We are excited to have The Jolly Pops as a Summer Sponsor!
Kids throughout the Twin Cities are exclaiming, “The Jolly Pops are coming!” Find out why this fun and adventurous Music Program is quickly becoming a must see and must hire for Schools and Organizations all over the Twin Cities area.
* guide brought to you by participating partners
Minnesota wants to cram in its festivals before summer fades! The following all offer FREE admission.
- 8/1/18: Lake Hiawatha Neighborhood Festival | Lake Hiawatha Park, Minneapolis
- 8/2/18-8/5/18: Canadian Days | Spooner Park, Little Canada
- 8/3/18-8/5/18: Uptown Art Fair | Minneapolis
- 8/4/18-8/5/18: Powderhorn Art Fair | Minneapolis
- 8/5/18-8/13/18: New Brighton Stockyard Days
- 8/10/18-8/12/18: Irish Fair of Minnesota | Harriet Island Regional Park, St Paul
- 8/10/18-8/12/18: Twin Cities Polish Festival | Minneapolis
- 8/10/18-8/12/18: Rockford River Days
- 8/11/18: Eagan Food Truck Festival | Eagan Festival Grounds
- 8/12/18: Pioneer Day | Pioneer Memorial Park, Newport
- 8/17/18-8/18/18: Victoria Volksfest | Victoria
- 8/17/18-8/19/18 North Hudson Pepper Fest
- 8/17/18-8/19/18: Heritage Days Festival | St Paul Park
- 8/16/18-8/19/18: Ki Chi Saga Days | Vilhelm Moberg Park, Chisago City
- 8/17/18-8/19/18: Blue Heron Days | Lino Lakes
- 8/18/18: Fiesta Latina | CLUES, St. Paul
- 8/18/18: IndiaFest | Minnesota State Capitol
- 8/18/18: Mounds View Festival in the Park | City Hall Park
- 8/18/18: St. Paul Food Truck Festival | Mears Park, St Paul
- 8/18/18-8/19/18: Vadnais Heights Heritage Days
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.
Minneapolis Music & Movies in the Park | Various parks (schedule here) | Mon-Sat, movies begin 15 min. past sunset. For FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Movies around the Twin Cities, click the graphic.
St Paul Movies in the Park | Parks and times vary, check link for schedule
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul | Daily, 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 | Daily, 11am-5pm
St Paul Music in the Parks | Daily, parks vary
Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St Paul | Ongoing Saturdays, 11:15am | Fresh entertainment each week including live music, puppetry, magicians and more.
Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis | Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm | 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.
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.
Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul | Ongoing Thursdays in August, 10am-noon | 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.
Twin Cities River Rats Ski Shows | 1758 N West River Rd, Minneapolis | Thurs thru 8/31/18, 6:30pm
8/2/18: Where’s Waldo Party | Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul | 6:30pm | Those who picked up a “Find Waldo Local” passport can win prizes, including stickers, book coupons, and more.
8/4/18: First Free Saturday: Jamboree | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis | 10am-3pm | 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.
8/4/18: Home Depot Kids Workshop | TC Home Depot locations | 9am-noon | The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children.
8/5/18: Open Streets Minneapolis: Northeast | 11am-5pm | 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.
8/11/18: GOOD DOG & LOTS OF CATS Storytime with Cori Doerrfeld & E. Dee Taylor | Red Balloon Bookshop | 10:30 am
Do you love dogs, cats, or storytime? Then you won’t want to miss Good Dog and Lots of Cats Storytime with local Author/Illustrators Cori Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened) and E. Dee Taylor! Join these two picture book creators for a reading, drawing, and coloring filled celebration of their new stories. After storytime, you’ll have a chance to get your books signed and enjoy some celebratory treats. All are welcome at this family storytime and author signing event!
8/12/18: Family Day: Bugging Out | Minneapolis Institute of Art | 11am-5pm
8/12/18: The Most Epic Family Day | Target Field Station, Minneapolis | 12-4pm
8/13/18: Cafesjian’s Carousel Free Day | Como Park, STP | 11am-4pm
8/13/18:“See You Tomorrow, Samurai” Book Club | Red Balloon Bookshop | 6:30PM | Did you love The War that Saved My Life? What about Wonder? If you’re a fan of realistic middle grade, join bookseller Sarah for a few of our favorite stories, two of which are by local authors! We’ll read about a girl in the Vietnam era, a kid who loves space, and a sailor desperate to return to his native Japan. This book club is perfect for readers 10+. This month’s book is Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. RSVPs appreciated.
8/14/2018: Educator Night 2018 | Red Balloon Bookshop | 6:30PM | Educators grades pre k-12 are invited to Educator Night 2018 at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul. Enjoy refreshments while you hear all about our school and educator services and book talks on new, hot titles from Red Balloon’s expert staff. We’ll have refreshments, plenty of classroom giveaways, and a few lucky winners will take home some top-notch door prizes. Whether you’re interested in forthcoming books, authors visiting your school, bookfairs, books for your classroom, or just fabulous posters, there’s something for you at Red Balloon’s Educator Night!
8/18/18: Celebration at Gibbs Farm | Falcon Heights | 10am-4pm | Come out for free music, ice cream, special tours, farm animals and more.
8/16/2018: Graphic Novel Book Club | Red Balloon Bookshop | 6:30PM | Our Kids Read Book Club is becoming the Graphic Novel Book Club! This summer, join us to discuss a few exciting graphic novels, perfect for kids 8+. This month’s books are The Nameless City: The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks and 5 Worlds: The Cobalt Prince by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, et al. It’s a Double Sequel month! RSVPs appreciated.
8/18/2018: Generous Kids Storytime | Red Balloon Bookshop | 10:30 am | Join us for Generous Kids Storytime with Caryn Rivadeneira, the author of Mine!: A Counting Book about Sharing, It’s Not Fair!: A Book about Having Enough, and other books about growing up.
8/19/18: Target Free 3rd Sunday| Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul | 9am-5pm | 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.
8/22/2018: Piano Storytime | Red Balloon Bookshop | 10:30AM |We’re having storytime outside on our patio with our piano from Keys4Kids! Join us for stories and songs.
8/26/18: Open Streets Minneapolis: Franklin | 11am-5pm
Silverwood OnStage | Silverwood Park, St Anthony | Ongoing Wednesdays thru 8/29/18, 6:30pm
Summer Concert Series | Coon Rapids Reg Park pavilion | Ongoing Thursdays thru 8/9/18, 7pm
Sounds of Summer | Town Green Maple Grove | Includes Celebrate the Family, ongoing Thursdays and Movies by Moonlight.
Entertainment in the Park | Hilde Performance Center, Plymouth | Music and other live entertainment
8/04/18: Minnesota Soda Festival | Blue Sun Soda Shop, Spring Lake Park, MN | 10 am-7 pm |The Worlds Largest Soda Shop, Blue Sun Soda, located in Spring Lake Park, MN, is throwing the first annual Minnesota Soda Festival. Food trucks, face painters, 100 sodas to sample, strolling entertainment & more. The event is free to attend, with small costs for samples.
8/06/18: Moore Than Dance Open House| Moore Than Dance, 1220 E. Moore Lake Dr., Fridley, MN 55432 | 5:00-7:00 p.m. | Studio Open House for anyone interested in learning more about our Dancing, Singing, or Acting programs. Join us for snacks, children’s activities, and information on classes and our upcoming production of Suessical Jr.
Open Houses scheduled for: Tuesday, 8/14 | Wednesday, 8/22 | Thursday, 8/30
8/11/18: Mississippi River Festival | Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park | Try out fishing and archery, and create river-inspired art.
8/12/18: Puppet Adventures of Ned the Naturalist | Silverwood Park, St Anthony | 1-3pm | Join Ned the Naturalist as he stops Trasher the Trash Can from trashing nature. Try art making with a take-home activity.
8/12/18: Family Art Sunday | Banfil-Locke Center for the Arts, Fridley | 1-3pm | Free art activities, a gallery scavenger hunt and snacks for kids.
8/24/18: Night at the Movies | Townsend Park, New Brighton | Dusk
Live @ The Rog! Performance Series | Central Park, Roseville | Ongoing Sundays thru 8/12/19
Concerts in the Commons | Shoreview Community Center | Ongoing Wednesdays thru 8/15/18
Roseville Puppet Wagon | Roseville parks | Ongoing Tues-Thurs thru 8/9/18, 9:30-11:30am
Discover Your Parks | Roseville parks | Ongoing Wednesdays thru 8/15/18, 6:30-8pm
8/1/18: Shoreview Puppet Wagon | Commons Park, Shoreview | 6:30pm
8/11/18: Universe in the Park | William O’Brien State Park, Marine on St Croix | 8:30-10pm | See our out-of-this-world Universe in the Park article to get more details on these stargazing opportunities.
8/12/18-8/13/18: Open Houses on the Farm | Bruentrup Heritage Farm, Maplewood | 11am-2pm | Local farming exhibits, the chance to take a guided tour of the farmhouse and space to run and play.
8/16/18: Music in the Parks Summer Concert Series | Casey Lake Park, North St Paul
Huber Park Performance & Event Series | Ongoing Thursdays thru 8/30/18
Woodbury Puppet Wagon | Woodbury parks | Ongoing Mon-Thurs thru 8/16/18
Free Summer Events in the Park | South Valley Park, Inver Grove Heights | Select Tuesdays
Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour Concerts & Thursday Rockin’ Readers | Nicollet Commons Park, Burnsville | Ongoing Thursdays thru 8/16/18, stay to enjoy the landscaped splash pad!
Music in Kelley Park | Apple Valley | Ongoing Fridays thru 8/17/18 | Music 6-9pm, food available for purchase, prizes and a splash pad for the kids to cool off in.
Eagan Puppet Wagon | Eagan parks | Ongoing Mon-Fri thru 8/17/18 | Bring a blanket for the shows, then stay after for art projects and interactive activities.
Apple Valley Puppet Wagon | Apple Valley parks, ongoing Mon-Fri thru 8/10/18
Woodbury Puppet Wagon | Woodbury parks | Ongoing Mon-Thurs thru 8/16/18
Splash Pad Special Events | Highlands Park, Cottage Grove | Ongoing Fridays, 11am-noon
8/1/18: Eagan Market Fest | Eagan Central Park Festival Grounds | 4-8pm | Free family fun: The grounds buzz with weekly concerts and themed nights including one devoted solely to families (Kidsdance DJs, free inflatables, lawn games and craft projects galore). Get the full lineup of entertainment here.
8/3/18: Forever Wild Family Friday | Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan | 7-8:30pm
8/6/18: Dakota County Fair Free Admission Day | Farmington | Included in admission are free exhibits and attractions, live entertainment, and entrance into the Dakota City Heritage Village. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
8/9/18: Starlight Cinema Outdoor Movie Series | Ojibway Park, Woodbury | Pre-show activities begin at 7pm, movie starts at dusk.
8/10/18 & 8/24/18: Friday Night Flicks on the Bricks | Nicollet Commons Park, Burnsville | 6:30 seating, 7pm show.
8/11/18: Movie in the Park | Central Park, Rosemount | Ongoing Thursdays, 10am
8/23/18: Free Outdoor Summer Concert | Dodge Nature Center | West St Paul | 7-8:30pm | Bring a blanket and picnic dinner to enjoy with this family-friendly a capella group.
Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center | 9am-noon | Ongoing Saturdays of each month enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.
Grimm Farmhouse Open Houses | Carver Park Reserve, Victoria | Ongoing Sat, 1-4pm
Entertainment at Centennial Lakes Park | Edina | Events Sun-Thurs including movies in the park (Thursdays, dusk), live music, kids entertainment (Tuesdays, noon) and farmers markets.
Concerts in the Park | Brookview Park, Golden Valley | Ongoing Mondays thru 8/13/18, 7pm
MOA Summer Toddler Tuesdays | Mall of America Rotunda | Ongoing Tuesdays, 10am – noon | Live entertainment and activities guaranteed to excite the stroller set.
Moonlight Movies | Red Haddox Field, Bloomington | Ongoing Fri & select Saturdays, 9pm
August Free Family Fun Days | Richardson Nature Center | Ongoing Sundays, 3-4pm
Kids Summer Movie Escape | CMX Cinemas – Mall of America & Burnsville | Ongoing Tues-Thurs, doors open at 9:30.
Music in the Park, Farmers Market & Movies in the Park | Minnetonka Civic Center Amphitheater
Kidstock | Staring Lake Amphitheater, Eden Prairie | Ongoing Tuesdays thru 8/14/18, 10:30am
Creative Kidstuff Concerts | Shops West End, St Louis Pk | Select Wed thru 8/22/18, 10-11am.
8/6/18: Arts in the Parks: Monday Morning Kids Series | Moir Park, Bloomington | 10:30am
8/7/18 & 8/21/18: Kids Summer Entertainment Series | Firemen’s Park, Chaska | Ongoing Tues, 10:30am – also Clayhole Concerts, Wednesdays.
8/7/18: Family Beach Bash | Clayhole Swim Beach, Firemen’s Park, Chaska | 11:15am-noon
8/12/18: Lighthouse Night with Edina Model Yacht Club | Centennial Lakes Park, Edina | Model boats glow when the sun goes down; concert starts at 8pm.
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 9, all others open Memorial Day Weekend.
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 2018 Guide to the Minnesota State Fair will be live soon!
TWIN CITIES AUGUST FARMERS MARKETS FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Twin Cities Farmers Markets are usually bustling with free entertainment to lure in families out shopping together. Check our directory for markets that offer the best in live music, produce clubs for kids, storytimes and samples.