always feel a bit safer when I know there are another set of eyes on the bobbing heads in the water.
In addition to the great beaches and good eats, Lake Calhoun is also a hot spot for sailing. One of my favorite Calhoun sounds is the clanking of the sailboats when there is a breeze in the air. For the true sailing enthusiasts, you can even pay an annual fee to buoy your sailboat on the lake during the sailing season. Don’t own your own sailboat? Lake Calhoun Sailing School has you covered. Founded in 1989, Lake Calhoun Sailing School is now known as one of the largest and diverse sailing schools in the Midwest. They offer classes from beginner to advanced, for ages 4 to adult.
If you’re not ready to take the sailing plunge, Lake Calhoun offers a variety of recreational rentals by the hour. For $20 an hour, you can try your hand at newly popular standup paddle boarding, or for a mere $13, you can have a one hour solo kayaking experiencing. The rental station is open 9am-9pm during the week, and opens an hour earlier on the weekends. The last rental goes out an hour before close, so don’t show up too late or you’ll have to save it for another day.
So what does the Lake Calhoun area have to offer on the rainy day? Minneapolis is the home of a museum that is devoted to the study of electricity. The Bakken Museum, located on the edge of Lake Calhoun, educates visitors on the history of electricity and electromagnetism from 1200 A.D. to present day. While you may not think this sounds especially thrilling, I promise your kiddos will get a kick out of a visit there. We’ve been many times over the years, and always seem to discover something new and fascinating. A perfect stop when the outdoor elements aren’t cooperating.
Have you been to Lake Calhoun yet this year? What are you waiting for? Grab the kiddos, a loaded up beach bag, and make a spectacular day of it! Just stay off that busy bike path if you don’t have wheels under you. Those bikers don’t mess around.