A Minnesotan’s Summer Bucket List

How do you summer in Minnesota? Whether it’s lakeside, roadside or on the sideline, this list skims the surface of quintessential summer activities and outings.
Raya Garrison

Many would agree that no one knows how to make the most of summer more than Minnesotans. With a very limited time (only a few months) and extended sunlight, we like to squeeze fun into every waking moment. In no particular order, here is a specially curated list of things to do this summer in the Twin Cities and beyond:

Outdoor Music and Movies

What’s better than going to a concert, the movies or a theater performance? ...Going to said concert, movies or theater performance outdoors. Whether you’re keeping up with Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board’s schedule or perusing your local community for events, we can all agree on one thing—there’s no better way to spend a Minnesota summer evening than under a canopy of stars.

Festivals and Block Parties

Minnesotans also love a good block party or outdoor festival, which is why the summer season is jampacked with them—including Twin Cities Pride, the Basilica Block Party, Minneapolis Aquatennial and more. Nearly every weekend between June and September, there is likely to be a band playing, an art show to scope out, a county fair beckoning or a themed food fest around the bend.

Summer Sports in the Twin Cities

Warm weather means it is now the time to take advantage of Minnesota sports teams. Head to St. Paul to check out Allianz Field and cheer on the Minnesota United FC Loons or stop by CHS Field to take in a Saints game—and some late-night fireworks.

Dine Alfresco

While people on the coasts may enjoy this luxury year-round, Minnesotans make the most of outdoor dining as much as possible in the summer months (and sometimes winter, too!). Patio, sidewalk, rooftop, lake views, you name it—the metro area does alfresco dining well.

Explore Minneapolis Parks and Rivers

Whether you prefer to explore by bike, foot or boat, the state of Minnesota is home to thousands (literally!) of beautiful parks, rivers and lakes. The nearby Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, for example, boasts more than 6,800 acres of parkland and water, 102 miles of biking and walking paths, 49 recreation centers, 22 lakes, 12 formal gardens and seven golf courses—but who’s counting, right?

Walker Art Center

Boasting one of the most charismatic buildings in the Twin Cities, the Walker Art Center is far more than just exquisite art pieces and riveting exhibitions. Explore the outdoor campus—the Minneapolis SculptureGarden—which features 11 landscaped acres and more than 40 renowned works of art, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Ice Cream, You Scream

Here’s the scoop—we all know ice cream is the cherry on top of a hot day. But a lesser-known fact is the existence of an unofficial ice cream trail in Minnesota, which is by far the sweetest summer adventure you can treat yourself to. Starting in Marine on St. Croix and continuing through towns including Afton, Farmington, Rochester and Lanesboro, the “trail” is just over 150 miles and is the perfect addition to your summertime to-do list.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

A hidden gem tucked away in Chaska, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is home to 1,200 acres of magnificent gardens, tree collections and model landscapes. Committed to conservation and horticulture research, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is the gift that keeps giving when it comes to lush, professionally maintained grounds and botanical beauty.

Support Local Minnesota Growers

Now more than ever, local farmers and community businesses need love and support. There are many ways to shop local when it comes to food and produce. Take advantage of the weather and visit an area farmers market, join a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program, or check out a local farm that allows you to pick your own veggies and berries throughout the summer.

What are your favorite ways to celebrate summer in Minnesota? Let us know! Send your thoughts to communications@aaaminneapolis.com.

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