10 Free Things To Do With Kids In Downtown Minneapolis in Summer

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Grab the stroller, hop the bus, bring a picnic or cash for lunch, and you can make a day (or more) of it in downtown Minneapolis.  There is so much going on and much of it is free and family-friendly.

Downtown Minneapolis

Why wait for an out-of-town guest to explore downtown? I’ve outlined 10 Free Things to Do with Kids Downtown to get you inspired. These activities are not all on the same day of the week, but it would make for a really long day if you powered through all ten activities at once. If you want to play tourist, you could probably get through all of them in a few days.

1. Visit Minneapolis Central Library

You don’t really need an excuse to visit Central Library. It is enough to sit in the kids area, let your kids browse books, read together, play with the giant blocks, and just relax for a bit. That just doesn’t get old. However if you call ahead, you can get a guided tour. Tours include the green roof, four fireplaces, an art gallery, a piano room, four-story atrium and an overview of the 2.4 million items in the library’s collection. Call 612-543-8033 to schedule a time.

Made Here Pop Up Shops in Downtown Minneapolis2. Made Here Pop-up Shops

Made Here is a project of Hennepin Theatre Trust in which vacant spaces are filled with art and other art-inspired experiences. Find an Interactive Map and Download an Audio Tour Here. I prefer self-guided tours with small kids, because if I see the interest waning, we can quit without feeling rude.

This guide is brought to you by Wheel Fun Rentals.For over 25 years, Wheel Fun Rentals has offered ways for riders of all ages to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. With seven Minnesota locations, choose from a complete lineup of recreational vehicles like Surreys, specialty cycles, two-wheeled bikes, watercraft and more. Selection may vary; please visit our website for current availability.

Find Drop-In Family Fun at Peavey Plaza, Downtown Minneapolis.

Find Drop-In Family Fun at Peavey Plaza. Image Courtesy of the Downtown Minneapolis Council.

3. Find Fun Activities at The Commons

Even with a stroller, the kids are going to need a break. That’s when you head to the new Commons green space. You can pull out the picnic you packed, play a lawn game, read together, or build with blocks.

4. Go Outside with Hennepin County

This program aims to get you exploring downtown Minneapolis this summer through free programming at Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza and Target Field. The plaza hosts activities Tues-Thurs and Target Field offers movie nights and other family events. Get the summer schedule here.

5. Ride the Light Rail

If you didn’t take the light rail to get downtown. You could just take a ride from one side of downtown to the other and then hop back on and come back. This can be free if you took public transportation to get downtown and asked for a transfer.

6. Visit Currie Park

On the southeast end of downtown on the green/blue light rail lines, Currie Park is just outside of Downtown in the 7 corners neighborhood. It’s a good place to let your kids unwind when the busy downtown has gotten to be too much. If you plan to eat out, this is a nice area to pick a restaurant as well.

7. Visit Target Field and Take in a Twins Game

On the northwest side of downtown on the light rail is Target Field. While Twins games are not free, you can still walk around the courtyard, enjoy the public art, and get some fun photos in the giant baseball mitt.

8.  Mill City Farmers Market

Mill City Farmers Market is on Saturday mornings. Besides fresh produce, it offers music and family-friendly activities.

9. Live Music at Peavey Plaza (weekday and saturday evenings)

Minnesota Orchestra hosts Sommerfest from mid-July to early August with free live music.

10.  Self-guided audio tours of The Guthrie

The Guthrie doesn’t currently offer its downloadable, self-guided tours, but the building is still open to the public 7 days a week.

More Downtown Minneapolis Ideas:

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for FamilyFunTwinCities.com.

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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