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Well, well, well. Here we are months after pride month and major corporations have returned to the same old layout and design. However, is pride month ever really over? I like to think pride month is celebrated every day. At least, for me it is.

With COVID still running rampant across the world, it can be difficult to find ways to entertain yourself or even your friends on a Friday night. There can still be fun and creative places to go in order to spend those nights with your loved ones. Just remember to socially distance, wear a mask, and get vaccinated if you are able to!

LUSH

Lush is a restaurant, drag club, and night lounge all in one. Talk about a triple threat. This establishment is owned and operated by Ken Darling. While Ken, a cis male, is now the proud owner of LUSH, the staff are currently working to improve the structure of the business in order to aid the community and people it supports. During Minnesota pride, the nightclub had in fact closed due to the pandemic, and the business closed in order to make some renovations. Have no fear! The business is happily up and running again with their hours being 2-10 pm every single day. If you need a good meal, some good entertainment, or just want to have fun, this is the go-to spot you should keep an eye on.

The Saloon

This is another nightclub and bar! The Saloon is owned by John Moore and James Anderson. This club is really considered a dance club if we are being honest here. It has been a staple in Minneapolis for over 30 years. Unlike LUSH, this nightclub is gay-owned and has over 65 employees. This business has built a strong relationship with the gay community here in Minnesota, specifically the Minneapolis area, so there is no need to question why this place should be your next stop this weekend.

Now, if going out on the town and dancing are not your thing, do not worry. I’ve got your back! There are still plenty of places you can visit and explore without feeling the bass rhythm of a song in your chest.

Paisley Park

It should come as no surprise that this ended up on the list. Since the beginning of his career, Prince has been labeled a queer icon. He did not care about gender norms, binary gender roles, sexuality, or anything else. He just wanted to present his authentic self to the world and it paid off. Sadly, as we all know, Prince passed away a few years ago, and his home was turned into one of the best museums you can visit this day. Inside his home, you can see the eccentric decor, his recording studio, and where he would even host events. If you are a die-hard music lover, or just really love Prince, this is a place you need to check out.

Cuppa Coffee

This is for my coffee fiends. I respect you and I understand your hustle. Cuppa Coffee is a gay-owned coffee shop on Penn Ave South in Minneapolis. The surrounding neighborhood is full of pride flags, safe spaces, and a warm atmosphere. Honestly, if you need to unwind in a quiet place and possibly just read a book, this is your new go-to spot.

With that being said, let me bring in some indie bookstores to visit. Reading is incredibly important to me and has been my entire life. For many of us in the LGBTQIA+ community, reading allowed us to escape into a different world and experience new perspectives. While I’m not too sure if these bookstores are owned by a member of our community, they provide safe spaces for us to escape to and feel welcome.

The Irreverent Bookworm

This is hands down my favorite indie bookstore in Minnesota. The owner is so incredibly sweet, and I would honestly give her my life. This store may be small but it sure does pack a punch. Not only are the window displays absolutely phenomenal and the seating incredibly comfortable, but the wide variety of books they offer is also unbeatable. As a “new adult”, I still love reading the occasional young adult fantasy. I liked testing the waters of adult thrillers. This store just offers everything from autobiographies, cookbooks, children’s books, to essay collections. And if the store doesn’t carry what you are looking for, they are always willing to order the book for you. This bookstore demands your love and support.

Query Booksellers

This is a store I have not had the privilege to see and visit, but the history behind the business and why it is so important is what will bring me through the doors. This bookstore is filling the void the former store A Brother’s Touch has left in Minneapolis since the business shut down. The owner of the former bookstore sadly passed away which meant the business could no longer operate. However, Query Booksellers quickly stepped in and filled their shoes. This store carries new and second-hand books for the shoppers to look through. While the space is small, it holds a lot of love and light beyond its doors. The warm interior is inviting to everyone within the community.

Hopefully, this gives you some options of places to check out while you’re bored, hanging out with friends, or simply exploring the Twin Cities area. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, these places and their representation are beyond important even now in the year of 2021. By supporting these businesses, you are able to give back to our community and allow these businesses to keep their doors open. I know you will love them just as much as I do.

I'm Grace/GG! My pronouns are they/she. I'm a junior currently studying microbiology at MNSU. I'm extremely passionate about music and thrifting as well as staying up to date on current issues.
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