Twin Cities Jazz Festival

If you're a Jazz fan like I am, one of the greatest things that you look forward to (If your area holds such events) is the Jazz festival.  For the last four years I have faithfully attended the Jazz Festival here in the twin cities, making sure I'm in the crowd all three days if possible. This year it will be held with center stage at Mears Park as always and it runs from June 25-27.  Some of the headliners include Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet Featuring Othello Molineaux and the Cloud Makers Trio and local artists such as The Atlantis Quartet and the Lila Ammons Quartet.

This event is always a family friendly event that fills up the park fast, so if it's possible for you to do so, I would suggest getting down to Mears Park or Rice Park (the site of another stage) as early as possible since a place to sit and parking in downtown St. Paul don't come easy for this event which pulls thousands of people a year to lowertown in a three day span. I myself plan on taking my bike there from my house for the shear convenience, barring any rain in the forecast.  Last year rain proved to be a huge factor as a tremendous amount was dumped on St. Paul during the final day of the festival forcing musicians and festival goers into even smaller indoor venues making it almost impossible for some folks to watch the last day of performances.  Another thing that makes the festival so sweet is the fact that Mears Park is right in the middle of many different restaurants and bars, with some providing outdoor seating.  So it's possible to grab a great dinner or drink with friends while sitting outside and listening to the music playing loud and clear across the street.  The Bulldog and Barrio are decent places to grab a nice meal while Face's has some of the best desserts in the Metro Area.  Rice park, another main stage location is another great option to watch performers although I prefer the Mears Park stage the most. Ten o'clock is usually when the final acts get off stage, but the party doesn't end there.  Some artists usually go to local venues such as the Black Dog Cafe and the Bedlam Theatre in Lowertown and keep the action going.  So if you love Jazz music as much as I do, or just like to get out on a couple of great summer days I would kick my weekend off with The Twin Cities Jazz festival.  There's great music, good food nearby, and you never know who you will run into.