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Ultimate List of Fun + Unique Things to Do in Minnesota
Planning your MN summer vacation itinerary? Kids already saying, “I’m bored!” two days into summer break?
Scroll down this list of 50 things to do in Minnesota in the summer to come up with some awesome summer activities!
Whether you live here year-round or you’re just visiting, there’s sure to be something that will catch your eye.
1. Visit a waterfall in Minnesota this summer
There are quite a few neat waterfalls you can visit in Minnesota in the summer:
- St. Anthony Falls
- Minnehaha Falls
- Hidden Falls
- Gooseberry Falls
- Vermillion Falls
Check out these fifteen amazing waterfalls in Minnesota.
2. Tour a brewery or winery
In 1985, there were less than five breweries in MN. Did you know that today there are over 100?
3. Take a road trip on Scenic Highway 61
Scenic Highway 61 starts in Duluth, MN and runs along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Enjoy the scenery and stop along the way for the shopping, dining, hiking, agate hunting, sweet confections, and more. Check out pit stop ideas for your scenic road trip.
4. Go to the MN State Fair
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Minnesota in the summer, take a trip to the State Fair. Enjoy good food, shopping, animals, and entertainment starting at the end of August. Visit the official website for more details.
5. Visit a zoo in Minnesota in the summer
Minnesota has a handful of zoos you can visit in the summer:
- Minnesota Zoo
- Lake Superior Zoo
- Como Park Zoo
Check out this MN Zoo Directory for a longer list.
6. Go to a science museum in Minnesota in the summer
There is so much to explore at the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul, MN: dinosaurs and fossils, the human body, science experiments… Learn more by visiting their official site.
7. Learn about MN’s history
Learn about local history in one of Minnesota’s many historical centers. Follow this link for a list of places to visit.
8. Cool off in an art museum this summer
Art lovers are sure to enjoy looking at the artwork in any of Minnesota’s art centers. Here is a list of art museums in MN.
9. Visit the Children’s Museum
The Minnesota Children’s Museum (locations in St. Paul and Rochester) has three floors of fun for kids (and their parents!). They also provide some awesome summer experiences to empower kids to develop creative and critical thinking skills.
Want to learn more about what it has to offer? Read this review of the Children’s Museum in St. Paul by The Caffeinated Introvert.
10. Go to a Minnesota state park
In the MN state park system, there are 67 state parks, nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides, and 23 state trails. Here is a list of state parks to visit in Minnesota in the summer.
Stuck at home this summer? Here is a list of outdoor family activities to enjoy at home.
11. Visit a national park in Minnesota in the summer
In addition to 67 state parks, there are six beautiful national parks you can enjoy this summer in Minnesota:
- Grand Portage
- North Country
- St. Croix
Follow this link to learn more about these national parks.
12. Catch a baseball game at Target Field
Visit the historic warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis, where Target Field is located, and watch a Twins baseball game this summer. Learn more.
13. Tour the Minnesota State Capitol in the summer
Take a guided tour of MN’s State Capitol. Visit the official website for hours, admission, and more.
14. Ride the MN bike trails
Looking for healthy, outdoorsy things to do in Minnesota? MN certainly has lots of trails for biking or hiking! Here are the top ten, according to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
15. Enjoy an evening at the dinner theater
Food and entertainment? A dinner theater is an awesome way to spend a summer evening in Minnesota. Here are a few to try.
Related: Things to Do in Two Harbors, MN
16. Kayak down a river this summer
First time kayaking? Here are five excellent places for beginners to kayak in MN.
17. Spend the day at an amusement park
Valley Fair is probably one of the most popular amusement parks in MN, but it’s not the only one. Check out these amusement parks and water parks for a day of family fun!
18. Go boating in MN in the summer
There are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. Take your pick!
19. Go fishing this summer in Minnesota
20. Visit a MN music festival
You’re sure to find a music festival to suit your taste this summer! Here is your guide to music fests around Minnesota.
21. Go to an art festival
Art festivals, craft shows, flea markets… Follow this link to find a long list of such events coming up this summer.
22. Cool off with ice cream this summer
Whether it comes from the grocery store or an ice cream parlor, ice cream is a refreshing summer treat.
23. Sleep in a tent this summer
…or a cozy camper. Don’t get me wrong, I loved tenting it in Minnesota in the summer as a kid, but I want all the creature comforts now. Since there are SO many resorts in MN, especially where I live, here is a list of places to get you started. Tent, camper, cabin…you choose.
Love bonfires, but hate the smoke? Read my review of the Solo Stove bonfire fire pit to learn more.
24. Go on a walking tour
Self-guided walking tours are great because you can take them at your own pace.
25. Spend a day at the Mall of America
The Mall of America isn’t just a place to escape the humidity and do some shopping (although you can certainly do that too!). In addition, there’s a ton of food and entertainment:
- Nickelodeon Universe
- The Lego Store
- The Escape Game
- Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
- Crayola Experience
Learn more by visiting their official website.
26. Shop at a MN farmer’s market
Fresh, locally-grown produce…yum. Look up your local farmer’s markets here.
27. Pick your own berries in Minnesota in the summer
I have memories of strawberry picking as a kid — and, of course, eating fresh strawberries on our way home. Visit a you-pick farm in MN where you too can pick your own berries.
28. Go for a hot air balloon ride this summer
It’s not often that you see a colorful hot air balloon floating in the sky. In fact, I didn’t even realize (until now) that there are places in MN where you can take a hot air balloon ride.
29. Go on a biercycle adventure
What’s a biercycle, you ask? It’s basically a bicycle that seats 13 (plus a driver and server)–and you can take 12 of your favorite people with you on your very own biercycle adventure in Stillwater, MN.
30. Try geocaching in MN this summer
Geocaching is essentially “the world’s largest treasure hunt”. You can sign up here.
31. Go horseback riding
There are more than 1,000 miles of riding trails in Minnesota!
32. Take a zip line tour
Adventurous at heart? Then zip lining is the perfect outdoor adventure for you! Check out the Brainerd Zip Line Tour website for more info.
33. Go on a segway tour
Riding on a segway with St. Croix Valley Segway is a unique way to tour Stillwater.
34. Try your hand at disc golf
Disc golf is much like traditional golf, only it is played with flying discs, or frisbees. You can find a disc golf course via the Professional Disc Golf Association’s website.
35. Ride on a trolley
Take a tour of the cities on the Twin Cities Trolley.
36. Go on a dinner cruise
Check out Stillwater River Boats for a fun way to spend an evening on the water in Stillwater, MN.
37. Visit the Arboretum
Visit Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Top Botanical Garden by USA Today Readers Choice (#1 in 2019 and 2017) this summer, where you can stroll miles of trails and enjoy its beautiful display gardens award-winning tree collections.
38. Go bowling with the family this summer
Bowling is fun for all ages, and the lanes can even be modified for families with young children. Here is a list of MN bowling alleys.
39. Challenge your family in an escape room
You’re locked in an escape room with 60 minutes to find your way out. You’ll need to work together with your group to find clues and solve puzzles in order to escape. Can you do it?!
40. Watch for eagles in MN this summer
At the National Eagle Center, located on the Mississippi River in Wabasha, Minnesota, you can see live bald and golden eagles in the wild, and you can even meet them up close.
41. Visit a MN lighthouse
You might have heard of some of these lighthouses already, but have you visited them?
- Split Rock Lighthouse
- Two Harbors Light
- Two Harbors Breakwater Light
- Duluth North Pier Light
- Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light
- Duluth South Breakwater Outer Light
- Grand Marais Light
- Minnesota Point Light
42. Go hiking in Minnesota in the summer
Whether you’re only up for a short jaunt or a longer hike, Minnesota has plenty of hiking trails to choose from.
43. Take a guided bike tour
Take a Duluth Experience Tour covering 28 miles from Canal Park Brewing to Two Harbors with Castle Danger Brewery.
44. Look for agates on the North Shore
Agate hunting is surprisingly addicting. Not sure where to start? SuperiorTrails.com has compiled a list of agate and rock hunting beaches along Minnesota’s North Shore.
45. Learn a new skill this summer
Need ideas? Take a class in:
- event planning
- play writing
46. See a drive-in movie on a summer’s night
There aren’t many drive-in theaters left, but there are still a few that you can visit in Minnesota in the summer.
47. Cool off at a splash pad on a hot summer’s day
If you’re in southern MN, you’re in luck — there are lots of splash pad options.
48. Visit a nature center in Minnesota in the summer
I’m sure there are all kinds of nature centers around Minnesota, but Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township, MN sounds awesome.
49. Try your hand at a MN golf course
Check out these Minnesota golf courses to see if there’s one near you.
50. Take the family mini golfing
Mini golfing is golf for the whole family! Is this one of your family’s favorite things to do in Minnesota (or wherever you are!)? We haven’t taken our girls yet, but I’m sure they’ll have a blast when they are a little older.
Now that you have fifty unique ideas for things to do in Minnesota in the summer, what’s your next adventure going to be?