Stay and Play: Twin Cities Summer Adventures

Pirates-of-penzanceHeat Up The Summer

Let the Ordway heat up your summer with two fresh takes on your favorite musicals! Damn Yankees, running June 16-28, tells the story of a baseball fanatic who makes a deal with the devil to lead his favorite team to victory against the New York Yankees. Next up is Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, running August 4-16. Tour the high seas with these swashbuckling pirates—classic farce meets Spamalot!

Photo courtesy of Ordway

Go Wild

Rapid City, South Dakota is the hub of Black Hills scenery and Wild West adventures. Attractions include the Black Hills National Forest, private wildlife areas, family amusement parks, and historic gaming towns, and a total of five national parks and monuments, including the inspirational Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the visionary Crazy Horse Memorial. Other not-to-miss stops include the Norwegian Stavkirke Chapel, Dinosaur Park, and Dahl Arts Center, housing the unique Cyclorama mural—a 200 foot oil-on-canvas of American history, complete with special narration. 

 Photo by Mark Sullivan, NOAA Fisheries Permit 10137-07

New At The Zoo

Rediscover Discover Bay at the Minnesota Zoo, and you’ll meet some amazing new species ambassadors who are only found in their native country: Hawaiian monk seals. With only 1,100 of these animals remaining in the wild, these rescued seals are elderly and have vision impairments, making them non-releasable yet perfectly suited to shed light on this heartwarming conservation story. Families and children can also be inspired by nature in the new Hanifl Family Wild Woods play area, a 30,000-square-foot upland wooded area adjacent to the Zoo’s new Conservation Carousel. The play are features boulder climbs, a climbing horse, log pile climb, mazes, slides, tree top towers with bridges, monkey bars, and more.

Photo courtesy of Lutsen Resort

North Woods Tradition

A blend of Northwoods seclusion and outdoor excitement, Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior is perfect for family vacations, romantic getaways, and relaxing retreats! The resort’s lakeside lodging includes a historic Scandinavian lodge, luxury condos, townhomes and log cabins. Amenities include a lakeside dining room (Wine Spectator Award), a pub, pool complex, disc golf and pitch & putt golf. Complimentary activities include guided hikes, paddleboard, and sea-kayak tours, fly fishing classes, and kids’ programs.


Photo courtesy of Arrowwood Resort 

Nature’s Nest

Arrowwood Resort is nestled in the middle of nature on the shores of Lake Darling. Year-round recreational facilities include the Big Splash Waterpark, Atikwa Golf Course, Darling Reflection Spa, full service marina, horse riding stables, executive putting course and much more. Accommodations range from deluxe oversize standard guest rooms to one, two, three, four and six bedroom townhomes and cottages. Arrowwood Resort is the perfect getaway.

Bountiful Beauty

Journey to the trail less traveled this summer by taking a trip to Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. Your vacation includes beautiful, family-friendly cabin lodging on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, 26 miles up the trail from the top-rated tourist town of Grand Marais. Look for moose, listen for loon calls, canoe into the BWCA, fish for big walleyes, or hike to a spectacular overlook in one of Minnesota’s most pristine natural settings.

Photo courtesy of ruttgers birchmont lodge

Lakeside Retreats

Enjoy dipping your toes in the sand, swimming in the lake, casting and reeling, conquering the inflatable “Iceberg” offshore, or cruising in a boat full of happy people during what is sure to be one of the “best vacations of the year” at Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge. A 115-year-old family-owned resort, Ruttger’s offers both tradition and variety, located on the northwest shore of Lake Bemidji in Bemidji. Guests staying at Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge can rent a sailboat, pontoon, or mountain bike (the Paul Bunyan Trail goes right through the park), head out on a guided fishing excursion (or fish from the dock), take advantage of the complimentary kids’ program and free use of canoes and kayaks, play a round on a nearby golf course, or go shopping in town.

Photo courtesy of Bayfield

Where Water Meets The Soul

Bayfield is the type of small town travelers dream about—picturesque and charming with a diversity of lodging, dining, and recreation options. The smallest city in Wisconsin and located on the south shore of Lake Superior, Bayfield is the state’s Berry Capital, with 14 fruit farms and orchards and three wineries. Gateway to the Apostle Islands, this inviting community is the perfect hub for exploration of the 22 islands that sit directly off shore.

Northfield Oils and Vinegars

Head South To Northfield

Whether looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a daytrip to discover the magic of a summer Saturday, Northfield has a little something for everyone. Browse the unique shops along Division Street, enjoy an evening of music on the deck of the Contented Cow, cruise the scenic Mill Town Bike Trail, dine at a cozy restaurant, or learn the story behind the famous bank raid by the Jesse James Gang.  A fun destination just 45 miles south of the metro, Northfield is also home to Riverwalk Market Fair which runs on Saturdays from June through October and features organic and sustainably grown produce from local farmers, artisan foods, seasonal flowers, a juried selection of the region’s top art and fine crafts, live music and more. Housed in the bank where James’ Gang made the infamous robbery attempt of 1876, Northfield Olive Oils & Vinegars has more than 65 varieties of olive oil and vinegar and is well worth a stop. 

Photo courtesy of Northfield Oils and Vinegars

Photo  courtesy of plymouth playhouse

Now That’s Theater!

Celebrating more than 40 years of music and laughs, the Plymouth Playhouse is an intimate 211-seat theater, the furthest of which is just 25 feet back from the stage. With tiered seating, no visual obstructions and generous leg room, it is possibly the most comfortable theater in the Twin Cities. The Playhouse, as locals lovingly call it, remains dedicated to fostering new off-Broadway-style American musical comedies with many new ideas and titles to come.


Choose Your Next Adventure

Visit RiverSouth, including Canterbury Park, Valleyfair, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and the Renaissance Festival, just 20 minutes south of Minneapolis. Four great attractions just four miles apart—there’s fun around every bend! Cheer, scream, taste and explore your way through RiverSouth, home of thrills for the young and the young at heart. See a full calendar of upcoming events and plan your visit at


Photo courtesy of the historic scanlan house

Step Back In Time

Head to a bygone era of unsurpassed hospitality and gentle living just two hours southeast of the metro. Nestled in Lanesboro, the “Bed & Breakfast Capital” of our fine state, the Historic Scanlan House offers an exceptional Victorian lodging experience in one of the oldest and most recognized operating B&B’s. The Historic Home is an 1889 Queen Anne Victorian masterpiece, with all of its grand original woodwork, stained glass windows and an extremely rare stamped leatherette paneling in the dining room. Decorated in Victorian with antiques and Victorian reproduction pieces, the home has been lovingly and meticulously restored to its original grandeur. Gourmet breakfasts, fine linens and lace are all surrounded by lush Victorian flower gardens.