Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: July 31-Aug 1, 2021

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of July 31-Aug 1, 2021. To find our most recent guide, click here.

Looking for extra inspiration? As always, you can jump over to our JULY or AUGUST FAMILY GUIDES or our fully-stocked FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more fun ideas on what to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with your kids!

Twin CIties festivals this weekend for the family

Kicking off with some neighborhood fetes and culminating with summer’s fair-well bash, August is ripe with family festivities. For further planning into August, check our AUGUST FAMILY FESTIVAL CALENDAR. This weekend we’re highlighting a couple of the county fairs taking place around the Twin Cities:

Jordan: Scott County Fair

This could be a smaller, less intense experience for children than the Minnesota State Fair. Lots of free entertainment, the carnival, baby animals, activities for kids. All weekend. FREE admission, $10/parking.

Little Canada: Canadian Days

Lots of activities for kids including a Kids Parade, games & free face painting plus fireworks & the Sunday parade. All weekend, some activities may require a $3 button. 

fun outdoor activities in the parks

How to narrow down all this summertime family fun?

Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the Twin Cities. You can get the full schedule on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend.

Loring Park Art Festival

Artists, interactive art, family events, food, music and unique entertainment around the walking paths and duck ponds of Loring Park—an idyllic setting for an outdoor art festival. All weekend.

River Park Grand Re-opening

RIVER PARK in Brooklyn Park is celebrating improvements with live music, kayaking, family games, food trucks & more. All free. July 31, 12-3pm.

Living history open houses

  • POND DAKOTA MISSION PARK: The FREE open houses typically feature hands-on activities to make the history lessons fun. This week churn your own butter in a jar and toast bread over a campfire. Learn more about the park, located in Bloomington. July 31, 1:30-4pm.
  • BRUENTRUP HERITAGE FARM: This gem tucked away in Maplewood is open one Sunday/month in the summer for FREE. There are some fun exhibits for kids, including a fire truck to climb on, and volunteers typically offer a craft and guide you through the farmhouse. Aug 1, 11am-2pm.
FFTC city kids have farm fun at Bruentrup Heritage Farm

Nature Centers Without WallS

Activities may include animal interactions, outdoor displays, nature challenges and checking out free exploration materials. Held at RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER (Bloomington), MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK (Brooklyn Park), LOWRY NATURE CENTER (Victoria) & EASTMAN NATURE CENTER (Maple Grove). Aug 1, 1-3pm, FREE.

Try visiting a new park or nature center!

Check out the links on our big list of Twin Cities nature & interpretive centers for details on which buildings are open; all of these locations have outdoor trails to hike. Did you know that several of these nature centers have natural playgrounds nestled within them? You can build with natural materials, climb, balance, even wade and garden at some of the more elaborate spaces. This weekend’s featured photo comes from the nature play area WHITETAIL WOODS REGIONAL PARK in Farmington. You might want to dress for a sandy mess!

Find our list of the best Twin Cities Nature Playgrounds.

Free summer movies

Minneapolis Movies & Music in the Park events

Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic dinners. Enjoy FREE movies and live theater performances in Twin Cities parks all summer long. Jumanji: The Next Level (PG) will be screened in BOHANON PARK as part of the annual Minneapolis Music & Movies in the Park events. July 31, dusk.

Family-friendly music will be performed at the LAKE HARRIET BANDSHELL, Aug 1.

Lake Harriet Park Movie Night

Pass the popcorn! Find our complete listing of free Summer Movies in the Park.

Cool off this weekend in the twin cities

This summer has been brutal in terms of temperature! We’ve done more exploring than usual of new splash spots – go ahead and browse the finds in our complete TWIN CITIES ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST BEACHES, POOLS, WATERPARKS & SPLASH PADS or continue for more ideas:

  • Minneapolis wading pools are fun, free and some are splashy and elaborate. We try to highlight a new location each week. Try the pool & playground (and indoor facilities if you need some AC) at WAITE PARK, or find our complete list at the link.
Waite Park Wading Pool
Waite Park Wading Pool
  • We include our family favorites in our list of 20+ BEACHES, PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS TO TRY THIS SUMMER. Each week we’re excited to share a new beach one of our FFTC families has discovered – this weekend we’re highlighting SCHULZE LAKE BEACH in Eagan. The long, sandy beach is conveniently located right next to a parking lot, making it very easy to tote in your kids and swim gear. This is a no-frills beach, but has the woodsy feel of a spot away from the city bustle.
Kids playing in water at Lebanon Hills Park in Minnesota
Lebanon Hills Park
  • Swimming pools are always a hit for their slides and fun features. Have you tried the JIM LUPIENT WATERPARK in Minneapolis yet? Fun features include 3 large water slides, a log water walk & a spray pool for tots. Go after 5pm and admission is just $3!

  • Don’t forget that splash pads are a perfect place to cool off without the full commitment and cost of a day at the pool. This week we highlight the splash pad at LAKE PHALEN PARK & BEACH in St Paul. It’s a simple splash pad but twice as nice with a beach right nearby.

more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities

Open Eye Figure Theater Show & Ice cream social

Watch performances of the Driveway Tour shows THE AMAZING COWBOAT and PENGUIN IN MY POCKET, play carnival games, try puppet making and cool off with free ice cream! July 31, 12-3pm.

Kid-Friendly Theater - Kids standing by Open Eye Theare's Puppet Wagon
FFTC kids at Open Eye Figure Theater’s annual ice cream social.

National Farmers Market Week Celebration

ST PAUL FARMERS MARKET is celebrating at their downtown location with free coffee & cookbooklets, a scavenger hunt and other free activities for kids (zucchini car-making, anyone?). Aug 1, 8am-1pm.


We’re all familiar with the very urban MINNEHAHA FALLS – the most picturesque and famous waterfall in Minneapolis has trails above it and along the river below it. My kids love to descend the stairs to the creek and find the calm wading spot downstream on a hot day. Where else might a family find a beautiful waterfall to visit? Get our list of 8 Twin Cities Waterfalls less than an hour away.

Vermillion Falls in Hastings, Minnesota


Here are some suggestions for a trip that’s not too taxing to do with kids:

Carver Lake Bike Park
Carver Lake Bike Park. Image courtesy of the City of Woodbury.


Summer weekends are prime for jumping in the car and exploring outside the city. We have fun itineraries sketched out for destinations within an easy drive from Minneapolis & St Paul:

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