Edit ModuleShow Tags

Minneapolis Aquatennial, July 13-21


Summer in the Twin Cities is full of festivals, with one of the biggest and oldest being the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration, running July 13-21. Touted as the “best days of summer,” this 73-year-strong festival definitely lives up to the promise. Thousands of people join the festivities, and with several events to watch and participate in over the nine-day celebration, there’s never a dull moment. Catch everything from sandcastle building and tennis tournaments to parades and fireworks. Fun fact: The Aquatennial has seen many famous faces grace its parade routes, like Bob Barker and Gene Autry.

Photos by Richard Westley Wong

One of the highlights for locals and visitors alike is the Beach Bash, which takes place at Thomas Beach at Lake Calhoun on July 15. Build sandcastles, try your skills with a stand-up paddleboard, and check out the signature, fan-favorite milk carton boat races, where teams race life-size ships made only from milk cartons. Really, you have to see it to believe it.

Other highlights include:

Aquatennial Plaza Tennis Classic (July 13-20): Watch some great tennis players swing away for cash prizes.

Life Time Triathlon (July 14): Triathletes (newbies to veterans) from all over come out for this event at Minneapolis’ Lake Nokomis.

River Rats Water Ski Show (July 14, 15 & 19): Truly a unique event, this local ski club performs a free, one-hour show on the Mississippi River.

Life Time Torchlight 5K (July 18): Runners of all abilities can take part in this evening race.

Torchlight Parade (July 18): Definitely an original experience, this evening parade, complete with bands, floats, and more, illuminates Hennepin Avenue downtown.

Queen of the Lakes Coronation (July 20): No Midwestern festival would be complete without the crowning of royalty. On this day, the Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and two princesses receive the honors.

Target Fireworks (July 21): One of the best fireworks displays in the state and one of the largest in the country, these fireworks light off over the Mississippi near downtown. Live music and other events start in the early evening.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

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.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy

How Jason Voorhees Came to Haunt an Iron Range Mine

The "Friday the 13th" icon, in the depths of a northern MN mine, goes viral—but what else is lurking down there?

A Day Trip to St. Peter

Located in the Minnesota River Valley, St. Peter is full of Minnesota history and small-town charm

5 Unusual Minnesota Attractions

We all love Mall of America and Minnehaha Falls, but these five out-of-the-ordinary state attractions provide relief from the norm

St. Patrick's Day Festivities

Check out these exciting St. Patrick's Day events happening all around Minnesota.

The Best Road-Trip Pies in Greater MN (and WI)

Celebrate Pie Day at any of these statewide destinations

Minnesotans Medal in PyeongChang Olympics

Minnesota native athletes bring home Olympics medals in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

St. Patrick's Day Suds

These Minneapolis and St. Paul pubs are the perfect spots to ring in the Irish holiday all month long

A Day Trip to New Ulm

Schell's Bock Fest, Minnesota history, and tasty food await in this southwest Minnesota town

Top 5 Places to Dog Sled in Minnesota

Try the exhilarating experience of dog sledding and take in the beauty of winter in Minnesota.

This Weekend: What Is Snowkiting?

At Lake Mille Lacs, a new sport catches wind. Here's how you can get started.

Twin Cities Sledding Hills

Grip it and rip it, it's time to shred some powder

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: February

This month's philanthropic food events: a "Chopped"-style competition, the Charlie Awards, and cocktails with your dog
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags