On Wednesdays during July and August, the Mill City Museum hosts Mill City Live. Although its aimed at adults, this can make for a fun and relatively inexpensive night out as a family.
Mill City Live Mill City Museum, 704 South 2nd St., Minneapolis, MN 55401 Wednesdays in July and August $5 includes concert and Museum admission Free for Members.
Mill City Live is a good excuse to visit the Mill City Museum with your family. At $5.00 per person, museum admission is significantly cheaper for adults and $1.00 less for children — plus it includes a concert. Also, because its at the end of a Wednesday work day, the visit will be short — perfect for visiting with kids.
I’ll be honest my kids found the concert itself boring. These are not kid bands, they are the same local bands you’ll see at all the Current-sponsored events. In other words, somewhat middle of the road, non-challenging rock music that is neither offensive nor particularly appealing to any one group. The bands will be proficient. You’ll enjoy the music, but your kids will likely be bored. There is a cure for this. Sit at the back by the ruins. That is where the other parents will be sitting and their kids will be playing on the ruins. You can enjoy the concert while they do what kids do.
After the concert is the part my kids loved — the Mill City Museum. Throughout the museum, there are interactive exhibits, puzzles, trains and a lock and dam. I found it to be a great museum to visit with multiple age levels. My preschool-aged kids probably got nothing of the historical significance but really enjoyed the interactive part. The grade schooler asked a lot of good questions about Minneapolis history and we were able to explore the answers together.
The kids (and my) absolute favorite part was the flour tower ride. I was a little nervous going in with my somewhat sensitive four-year-old. You are riding up and down in a freight elevator and there isn’t really a place to get off if it doesn’t go well (although I’m sure if it became a panic issue, the volunteer guide would stop for you). I’d heard enough about it to know to expect a mock explosion at some point. My other worry was that it might just be boring for them and they would act up. Both of my fears were unnecessary. The excitement of the freight elevator going up and down and stopping at various floors was enough for my kids and we adults found the interviews and history lesson incredibly interesting and entertaining.