Minnesota wants to cram in its festivals before summer fades! The following all offer FREE admission.
- 8/7/19: Lake Hiawatha Neighborhood Festival | Lake Hiawatha Park, Minneapolis
- 8/2/19-8/4/19: Canadian Days | Spooner Park, Little Canada
- 8/2/19-8/4/19: Uptown Art Fair | Minneapolis
- 8/3/19: Victoria Volksfest | Victoria
- 8/3/19-8/4/19: Powderhorn Art Fair | Minneapolis
- 8/3/19-8/12/19: New Brighton Stockyard Days
- 8/9/19: Eagan Food Truck Festival | Eagan Festival Grounds
- 8/9/19-8/11/19: Irish Fair of Minnesota | Harriet Island Regional Park, St Paul
- 8/9/19-8/11/19: Twin Cities Polish Festival | Minneapolis
- 8/9/19-8/11/19: Rockford River Days
- 8/10/19: Fiesta Latina | CLUES, St. Paul
- 8/10/19: IndiaFest | Minnesota State Capitol
- 8/11/19: Pioneer Day | Pioneer Memorial Park, Newport
- 8/15/19-8/18/19: Ki Chi Saga Days | Vilhelm Moberg Park, Chisago City
- 8/16/19-8/18/19: North Hudson Pepper Fest
- 8/16/19-8/18/19: Heritage Days Festival | St Paul Park
- 8/16/19-8/18/19: Blue Heron Days | Lino Lakes
- 8/16/19-8/17/19: Mounds View Festival in the Park | Silver View Park
- 8/17/19: St. Paul Food Truck Festival | Mears Park, St Paul
- 8/15/19-8/18/19: 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. Groovin’ In the Garden is held each Wednesday during the summer with free outdoor concerts and activities for kids such as a climbing wall, bounce house and lawn games. 6pm start.
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 8/29/19, 6:30pm
8/3/19: First Free Saturday: Stomping Ground | 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.
8/3/19: 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.
8/11/19: Family Day | Minneapolis Institute of Art
A free monthly event for families on the second Sunday of every month with art making activities, gallery hunts, special tours, performances and more. 11am-5pm.
8/18/19: The Most Epic Family Day | Target Field Station, Minneapolis | 12-4pm
8/18/19: 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.
8/22/19: Cafesjian’s Carousel Free Day | Como Park, STP | 11am-4pm
8/25/19: Open Streets Minneapolis: Franklin
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. 11am-5pm.
Performance in the Park | Town Square & Aquatore Park | Kids & family entertainment, select dates
August Free Family Fun Days | Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park | 8/11/19 & 8/25/19, 1-3pm
Stories From the Porch | Eidem Homestead | Bring your chairs or blanket for storytime on the farm (stories read at 10:15 & 11am) followed by free play. | Tues/Aug starting 8/6/19, 10am-12pm. 8/27/19 from 7-8pm featuring bedtime stories.
Summer Concert Series | Coon Rapids Reg Park pavilion | Ongoing Thurs thru 8/8/19, 7pm
Family Art Sunday | Banfil-Locke Center for the Arts | Free art activities, a gallery scavenger hunt and snacks for kids. 8/11/19, 1-3pm.
Springbrook Summer Concert Series | Springbrook Nature Center | 8/20/19, 7pm
Sounds of Summer | Town Green | Includes Kids Have Character, ongoing Thursdays and Movies at Sunset each Friday in August.
Night at the Movies | Townsend Park | 8/23/19, at dusk
Splash & Play Tuesdays | Prairie Park | Ongoing Tuesdays thru 8/20/19, 10 am
Movies in the Park | Hilde Performance Center | Fridays starting 8/15/19, 7pm
Kids Fest | Hilde Performance Center | Minnesota Zoomobile, games, activities, & Teddy Bear Band. 8/1/19, 6-9pm
SPRING LAKE PARK
Minnesota Soda Festival | Blue Sun Soda Shop
Food trucks, face painters, 100 sodas to sample, strolling entertainment & more. The event is free to attend, with small costs for samples. 8/3/19, 10 am-7 pm.
Silverwood OnStage | Silverwood Park | Ongoing Wednesdays thru 8/28/19, 6:30pm.
Open Houses on the Farm | Bruentrup Heritage Farm | Local farming exhibits, the chance to take a guided tour of the farmhouse and space to run and play. 11am-2pm, 8/4/19-8/5/19.
MARINE ON ST CROIX
August Universe in the Park | William O’Brien State Park | See our out-of-this-world Universe in the Park article to get more details on these stargazing opportunities. $7/state park vehicle permit, 8:30-10pm, 8/3/19.
NORTH ST PAUL
Music in the Parks Summer Concert Series | Casey Lake Park | 8/15/19
Live @ The Rog! Performance Series | Central Park | Ongoing Tues/Thurs/Sun in August
Roseville Puppet Wagon | Roseville parks | Ongoing Tues-Thurs thru 8/8/19, 9:30-11:30am
Discover Your Parks | Roseville parks | Aug 7 & 14, 6:30-8pm
Concerts in the Commons | Shoreview Community Center | Ongoing Wed thru 8/14/19, 7pm
Shoreview Puppet Wagon | Commons Park | 8/1/19, 6:15pm
WHITE BEAR LAKE
Music in Kelley Park | Music 6-9pm, food available for purchase, prizes and a splash pad for the kids to cool off in. Ongoing Fridays thru 8/16/19.
Apple Valley Puppet Wagon | Apple Valley parks, ongoing Mon-Fri thru 8/9/19
Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour Concerts & Thursday Rockin’ Readers | Nicollet Commons Park | Ongoing Thursdays thru 8/22/19, stay to enjoy the landscaped splash pad!
Friday Night Flicks on the Bricks | Nicollet Commons Park | Fri 8/9 & 8/23, 7:30 seating, show at dusk
Paragon Theaters Free Summer Movies | Burnsville Odyssey | Tues-Thurs thru 8/8/19, 10am
Splash Pad Special Events | Highlands Park | Ongoing Fridays thru 8/23/19, 11am-noon
Pop-Up Splash Pad | Hamlet Park | Water games w/ the fire dept & treats | 8/22/19, 6pm
Summer Concert Series | Peter Thompson Park | 8/8/19, 6:30pm
Forever Wild Family Friday: Pollinators | Lebanon Hills Regional Park | 8/2/19, 7-8:30pm
Eagan Puppet Wagon | Eagan parks | Ongoing Mon-Fri thru 8/9/19 | Bring a blanket for the shows, then stay after for art projects and interactive activities.
Eagan Market Fest | Eagan Central Park Festival Grounds | 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. 4-8pm thru Aug 28.
Dakota County Fair Free Admission Day | Included in admission are free exhibits and attractions, live entertainment, and entrance into the Dakota City Heritage Village. Parking is $5 per vehicle. 8/5/19 only.
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS
Terrific Tuesdays | South Valley Park | Ongoing Tues thru 8/20/19, please check link for park and times.
Movies in the Park | Central Park | 8/11/19, dusk
Puppets in the Park | Rosemount Parks | Ongoing Fridays thru 8/9/19, please check link for times
Huber Park Performance & Event Series | Ongoing Thurs thru 8/22/19, 7pm
WEST ST PAUL
August Universe in the Park | Dodge Nature Center | 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.
WASHINGTON COUNTY PARKS
Woodbury Puppet Wagon | Woodbury parks | Ongoing Mon-Thurs thru 8/15/19
Starlight Cinema Outdoor Movie Series | Lake Middle School | 7/11/19, Pre-show activities begin at 7pm, movie starts at dusk.
MOA Summer Toddler Tuesdays | Mall of America Rotunda | Ongoing Tuesdays, 10am – noon | Live entertainment and activities guaranteed to excite the stroller set.
August Free Family Fun Days | Richardson Nature Center | Ongoing Sundays, 3-4pm
Moonlight Movies | Red Haddox Field | Ongoing Fridays thru 8/16/19, 9pm
Monday Morning Kids Series | Moir Park | Final performance 8/5/19, 10:30am
Tuesday Evening Performance Series | Normandale Bandshell | Final performance 8/6/19
Kids Summer Entertainment Series | Firemen’s Park | 8/6/19 & 8/20/19, 10:30am
Family Beach Bash | Clayhole Swim Beach, Firemen’s Park, Chaska | 8/6/19, 11:15am-noon
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.
Kidstock | Staring Lake Amphitheater | Ongoing Tuesdays thru 8/13/19, 10:30am
Entertainment at Centennial Lakes Park | Events Sun-Thurs including movies in the park (Thursdays, dusk), live music, kids entertainment (Tuesdays, noon) and farmers markets.
Lighthouse Night with Edina Model Yacht Club | Centennial Lakes Park, Edina | Model boats glow when the sun goes down; concert starts at 8pm. 8/11/19.
Concerts in the Park | Brookview Park | Ongoing Mondays thru 8/12/19, 7pm
Music & Movies in the Park | Civic Center Amphitheater | Concerts ongoing Tues thru 8/27/19, 7-8:30pm. Movie dates are Aug 8, 15 & 23 at dusk.
Experience Adventure | Taft Park | Rock climbing, zip line, live animals, fishing, bags game, bug catching, geocaching and more w/ Three Rivers Parks. 1-5pm.
Huber Park Performance & Event Series | Ongoing Wednesdays thru 8/22/19
ST LOUIS PARK
Kids Summer Concert Series | Veterans Memorial Park | 8/7/19 & 8/14/19, 10am
Grimm Farmhouse Open House | Carver Park Reserve | Step back in time with interpreters and old-fashioned lawn games | Ongoing Sat, 1-4pm
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.
Twin Cities Splash Pads – our complete list of spots to chill out all summer long, nearly all are FREE
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 2019 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.