50 Free Things to Do: Twin Cities October Family Events & Activities

fall guide

With 12 children between them, the parents of the Family Fun Twin Cities team sure appreciate a good deal. And October is filled with them – from FREE HALLOWEEN EVENTS & FALL FESTIVALS without admission fees to ongoing family art programs and other free entertainment. For hundreds more ideas on how to find free Twin Cities events for kids and families in October visit our: 

fall leaves

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

Free things to do in Twin Cities parks - October 2021

Caponi Art Park & October Leaf Fest

Open Tues-Sun in October | Eagan
Wander the self-guided trails through the sculpture park. 9am-8pm. FREE admission, donations appreciated. SPECIAL EVENT: the annual Leaf Fest is back at Caponi Art Park with free admission and activities for all. Oct 16.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Open daily in October | St Paul
Seasonal events include the Fall Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden. Come visit the seals at Como Harbor, their brand new habitat! Currently, the Zoo & Conservatory are open by reservation only. Make yours today, they fill fast. Suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate. 10am-4pm.

Forever Wild Family Friday 

Oct 1 | Thompson County Park, West St Paul
Visit a Dakota County park the first Friday of every month for outdoor activities and a bonfire in the fall. 6-7:30pm. Free; registration required.

Movie in the Park: Shrek

Oct 1 | Lowry Nature Center, Victoria
Bring your own seating to the sledding hill for the movie. Starts about 7:30pm.

Pond Dakota Mission Park open houses

Oct 2-30, Saturdays | Pond Dakota Mission Park, Bloomington

Hands-on living history programs fun and free of charge. New themes each Saturday. Drop in from 1-4pm.

October Free Family Fun Days with Three Rivers Parks

Oct 3-31, Sundays | Three Rivers Park locations
Drop in for free nature programs at MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK & RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER. New themes each week. 1-3pm.

Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks

Oct 5 | Find a listing of parks here
Explore Washington Cty Parks free on the first Tuesday of every month (non-holiday). No permit required.

Free Story Saturday at Manor Park

Manor Park, Robbinsdale | Oct 16
Register for free storytime in the park; Harriet’s Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson will be read. 10-11am. ALSO IN ROBBINSDALE: Outdoor movie: Hocus Pocus, Sandborn Park, Oct 8.

Wargo Nature Center Fall Festival

Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes
Pioneer-style activities, cider demonstratins and more for families. Oct 16, 2-4pm.

Puppet Adventures & Let’s get stARTed at Silverwood Park

Oct 24 | Silverwood Park, St Anthony
Take in a puppet show around the park, then do a related art activity. Show at 1pm, activity goes until 3pm.

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

October Family Funday 

Oct 31 | North Mississippi Regional Park, Minneapolis
Come dressed as your favorite animal if you like to play games, visit animals and make masks. 1-3pm. Registration required.

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.

Free Admission - Twin CIties October 2021 Family Festivals

Get ready for a bumper crop of free fall festivals this October in the Twin Cities. Find these fun family events near the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area all throughout the fall season. We’re so excited to get back to picking out pumpkins, taking hayrides, jumping in the corn pit and soaking in all the colors. The following fall festivals offer FREE admission; find our complete listing on our FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL CALENDAR.

Hastings:  Carpenter Nature Center Apple Fest

Fall fun activities include pick-your-own apples, cider demos, live music & animals and kids activities. Oct 9-10, 10am-5pm, FREE.

Lake Elmo: Rockpoint Church Corn Trail

Downsized to a corn trail (instead of maze) and wagon rides this year, but still free and fun. Oct 2 & 9, 11am-4pm.

Maplewood: KidX Flannel Fest

Paint a mini pumpkin and play some fall-themed games. Wear your favorite flannel if you’d like. Located at the Maplewood Mall. Oct 2, 1-3pm, FREE.

Minneapolis: Oktoberfest at Midtown Global Market

Pop-up German entertainment (music & food) and kids activities (balloon artist, storyteller & crafts). Oct 2, 12-4pm, FREE.

Minneapolis: Open Streets Lyndale

Lyndale Avenue will close to street traffic so people can explore and their community businesses in person on foot or by bicycle. Oct 10, 11am-5pm.

Minneapolis: Open Streets Minnehaha 

Minnehaha Avenue South will close to street traffic so people can explore and their community in person. Oct 24, 11am-5pm.

Stillwater: Harvest Fest 

Kids activities all day both days, plus don’t miss the pumpkin regatta & giant pumpkin drop. Oct 9-10, 10am-6pm, FREE.

Free Twin Cities family artS events - October 2021

Walker Art Center First Free Saturday

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. Get out and explore the new sculpture garden. Tickets must be reserved online in advance. Oct 2, 10am-3pm.

Minneapolis Institute of Art Virtual Family Day 

Pick up a free Family Day Artist Tote with art supplies then visit the virtual family day link for content and tutorials. Oct 9-10, 11am-5pm.


Free Twin Cities October Family Events & Activities

A scary-huge list of FREE Halloween events have creepy-crawled their way into our 2021 TWIN CITIES FAMILY HALLOWEEN GUIDE. Please find our list here – click on the graphic for all the details – because there are far too many free Halloween events in the Twin Cities Metro to list here! Or, jump directly to our lists for:


A trip to the pumpkin patch is a fall family tradition for many. We’re always on the hunt for ways to making an outing as budget-friendly as possible. Please note, however, that while there is no admission charged to enter, there will probably be fee-based activities to choose from. Jump over to our huge list of the BEST TWIN CITIES PUMPKIN PATCHES or continue here for the pumpkin patches that offer FREE admission.

Barten Pumpkins | New Prague 

Open mid-Sept through Halloween 2021 during daylight hours. Live music, antique farm equipment and other family fun select weekends.

Country Sun Farm | Lake Elmo 

Free admission and free petting farm.

Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch | Wyoming 

PYO pumpkins daily, 9 am to dusk.

Marshall’s Farm Market | Eden Prairie 

Daily, 10am-7pm.

Pleasant Valley Orchard | Shafer 

Weekend hayrides to the pumpkin patch extra. Open daily 10am-6pm.

Tom’s Pumpkin Farm | Lindstrom 

PYO pumpkins ($4 any size) and a corn maze ($4-$6/pp). Daily, 10am-dusk.

Peter’s Pumpkins & Carmen’s Corn | Shakopee 

Free weekend hayrides to pick-your-own pumpkins from the field and a free corn maze.

twin cities free family entertainment in October 2021


Mall of America Toddler Tuesdays 

Back in-person entertainment. Meet Bubble Guppies in West Market Square and more. Ongoing Tuesdays in October, 10am – noon.

Free Children’s Entertainment at Edinborough Park

Edinborough Park Amphitheater | 7700 York Ave S, Edina, MN 55435 
Kids entertainment in the indoor amphitheater. Thursdays, Oct 7 & 21 11:30am.


Free abounds in the Twin Cities. Many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer free storytimes during the week. Local coffee shops & cafes serve parents with free dedicated play spaces. Nature centers are wonderful places that  offer free admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week. And dozens of St Paul & Minneapolis recreation centers offer free open gyms and tot times to run your littles ragged during the cooler months. Explore from our links below.

October events we hope to see return in 2022


Free 3rd Mondays | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska
For family-time inspiration, check out 10 Things For Kids: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Games Galore | Union Depot, St Paul
Play giant-sized versions of classic games including chess, checkers, Connect Four, Dominoes and more. Ongoing Wednesdays, 10am-8pm.

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