Minnesota’s 22 Best Events, May through June

Your early-summer calendar includes comedy, musicals, a new book festival, and more
At the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona

Courtesy of the Great River Shakespeare Festival

Editor’s Note: For even more summer events—including a bunch of festivals—check out our comprehensive “100 Fun Things to Do This Summer in Minnesota” list here.


100-Mile Garage Sale

Colorful ribbons mark garage sales along a 100-mile stretch of the Great River Road, from Fountain City to Prescott, Wisconsin. Learn more.


Cinco de Mayo Festival

A westside St. Paul street party hosts zones for families, musicians, vendors, a car show, a jalapeño-eating contest, and more. Learn more.



The juiciest burgers, grilled by the folks behind the Twin Cities’ best restaurants, brought to you by Minnesota Monthly at CHS Field in St. Paul—along with grill tips, specialty beers and wine, and more for a savory afternoon. Learn more.

Opens 5/4

First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom

First Avenue tallies 50 years as Minnesota’s premier music venue, and the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul has videos, photos, oral histories, and artifacts (like the Purple Rain suit). Learn more.


MayDay Parade

It’s maybe the final cavalcade of freaky puppets, by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, through Minneapolis Powderhorn Park, done annually since 1975. Learn more.


Governor’s Fishing Opener

In Albert Lea, Gov. Tim Walz helms his first fishing opener. Fish on Fountain Lake and explore eateries, shops, and lake activities. Learn more.


St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour

Minnesota’s pottery Eden is east of the Twin Cities, where seven studios in the St. Croix Valley host local ceramicists selling one-of-a-kind wares. Learn more.



Authors like Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, and Marlon James make this inaugural book fest legit, at sites across Minneapolis. King’s band, the Rock Bottom Remainders, plays First Avenue May 10. Learn more.


Run, Smelt, Run!

A costume-and-puppet parade, honoring a giant magical fish, becomes a smelt fry and dance party in Duluth’s Canal Park. Learn more.


The Vikings Begin

One of the American Swedish Institute’s biggest exhibits—of Viking swords, vessels, helmets—tells a complex history. The collection embarks from Scandinavia, and Minneapolis’ ASI hosts Nordic dinners. Learn more.


Doors Open Minneapolis

Mayor Jacob Frey invites the public into 110-plus Minneapolis venues to tell the city’s backstory—covering sites important to culture, business, spirituality, “the future,” and more. Learn more.


Dear Evan Hansen

The 2017 Best Musical Tony winner shook up Broadway. At the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, a teenage outcast gets an ethically dubious shot at fitting in. Learn more.

5/31, 6/1-2, 7-9

Luxury Remodeling Tour

See luxe Twin Cities metro homes with remodeling budgets averaging $580,000, hosted by Midwest Home. Learn more.


Through the Narrows

Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, the south Minneapolis theater, puts on a show starring characters based on the founding artists’ ancestry: a 3,500-year-old Jewish woman and a time-jumping Cherokee kid. Then, learn to make your own mini-puppet: a “power figure” caricaturing someone who’s inspired you. Learn more.


Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

The first major exhibit of art by Native women features 115-plus artists, covering more than 1,000 years, at Mia in Minneapolis. Learn more.



For the fourth year, hundreds hunker down on three Main Street blocks in Maple Grove with sticks of pro-grade chalk to draw mind-bending illusions or just doodle. People’s Choice Awards go to two skill levels, and international artists come for one of the Upper Midwest’s few chalk showcases. Learn more.


Radical Playground

Fantastical animal sculptures, known as alebrije in indigenous cultures, populate the Commons Park in downtown Minneapolis and light up at night. Communities of color are invited to play, gather, and heal amid the new installation, winner of the Northern Spark festival’s Creative City Challenge. Learn more.


Twin Cities Jazz Festival

The state’s biggest jazz fest sets up in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul, featuring singers José James, Nnenna Freelon, and young, genre-pushing saxophonist Grace Kelly. Learn more.


Grandma’s Marathon

Join 9,000 in a 43-year tradition. Duluth’s biggest marathon starts near Two Harbors and spans more than 25 miles. Learn more.


Guys and Dolls

At Minneapolis Guthrie Theater, a Broadway perennial busts through showtunes like “Luck Be a Lady” and “Adelaide’s Lament.” Learn more.


Minneapolis Comedy Festival

Bob Newhart, Seth Meyers, George Lopez, YouTube’s Good Mythical Morning hosts, and more comedians help launch a new laugh fest spread across downtown Minneapolis venues. Learn more.


Great River Shakespeare Festival

In its 16th year, the Winona State University fest for the Bard does MacBeth, Cymbeline, and more. Learn more.

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