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.
Free summer meals in the Twin Cities
In case your family is needing a nutrition 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.
TWIN CITIES JULY OUTDOOR FUN IN THE PARKS: Free summer music, movies & more entertainment
There is loads of fun to be had out in our local communities this summer. 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 are awaiting swimmers. Bike trails beckon. And don’t forget – libraries don’t take a summer break. There is FREE programming going on all summer long.
Free Twin Cities Nature Centers
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
Live music and movies screened across multiple Minneapolis parks most nights during the summer. And yes, all free! See the 2023 Calendar for bands, movie titles and park locations. Starts Memorial Day Weekend and continues through summer.
Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza & Target Field Station
Reasons to get outdoors in downtown Minneapolis that are kid-friendly: free movies at Target Field Station – July 6 (Puss In Boots: The Last Wish) and July 20 (Legally Blonde). 7pm.
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 July 2023. FREE.
West River Road, Minneapolis
Amazing free waterski tricks to amuse you Thursday evenings on the Mississippi River. Ongoing Thursdays in July 2023, 6:30pm.
1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103
Seasonal events in July 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 July 2023.
Free carousel rides in July: CAFESJIAN’S CAROUSEL in Como Park offers free spins on July 25, 2023.
Como’s outdoor music event offers free concerts and lawn activities while the music is on. Food is available for purchase or bring your own picnic. Ongoing Wednesdays in July 2023, 6-8pm.
George Latimer Central Library, 90 W 4th St, St Paul, MN 55102
Fresh, free entertainment including live music, puppetry, magicians, storytelling and more. Saturdays, July 8 & 22, 2023, 11am-noon.
Twin Cities Northwest Metro Free Summer Events
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:
Mississippi Gateway Regional Park, 10360 W River Rd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
Drop in for free nature programs at MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK. New themes each week. Sundays, July 2-30, 2023, 1-3pm.
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:
- OPEN GATE HOURS: Explore the farm grounds, meet animals and maybe even help with chores. Mon-Thurs & Sat starting at 10am.
- CONCERT AT THE FARM: The Teddy Bear Band, July 20, 2023, 6pm.
- STORIES FROM THE PORCH: Tuesdays, July 11-25, 2023, 11am.
- SOUNDS OF SUMMER 2023 concerts include free kids shows on Thursdays and free outdoor movies every Friday starting July 14. Town Green, 7991 Main Street, Maple Grove, MN.
Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
- Free Family Fun Days with Three Rivers Parks – Drop in for free nature programs at EASTMAN NATURE CENTER. New themes each week. Sundays, July 2-30, 2023, 1-3pm.
- DRAGONFLY FESTIVAL – Meet a few dragonflies and and explore one of their habitats. July 15, 2023. Drop in anytime from 10am-2pm.
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.
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. July 9, 2023, 1-3pm.
- Float-In Movie on Silver Lake: Head for the beach in Silverwood Park, or use the Silver Beach boat launch. The movie will be shown on an inflatable screen in the beach area. July 15, 2023, 9pm.
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:
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 COMMUNITY PARKS – Free summer events
- ROSEVILLE PUPPET WAGON – Make way for the puppets, coming to 9 Roseville parks this summer. Tues-Thurs in July, 2023. 9:30-11:30am.
- DISCOVER YOUR PARKS – Family activities at eight Roseville parks, refreshments and a bounce castle. Ongoing Wednesdays July 12-26, 2023.
- LIVE AT THE ROG! PERFORMANCE SERIES – Free concerts at the amphitheater in Central Park. Ongoing Sundays in July, 2023.
White Bear Lake
What really shines at Tamarack is its glorious outdoor DISCOVERY HOLLOW & GARDEN, the ultimate nature playground for kids. 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:
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.
- THURSDAY ROCKIN LUNCH HOUR concerts – bring a picnic lunch and swimsuits to enjoy the landscaped splash pad! Thursdays in July, 2023.
- FRIDAY NIGHT FLICKS ON THE BRICKS, 7:30pm seating, show at dusk.
1220 Diffley Rd, Eagan, MN 55123
Wander the self-guided trails through the sculpture park. Open 9am-8pm. FREE admission, donations appreciated.
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, 4-8pm July, 2023.
WOODBURY COMMUNITY PARKS
- WOODBURY PUPPET WAGON – Traveling around Woodbury parks with fun puppet shows. Ongoing Mon-Thurs July, 2023.
- STORY TIME IN THE PARK – Ojibway Park, July 21, 2023 at 10:30am.
- STARLIGHT CINEMA OUTDOOR SERIES: The free movie series is hosted at Ojibway Park. Activities start at 7pm, movie (Tangled) at dusk. July 13, 2023. 2695 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:
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, July 1-29, 2023.
Three Rivers Parks locations
Drop in for free nature programs at RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER. New themes each week. Sundays, July 2-30, 2023, 1-3pm.
BLOOMINGTON ARTS IN THE PARKS – Free events
- MONDAY MORNING KIDS SERIES – Alternating between Moir Central Park & Valley View Park, Mondays, July 10-31, 2023. 10:30am. 10320 Morgan Ave South, Bloomington, MN 55431.
- TUESDAY EVENING PERFORMANCE SERIES – Normandale Bandshell, starts July 11-25, 2023. 7-8pm.
- MIDWEEK MUSIC & MARKET – Music, food trucks, a farmers market and lawn games at Civic Plaza. Wednesday evenings, July 12-26, 2023. 5-8pm.
- THURSDAY BLOCKBUSTER SERIES – Normandale Bandshell, July 13-27, 2023, 7pm. W 84th St & Chalet Rd, Bloomington, MN 55437.
- SUNDAY FUNDAY – July 9-30, 2023, 6-9pm.
Staring Lake Park – Entertainment in the Park
- KIDSTOCK – Staring Lake Amphitheater, Tuesdays July 11-25, 2023, 10:30am. 14800 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie, MN 55347.
- CHILDREN’S THEATER WORKSHOP – free performances in the park. July 28-30, 2023. Please see website for times.
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 ART IN THE PARK:
- MUSIC IN THE PARK & FARMERS MARKET – Live music and fresh products. Market runs Tuesdays, in July, 2023. 3-7pm. Minnetonka Civic Center Campus Ice Arena B Parking Lot, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd.
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 July 11-25, 2023, 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, 7am-12pm.
RICHFIELD COMMUNITY PARKS:
- RICHFIELD SUMMER PLAYGROUND: Free supervised activities for kids ages 6-12 at 4 Richfield parks. See PDF for more information. Registration required. Mon-Thurs in July 2023, 9am-3pm.
- FRIDAY FUN AT AUGSBURG ADVENTURE PARK – Read-a-Story Theater followed by time to play at the inclusive park. July 7 & 21, 2023, 10am. 7000 Nicollet Avenue, Richfield MN.
SHAKOPEE COMMUNITY PARKS – Free Entertainment
- HUBER PARK PERFORMANCE & EVENT SERIES – Family entertainment on the riverfront. Wednesdays, July 13-27, 2023, 7pm. Fillmore St N, Shakopee, MN 55379.
Carver Park Reserve, 7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386
Step back in time with interpreters and old-fashioned lawn games. July 8, 2023, 1:30-4pm.
Multiple Twin Cities Park locations
See our out-of-this-world Universe in the Park article to get more details on these stargazing opportunities. $7 vehicle permit required at programs in Minnesota state parks, no fee at nature centers. July 2023 dates: 7, 8 & 15, 2023.
Free Twin CIties Independence Day/July Fourth Events & More 2023 July Festivals
APPLE VALLEY: Freedom Days Festival, Johnny Cake Ridge Park East
BLAINE: Blaine Fireworks, National Sports Center
COON RAPIDS: Coon Rapids 4th of July, Coon Rapids Ice Center
DELANO: Delano 4th of July Celebration, 559 North River Street
EAGAN: Eagan July 4th Funfest, Eagan Community Center festival grounds
EDEN PRAIRIE: Eden Prairie 4th of July Hometown Celebration, Round Lake Park
EDINA: Edina 4th of July Parade, Edina City Hall
EXCELSIOR: Lake Minnetonka 4th of July, Excelsior Commons Park
FOREST LAKE: Forest Lake 4th of July
HAM LAKE: Freedom Festival, Ham Lake Lions Park
HUDSON: Booster Days, Lakefront Park, Hudson WI
LAKE ELMO: Fourth of July Kids Parade, Lake Elmo Ave & 32nd
LAKEVILLE: Pan-O-Prog Fireworks, Lakeville North High School
MAPLEWOOD: Maplewood Light it Up, Hazelwood Park
PLYMOUTH: Happy Birthday America Parade, Hilde Performance Center
SHAKOPEE: Shakopee Happy Birthday America Parade, Lions Park
STILLWATER: Stillwater 4th of July Fireworks, Lowell Park
ST LOUIS PARK: St. Louis Park July 4th Fireworks Celebration, Aquila Park
WHITE BEAR LAKE: White Bear Lake Fireworks – Manitou Days, Memorial Beach
WOODBURY: Woodbury’s Hometown Celebration, HealthEast Sports Center
More Twin Cities July Festivals with free admission
- ANDOVER: Family Fun Fest, July 7-8, 2023
- ANOKA: Riverfest, July 8, 2023
- APPLE VALLEY: Freedom Days, July 1-4, 2023
- BLOOMINGTON: Summer Fete, July 3, 2023
- BURNSVILLE: International Festival of Burnsville, July 15, 2023
- CENTERVILLE: Festival of Lakes, July 11-16, 2023
- CHASKA: Fire & Ice Festival, July 14-15, 2023
- CHASKA: River City Days, July 28-30, 2023
- CRYSTAL: CRYSTAL FROLICS, July 27-30, 2023
- ELK RIVER: RiverFest, July 29, 2023
- EXCELSIOR: Crazy Days Fair & Festival, July 20-23, 2023
- HASTINGS: Rivertown Days, July 21-23, 2023
- HOPKINS: Raspberry Festival, July 12-16, 2023
- HUDSON: Booster Days, July 1-2, 2023
- LAKEVILLE: Pan-o-Prog Summer Festival, July 4 & 7-16, 2023
- LINDSTROM: Karl Oskar Days, July 5-8, 2023
- MAPLE GROVE: Maple Grove Days, July 12-16, 2023
- MINNEAPOLIS: Aquatennial, July 19-22, 2023
- MINNEAPOLIS: Loring Park Art Festival, July 29-30, 2023
- MINNEAPOLIS: Minnehaha Falls Art Fair, July 14-16, 2023
- MINNEAPOLIS: Open Streets – Glenwood, July 16, 2023.
- MONTICELLO: Riverfest, July 14-16, 2023
- MOUND: Spirit of the Lakes Festival, July 13-15, 2023
- ROBBINSDALE: Whiz Bang Days, July 6-9, 2023
- ROSEMOUNT: Leprechaun Days, July 22-29, 2023
- SHOREVIEW: Slice of Shoreview Days, July 21-23, 2023
- STILLWATER: Stillwater Lumberjack Days, July 14-16, 2023
- TAYLORS FALLS: Wannigan Days, July 14-16, 2023
- WHITE BEAR LAKE: Manitou Days, through July 4, 202
FREE TWIN CITIES SWIMMING, WADING & SPLASHING IN JULY
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!
Free Twin Cities Beaches
Free swimming beaches located at SCHULZE LAKE BEACH (Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan) & LAKE BYLLESBY REGIONAL PARK (Cannon Falls).
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.
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).
More Minneapolis-St Paul free public beaches:
- COLUMBIA HEIGHTS: Silver Lake Beach near SILVERWOOD PARK offers a small, free swimming beach.
- EDEN PRAIRIE BEACHES: Beaches free and open to the public in the community of Eden Prairie at the following parks: RILEY LAKE PARK & ROUND LAKE PARK.
- NORTH ST PAUL: Silver Lake Beach
- PLYMOUTH: Beaches available for free swimming at EAST MEDICINE LAKE PARK, WEST MEDICINE LAKE PARK & PARKERS LAKE PARK.
- ST PAUL: Phalen Regional Park – hosts the only swimming beach in the city of St Paul with a free beach and splash pad to enjoy during the summer months.
Free Twin Cities Swimming Pools & 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.
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!
FREE TWIN CITIES FAMILY ARTS EVENTS - JULY 2023
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! July 1, 2023, 10am-3pm.
FREE ART MUSEUMS TO VISIT
- Minneapolis Institute of Art – Daily free admission plus monthly themed art activities for families.
- Walker Art Center | Minneapolis – FREE Thursday evenings & First Saturdays of each month.
Free days are BACK at the museum and we’re super excited about it! Explore the exhibits, including the brand new Shipwreck Adventures admission-free the first Sunday of each month thanks to Securian Financial. Reservations required. July 2, 2023.
2023 JULY 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:
- Anoka County Library | Summer Adventures
- Carver County Library | Tails & Tales Summer Reading Program
- Dakota County Library | Summer Discovery
- Hennepin County Library | Summer Learning
- Ramsey County Library | Summer Learning Program
- Scott County Library | Summer Spotlight
- St Paul Public Library | Summer Spark
- Washington County Library | Summer Adventures