TV reporter Emily Engberg admits she splits her loyalties between her hometown Iowa Hawkeyes and her beloved alma mater Arizona State Sun Devils. But since joining the team at KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live and making Woodbury her home, she’s more than embraced her new Minnesota roots. Engberg sits down with Woodbury Magazine to share her love for discovering adventures at work and play.
“In this business. you work your way up and that means moving; I will say, Minnesota for the first time feels like home,” says Engberg, who moved here in 2009 from Milwaukee where she was a reporter/anchor for the CBS affiliate.
“I have the best friends here. There’s so much to do. There’s theater, sporting events and restaurants, and I don’t mean in just St. Paul and Minneapolis. I mean in Woodbury too,” she says. Engberg is an avid sports fan and makes a weekly appearance on ESPN 1500 with Mackey and Judd. She can be found proudly wearing her Minnesota Wild cap or a Minnesota T-shirt on her many travels. “I’ll meet someone and say, ‘I’m from Minnesota!’ and people will look at me and say, ‘Yep. I see that on your shirt,’” she says with a laugh.
Engberg’s affinity for discovery makes Twin Cities Live a dream job. She hosts a segment on Tuesdays called “Em’s Adventures” where she explores unique things to do around the Twin Cities and beyond, with an abundance of opportunities to embrace her wanderlust. One of her more memorable work trips was an Alaskan cruise where she brought her mom along. She’s taken viewers to Napa Valley and this past September, she brought them along on a tour of the spectacular fall colors in New England.
“I don’t know what I did, but I feel like I hit the jackpot in my life—I really do,” Engberg says. “I get to go into work every day and enjoy it, and show people what Minnesota is about. I’m not even from here, but I take a big appreciation and a great pride in it. I’m grateful, I really am.”
When Engberg is not finding adventures to share with viewers, she is out and about exploring the cities or embracing her travel bug. She says she can be found catching up with friends around Woodbury at her favorite local spots including Lakes Tavern and Grill, Craft Beer & Kitchen and Cravings Wine Bar & Grille. Engberg also served as the emcee for Woodbury Magazine’s Best of Woodbury 2015 event.
“I have a severe disease called FOMO. Fear of Missing Out,” Engberg says. “I cannot sit still at home because I feel like I am missing out on something fun. And I am okay with being the one who calls everybody and says let’s go out and do something. I get energy from people.”
Whether on location for Twin Cities Live or jet-setting off on a last-minute girls’ trip, Engberg embraces a work hard, play hard attitude, determined to make the most of every opportunity. “I like fitting as much in as I can in any city that I go to,” she says. “I love to go into a café and say, ‘Hey, what’s your favorite thing about this city? Is there something that we have to see or something that most people wouldn’t know about?’ The best gems are local. And to be honest, I think they’re almost better than some of the touristy things.”
Engberg’s personal travel always includes trips back to Arizona to visit college buddies and an annual father-daughter trip to New York City (to keep herself adept at mastering the Big Apple, she keeps a comprehensive file). Engberg says she’s known for calling a girlfriend on a whim for a last-minute trip. “I went to Vegas for 24 hours for New Year’s Eve. I was going to have a low-key night with friends here, and then I decided that didn’t sound as much fun as I thought, so we literally looked at a flight, booked it, and went.”
And while her girls’ trip highlights tend to be finding new restaurants and exploring local picks, it’s really her time with friends that matters most. “My friends are like family. When we go on these trips, it’s not just about the experience, but it’s about being with these people that you start to make memories with,” Engberg says. “You see their fun side, their vulnerable side. That’s what girls’ trips are about.” Engberg adds that it doesn’t always need to be an expensive endeavor. “It might just be a cabin up north. I just like being with my girlfriends, and going to do something.”
As for the future, Engberg is always adding destinations to her bucket list. “There are a lot of places I haven’t been,” she says. “I really want to go to Dubai. And then Fiji, because I like just sitting in the sun on an island; I mean, who doesn’t? That’s a Minnesotan kind of thing.”
She says she learned her love of meeting people from her father, one of her favorite travel companions. But her love of travel is really about embracing life and pursuing happiness. “I’ve got the bug. I could be gone every weekend and be happy,” Engberg says. “My mom had breast cancer a few years back and that was a life changer for me, in terms of what matters and what doesn’t. I don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Em’s Travel Tips
“Technology is your friend. If you’re interested in a destination, Google it and you’ll see reviews. If you don’t want to think so hard, use AAA or Trafalgar. We use them for my work trips and they tell you what you’re going to do and have great inside info because they do it so much. Also ask around; get advice from people who’ve been there. I follow Triphackr on Twitter and Peter S. Greenberg, along with some generic travel channel and travel feeds.”
On a Budget?
“Look at your budget and set your boundaries. Make sure everyone is ok and can keep up. If someone wants to go to a fancy place and you can’t afford it, eat somewhere beforehand and go there and get a glass of wine. I use the Delta Amex so I can rack up points. I put my bills on it and pay it off.”
What to Wear?
“I don’t always want to check my bag. You have to be smart. You won’t change six times in a day. You can wear a pair of jeans more than once. Bring a pair of nude heels; they go with everything. I wear my biggest shoes on the plane. Winter is harder, but I just bring one sweater that I can wear with a couple of different shirts.”
At the End of the Day…
“Don’t overthink it. People get so worked up about where they’re going to stay, what they’re going to eat. Just get your plane ticket, get a spot to stay, and as you go, just organically find your way with what works for you. The unexpected is sometimes the best part of any trip. The point is not the stuff, but the people you’re with.”