Free Summer Fun in the Twin Cities – 2024

Free Twin Cities summer events & entertainment

You have hit the jackpot if you’ve come in search of how to entertain your kids for FREE this summer in the Twin Cities! We understand the crucial need to budget as our team is made up of three families with four kids each that gobble up our slush funds over the school break. You’ll find here information on free summer concerts, kids entertainment in the park, puppet wagons, splash pads, beaches, farmers markets, playgrounds to hit – if it even so much as hints at fun, we try to cover it to help you plan a super summer with your family. Scroll down for MINNEAPOLIS & ST PAUL events on this landing page, or choose your desired region of the Twin Cities metro area to find all the summer events in your community.

Twin Cities Northwest Metro summer events 

Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Andover, Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Maple Grove, New Brighton, Otsego & Plymouth.

Find our complete summer events guide of things to do in the Twin Cities: Northwest Metro.

Twin Cities Northeast Metro summer events

Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Blaine, Fridley, Maplewood, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, St Anthony, Vadnais Heights & White Bear Lake.

Find our complete summer events guide of things to do in the Twin Cities: Northeast Metro.

Twin Cities Southeast Metro summer events

Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Rosemount & Woodbury.

Find our complete summer events guide of things to do in the Twin Cities: Southeast Metro.

Twin Cities Southwest Metro summer events

Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Bloomington, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minnetonka, New Hope, Richfield, Shakopee, St Louis Park & Victoria.

Find our complete summer events guide of things to do in the Twin Cities: Southwest Metro.

Things to do this summer in Minneapolis with kids

Lake Harriet Park Movie Night - community entertainment

Summer fun in Minneapolis parks 

Minneapolis buzzes, hums, thrills, moves and grooves with free outdoor concerts and free movies in the park all summer long. From the breezy, iconic Lake Harriet Bandshell that draws visitors from all over the Twin Cities to the cozy neighborhood parks that draw locals Minneapolis Music & Movies in the Parks has got the entertainment covered.

Minneapolis summer festivals

Minneapolis Aquatennial

First stop with kids, hit the Loring Park Family Fun Night. Then, onto the Torchlight Parade, performances by the Twin Cities River Rats waterski team and spectacular fireworks cap off this longtime Minneapolis festival. July 24-27, 2024.

Loring Park Arts Festival

1382 Willow St., Minneapolis, MN 55403
140 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. July 27-28, 2024. Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm.

Minneapolis festivals cancelled in 2024

A couple regulars aren’t on the calendar this year including Minneapolis Open Streets (inviting the public to walk or bike main city thoroughfares to explore local businesses) and the 60-year-old Uptown Art Fair (cancelled due to road construction). Both festivals, with their family-friendly elements, hope to return next year.

Minneapolis beaches

Minneapolis boasts a dozen lovely beaches open to the public for free swimming all summer long. Please check each link for more information and to see lifeguard services. Beaches typically open Memorial Day weekend.

Bde Maka Ska Beaches

The urban beauty of Bde Maka Ska Park in Minneapolis incorporates walking trails, picnic areas, and three swimming beaches for summer family fun:

  • BDE MAKA SKA 32ND STREET BEACH – This is our pick for best of the three when toting along kids due to the playground and lifeguards. 3200 E Calhoun Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55408
  • BDE  MAKA SKA NORTH BEACH – 2707 Lake Street W, Minneapolis, MN 55416
  • BDE MAKA SKA THOMAS BEACH – 3700 Thomas Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

Cedar Lake Beaches

Cedar Lake, with its squiggly shoreline, also has three sandy beaches open for swimming. These beaches are among the “no frills” variety in Minneapolis for their lack of playgrounds and lifeguards – but they also tend to be quieter.

  • CEDAR LAKE EAST BEACH – also known affectionately as “Hidden Beach” as it is a bit tucked away in the trees. 2000 Upton Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55405
  • CEDAR LAKE POINT BEACH Again, a little off the beaten path and tends to draw a bit older crowd. 2101 Cedar Lake Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55416
  • CEDAR LAKE SOUTH BEACH – 3500 Cedar Lake Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Kids swimming at Cedar Lake Point Beach in Minneapolis, MN
Cedar Lake Point Beach

Lake Harriet Beaches

The north end of Lake Harriet Park area constantly bustles due to the near-daily draw of concerts and movies at the Bandshell, watercraft rentals, nice-sized playground and snack shop. It may be tricky to find parking for the two beaches to choose from:

  • LAKE HARRIET NORTH BEACH – 4180 East Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55409
  • LAKE HARRIET SOUTHEAST BEACH – 4612 E Lake Harriet Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55419

Lake Nokomis Beaches

We have an affection for these beaches as they are easier to access from the eastern side of the Twin Cities and have a more neighborhood feel.

  • LAKE NOKOMIS 50TH STREET BEACH – 5000 Lake Nokomis Parkway E, Minneapolis, MN 55417
  • LAKE NOKOMIS MAIN BEACH Our choice spot for bringing kids. The beach is large by Minneapolis standards, the playground equipment is near the water and there’s a snack stand. 5001 Lake Nokomis Parkway W, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Two girls wading near ducks at Lake Nokomis Beach in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Enjoying Lake Nokomis Beach

Lake Hiawatha Beach

Lake Hiawatha Park, 2701 E 44th St. Minneapolis, MN 55406
We don’t pick this park for its beach but rather for the recreation center’s playground and splashy wading pool. Sometimes one just don’t want to deal with sand, you know?

Lake Hiawatha Park Wading Pool

Wirth Lake Beach

3200 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405
We found this to be a wonderful option with very low crowds, rare shade structures and nice playground.

Minneapolis waterparks

Webber Natural Swimming Pool

4330 Webber Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55412
Water treated with plants instead of chemicals. Zero-depth entry for the littlest swimmers. FREE admission.

North Commons Water Park 

1701 Golden Valley Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55411
The outdoor waterpark is part of North Commons Park, which also includes a playground, recreation center and free wading pool. Admission has been eliminated for youth under 18 the past few years, adults will pay $5 to swim or $3 to chaperone without swimming.

Jim Lupient Waterpark

1520 Johnson St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
The fun features include 3 large water slides, log water walk, a spray pool for younger kids, water volleyball and shade structures. Admission is just $3-$5/pp.

Minneapolis splash pads & wading pools

You will absolutely want to check out our master list of free Minneapolis wading pools if you have pre-swimmers. Many feature fancy splash features including, but definitely not limited to, WABUN PARK WADING POOL, LAKE HIWATHA WADING POOL and WAITE PARK WADING POOL. Open daily 10am-9pm.

Just want to get sprayed? Our list of the 40+ best splash pads in the Twin Cities has got you as good as soaked. Entries in Minneapolis include:

Minneapolis bike trails

Spin your wheels on the best Minneapolis bike trails for families. They’re free and they are a fantastic way to explore the city’s beautiful parks and lakes.

Things to do this summer in St Paul with kids

Summer fun in St Paul parks

St Paul Entertainment in the Parks

MUSIC & MOVIES IN THE PARKS – Free outdoor concerts are typically performed at Como Lakeside Pavilion, Mears Park & Como Zoo & Conservatory. We will post the music lineup on our calendar of FREE SUMMER MUSIC IN THE TWIN CITIES when the information is released on the City of St Paul’s website. We post the outdoor flicks on our Twin Cities FREE MOVIES IN THE PARKS calendar.

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

RECREATION IN MOTION with St Paul Parks & Recreation

Free programs for kids at parks across St Paul offering athletic programs, crafts, and other activities led by the Recreation in Motion team. Snacks will be served at each session. We will post the 2024 participating parks when info is released.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como is one of St Paul’s brightest gems. Completely free (though donations appreciated) are a lovely zoo and conservatory that continues to improve and offer a wide range of educational programs for families.

  • Groovin’ in the Garden –  FREE concerts, a climbing wall, bounce house, and lawn games for kids, and food available for purchase. Ongoing Wednesdays, 2024 dates TBA.

St Paul summer festivals

Art In the Hollow

Parking: Saint Paul Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave E, St Paul, MN 55106
Over 50 visual & performing artists, many creating works on site. Swede Hollow Park. June 1, 2024.

Union Depot Train Days

214 4th Street E, St Paul MN
Tours of locomotives, model railroads, family activities and crafts, live music and special events. June 1-2, 2024. FREE admission.

Irish Fair of Minnesota

Harriet Island Regional Park, 200 Dr Justus Ohage Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55107
The Children’s Area of the Fair allows kids to meet Irish dogs, explore Irish instruments, take an Irish dance lesson, and craft  in the Art Tent. Early bird pricing: $12-$20/pp. Gate pricing: Adults/$25; teens 13-17 $15; kids under 13 FREE. August 9-11, 2024.

St Paul swimming & beaches

Como Regional Park Pool

1151 Wynne Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
Features a zip line, climbing wall, lazy river and separate splash pool. Sunday Tot Time at Como, 9:30 to 11:00am, costs $5 per parent/child pair. Opens June 11, 2024. Daily regular admission of
$8/pp with group or twilight discount rate of $5/pp.

Highland Park Aquatic Center

1840 Edgcumbe Rd, St Paul, MN 55116
Children’s activity pool, diving well & slide. Opens June 11, 2024. Daily regular admission of $8/pp with group or twilight discount rate of $5/pp.

Como Pool Waterpark

Lake Phalen Park Beach

1600 Phalen Dr, St Paul, MN 55106
Pop over during the summer for a swim & dash through the adjacent splash pad. The lake is also a site for sailing lessons, swimming lessons, and canoe & kayak clinics. No admission to swim.

St Paul splash pads

St Paul bike trails

Spin your wheels on the best St Paul bike trails for families. They’re free, scenic and they get the kids outdoors!

St Paul summer library events

The St Paul Public Library system consists of 13 library locations, a bookmobile, and 2 early learning centers. All library locations feature children’s play areas, and collections to stimulate early literacy. You can get the latest information on their curbside pickup program and summer offerings here.

More summer fun ideas in the Twin Cities - with kids!

We’ve got our 100+ Summer Bucket List Ideas fresh and ready to go with a BONUS 50 ideas for activities you can do right at home or in your backyard.


Unlike school, there is no “summer break” at your local library! Dozens of branches across the seven-county library system are rolling out even more activities, entertainment and reading incentives during the summer months. Nearly every day of the week you can find programming for kids, tweens and teens: outdoor StoryWalks, STEM workshops, storytimes, crafting, magic shows, mini-camps and more. Find your local branches and full summer schedules below:

2 thoughts on “Free Summer Fun in the Twin Cities – 2024”

  1. Wild waters are the best amusement park in Hyderabad. Unlimited fun in biggest Adventure Park in Hyderabad with water rides, water coaster, dry thrill rides & more.

    1. A bit off topic, but fascinating nonetheless. Thanks for the tip for anyone planning to travel to India from the Twin Cities for a family vacation. By the way, we have some pretty awesome waterparks ourselves.

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