photo courtesy brace hemmelgarn/ minnesota twins
As Minnesotans, we take pride in having four distinct seasons but summer is still a favorite for many of us—and it’s easy to see why. Enjoy the warm weather and these summer activities before autumn ramps up and the chilly weather sets in.
1. Biking Brewery Tours
The cities’ biggest breweries are Summit Brewing and Surly Brewing, but with so many clusters of breweries in neighborhoods like Uptown Minneapolis, North Loop Minneapolis and St. Paul’s South St. Anthony area, it’s easy to spend a whole afternoon or evening brewery-hopping by bike.
Northeast Minneapolis is an especially good location, with six options make a nice circle a little west of Northeast Park: You can stop by Bauhaus Brew Labs, 612Brew, Able Seedhouse + Brewery, and Indeed Brewing Co. and Taproom. The last third of your ride can be dedicated to Tattersall Distillery and Social Cider Werks. A few more blocks to the west, you can kick back at Dangerous Man Brewing Co.’s long community table after a stop at Young Joni. (Pedal Pub is a good option, too, if you plan on going with a bigger group).
2. Minnesota Stair Fair
Nicknamed “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” for a reason, the Minnesota State Fair attracts over 2 million visitors annually. Take time to visit your favorite attractions and buy your staple fair food but don’t forget to check out the new beers and treats, too—with over 300 food concessions, there’s plenty of goodies to choose from.
3. Minnesota Twins or St. Paul Saints Game
Catch a Minnesota Twins game at Target Field in Minneapolis or a Saints game at CHS Field in Lowertown St. Paul. Enjoy fireworks with every Twins home run, or if you’re at a Saints game, grab some peanuts and watch the entertainment team including a nerdrobics instructor, pirate and a culinary comedian between plays.
4. Como Park Zoo and the Minnesota Zoo
Summer is not complete without a trip to the zoo. Head on over to the Minnesota Zoo in southern suburb Apple Valley or Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul. At Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, personally feed the giraffes or walk around the gorgeous conservatory with its a Japanese garden and seasonally changing flower show. At the Minnesota Zoo, visitors have the chance to see some of the zoo’s 4,880 animals along their extensive Russia’s Grizzly Coast, Northern Trail, Minnesota Trail, and indoor Tropics Trail.
5. Minnehaha Falls
It’s easy to see why Minnehaha Regional Park is a huge summertime destination. Pack a picnic lunch, put on your walking shoes, and spend an afternoon winding your way down the paths and underneath limestone bluffs that lead to the 53-foot waterfall. Walk down to the creek and cool down by putting your feet in the chilly water.
Adreneline junkies go for the Power Tower, North Star, and Steel Venom but the Soak City waterpark, family friendly Planet Snoopy, and tamer rides make Valleyfair a child- and family-friendly affair.
7. Wheelfun Rentals
If you don’t have your own paddleboard, kayak, or canoe, Wheelfun Rentals at Lake Bde Maka Ska, Lake Nokomis, Minnehaha Falls, and Lake Como offers some of the best on- and off-water options to enjoy the lake. Alternatively, you can take a lap around the shore on a cruiser or mountain bike, kids bike, or for those who don’t mind a little bit of cheesiness, a tandem bike. No matter how long your park adventure is, lockers are available for $3 per use.
8. Ice Cream Outing
Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Classic spots include the old school ice cream parlor La La Homemade Ice Cream in Uptown and the multiple Sebastian Joe’s locations with dozens of flavors. Izzy’s Ice Cream, next to Gold Medal Park (or on Marshall Avenue in St. Paul), Milkjam Creamery on Lyndale Avenue, and Grand Ole Creamery on Grand Avenue are good options, too. No matter where you are in Minneapolis or St. Paul, sweet deliciousness is not far away.
9. Farmers Markets
Is there anything better than a $5 bouquet of freshly cut flowers or fresh produce available for very reasonable prices? I don’t think so. The Minneapolis Farmers Market on Lyndale Avenue is open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, and it positively buzzes with activity on the weekends. On Tuesday you can visit the farmers markets in Midtown, and Thursday is the Nicollet market, both near light rail stations. On Saturday, Midtown, Mill City, and Northeast Minneapolis are also open, and you can check out St. Paul’s Lowertown farmers market all weekend long.
10. Boat Tours
As the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it only makes sense that we offer water tours of Minnesota and St. Paul. Even if you’ve lived here your whole life, you’ll appreciate the picturesque tours of Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River offered by Paradise Charter Cruises and Minneapolis Queen—Padelford Packet Boat based out of St. Paul’s Harriet Island covers the Mississippi as well. Whether the company you choose offers a historic narrative during your time aboard or if it’s simply a few hours in some of the metro’s lushest and most beautiful areas, a boat tour can be one of the best ways to experience the Twin Cities’ incomparable blend of city and nature.