Minnesota State Fair 2023: Scoring Free and Discounted Tickets

Boy holding Blue Ribbon Bargain Book at the Ticket office of the Minnesota State Fair: Text: "Minnesota State Fair - Scoring Free & Discount Tickets"

It’s a pretty widely accepted fact: If you plan to tote a family along for a day at the Minnesota State Fair, you’re going to come home with a considerably lighter wallet. The skewered foods are tempting, the Mighty Midway & Kidway rides are calling, the deals are hot and, oh yes, there are those admission tickets to consider.
Related: Find bargains, free entertainment, live music and family fun inside the Fair:
Minnesota State Fair 2023: 20 Ideas for Free Family Fun!

2023 State Fair Ticket Prices

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest and greatest from the State Fair, you probably know that admission prices have been raised for 2023. Kids admission prices are up to $16 per child and regular adult admission is $18.

Regular Admission Price:

$18/adults (13-64)
$16/seniors (65+)
$16/kids  (5-12)
Free/under 5

Purchase your 2023 Minnesota State Fair tickets in advance for a discount

Now, the prices of food and whatnot are beyond our control. (Though I suppose you could vow to consume nothing at the Fair, but who does that? Except FFTC’s very own Joy Peters who chimes in: “Hey – I do that! We always bring a well-planned, tasty picnic with us!” Also, her husband packs really great picnic food. The rest of us can pick up a free “Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide” from the information booth on our way in.)

There are, however, some surefire ways for fair guests to save more than a few bucks on admission tickets. I assure you I use every one of the strategies listed below as I’m now in possession of multiple paying kiddos at the gate:

Purchase pre-Fair discount admission tickets – $15/all ages. These are available in person at the State Fair ticket office through August 23, 2023 (1741 Como Avenue).  Tickets are also available participating Cub Foods locations, also through August 23, 2023. Discounted ride & game tickets, and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books (coupon books for food and merchandise) are sold at these sites as well. Special note: the State Fair does not accept discount admission tickets to cover the cost of on-site parking. The charge to park this year is $20 (again, an increase this year), cash or credit at the gate.

Take advantage of 2023 Minnesota State Fair Discount Days

If possible, plan to come on one of the following Promotional Days of the fair to save a few dollars per ticket (which can quickly add up to significant dollars for families!):

Special Deal Days:

  • Thursday, August 24: Opening Day – $16/adults, $13/kids & seniors, specials on ride tickets
  • Monday, August 28: Seniors Day – $13/seniors, others full price. All day specials on ride tickets. Bring the grandparents!
  • Tuesday, August 29: Military Appreciation Day – $$13/active military, retired military and military veterans plus their spouses and kids. Valid ID required. Early bird specials on ride tickets.
  • Wednesday, August 30: Kids Day – $13/kids, others full price, specials on ride tickets.
  • Thursday, August 31: Seniors Day – $13/seniors, others full price. Early bird specials on ride tickets.
  • Monday, September 4: Kids Day – $13/kids, others full price, specials on Kidway tickets. Grab these last chance deals on Labor Day.

Vendors may also offer special day deals on these dates.

Free Minnesota State Fair Tickets – Library Programs

Ramsey County Library’s Summer Reading program historically earned kids ages 5 – 11 who completed a summer activity booklet a pack of prizes including one State Fair admission ticket. This program is not available in 2022, however, participants who complete the summer reading program are entered into the grand prize drawing, which includes a family 4-pack of Minnesota State Fair tickets.

Other local library systems are also offering State Fair Tickets as possible prizes in their summer reading program. Find your library system here: Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs

Volunteer at the Minnesota State Fair in exchange for free tickets

Volunteer at the Fair – at one of many fun locations and receive complimentary gate admission as thanks. No, it’s not always convenient (but it is possible!) to bring kids along to volunteer. Consider signing up for an early shift, then plan to have another caregiver bring the kids to join you in the afternoon. To practice what we preach, Family Fun Twin Cities helped out in the Alphabet Forest in 2014 and at Little Farm Hands in 2015. Follow any of the following links to see how you can get involved. Our very own Anne K has volunteered the past few years for the Minnesota State Fair Foundation in exchange for free gate admission tickets.

Alphabet Forest

Our first crack at volunteering at the Fair with kids was at the Alphabet Forest exhibit in 2014. The kids enjoyed duties right alongside us promoting literacy activities and local authors.

Minnesota State Fair Discounts: Scoring Free & Discounted Ticke

Kemps Little Farm Hands

FFTC invited Twin Cities-area families to come volunteer alongside us at the 2015 Fair. You do NOT, however, need to be with an organization to volunteer your time. Shifts are about 3 hours long and include guiding families through the mock farm exhibit. Once your shift has been completed, you are free to enjoy the Fair!

Minnesota State Fair Discounts: Scoring Free & Discounted Ticke

Minnesota State Fair Foundation

Anne was super excited to volunteer for the Minnesota State Fair Foundation for the first time in 2019 and will be returning in 2023. While this is NOT an opportunity fit for kids, she will earn a free admission ticket for each 4-hour shift served.

Other places to look into volunteering at the Minnesota State Fair:

Do YOU have any other tips or tricks for scoring Discount State Fair Admission or FREE tickets? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

For more State Fair 2023 planning:

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8 thoughts on “Minnesota State Fair 2023: Scoring Free and Discounted Tickets”

    1. Yes! That one was fun, although I recall being worn out by the end of that day. You can guarantee your kids will sleep well.

    1. Thanks for the idea, Lisa, it’s a very good one! I didn’t know for several years that my own husband could purchase discounted tickets through his work.

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