Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids
Twin Cities Quests and Treasure Hunts for Families
Delightfully Cozy Independent Bookstores
Twin Cities July Family Festival Calendar

Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids

ultimate summer guide

Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids
Connecting families to the educational, cultural, and meaningful fun in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul – and beyond!



Monthly & Seasonal Family Guides

Twin Cities June Family Events Guide Splash Happy: TC Water Fun Guide
June FestivalsJune Family Festival CalendarTwin Cities Summer Community Entertainment for Families

10 Free Things to Do in June in the Twin Cities


Twin Cities Free & Cheap Summer MoviesTwin Cities Father’s Day Events
Twin Cities Pick-Your-Own Produce Farmsice creamTwin Cities Best Ice Cream Shops
mini golfPutt Putt: Twin Cities Mini Golf CoursesTwin Cities Nature Playgrounds


Year-round Family Fun

Tweens/TeedsFamily Fun with Tweens & TeensbirthdayFFTC’s Ultimate Guide to Twin Cities Birthday Parties
Twin Cities Indoor Playgrounds & Play AreasTwin Cities Open Play, Gym & Swim Spots for Tots
I love this site! I didn't know about most of these Waterparks!Twin Cities Indoor Waterparks and PoolsTwin Cities Kids Eat Free or Cheap List

Family Service Guides

Special NeedsTwin Cities Special Needs Guide

FFTC’s Guide to Dance Studios

cooking classesFFTC’s Guide to Cooking with Kids in the Twin Cities
FFTC’s Family Music Classes Guide
Family Wellness Guide BloomaTwin Cities Family Wellness Guide

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Weekly Newsletter: FFTC's Family Planning

Twin Cities Quests and Treasure Hunts for Families

I originally wrote this article in response to Pokémon Go. I’ve sat on the fence for two years whether to download the app. While I like the idea in theory — a treasure hunt for invisible creatures –, I’m not an app person, so I am unlikely to get around to downloading and then using it. However good treasure hunts are so much fun for everyone. Kids love collecting things. They love searching for these things they collect. There are endless ways to indulge this passion. While we are at it maybe we can create a happy family memory and learn something new.

The following is a list of several ideas for treasure hunts in the Twin Cities metro and greater Minnesota.

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Delightfully Cozy Independent Bookstores

With the sad news that Addendum Books will be closing in July, I thought now might be a good time to update our list of Independent Bookstores. Every time an independent bookstore closes, I feel a little like the part in Peter Pan when Tinkerbell is dying. If only we could just believe enough to keep them open.

The Twin Cities area is home to several wonderful bookstores and, although they are not exactly a place to let your children run unchecked, they can be a low pressure, quiet outing when you would prefer to be indoors. We all know the mall stores, and they are definitely good places to take kids, but this is a list of some independently owned stores to check out. Some —  like Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus — specialize in kids books. Others have a more expanded catalog. I know it’s just easier to go to Amazon for our book needs (and if you do, we appreciate you using our affiliate link so we can earn a small commission and keep our site free); however, the experience of these bookstores can’t be beat.

Birchbark Books and Native Arts

Birchbark books specializes in books about indigenous people, including children’s resources spanning from early grades to high school. They also host various events throughout the year. Watch our calendar for family friendly events.

Boneshaker Books

Boneshaker Books has been on my radar for awhile, but I haven’t had a chance to visit it myself. While they were without a store time for awhile, on June 9, Boneshaker started hosting Madeline & Sam’s Magical Story Time weekly on Saturdays. If you get there before us, let us know what you think.


Common Good Books

Common Good Books, like Magers and Quinn, is more geared toward adults — but it does have a children’s section. It is owned by Garrison Keillor.  I’m not sure that would mean anything to our kids, but if you are also taking their grandparents, it could be a really big deal. The staff at Common Good is incredibly friendly and they were really great about me ducking in with my four kids when we found ourselves with several hours to kill in St. Paul on a cold evening after everything else in my arsenal had closed. I will be forever grateful to them for that.

Eat My Words - Independent Bookstores

Eat My Words

Eat My Words Bookstore

Considering this store is in my own neighborhood, it took me altogether too long to get there. Like Common Good Books, it has a very friendly staff. The kids area is tucked in a back corner and kind of feels like a hidden space. You kind of have to wind through stacks of books to find it. This store carries mostly used books, so it is a nice place to discover books you have forgotten from your own childhood that you could now share with your kids.

Excelsior Bay Books

If you don’t want to deal with city traffic and parking, Excelsior Bay Books is an indie bookseller that is not in the heart of Minneapolis or St.Paul. They also happen to host story trolleys that don’t sell out as fast as the Wild Rumpus events. Since I have not personally visited this store, I would love to hear your feedback.

Magers and Quinn Booksellers

If the Red Balloon is Gianna’s magical place, Magers & Quinn is mine. Although it only opened a couple years before I moved to Minnesota, it felt like it had been there forever. It was my favorite place to hide out. The smell and feel of shelves and tables of full of old books just relaxed me. I don’t think of it as a kid’s bookstore, but it does have a nice-szied children’s section, and there are always surprises to be found.

Independent Bookstores

Moon Palace Books

I believe that Moon Palace is the only store on this list with a cafe. Story times are not as consistent as the two exclusively-children’s bookstores, but they do offer them.

red balloonRed Balloon Bookshop

Red Balloon Bookshop is an FFTC favorite.  You can read about why Gianna considers it her magical place here. The Red Balloon offers the most author visits of all the stores and the most options for story hours.  It is a bright roomy space, whereas most independent bookstores I’ve visited are more cluttered and dimly lit (a good thing in my introverted world). When visiting with kids in tow, the bright roomy space may feel easier to take on.

Wild_Rumpus_no_addrss_logoWild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus is the rogue bookstore of the bunch — complete with chickens and chinchillas. The store is staffed with fun people who can make personal recommendations for books, have personal opinions of authors who are visiting (not just the standard press release stuff), and a tiny kid-size door that is just too tempting to not enter. On the downside, their calendar upkeep is inconsistent and often last minute, so it is hard to plan for author events. We highly recommend joining their email list if this is a store you would like to visit often.


Twin Cities July Family Festival Calendar

July is bursting with family festivals all month long – take notes with this handy list of local celebrations around the Twin Cites. Family-friendly highlights are listed for each:

Twin Cities July Family Festival Calendar

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