June explodes with FREE family events that bring on summer: outdoor concerts and movies, the opening of beaches, outdoor pools and splash pads, entertainment in the park and much more. And, in order to better serve our readers, we’ve organized our usual roundup of activities by regions of the Twin Cities Metro. As always, if you don’t see a favorite event listed in YOUR hometown, please drop us a line and we’ll add it. Happy June savings from FFTC.
There is loads fun to be had out in our local communities this summer. There is something to do every day of the week – and most of this community entertainment is FREE! Local parks are buzzing with festivals, community theater, farmers markets and the puppet wagon. Live music is performed most nights of the week. The beaches and pools are awaiting swimmers. Bike trails beckon. And don’t forget – the libraries have programming all summer.
In case your family is needing a boost this season while you’re out and about, Free Summer Meals for Kids are offered at more public venues than you would imagine – parks, libraries, elementary schools, churches and many more. There is no income level requirement to participate.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul
Bring along our Como Summer Checklist so you don’t miss a thing! Daily, spring/summer hours 10am-4pm. Suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all are welcome whether or not you choose to donate.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Minneapolis
So many enjoyable things for kids and families at the art museum. Visit on Family Day (second Sunday/month for special art activities). Daily, 11am-5pm.
St Paul Music in the Parks | Daily, parks vary
Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St Paul
Fresh entertainment each week including live music, puppetry, magicians and more. Ongoing Saturdays, 11:15am
Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis
In the past, MGM has offered dance troupes, cooking lessons, and live animals to entertain kids. Park in the adjacent Midtown Exchange Ramp up to 1.5 hrs. free with validation. Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm.
Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul
The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week. Ongoing Thursdays, 10am-noon.
Starts Memorial Day Weekend: Minneapolis Music in the Parks | Nightly; park vary
Go Outside with Hennepin County | Hennpin County Government Center South Plaza, Minneapolis & Target Field Station | A farmers market, outdoor movies, trivia and food trucks encourage families to get outdoors and explore the city. (June 1, 2019)
Home Depot Kids Workshop | TC Home Depot locations
The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children. 9am-noon (June 1, 2019)
Open Streets Minneapolis | Lyndale Avenue in Uptown
Open Streets Minneapolis is a free event bringing together community groups and local businesses to temporarily close major thoroughfares to car traffic, opening them up for people walking, biking, rolling, and playing. Snapology will be at 26th and Lyndale! 11am-5pm. (June 2, 2019)
Minneapolis Movies in the Park
Mon-Sat, movies begin 15 min. past sunset. (Starts June 4, 2019)
Groovin’ in the Garden | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St Paul
FREE concerts, a climbing wall, bounce house, and lawn games for kids, and food available for purchase. Ongoing Wed in June, 6-8pm. (Starts June 5, 2019)
June 6, 2020: First Free Saturday at Home: Family Pride | Walker Art Center
Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family.
Start June 11, 2020: Twin Cities River Rats Ski Shows | West River Rd, Minneapolis
Ongoing Thurs, 6:30pm. (June 6, 2019)
June 16, 2020: Cafesjian’s Carousel Free Day | Como Park, STP | 11am-4pm
June 21, 2020: Target Free 3rd Sunday | Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul
Explore the newly renovated and expanded museum free! Keep in mind that this program is very popular (and might be especially so on Father’s Day!) and you may wait in line to be admitted. 9am-5pm.
Free Ink Day | Highpoint Center for Printmaking
Drop in for summer Free Ink Day with special guest Open Eye Figure Theater. Visitors of all ages are invited to carve blocks and create prints. Learn More: Family Fun: Free Ink Day at Highpoint Center for Printmaking. Noon-4pm (June 24, 2019)
Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Andover, Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Maple Grove, New Brighton, Otsego, Plymouth. & St Anthony.
Some highlights & family fun ideas from our Northwest Metro summer events guide:
BROOKLYN PARK: June Free Family Fun Days. Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, 1-3pm.
Eidem Homestead: Travel back and experience the historic farm through farm tours, hayrides, old-time demos. and special events during the summer.
- Daily Life on the Farm, June 17-Aug 22. $5/pp.
- Stories From the Porch & Evening Story Hour, June 23-Aug 25.
- Thursdays at the Farm live music, July 9-Aug 13.
- Ice cream social & bluegrass concert, July 9.
- Brooklyn Park History Day – includes free Movie on the Barn, Aug 14.
MAPLE GROVE: Sounds of Summer at Town Green. Includes Kids Have Character, ongoing Thursdays and Movies at Sunset to come in July & August.
NEW BRIGHTON: New Brighton History Center Museum – visit the restored train depot in Long Lake Regional Park and let your kids climb aboard the caboose. June thru September the museum exhibits are open weekends from 1-4pm and are free.
TWIN CITIES NORTHEAST METRO SPECIAL EVENTS – FREE
Some highlights & family fun ideas from our Northeast Metro summer events guide:
MAPLEWOOD: Celebrate Summer Events – including Maplewood Summer Challenge. Afton Heights Park.
ROSEVILLE: Roseville Puppet Wagon – Ongoing Tues-Thurs in Roseville’s community parks. 9:30-11:30am.
SHOREVIEW: Slip ‘n Slide– Shoreview Commons Park. select dates starting June 26, 2020.
WHITE BEAR LAKE: Tamarack Nature Center: What really shines at Tamarack is its glorious outdoor Discovery Hollow and Garden, the ultimate nature playground for kids. Bring a change of clothes and prepare to spend hours if you’re able. Every Saturday, June – September, Tamarack hosts Drop-In Discovery Days at the interpretive center that are free, family-friendly, and based around nature and animals.
Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Rosemount & Woodbury.
Some highlights & family fun ideas from our Southeast Metro summer events guide:
BURNSVILLE: Nicollet Commons Park hosts Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour concerts – bring a picnic lunch and swimsuits to enjoy the landscaped splash pad! Also Thursday Rockin’ Readers & Friday Night Flicks on the Bricks, 7:30pm seating, show at dusk.
EAGAN: Market Fest – The Eagan Central Park grounds buzz with weekly concerts and themed nights including one devoted solely to families. Get some fresh produce and let the kids enjoy the new splash pad. Ongoing Wednesdays, 4-8pm starting June 3, 2020.
FARMINGTON: Friends & Family Fun Day – Dakota City Heritage Village brings you
turn-of-the-century fun with guided tours, vintage games and other interactive activities. Tours on the half hour begin at 10am through noon. June 26, 2020.
WOODBURY: Starlight Cinema Outdoor Movie Series – The free movie series is hosted at Ojibway Park. Select Thursdays, June 11 – Aug 6, 2020. Activities start at 7pm.
TWIN CITIES SOUTHWEST METRO SPECIAL EVENTS – FREE
Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Bloomington, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minnetonka, New Hope, Richfield, Shakopee, St Louis Park & Victoria.
Some highlights & family fun ideas from our Southwest Metro summer events guide:
BLOOMINGTON: MOA Summer Toddler Tuesdays. Ongoing Tuesdays, 10am – noon. Live entertainment and activities guaranteed to excite the stroller set.
June Free Family Fun Days – Richardson Nature Center. Ongoing Sundays, 3-4pm.
EDEN PRAIRIE: Eden Prairie Outdoor Center – Free family-friendly activities at the Nature Rocks! Open House such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more. Ongoing Saturdays, 9am-noon.
EDINA: Centennial Lakes Park – Edina’s crown jewel of a public park is a haven for summer entertainment. Events are held daily Sun-Thurs and include family-friendly concerts at the outdoor amphitheater, Movies in the Park ongoing Thursday evenings, and the Farmers Market. Open starting Memorial Day are the park’s paddle boats, putting course & lawn games.
RICHFIELD: Richfield’s Veterans Park – Veterans Park hosts Kids Entertainment in the Park, an Evening Series, Movies in the Park & the Richfield Farmers Market each Saturday.
VICTORIA: Grimm Farmhouse Open Houses – Step back in time with interpreters and old-fashioned lawn games. Saturdays, 1-4pm.
- Flint Hills Family Festival | Downtown St Paul
- Edina Art Fair | 50th & France, Edina
- Art in the Hollow | Swede Hollow Park, St Paul
- Waterfest | Phalen Regional Park, St Paul
- Saint Anthony Park Arts Festival | Como and Carter Avenues, St Paul
- I Love Burnsville Week
- Grand Old Day | Grand Ave, St Paul
- Rhubarb Fest | New Brighton History Center Museum, New Brighton
- Open Streets Lyndale | Minneapolis, 11 AM – 5 PM
- Albertville Friendly City Days | Albertville
- Spring Lake Park Tower Days | Spring Lake Park
- Hugo Good Neighbor Days | Hugo
- Johnstock | Johnson St NE, Minneapolis
- Art on the Lake | Excelsior
- Deutsche Tage | Germanic-American Institute, St Paul
- Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes | Maple Grove
- Buffalo Days | Buffalo
- Minnesota Festival of Jazz on the Prairie | Staring Lake Park, Eden Prairie
- Farmington Dew Days | Farmington
- Faribault Heritage Celebration | Faribault
- St. Louis Park Parktacular | St Louis Park
- Fridley ’49er Days | Commons Park, Fridley
- Tater Daze Festival | Brooklyn Park
- Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest | Kingston Park, Cottage Grove
- Manitou Days | White Bear Lake
- Northern Spark | Minneapolis
- Stone Arch Bridge Festival | Minneapolis
- Midsommar Celebration | American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
- Earle Brown Days Festival | Brooklyn Center
- Columbia Heights Lions Jamboree | Huset Park, Columbia Heights
- Twin Cities Jazz Festival | St. Paul
- Oakdale Summerfest | Walton Park, Oakdale
- Minnetonka Summer Festival | Civic Center Campus
- Afton Strawberry Festival | Afton
- Scandinavian Summer Fest | Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis
- Eagan Art Festival | Eagan
- Rosefest | Roseville
- Apple Valley Freedom Days | Apple Valley
- Kaposia Days | South St Paul
- Blaine Festival | Aquatore Park, Blaine
- Hudson Booster Days | Lakefront Park, Hudson WI
You don’t have to look far to find a free spot to take a dip in the Twin Cities. Starting early June, the following beaches beckon to little swimmers and charge no vehicle fee or admission:
- Dakota County beaches – 2 locations, no vehicle permit required
- Three Rivers Park District Beaches – 7 unguarded locations
- Minneapolis swimming beaches – 8 locations, 2 with lifeguards
- Ramsey County swimming beach – lifeguards on duty at 5 locations
- Webber Natural Swimming Pool – Minneapolis | Water treated with plants instead of chemicals.
Minneapolis Wading Pools are perfect for the splash set and those just learning to swim. Pools attached to a city public school building will open June 8, all others open Memorial Day Weekend.
2020 SUMMER LIBRARY READING PROGRAMS & SUMMER LIBRARY EVENTS
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:
- Anoka County Library | Summer Adventures
- Carver County Library | Libraries Rock Summer Reading
- Dakota County Library | Summer Discovery
- Hennepin County Library | Summer Learning here
- Ramsey County Library | Summer Learning Program
- Scott County Library | Summer Spotlight
- St Paul Public Library | Summer Spark
- Washington County Library | Kids Summer Reading
UNIVERSE IN THE PARKS
June Universe in the Park | 8:30-10pm | See our out-of-this-world Universe in the Park article to get more details on these stargazing opportunities. $7 vehicle permit required in state parks, no fee at nature centers.