Make the most of Fall’s grand entrance with these highlights your whole family can get into during the month of September in the Twin Cities.
Visit an apple orchard
According to family tradition, Fall is upon us once 1) the State Fair has wrapped and 2) we’ve made tracks to one our our favorite apple orchards! We love seeking out one of the quieter, less-traveled orchards on the outskirts of the metro to pick a peck, get up close to some farm animals and take a hayride. Options in the Twin Cities run the gamut from large operations filled with elaborate playgrounds and numerous kiddie attractions to more simple spots to spend the day. Some of our favorites include MINNETONKA ORCHARDS (amazing apple cider donuts!), FALL HARVEST ORCHARD, and
FISCHER’S CROIX FARM ORCHARD (closed in 2022). For a dozen or so more ideas, check out our Guide to Twin Cities Apple Orchards.
A Harvest of Fall Festivals to Choose From
Dozens of family-friendly fall festivals dot the Twin Cities this time of year. Last autumn we discovered this gem – the Holz Farm Fall Harvest Festival in Eagan takes place at the historic Holz Farm (Sept 23, 2023) and is packed full of such down-home fun as pony rides, virtual cow milking, old-fashioned farm chores, hayrides, live music, animals and more. Admission is $3/pp; select attractions may require a small fee. For a big list of fall festivals across the Twin Cities metro, try our Fall Festival Calendar.
Fall Raptor Release at St Croix Carpenter Valley Nature Center
Injured birds, nursed back to health by the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center, are released back into the wild at the annual Fall Raptor Release within the Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center in Hastings. Help send them off with educational exhibits and kids activities. Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 23, 2023.
Centennial Lakes Farmers Market
Anyone else out there find that kids are way more enthused to eat veggies they have harvested themselves? We are a not a family of green thumbs, so it is off to the local farmers market we go for fresh produce and salad fixings. One of our fall favorites makes its home at the Centennial Lakes Farmers Market. In addition to perusing the produce, you can still take advantage of the following through the month of September: the 18-hole putting course, paddle boats and lawn games. Market hours are ongoing Thursdays thru the end of September, 3-7pm. Find more family fun at Centennial Lakes Park Here.
Jump over here for more fall farmers market options paired with fun fall outings!
Enjoy the fall colors at Interstate State Park
Beautiful Interstate State Park is a little haven that hugs the St Croix River Valley in the community of Taylors Falls, Minnesota. Only about an hour’s drive from the center of the Twin Cities metro, it’s the perfect destination for a fall colors hike. Our kids have been long fascinated by the mysterious potholes that pockmark the park and the rushing river that divides us from our neighbor Wisconsin. Explore with caution if you’ve got little ones in tow, then make a day of it with suggestions on our list of 6 Things To Do Near Taylors Falls. For more inspiration on where to get out and admire the fall colors with your family, try our take on 6 Twin Cities Metro-Area Minnesota State Parks, all only an hour’s or less drive from the middle of the metro. $7 per day vehicle permit required for state parks.
Jump over here for more fall color tour ideas!
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s AppleFest
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum celebrates autumn in grand style.
Celebrate the apple industry and the University of Minnesota’s rich history of apple research with apple bingo and trivia with local Arboretum celebrities, orchard tours, apple tasting, lawn games, music by Traveled Ground, and apple-themed concessions.
Their annual AppleFest will be held September 23, 2023, from 10 am-4 pm. Special Event tickets $5-$25/pp and includes admission into the Arboretum.
Keep in mind that the Arborteum is a wonderful place for families to visit year-round. For more ideas on how to explore it with younger ones, try our list of 10 Things for Kids: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Take a fall hike in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary
Nestled in the southern portion of Theodore Wirth Regional Park in Minneapolis is the magical ELOISE BUTLER WILDFLOWER GARDEN & BIRD SANCTUARY. It’s a place where families can take in fall colors, or preschoolers can attend free storytimes on Thursdays from 10:30-11am. Meet at the Visitor Center.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Do not be daunted by this niche-y, popular fall festival. Our very own Joy Peters offers up some tips for visiting the Minnesota Renaissance Festival with young ones on board. Yes, there is a substantial admission fee, but said fee covers a bounty of free family-friendly activities such as the jousting tournaments, storytellers, and mermaid encounters. Open weekends thru October 2, 2022, 9am-7pm. $13.50-$24.95/pp, discount tickets available for purchase in advance.
Field Trip at Silverwood Park
Make a fall day of it at Silverwood Park in St Anthony, The annual Silverwood Park Field Trip is packed full of opportunities to listen to live music, play lawn games, explore art sculptures and shop the outdoor art fair vendors. September 16, 2023, 12-4pm. FREE admission.