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Guide to the Minneapolis Aquatennial

Celebrate the City of Lakes at this family-friendly festival


Photo courtesy of the Minneapolis Aquatennial

The 2016 Minneapolis Aquatennial, the city’s official civic celebration, is back from July 20-23 with many old and new traditions. From the classic skateboarding competition to local craft beer, this four day celebration, produced by the Minneapolis Downtown Council, will have visitors of all ages and interests celebrating the City of Lakes. Make sure to stay hydrated and cool, as the heat index will skyrocket into the 100s throughout the celebration, but don't let that stop you from experiencing the "Best Days of Summer." These are the events you won't want to miss:

July 20-22: Aquatennial Tennis Classic
Take a break from the bustling business of downtown and treat yourself to great tennis. Watch some of the best local junior and adult tennis players in this urban tennis tournament, located outside the Canadian Pacific Plaza. Play begins on Wednesday, with championship rounds on Thursday and Friday, where players will battle for $6,500 in prize money. (9 a.m.-5 p.m., Second Ave. S. & S. Fifth St., Minneapolis, aquatennial.com)

July 21-22: River Rats
Minnesota has a tad obsession with waterskiing. Join the Twin Cities River Rats, plus Gru and the Minions from the “Minions” movie franchise as they perform daring stunts on the Mighty Mississippi. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or beach towels for comfortable viewing of this free and family-friendly show. (6 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows, West Bank of the Mississippi River between Broadway and Plymouth Avenues, tcriverrats.com)

July 23: Mess Hall
Make sure to head over to Boom Island Park with an empty stomach for this tasty festival. Treat yourself to dishes from local street food favorites including Rebel Donut Bar and Egg Roll Mpls, as well as craft brews from Fulton Beer, Sociable Cider Werks and more. Minneapolis musicians Sam Cassidy and the band Nooky Jones will provide a Minnesota soundtrack to this foodie fanfare. (3-10 p.m., Boom Island Park, mplsmesshall.com)

July 23: AquaJam
The AquaJam skateboarding competition, one of the most popular Aquatennial events from the 1980s, is making a return for this year’s celebrations. Attendants can join in on a free, open skate on Boom Island from 3-8 p.m., as well as watch experienced skateboarders perform advanced and daring routines in a skateboarding competition from 6-8 p.m. (Boom Island Park, aquatennial.com)

July 23: Target Fireworks and Aquatennial Pre-Fireworks Festivities
The Target Fireworks, one of the country’s largest annual firework displays, will end the Aquatennial with a bang on the celebration’s last day. To add to the display, spectators can tune into Go 96.3 FM to listen to music that the fireworks will be synchronized and choreographed to. Pre-show festivities, which include live music, food and kids activities, will begin at 6:00 p.m. until the fireworks begins at 10:00 p.m. (Pre-show festivities at West River Pkwy near Portland Ave.; fireworks at West River Pkwy. near Stone Arch Bridge, aquatennial.com)

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Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

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