As I was falling asleep last night, quasi-dreaming of summer, my mind turned to one (well several) of Minnneapolis' major assets. The Chain of Lakes. Folks, if you don't live here, you need to understand how remarkable it is to have lakes in the city limits, with views of the skyline and trails flanking the banks (over 13 miles of trails!), that you can actually SWIM in. I admit, it is a sad state of national affairs when one's amazement about being able to swim in a body of water is as profound as mine. But really, there are few urban bodies of water out there where you can safely submerge your sweaty summer self.
For the uninitiated, the lakes I'm talking about in Minneapolis are: Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet. The ones in blue are the ones that have beaches. Lake Nokomis, which is just to the west of the Chain of Lakes is also a popular swimming lake and home to an annual triathlon. This map gives you a sense of how connected these lakes are and check out the photos to see how close to downtown they are (depending on the lake, they're 1 - 3 miles from downtown.)
Lake Calhoun, below:
Lake of the Isles, below:
Images: Lake Harriet, Gustavas.edu; Lake Calhoun, destination360.c0m; Lake of the Isles,