100 Free Things To Do in August: Twin Cities Family Events

100 Free Things to Do

Before your kids can even THINK about uttering the word “BORED”, arm yourself with our huge list of free activities going on across the Twin Cities during the month of August: OUTDOOR CONCERTS and MOVIES IN THE PARK, it’s still swim season at Twin Cities BEACHES, WADING POOLS & SPLASH PADS, classic community SUMMER FESTIVALS keep weekends lively and much more. In order to better serve our readers, we’ve organized our usual roundup of activities by regions of the Minneapolis-St Paul (Twin Cities) metro area. 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 August savings from FFTC!

More to do in August: Make sure to check our TWIN CITIES AUGUST FAMILY GUIDE, our ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUMMER IN THE TWIN CITIES and our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for a complete listing of events around town.

THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL

Want to find free things to do in the Minneapolis-St Paul area this weekend with your kids? Find our current TWIN CITIES WEEKEND FAMILY GUIDE, packed with suggestions.

children in a family bike ride

TWIN CITIES AUGUST OUTDOOR FUN IN THE PARKS: FREE SUMMER MUSIC, MOVIES AND MORE ENTERTAINMENT

There is tons of fun to be had out in our local communities during the month of August. Literally, something to do every day of the week (consult our TWIN CITIES GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK for hints) and much of our carefully curated community events are FREE: local parks are buzzing with festivals, theater in the park, farmers markets and the puppet wagon. Live music is performed most nights of the week. The beaches and pools still welcome swimmers for a few more weeks. Bike trails beckon. And don’t forget – libraries don’t take a summer break. There is FREE programming going on all summer long.

Visit FREE TWIN CITIES NATURE CENTERS in August

Nature and outdoor interpretive centers are wonderful places that offer free admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week. Find our complete listing of TWIN CITIES NATURE CENTERS.

Minneapolis & St Paul

MINNEAPOLIS MUSIC & MOVIES IN THE PARKS

Live music and movies screened across multiple Minneapolis parks most nights during the month of August. And yes, all free! See the 2023 Calendar for bands, movie titles and park locations. 

GO OUTSIDE WITH HENNEPIN COUNTY

Target Field Station, 335 5th Street North Minneapolis, MN 55401 
Reasons to get outdoors in downtown Minneapolis that are kid-friendly: Family Fun Day at the station (August 19, 11am-1pm) offers free activities and givewaways. And free outdoor movies at Target Field Station – August 3 (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), August 17 (Encanto – plus free sno-cones) and August 31 (Top Gun: Maverick). 7pm-9pm.

Find more free fun this summer in Downtown Minneapolis!

Garden Storytime at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405
A naturalist hosts a different nature themed story each week within the Garden followed by an activity. Meet just outside the Visitor Shelter. Bring a blanket to sit on. Ongoing Thursdays (10-10:30am) & Saturdays (2-2:30pm) in August 2023. FREE. 

Young girl using binoculars at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Eloise Butler Wildflower & Bird Sanctuary

Twin Cities River Rats Waterski Shows

West River Road, Minneapolis
Amazing free waterski tricks to amuse you Thursday evenings on the Mississippi River. Make sure to bring your own seating and maybe a picnic dinner. Ongoing Thursdays in August 2023, 6:30pm.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Summer Checklist

1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103
Seasonal events in August include the Summer Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden. Make sure to take along our COMO SUMMER CHECKLIST to hit all the seasonal highlights. Suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate. 10am-4pm.

Lil Explorer Thursdays are back! The hall between the Visitor Center & 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 in August 2023.

Free carousel rides in August: CAFESJIAN’S CAROUSEL in Como Park offers free spins on August 29, 2023.

Saturday Vibe at Central Library

George Latimer Central Library, 90 W 4th St, St Paul, MN 55102
Fresh, free entertainment including live music, puppetry, magicians, storytelling and more. Saturdays, August 5-26, 2023, 11:30am.


Twin Cities Northwest Metro Free Summer Event

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 and family fun ideas from our NORTHWEST METRO SUMMER EVENTS GUIDE:

Brooklyn Park

August Free Family Fun Days with Three Rivers Parks

Mississippi Gateway Regional Park, 10360 W River Rd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
Drop in for free nature programs at MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARKNew themes each week. Sundays, August 6-27, 2023, 1-3pm.

Historic Eidem Farm Events

4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
Travel back and experience the historic farm through self-guided walking tours, old-time demos and free special events during the summer including:

Eidem Homestead

Maple Grove

Maple Grove Town Green Park

  • SOUNDS OF SUMMER 2023 concerts include free kids shows on Thursdays and free outdoor movies every Friday in August. Town Green, 7991 Main Street, Maple Grove, MN.

August Activities at Eastman Nature Center

Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369

New Brighton

New Brighton History Center Museum

700 Park Drive, New Brighton, MN 55112
Visit the restored train depot in LONG LAKE REGIONAL PARK and let your kids climb aboard the caboose. Open June-Sept, the museum exhibits are open weekends from 1-4pm. FREE admission.

St Anthony

Free Activities at Silverwood Park

2500 County Rd E, St Anthony, MN 55421

  • Puppet Adventures & Let’s Get StARTed: Take in a puppet show followed by make-and-take nature-inspired art. August 13, 2023, 1-3pm.
  • Silverwood OnStage: Outdoor live music. Plus, if it’s warm enough, bring a swimsuit for the beach in Silver Lake Park. Wednesdays, August 2-30, 2023, 6:30-8pm.

Photo Collage of kids enjoying Silverwood Park in St. Anthony Minnesota -- Girl in a pink dress dancing in field of yellow flowers, girls skipping rocks, girls in the doorway of a tiny art house


Twin Cities Northeast Metro Free Summer Events

Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Maplewood, Roseville, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights & White Bear Lake. Some highlights and family fun ideas from our NORTHEAST METRO SUMMER EVENTS GUIDE:

Maplewood

Bruentrup Heritage Farm

2170 County Rd D E, Maplewood, MN 55109
Operated by the Maplewood Historical Society, the farm is open during summer open houses and for special events. The public is permitted to walk the grounds and trails at any time. SUMMER EXHIBIT OPEN HOUSES – first Sun/Mon, June-August, 2023.

Roseville

ROSEVILLE COMMUNITY PARKS – FREE SUMMER EVENTS
  • ROSEVILLE PUPPET WAGON – Make way for the puppets, coming to 9 Roseville parks this summer. August 1-17, 2023, 9:30-11:30am.
  • DISCOVER YOUR PARKS – Family activities at eight Roseville parks, refreshments and a bounce castle. Wednesdays, August 2 & 9, 2023.
  • LIVE AT THE ROG! PERFORMANCE SERIES – Free concerts at the amphitheater in Central Park. August 1-13, 2023, please see the link for details.

White Bear Lake

Tamarack Nature Center

What really shines at Tamarack is its glorious outdoor DISCOVERY HOLLOW & GARDEN, the ultimate nature playground for kids and perfect to visit in August. Bring a change of clothes and prepare to spend hours if you’re able.


Twin Cities Southeast Metro Free Summer Events

Covering the Twin Cities, Minnesota, communities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Rosemount & Woodbury. Some highlights and family fun ideas from our SOUTHEAST METRO SUMMER EVENTS GUIDE:

Free Tuesday at Washington County Parks

Explore Washington County Parks free on the first Tuesday of every month (non-holiday). No vehicle permit required. Find a listing of parks here. We recommend this as the perfect chance to swim at LAKE ELMO SWIM POND in Lake Elmo Regional Park without the vehicle fee. It’s a wonderful, sand-bottomed swim pond with a beach. August 1, 2023.

Toddler playing near Lake Elmo Swim Pond in Lake Elmo, Minnesota
Lake Elmo Park Reserve – Swim Beach

Burnsville

Nicollet Commons Park

12550 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville, MN 55337
The public space is part of the area Burnsville calls the “Heart of the City“. Families will love the park’s amphitheater where the city hosts summer concerts, movies and story times. There is also room to picnic and a beautiful water feature to splash in.

Kids dancing at a Rockin Lunch Hour Performance at Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville, MN

Eagan

Caponi Art Park

1220 Diffley Rd, Eagan, MN 55123
Wander the self-guided trails through the sculpture park. Open 9am-8pm. FREE admission, donations appreciated.
August special event: Catch a Community Iron Pour, August 12, 2023.

Eagan Market Fest

1507 Central Pkwy, Eagan, MN 55121
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 splash pad. Ongoing Wednesdays, August 2-30, 2023.

Farmington

Forever Wild Family Friday: Fun & Games

Whitetail Woods Regional Park, 17100 Station Trail, Farmington MN 55024
Fun family entertainment, outdoors-based. August 4, 2023, 6-7:30pm.

Woodbury

WOODBURY COMMUNITY PARKS
  • WOODBURY PUPPET WAGON – Traveling around Woodbury parks with fun puppet shows. Ongoing Mon-Thurs, August 1-11, 2023.
  • STARLIGHT CINEMA OUTDOOR SERIES: The free movie series is hosted at Ojibway Park. Activities start at 7pm, movie at dusk. Ojibway Park, August 10, 2023, 7pm. Ojibway Dr, Woodbury, MN 55125.

Twin Cities Southwest Metro Free 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. Some highlights and family fun ideas from our SOUTHWEST METRO SUMMER EVENTS GUIDE:

Bloomington

Pond Dakota Mission Park Open Houses

Pond Dakota Mission Park, 401 E 104th St, Bloomington, MN 55420
Hands-on living history programs fun and free of charge. New themes each week. 
Saturdays, August 5-26, 2023, 1-4pm.

August Free Family Fun Days With Three Rivers Parks

Three Rivers Parks locations
Drop in for free nature programs at RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER. New themes each week. Sundays, August 6-27, 2023, 1-3pm.

BLOOMINGTON ARTS IN THE PARKS – FREE EVENTS

  • MONDAY MORNING KIDS SERIES – Final performances of the summer at MOIR PARK & VALLEY VIEW PARK. August 7 & 14, 2023, 10:30am.
  • MIDWEEK MUSIC & MARKET – Music, food trucks, a farmers market and lawn games at Civic Plaza. Wednesday evenings, August 2-23, 2023. 5-8pm.
  • THURSDAY BLOCKBUSTER SERIES – Normandale Bandshell, August 3 & 10, 2023, 7pm. W 84th St & Chalet Rd, Bloomington, MN 55437.
  • SUNDAY FUNDAY – KidsDance DJ and a pop-up splash pad. WESTWOOD PARK. 3490 W 109th St Bloomington MN 55431. August 13, 2023, 4-6:30pm.

Eden Prairie

STARING LAKE PARK – ENTERTAINMENT IN THE PARK

  • KIDSTOCK – Staring Lake Amphitheater, Tuesdays August 8 & 15, 2023, 10:30am. 14800 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie, MN 55347.

Edina

Centennial Lakes Park

Edina’s crown jewel of a public park is a haven for summer entertainment. Free summer 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.

Minnetonka

MINNETONKA ART IN THE PARK:
  • MUSIC IN THE PARK & FARMERS MARKET  Live music and fresh products. Market runs Tuesdays, August 1-15, 2023. Minnetonka Civic Center Campus Ice Arena B Parking Lot, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd.

Richfield

Richfield’s Veterans Park

6335 Portland Ave, Richfield, MN 55423
Veterans Park (also called Veterans Memorial Park) is Richfield’s largest park. It is home base to a number of free events each summer including:

  • KIDS ENTERTAINMENT IN THE PARK Tuesdays, August 1-15, 2023. Shows at 11am.
  • RICHFIELD FARMERS MARKET – Don’t miss getting your fresh produce at the weekly farmers market – let the kids have the run of the large playground while you shop. Saturdays in August 2023, 7am-12pm.

RICHFIELD COMMUNITY PARKS:

Shakopee

SHAKOPEE COMMUNITY PARKS – FREE ENTERTAINMENT

Victoria

Second Saturdays at Grimm Farmhouse

Carver Park Reserve, 7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386
Step back in time with interpreters and old-fashioned lawn games.  August 12, 2023, 1:30-4pm.

MULTIPLE TWIN CITIES PARK LOCATIONS

August Universe in the Parks

See our out-of-this-world Universe in the Park article to get more details on this stargazing opportunity. $7 vehicle permit required at programs in Minnesota state parks.

TWIN CITIES AUGUST FAMILY FESTIVALS WITH FREE ADMISSION

ANOKA: Food Truck Festival, August 19, 2023
BURNSVILLE: Party on the Plaza, August 24, 2023
CHISAGO CITY: Ki Chi Saga Days, August 17-20, 2023
EAGAN: Food Truck Festival, August 11, 2023
EDEN PRAIRIE: PeopleFest, August 1-5, 2023
FARMINGTON: Dakota County Fair – free admission, $10 parking. August 7-13, 2023
MINNEAPOLIS: Powderhorn Art Fair, August 5-6, 2023
MOUNDS VIEW: Festival in the Park, August 18-19, 2023
NEW BRIGHTON: Stockyard Days, August 11-13, 2023
NORTH HUDSON: Pepper Fest, August 18-20, 2023
ROCKFORD: River Days, August 11-13, 2023
SCANDIA: Spelmansstämma, August 19, 2023
SHAKOPEE: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi, August 18-20, 2023
ST ANTHONY: VillageFest, August 4-5, 2023
ST PAUL: IndiaFest, August 12, 2023
VADNAIS HEIGHTS: Heritage Days, August 14-20, 2023
WOODBURY: Woodbury Days, August 18-20, 2023

August Festivals and Fairs in the Twin Cities Minnesota

FREE AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR

Contrary to what you might think, there is TONS of free family entertainment at the Minnesota State Fair – enough, in our minds, to justify the ticket entrance price. We have tips on how to save on admission, too. Our 2023 Guide to the Minnesota State Fair is live!

50 Things to Do at the Minnesota State Fair

FREE TWIN CITIES SWIMMING, WADING & SPLASHING IN AUGUST

You don’t have to look far to find a free spot to take a dip in the Twin Cities. The following beaches, pools & splash pads beckon to little swimmers and charge no vehicle fee or admission. Make sure to double check the websites before packing up the swimsuits and heading out! These free swimming locations are open through August; most pack up Labor Day weekend.

Free Twin Cities Beaches

Carver County swimming beaches

Free swimming beaches located at LAKE MINNEWASHTA REGIONAL PARK (Chanhassen) & LAKE WACONIA REGIONAL PARK (Waconia).

Note: BAYLOR REGIONAL PARK in Norwood Young America is closed for the remainder of 2023 due to water quality issues. 

Dakota County swimming beaches

Free swimming beaches located at SCHULZE LAKE BEACH (Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan) & LAKE BYLLESBY REGIONAL PARK (Cannon Falls).

Kids playing in water at Lebanon Hills Park in Minnesota
Lebanon Hills Park

Minneapolis beaches

So many free swimming opportunities to choose from at Minneapolis beaches: BDE MAKA SKA has 3 beaches alone (32nd Street Beach, North Beach & Thomas Beach), CEDAR LAKE also boasts 3 beaches (Cedar Lake East Beach, Cedar Lake Point Beach & Cedar Lake South Beach), LAKE HARRIET has a respectable 2 beaches (Lake Harriet North Beach & Lake Harriet Southeast Beach), You can also swim free at LAKE HIAWATHA BEACH, two locations at LAKE NOKOMIS PARK (Lake Nokomis 50th Street Beach & Lake Nokomis Main Beach) and WIRTH LAKE BEACH.

Three girls playing in the water at Lake Nokomis Beach in Minneapolis, MN
Lake Nokomis Beach

Ramsey County swimming beaches

Many opportunities to splash and swim at well-maintained beaches within Ramsey County: LAKE GERVAIS COUNTY PARK (Little Canada), LAKE JOSEPHINE COUNTY PARK (Roseville), LAKE MCCARRONS COUNTY PARK (Roseville), LAKE OWASSO COUNTY PARK (Shoreview)LONG LAKE REGIONAL PARK (New Brighton), TONY SCHMIDT REGIONAL PARK (Arden Hills), TURTLE LAKE COUNTY PARK (Shoreview), VADNAIS-SNAIL LAKES REGIONAL PARK (Shoreview) and WHITE BEAR LAKE COUNTY PARK (White Bear Lake).

Girls on hammocks at Long Lake Park in New Brighton, Minnesota
Hammocks

Three Rivers Park District swimming beaches

More Minneapolis-St Paul free public beaches:

Free Twin Cities Swimming Pools & Wading Pools

Minneapolis wading pools

The wading pools that dot Minneapolis parks are the perfect place for toddlers and kids who have not yet learned to swim but love to make a good splash. See the link for all the details on these free wading pools.

Webber Natural Swimming Pool 

4300 Webber Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55412
Uniquely filtered by plants and boasting free admission – a great outdoor swimming deal in Minneapolis.

Free Twin Cities Splash Pads

Simple spots where you might beat the heat with your youngsters, there are more than 40 splash pads (or spray parks, interactive fountains, call them what you will) scattered throughout the Minneapolis-St Paul metro. Free to use and cool off in all July long.

Find our list of the best splash pads in the Twin Cities!

Girl playing in Nicollet Commons Park - Splash Pad in Burnsville, Minnesota

FIND OUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE BEST TWIN CITIES BEACHES, SWIMMING POOLS, WATERPARKS & SPLASH PADS!

FREE TWIN CITIES FAMILY ARTS EVENTS - AUGUST 2023

First Free Saturday at Walker Art Center

725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Free gallery admission for the whole family every first Saturday of the month. Don’t forget to explore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden! August 5, 2023, 10am-3pm.

Free art museums to visit in August 

First Free Sunday at Minnesota Children’s Museum

Explore the exhibits, including the brand new Shipwreck Adventures admission-free the first Sunday of each month thanks to Securian Financial. Reserve your tickets now! August 6, 2023.

2023 AUGUST SUMMER LIBRARY PROGRAMS

Unlike school, there is no “summer break” at your local library! This year many summer reading programs have been tweaked to provide activities and challenges you can complete at home. Remember, most locations are open for online checkout and curbside pickup! Find your local branches and full summer schedules below:

3 thoughts on “100 Free Things To Do in August: Twin Cities Family Events”

  1. Interesting, just finished reading this blogpost. Very nice information you wrote. Totally following your web! Thank you a lot.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top