Tom's Tour of the NHL Cities (Part 4)
First of all – HAPPY NEW YEAR! – I hope that you start this year off on the right paw and that we all make a little more time, have a little more patience, and gather very soon at 501 Broadway.
While I’m also going to continue my city tour on here today, I wanted to take a moment to implore you to check out the World Junior Championship if you haven’t until now. You can catch the games on NHL Network (my DVR has been awesome here). Team USA has made it all the way to the gold medal game against Sweden after faltering early in the tournament. It’s like someone flipped a switch and suddenly they’ve been on fire, looking especially convincing in downing Canada 5-1 to get to the gold medal match. Give these kids a good look as many sure-fire NHL prospects are displaying their talents. USA vs. Sweden will air tomorrow morning live at 7 am on the NHL Network – check it out!
OK, back to the city tour:
The City of Angels! Despite the ridiculous traffic, I do love LA. There’s so much to see and do, so I’ll skip the obvious highlights and try to mine a few nuggets for you.
We usually stay around the LA Live area, and there are three things I definitely recommend you check out. The first is the Grammy Museum, which I try to visit every time we go there. While some of the displays are the same, many of them rotate. If you’re a music nut like me, this place is incredible. I’ve seen exhibits on John Lennon, James Brown, George Harrison, and many others. Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan used to own a 51 Fender Broadcaster(!) and it now hangs there. Images, videos and music await you. However, you simply must spend time at the touch stations. One is a flat table touch station when you come in and it gives you the history of different kinds of music and links them to other similar styles. You can spend hours exploring these stations, and let me tell you I’ve seeded some pretty incredible Pandora stations from this display. Second, there is a touch screen where you can see a city’s music heritage by decade by touching on it from a map of the US. While the cities you’d expect are on there, check out some of the smaller places and see what the contributions are/were.
Second, go eat at the Original Pantry, and bring cash. The Original Pantry has been kicking since 1924, and when the time came to move in 1950 it literally served lunch in the old location and dinner in the new on the same day. It’s not big so expect a wait during crowded times, but totally worth the experience and the food. It’s at the corner of 9th and Figueroa.
Finally, there is a taco truck that parks right across the street from the cinema by the JW Marriott. Just go (and again, bring cash).
Two decidedly different cities and we have stayed in both. St. Paul is where the rink is, and we’ve stayed across a small park from the walkway to the arena. The little park itself (called Rice Park) is decorated with Peanuts characters and is a fun place to sit and drink a coffee if it’s not too cold outside. Not only are you around the corner from the Xcel Energy Center, but the Science Museum and St. Paul Rivercentre as well.
Minneapolis is a lot of downtown shopping and eateriescompared to St. Paul, which has an older, more stately feel. This is the side of the river where the hoops and baseball teams play. Check out the Warehouse District for good restaurants and coffee shops, art galleries andantiques. Of course, there’s the Mall of America if you want something new or to ride a roller coaster.
Trivia: Do you know the name of the river that runs through the Twin Cities? The answer is below.
I enjoy Montreal even though it seems every single time I’m there a minus sign seems to be in front of the temperature reading. The city is connected by a series of underground walkways that are easy to get lost in or lose your bearings, so when taking these make sure you map out where you need to go beforehand.
Montreal is one of the older and more European cities in North America. If you want to experience on a small level what it can be like to sail across the foam, go here. Beautiful old buildings and ornate churches seem to dot every corner. Old Montreal is full of several shops and galleries, and the food is by and large excellent. Oh, and try poutine if you never have. Fries (called pomme frites or simply frites) covered with cheese curds and smothered in brown gravy. Yum!
Also, if you’re a history buff Montreal will appeal to you. Much of Canada (especially its Francophone culture) centers here. From its beginnings as a trapping and trading center through the modern day there is much to learn if you have the time.
Nashville – It’s awesome. Come visit. Say hello.
This is a tough one. We don’t stay near Newark, in fact we stay down the highway at a hotel located near a shopping mall. At least it’s a nice mall. I do wonder what Newark was like “back in the day”.
New York (Islanders)
Again, a tough one. We stay at a hotel across the parking lot from the arena. There’s a sports bar in the lobby that seems to get a lot of patronage. I’m anxiously awaiting this club’s move to Brooklyn!
Trivia Answer: The Mississippi River
Well, that’s it for this time. Thanks for reading and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.