Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: August 19-20, 2023

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of August 19-20, 2023. Find our most recent guide here. Need more inspiration? You can always consult our AUGUST FAMILY GUIDE, our 2023 ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES SUMMER FUN GUIDE or our fully-stocked FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more last-chance summer fun ideas on what to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with your kids!

Looking for ideas on what to do with your kids in the Twin Cities during the long summer days? Definitely jump over to our TWIN CITIES GUIDE TO FAMILY ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK for lots of inspiration.


Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Huzzah! The MINNESOTA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL starts this weekend! If you’ve ever considered bringing along the kids, we’ve got some tips for you. Open weekends August 19 – Oct 1, 2023: Explore the Fairy Wing Forest and Mermaid Cove, take in a maypole dance, craft a wand or pirate hat, learn to juggle and much more. 9am-7pm. Festival gate admission: adult/$26.95, senior/$24.95, child 5-12/$17.95. Under 4 free. Advanced admission (purchase online): adult/$23.95, child 5-12/$15.50. Under 4 free. Best deal: Get a family 4-pack for $69.00 (2 adults and 2 children).

Lino Lakes: Blue Heron Days

Includes a free movie on Friday, the Blue Heron Days Parade on Saturday and the WALDOCH FARM corn feed on Sunday (more below). August 17-20, 2023.

Minneapolis: Open Streets Cedar-Riverside

The area of Cedar Ave from S 3rd St to S 6th St & Riverside Ave from Cedar Ave to S 19th Ave is closed to car traffic in order for pedestrians and those on small wheels to explore local businesses. August 20, 2023. FREE.

Mounds View: Festival in the Park

Parade, family fun fair, car show, music, and fireworks in SILVER VIEW PARK. 11am-Dusk. August 18-19, 2023.

North Hudson: Pepper Fest

Rides, games, Grand Parade. $4-$5/button for events. August 18-20, 2023.

Shakopee: Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi

The public is invited to attend a free family-friendly Pow Wow that features hundreds of Native American dancers and drum groups, Native American crafts and foods, as well as fireworks. August 18-20, 2023.

Wacipi child

Woodbury Days

Kids activities, carnival, parade & fireworks in OJIBWAY PARK. Buttons required for many events. August 18-20, 2023.

Plan ahead for the last of the Minnesota summer festivals, including the great MINNESOTA STATE FAIR, in our TWIN CITIES AUGUST FESTIVAL GUIDE.

August Festivals and Fairs in the Twin Cities Minnesota


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.


This beautiful park sprawls across almost 5,000 acres, passes through three northwest Twin Cities communities and is the largest in the Three Rivers Park District system. There is so much to do at ELM CREEK PARK RESERVE that you’d be hard-pressed to fit it into one day! If you’re interested in the highlights, here’s what we recommend trying:

  • Your kids will go crazy for the giant, rainbow-hued ELM CREEK PLAY AREA (pictured). Great for all abilities!
  • Spend a summer afternoon swimming at the chlorinated, sandy ELM CREEK SWIM POND ($5/pp).
  • Explore the EASTMAN NATURE CENTER – filled with indoor exhibits and live animals, then head outdoors to find a boardwalk, trails and a sweet little nature playground. Check out free nature exploration materials at the front desk. 

Want to explore more nature centers? Check out the links on our big list of Twin Cities nature & interpretive centers for all the details.

Nature Play Area at Eastman Nature Center
  • Feeling sporty? Elm Creek has an archery range (BYO equipment) & a disc golf course. $6/day pass.
  • Ride the bike trails. They’re very smooth and fairly level with some rolling areas. The park is huge and a little tricky to navigate; study the map well before you ride.
twin cities bike trails
Smooth bike trail at Elm Creek Park Reserve


Como Park Japanese Obon Festival

The festival and lantern release take place in COMO PARK ZOO & CONSERVATORY’S JAPANESE GARDEN. Tickets are sold in advance only. $5/pp. August 20, 2023.

Saturday Farm Days at Gale Woods

GALE WOODS FARM invites you and your kids to visit the animals and explore the barn, gardens, greenhouses and pastures. August 19, 9:30am-12pm, $6/pp.

Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista
Meeting Chickens

Pond Dakota Mission Park: Button & String Puzzles

401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
Hands-on living history programs fun and free of charge located in
POND DAKOTA MISSION PARK in Bloomington. New themes each Saturday. Drop in August 19, 2023,  from 1-4pm. FREE.

Dragonfly Snag & Spy

Kroening Interpretive Center, North Mississippi Regional Park, 4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis
More about dragonflies than you ever dreamed you’d learn: a day filled with activities, art and games for all ages. August 19, 2023, 11am-3pm. FREE.

Weekend Movies in the Parks (Fri, Aug 18 & Sat, Aug 19, 2023)

Children watching movie at Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville Minnesota: "Free Summer Movies"


We don’t want to be the ones to make the call that swimming season is over in Minnesota so we’ll let these beaches & pools do that instead. It’s LAST CHANCE WEEKEND for the following:

However, there are still plenty of splash spots open for a few more weeks (especially beaches – typically through Labor Day) so 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:

Featured Twin Cities beach: Shady Oak Beach, Minnetonka

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 SHADY OAK BEACH because we’ve reached its final operating weekend. Unique reasons to visit include a floating dock with high-dive out in the lake and a fun sand-and-water play area on the shore. 5200 Shady Oak Rd, Minnetonka, MN 55343.

Featured outdoor swimming pool: Maple Grove Community Center

Swimming pools are always a hit for their slides and fun features. This week we’re featuring GROVE COVE, the pool at MAPLE GROVE COMMUNITY CENTER. Here you have the choice of swimming both indoors & out! Combine your trip to the pool with a visit to the jungle-themed MAPLE MAZE INDOOR PLAYGROUND, also within the community center. 12951 Weaver Lake Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369.

Featured Twin Cities splash pad: Andrews Park, Champlin

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 ANDREWS PARK in Champlin. This one’s a big winner because it pairs the splash pad with a big playground and a pirate ship! 7200 117th Ave N, Champlin, MN 55316.

Andrews Park splash pad, Champlin

Many outdoor pools in the Twin Cities offer special tot swim hours so littler ones can get some splash time in before the big kids arrive. You can find these tot swims at the following pools this weekend:

Saturday Tot Swims

  • CASCADE BAYLittle Mates Tot Swim – select areas of the waterpark open from 9:30-10:30am. $6/child, one adult free. 1360 Civic Center Drive, Eagan, MN 55122.
  • CRYSTAL COVE: Little Splashers Pool Time is for kids ages 7 & under to enjoy the zero-depth entry pool. 10-11:30am, $3/child, adults free. 4848 Douglas Dr N, Crystal, MN 55429.
  • RICHFIELD OUTDOOR POOLKids ages 7 & under get the zero-depth-entry wading pool and water play equipment to themselves. 10-11am, $11/pp. 630 East 66th Street, Richfield, MN 55423.
  • SANDVENTURE AQUATIC CENTER: Kids ages 0-6 can swim in the zero-depth entry pool and play in the sand beach. 9:15-10:45am. $5/child, adults free. 1101 Adams St S, Shakopee, MN 55379.

Sunday Tot Swims

  • CASCADE BAY – Little Mates Tot Swim (see above)
  • COMO REGIONAL PARK POOL: Tot Time swim is for kids ages 6 & under. 9:30-11am. $4/children and adults. 1151 Wynne Ave Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • HIGHLAND PARK AQUATIC CENTER: Tot time for kids 6 & under. 9:30-11am. $4/pp children and adults. 1840 Edgcumbe Rd, St Paul, MN 55116. 

Find our complete list of Tot Swims, including many that offer cheaper rates for this limited swim time.


Try a family-friendly museum!

Minnesota Transportation Museum 

193 Pennsylvania Ave E, St Paul, MN 55130
Our kids have loved climbing aboard the rail cars and tinkering with exhibits. And weekends include a ride on the caboose. Located near downtown St Paul. Family passes are available for $50 or $8-$16/pp. August 19, 2023, 10am-4pm.

Playing on the trains at Jackson Street Roundhouse

Family Fun at Schubert Club Music Museum

Landmark Center, 75 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55102 
Experiment with dozens of instruments from around the world. Get your hands on keyboards, drums and other interactive exhibits. We visited the newly remodeled space last summer and really enjoyed it. Free activities, snacks and prizes in the gallery every Saturday. August 19, 2023, 10am-2pm. Admission is always FREE!

Girl trying bell tree at the Schubert Club Museum in Saint Paul, MN

Mill City Museum

Have you brought your kids to the MILL CITY MUSEUM area of Minneapolis yet? It not, don’t wait a minute longer. The exhibits are exciting for all ages (including tweens and teens like our own) and there’s lots to do and see in the area including the historic STONE ARCH BRIDGEMILL RUINS PARKMILL CITY FARMERS MAREKT and the St Anthony Falls Lock and Dam.

Always free to visit weekends:

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