Free & Budget

The FFTC team parents 12 children collectively – we understand the need for ways to save while still getting out to experience what the Twin Cities has to offer in the way of FREE family fun. What can we do that’s free and fun? And how do we find these activities?  The Twin Cities offer hundreds of ways to have fun with kids for free or cheap!


  • Try starting with our Family Fun Events Calendar. Free events make up the majority of the calendar; budget events (less than $10/pp) make up nearly all the rest.
  • Our monthly guides include a free list and a budget list of events around town. The current month’s guide is always easily located on our homepage.

Strategies for Family Fun on a Limited Income

We share techniques for finding free and cheap entertainment on the most limited budgets, including finding how to apply for Limited Income programs at several Twin Cities attractions such as the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Twin Cities Kids Eat Free or Cheap List

Because dining out can be considered family fun…right? All of our entries have been personally verified and are updated regularly. Time to plan that family dinner date!

Twin Cities Birthday Freebies for Kids

It may seem like many of the best Birthday Freebie deals are for ages 13 and up. If you look around, there are some good deals for kids, too. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Birthday Freebies that kids can get right here in the Twin Cities.

Free Outdoor Activities for Families at Parks & Playgrounds

How thrifty is it to simply discover a new outdoor play space? Our Parks Search is loaded with over 700 entries, the majority of which are completely free to visit. Looking for specifics like a beach & playground, a bike trail or the perfect spot to pitch a tent? Search by all of these amenities and more.

Nature Centers & Nature Play

There’s never any charge to explore at one of these Twin Cities-area nature centers or green playgrounds.

Kid-friendly Coffee Shops with Free Play Areas

Enjoy free play nooks to park the kids while you attempt to unwind with a warm cup and a snack.

Top Kids Storytimes

Free storytimes – often made extra animated with songs, crafts and even critters (!) can make a perfect outing without spending a penny.

Free Kid Activities in the Twin Cities - By Season
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    family fun twin cities

    Twin Cities Free Easter Egg Hunts

    Grab your baskets and get ready for the hunt! Kids all over the Twin Cities can scramble through the spring weather (take that as you will) in search of eggs, bunnies, candy and all sorts of treasures. We’ve got a master list of free hunts along with other helpful hints.

    Spring Family Festivals

    After our long winter’s rest, the Twin Cities is awake with a full lineup of spring family festivals, most of which offer free admission and activities. Get started planning those beautiful spring weekends

    Spring Farmers Markets offer Budget-Friendly Family Activities

    The produce isn’t complimentary, but the markets often attract shoppers (and their minis) with free live music, demonstrations, samples and activities to keep kids entertained.


    Summer - family fun twin cities

    Five of Summer Outings Done on the Cheap

    Swim, bowl, find art and nature and read on the cheap with these free and cheap summertime favorites.

    Twin Cities Splash Pads & Wading Pools

    Created especially for those with younger swimmers, browse these simple spots where you might beat the heat – for FREE.

    Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds

    There is typically no charge to spread out on the sand and while away the day in the water or spend the summer swinging on the monkey bars. We’ve assembled a lineup swimming holes we think are worth checking out, most of which are free to enjoy. For more options, let us introduce you to our Parks Search.

    Free Summer Movies

    Classic outdoor flicks under the stars or features screened while escaping relief from the summer heat, here’s where to catch the free movies over summer break.

    Free Kids Activities & Entertainment in the Parks

    The parks literally sing during the summer in the Twin Cities. Free kids entertainment, pop-up performances, puppet shows and more are presented all across the metro area. We’ve organized our list by region so you can easily find fun close by.

    Free Summer Concerts – Cheap Family Entertainment

    Get to know the best of our local music community. Whatever your favorite genre, you’ll probably find a local band to love. These performances are perfect to combine with a summer picnic.

    Free Summer Meals for Kids

    You need not qualify for any aid programs to enjoy free summer meals in the parks and other community gathering spots. Get your kids out for a bit every day while also making sure they get a reasonably healthy meal.

    Summer Festivals & Parades

    Parades are some of the best free family fun in the summer. And chances are, there’s a free festival with your family’s name on it for every single weekend during the long break. We keep on top of them all.

    10 Free Things To Do With Kids In Downtown Minneapolis in Summer

    Summer is a great time to explore downtown Minneapolis. Thursdays are the best day, but any day of the week will offer some free family fun.

    Free and Inexpensive Family Activities at the Minnesota State Fair

    Yes, folks, it is absolutely possible to attend the Minnesota State Fair as a family without spending a dime. Of course, it’s an unlikely and difficult proposition to consider. Instead, we focus on strategies for getting discount admission and finding free family fun across the Fairgrounds.


    family fun twin cities


    Free Twin Cities Halloween Events

    Have no fear- all the events listed in this Halloween guide are free. Dress up and bring your treat bag.

    Free Apple Orchard & Pumpkin Patches

    We’ve harvested two dozen orchards and patches that offer free admission, and many of them also offer kid-pleasing, free activities like hayrides, mini corn mazes, petting farms and more.

    Fall Family Festivals offer Free Activities for Kids

     The Twin Cities does our gorgeous fall season in a major way, celebrating the last sunny days before winter with a bumper crop of fall festivals, many of which offer free admission.

    Enjoy the Fall Colors

    Although we have some splurges on this list, the majority of self-guided fall color tours are free and a beautiful way to enjoy a beautiful day before the cold and snow sneak in.


    Winter Fun Ideas

    Free Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

    Strap on your skates and hustle the kids out to enjoy a classic Minnesota winter activity. As most of the rinks on our list are located in city parks, there’s no charge for the skating. If you don’t own a pair of skates, a handful offer rentals or free loaners.

    Free Sledding Hills

    Sledding hills can’t really be beat in the free outdoor winter fun department. They are abundant and come in all shapes and sizes – consult our guide to find the best slope for your crew.

    Winter Family Festivals

    We embrace our winter with a lifestyle that includes recreating in the snow: find free admission and take a sleigh ride, build a snowman, try a new winter sport, or warm up around a crackling bonfire.


    Indoor Games Activities for Kids of All Ages

    Our great big list of indoor games is mostly made up of Free activities you can do without any special equipment. We also include a list of board games you would only need to purchase once.

    Indoor Fun at Home: No Energy, No Space, No TV, No Problem

    This is another list of games to pull out when you just want to sit and relax while your kids play.

    Fun Outdoor Games for Kids

    Take boredom busting out to the yard with these games.

    Physical Activities for Kids of All Ages

    Get them moving with these ideas.

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