Stay and Play

Top 10 Things to Do and See This Summer

Rent a kayak or canoe. This summer make use of Minnesota’s most natural commodity—the great outdoors (and all those lakes!). For a fun day outing, rent a kayak or canoe from Wild Mountain/Taylors Falls Recreation. Start out at Minnesota Interstate Park, then float downstream on the scenic St. Croix River to Osceola Landing. You can arrange to have a shuttle take you back to your vehicle for a grand total of $45.50 (includes two lifejackets and two paddles). If you have a different destination in mind, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat locally through Minneapolis Park and Rec. •

Walk with the Dinosaurs 

Wishing you could visit Jurassic Park? This summer, the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is bringing back its life-size animatronic “Dinosaurs!” exhibit (open daily May 28-September 5). You can snap a selfie with an 18-foot tall T. Rex, or watch Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, or Allosaurus. Just watch out for the Dilophosaurus—he spits.

Visit the North Shore  

Named by the Star Tribune as a “Best North Shore Resort,” Lutsen Resort, on the shore of Lake Superior, provides a special setting for a summer getaway. Escape for a little TLC (relax by the lake or get a massage at the spa), or try outdoorsy activities like the sea-kayak tour, stretching yoga on the beach, shuffleboard, guided hiking, biking, beach campfires, kids’ programs, and some of the best scenery around. (Popular hiking trails in nearby state parks attract visitors from across the country.)

Spend a Weekend in Stillwater    

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a night out with friends, Stillwater offers the right ingredients for a memorable trip. The Rivertown Inn is a Victorian mansion-turned-boutique hotel that happens to be just a few blocks from downtown Stillwater—within walking distance of Stillwater’s finest restaurants (like Marx Fusion Bistro, Domacin Restaurant and Winebar, and Luna Rossa, to name a few). Bring your bike and explore the natural beauty of the St. Croix valley. In fact, Forbes magazine named Stillwater “One of the Top Ten Prettiest Towns in America.” Golf, relax at the spa, kayak, visit the art galleries or one of the 100+ independently owned boutiques, antique shops, spas, restaurants, pubs, or specialty shops in this historic river city.

Meet Babe and Paul 

Northern Minnesota has long held a special place in many Minnesotans’ hearts. The northern town of Bemidji—the first city on the Mississippi—is no exception. With its pristine lakes and rivers, red pines, and abundant wildlife, the area draws visitors year-round. Attractions include the award-winning Bemidji Brewing, Headwaters Science Center, the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, and one of the most photographed statues in the state—Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, Babe. While visiting, stay at Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge on Lake Bemidji, a family-friendly vacation destination for more than 100 years. Ruttger’s offers the amenities of a large resort, but it’s small enough to feel like a second home. The resort has 28 cottages, 38 rooms, a childrens’ program, lounge, and indoor pool/fitness center.

Head to the Races

Try to hit a trifecta (a wager in which the player selects the first three horses in a race in order) at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, where live horse racing runs this year from May 20-September 17. Just 25 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, the atmosphere at Canterbury is family-friendly—kids are free—and on Sundays there are pony rides, a petting zoo, and face painting after the race. Canterbury also offers a Casino Games room, where you can munch on tableside food and enjoy beverage service as you try your hand at Blackjack, Pai Gow, and 33 tables of Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Seven-Card Stud.

Run Away to the Circus

Have you ever wanted to feel like you’re flying without having to jump out of an airplane? Twin Cities Trapeze is a facility in St. Paul that specializes in flying and static trapeze lessons, as well as Aerialates (aerial Pilates). Aerialates—a circus-based fitness class for those interested in strength building and fun—takes Pilates to new heights. In your first class, the instructors will guide you through a warm-up and then teach the fundamental moves on the trapeze, fabric, and both apparati together. A single class is $15 and lasts roughly 45 minutes. Flying trapeze classes are $45 for a 90-minute session, with plenty of one-on-one time with the instructors. Flying trapeze is always performed over a safety net, and all beginning and intermediate students wear a safety harness. 

Find Love at the Lodge 

If you’re single and tired of fake profiles and unsuccessful pursuits, then The Lodge and The Lodge Club Room could be the answer to your dating problems. Both a brick-and-mortar and online ‘members only’ social club for successful, like-minded singles who are ready for real love, this carefully thought-out concept is a first-of-its-kind, upscale singles dating club. With an “Aspen-Jackson Hole” feel, nestled within the Calhoun Beach Club, The Lodge offers a robust calendar, hosting private mixers and philanthropic events—intertwined with custom matchmaking—creating the opportunity for singles to finally find the love they deserve.

Root, Root, Root For the Home Team

Enjoy America’s national pastime with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, or with the St. Paul Saints, playing at CHS Field in Lowertown St. Paul. Lucky for you, Target Field offers a wide variety of concessions—new this year is Pizza Lucé and Red Cow Fine Burgers. CHS Field is the newest home to the minor league Saints, who in July of 2015 set a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Pillow Fight (totaling 6,261 people, including actor Stephen Baldwin).

See a Show

This summer, expand your horizons at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul. Bring the kids or grandkids to the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival family weekend June 4 and 5 for free outdoor performances, crafts, and activities in and around the Ordway. From June 10-12, catch the Broadway Songbook series—Kander and Ebb and All that Jazz. John Kander and Fred Ebb, the duo behind Broadway classics such as Chicago, Funny Lady, Cabaret, were recognized as national treasures for creating so many show-stopping sizzlers during their 40-year partnership. In Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon August 9-21, it’s all about the saga of the mythic West and the pursuit of the American dream. St. Paul audiences will be some of the first in the world to see this new thrilling musical adventure, set during the 1849 California Gold Rush.

For more fun “Stay and Play” ideas, visit

This Summer, Check Out a Fair or Festival

May 31-June 3

Flint Hills International Children’s Festival
”‹Ordway, Rice Park, Landmark Plaza; St. Paul

June 4-5

Grand Old Days
Along Grand Avenue, St. Paul
(this popular summer event added an extra day this year)

June 11

Northern Spark
Mill City, Minneapolis

June 17-19

Stone Arch Bridge Festival
Minneapolis Riverfront

June 25-26

Twin Cities Pride Festival
”‹Loring Park (festival), Hennepin Avenue (parade), Minneapolis

July 20-23

Minneapolis Aquatennial
Hennepin Avenue (Torchlight Parade), Loring Park (festival), Mill District (fireworks)

August 4-6

WE Fest Country Music Festival
Soo Pass Ranch, Detroit Lakes

Aug. 5-7

Uptown Art Fair
Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

Aug. 12-14

Bayfront Blues Festival
”‹Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth

Aug. 12-14

Irish Fair of Minnesota
Harriet Island, St. Paul

Aug. 12-14

Twin Cities Polish Festival
Old Main Street, Minneapolis

Aug. 21

Como Park Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival
Como Park and Conservatory, St. Paul

Aug. 25-Sept. 5

Minnesota State Fair
State Fairgrounds, St. Paul

Aug. 20-Oct. 2 (weekends)

Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Festival grounds, Shakopee

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