Spring Break on a Budget

For a few short days in December, Dexter and I entertained the idea of visiting New York City over Spring Break. It’s on both of our 30 Before 30 lists (although I’ve been there before), and we were both a little anxious for adventure. (Sometimes I feel like since I don’t have kids–and not because I don’t like them–I am entitled to have adventures. It’s not a healthy mindset.)

I had it all planned out. We were going to stay in this swanky vintage style hotel. We were going to indulge in dessert (and maybe dinner) at this Smitten-Kitchen-mentioned* restaurant. We were going to walk, wide-eyed, around this museum.

But, alas.

Remember my post about making money decisions? Well, reluctantly, I took my own advice and looked at the price of a trip (and let me tell you, I researched some bargains!) in another light. I calculated how much extra interest we’d pay in the long run because of the money we’d spend on our trip. Then, I figured out that by spending Spring Break in New York, we’d be keeping ourselves in debt for an extra 6 months.


We remembered the verse in Proverbs that says, “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and he adds no sorrow to it.” And we were pretty sure we’d be sorry during the fall of 2014 as we were sending our checks to the student loan company rather than transferring money into savings. So, we decided not to go.

We realized, however, that we do need to get away. We need a weekend without dirty dishes, without picking up dog poop, and without phone calls from work. So, we followed the example my parents set and planned an “urban midwest getaway.” This summer, you might remember, we spent a weekend in Kansas City. Chicago also makes itself into our weekend getaway rotation. (For some reason, we ignore Omaha.)

So, in less than two weeks, we’ll be gazing at the Minneapolis skyline. And we’re pretty excited.

Like New York, the Twin Cities have hotels, restaurants, and museums. And they’ll be noticeably more budget-friendly than their NYC counterparts. This trip will keep us in debt less than a month longer than we would have been. Which, I think, is an excellent trade-off when you consider that our options are a) go on this trip or b) go crazy.

Here’s the thing: We don’t really know the Twin Cities area very well, so we need your tourism advice.

What would you do on a weekend away in Minneapolis?

(Can’t decide what advice to share? Consider the following. We’re not on a super tight budget–although concert tickets at $100 a pop aren’t going to happen. We like food–especially local, organic, and humane. We like coffee–especially fresh, small-batch roasted coffee. We like shopping. We like museums of all sorts. And Dexter is kind of a hipster–you know, the good kind, with hipster taste and none of the attitude.)

*Click that link. Make that gingerbread. Flour your pans well. You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit 1 & Photo Credit 2


23 thoughts on “Spring Break on a Budget

  1. WOW !! Sometimes I think we are a lot alike!! 🙂 My job is getting OBBER depressing for stories only to be shared in private, THEREFORE I felt I DESERVED a week of a GLORIOUS spring break!! We had been looking forward to a trip to Texas since September we had talked about it , researched it and had restaurants picked out…Then as gas prices rose and my grad classes started.. We had to rethink why we are going…HENCE it is the people you are with that makes it amazing!!! We aren’t sure where we are going and honestly I would love to go home but we will see!! THanks for your insight!! As for the TwinsCity’s we love it there too!! AND Guess what! you have to visit Hell’s Kitchen 🙂 sounds crazy and it is but it’s downtown and they have the most amazing HOMEMADE peanut butter and they are known for there creative twist on Grits!! Also the Farmers Market is pretty good and the park with the big spoon is worth the walk around!! Thanks for your fun blog I hope to talk to you soon!

    • Sorry to hear about your job. We should definitely try to catch up soon! I hope you get to go somewhere cool! Are you signed up for LivingSocial? Sometimes they send out really good hotel deals, especially around Chicago. They have 2 nights in Schaumburg for $80 total running right now.

      • Also, thanks for the MN suggestions! And, if you are thinking about getting a Living Social deal, I recommend looking the hotel up elsewhere to read some reviews.

      • Ok! Thanks for the advice!i get so many email coupons ill have to check!when r you finally coming to town!

  2. We went to Minneapolis for a weekend last summer. It was a ton of fun. However, it might still be snowy, so I don’t know if you’ll be able to do the outdoor stuff like we did. But, I’ve heard rave reviews about their museums {we didn’t go though, haha}. We ate at this one Italian place called Buca di Beppo {a favorite from here in Austin} and it was delicious. We ate a local joint called Joe’s Garage, which is a burger place and really quite good. The Coralville Library had a great Minneapolis travel book that I highly recommend.

    • That’s funny–there used to be a Buca di Beppo in Des Moines, but it closed. I always thought it was pretty good. They even had a special room with the picture of the Pope on the wall. Joe’s Garage sounds like a keeper–we’ll have to check it out!

  3. My first thought is Punch Pizza, they’re all over the TC. Cheap and they serve beer! (Like $5-10 for a whole pizza depending on toppings, we may even have a free pizza card, let me look!) They make pizza in a woodfire oven and it takes 90 sec. They use amazing ingredients, and for a girl who has been to Italy, they are the closest to Italian pizza I’ve had in these parts. Amazing!

    I’m going to come up with more, just wait…

    OH! Are you members of REI? If you become a member of REI you can climb their 50′ rock wall for free. Check the times, but it’s great!

    I’m going to come up with more… :)!

      • but you will show that old age by calling it that, it is now Nickelodeon Universe, and the rides are way better. 😉

        My brainstorming as begun. Especially for your food & hipster options. You can’t go wrong with any of the museums, so I’ll let you choose those.

        we just got back from our own spring vacation in st louis & chicago. add st louis to your rotation for next time if you like the looks of this –> http://www.citymuseum.org/

        excited to see you! more later…

      • Camp Snoopy will always have a special place in my heart…especially since in my old age I can’t handle crazy rides like I used to. I think you’re right about adding St. Louis to the rotation–we’re actually closer to it than we are to KC or to MN. Excited to see you too!

  4. I’m in Australia, so no suggestions about Minneapolis, sorry! My husband and I have a bit of a holiday rotation going too, and it is so nice not to have to spend the world to have fun and relax. I can imagine NY would be incredibly expensive. Have a blast in MN, it sounds really great!

    • I’ve never been to Australia, so if/when we go it’ll be quite a splurge! It’s definitely going on the “when we’re out of debt” list.

  5. Oh my gosh, you HAVE to go to Nina’s Coffee Cafe in the Cathedral Hill part of St. Paul. I went to college in the Twin Cities and this was by far my most favorite coffee shop in all of the land. They also have yummy sandwiches and pastries, AND Garrison Keillor’s bookstore, Common Good Books, is in the basement. I could spend hours there, no joke.

  6. Hi Kelsey! I work with your husband, and, after reading your blog, have decided we should be best friends. : )

    BUT for now, I’m lately telling you that I love Minneapolis and highly recommend two things there:

    The Midtown Global Market-it’s the best thing in the area. For sure-you’ll both love it! Go there for lunch and hang out for a bit, here’s the website: http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/

    and GAMEWORKS! the most fun place in the midwest! : )

    Hoping you have lots of fun this week!

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