The birds are chirping, the weather is warm, and the sunlight lasts way into the evening. Summer has finally arrived! Although people around the world get excited for when summer comes around, no one gets as excited as Minnesotans. This is the time of the year we get to de-thaw and enjoy being outside without a parka and winter boots. While many are going up to their cabins and having barbeques, many more are trying to find some summer fun closer to home. Well if you’re trying to make some exciting summer plans closer to the cities, you’re in luck! SIMshows has made a list of 15 cool events and fun things to do around the Minneapolis/St Paul area that will keep your wallet fat and your gas milage low!
1. Greenway Glow Arts Festival and Night Bike Ride
Love spending an evening biking around America’s most bike-friendly city, or love seeing different pieces created by incredibly talented local artists? If you said yes to either or both of these, this is the festival for you! On June 20th, the Greenway Coalition will be hosting the 4th annual Greenway Glow Arts Festival and Night Bike Ride. Hop onto the Midtown Greenway anywhere between Girard Ave and 27th Ave for a night filled with light art, musical entertainment, food vendors, and tons of bikers from all over the Twin Cities! And if you’re a little strapped on cash after all the festivals last weekend, don’t worry; the Greenway Glow Arts Festival is completely free! So bring your bike or just some glow sticks out to the greenway on June 20th from 6pm to midnight!
2. Movies and Music in the Parks
Missed that big blockbuster in the theaters or forgot about that concert that you were thinking about going to? Well here’s your chance to make up for it! Almost every night in parks across Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board hosts a movie or a concert in a park. Movies range from classics such as Casablanca to recent blockbusters such as Pitch Perfect or The Blind Side. There are also a variety of music acts performing on any given night, from local concert bands to nationally-known names. And because Minneapolis is insanely awesome, all of this is free! These events go from now until September 7th, and you can find a calendar of events on the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation website.
3. Twin Cities Pride
Minneapolis has been named as one of the best cities for LGBTQIA people over and over again, and Pride weekend definitely shows why! On June 26th, 27th, and 28th, watch Minneapolis turn its streets into rainbow as people from all over come out to celebrate the LGBTQIA community! Start the weekend off at the Uptown Pride Block Party on Bryant Ave and Lake St and see performances from L’Assassins, Dykes Do Drag, Mistress Ginger, the Roller Girls, and many more! Continue your celebration into Saturday and Sunday, with the Pride Festival in Loring Park and the spectacular Pride Parade on Hennepin Ave! So come out and celebrate your pride at the 43rd Annual LGBTQIA Pride Weekend! This is a free event, and everyone is more than welcome to attend! For more information, check out the Twin Cities Pride website.
4. Lake Life in the Twin Cities
Summer is the season to relax on the beach or go for a swim, and Minnesota is the perfect place to do so. The land of 10,000 lakes definitely lives up to its name; in fact, we have more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined! Living in the city doesn’t need to stop you from enjoying the lakeside life either. Go to one of Lake Calhoun’s many beaches, such as the North Beach of Lake St or the 32nd St Beach, and enjoy soaking up the sun’s rays or swimming in the gorgeous water of Lake Calhoun! And if the beach life isn’t your thing, take a beautiful, summer bike ride on Lake Harriet and visit Lyndale Park and the gardens! And if none of that sounds appealing, you can always rent out a kayak or paddle boat and go for a nice boat ride on Lake Calhoun or Lake of the Isles. There are many enjoyable ways to spend the day by the lake, so head on down to the lakes district and discover why the City of Lakes gets it name!
5. Artist-Designed Mini Golf
Mini golf has been a staple in summer fun for years, but nowhere else has something quite like the mini golf course at the Walker Art Museum! The Artist-Designed Mini Golf has come back for its second year in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and brings with it a slew of new holes designed by different local artists, as well as many resident holes from last year. Some of the holes include one dedicated to Andy Warhol, one based around ping-pong, and one designed as a gumball machine. The course also holds the Dog House, a retro snack shack that holds many different treats and drinks that are sure to quench any hunger or thirst during the game. The course is going on from now until September 7th, and it only costs $12 for 9 holes and $19 for 18 holes. The cost of a game also includes admission to the Walker Art Museum, where you can see the acclaimed new pop art exhibit! So shimmy on down to the Walker and play on the coolest mini-golf course you’ll ever see!
6. Uptown Art Fair
The Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis is known across the country for its distinct vibes, gorgeous houses, and large amounts of art. On any given day, you will see galleries, plays, concerts, and art-making gatherings anywhere in this neighborhood, and the largest of this is when the neighborhood gets together and puts on the Uptown Art Fair! On August 7th, 8th, and 9th, more than 350 talented artists from across the neighborhood and across the globe will be conglomerating at Hennepin Ave and Lake St to show their work at the 50th annual Uptown Art Fair. There will also be nonstop music, food trucks and booths, a culinary arts competition, interactive art exhibits, and a wine tasting. And to top it all off, the festival is has no entry fee! So come out the weekend of August 7th and find out for yourself why the Uptown Art Festival has won over 120 International Festivals and Event Association awards!
7. Pizza Luce Block Party
Pizza, ice cream, brats, beer, and entertainment? And free admission!? That’s what you’ll be getting at the Pizza Luce Block Party! That’s right, the annual Pizza Luce Block Party will be held on August 8th outside of the Pizza Luce Downtown location from noon to 10pm. The lineup this year includes local talents such as Rogue Valley, L’Assassins, Sims & Mike Mictlan, Har Mar Superstar, and many more! So come out and celebrate local pizza, local beer, and local music at the Pizza Luce Block Party!
8. Chipotle Cultivate Festival
Music, food, and knowledge about helping the world? That’s what you’ll find at the Cultivate Festival! Chipotle is bringing its Cultivate Festival back to Minneapolis for another year on August 22nd, and this time it will be bigger and better than ever! With musical artists such as Walk the Moon and Hippo Campus, the talent this year is jaw-dropping! There will also be many acclaimed chefs, such as Andrew Zimmern and Richard Blais, giving demos on how to make different healthy dishes. The festival will also have different exhibits about the processes of bringing different foods to the supermarket or to restaurants, helping spread better knowledge about food to the community. Go to at least four of these exhibits, and you will earn a free Chipotle burrito! And the best part about all of this? It’s completely free! So head on over to Loring Park on August 22nd, and spend your day living the Chipotle way! For more information, check out the Cultivate Festival website.
9. Minnehaha Regional Park
Want to get away from the urban jungle but can’t make it up north? Well there’s a place to escape the hustle and bustle right in Minneapolis! With 167 acres of parkland, Minnehaha Regional Park is the perfect place to engulf yourself into the beautiful forests of Minnesota. There are plenty of hiking paths that lead you all the way down Minnehaha Creek and even out to Richfield. There are also plenty of biking paths and gardens to escape to on a busy summer day. And even if you’re not feeling a long hike or bike ride, just go down a flight of stairs and visit a 53-foot, natural waterfall! There is also a frolf course, volleyball court, and picnic area, making sure that everyone can enjoy the park one way or another. So whether you’re in the mood for a long hike through the woods or a calm picnic by a waterfall, Minnehaha Regional Park is the place to be for summer fun.
10. Internet Cat Video Festival
With so many people spending their evenings sitting around watching different adorable cat videos online, there might as well be a festival for it! After the sensational hit of the festival in 2012, the Internet Cat Video Festival has come back once again on August 12th and the new CHS Field in Saint Paul! Come join cat-lovers from across the nation and participate in a variety of activities, art installments, and photo ops with famous felines. And if you want to take a break from all the “cativities”, feel free to sit back and watch some of the best cat videos from all over the internet! The festival goes from 6:30 to 10pm on August 12th, and tickets are only $10 to experience this feline fiesta. So dig up the most extravagant cat t-shirt you own, and purr your way down to CHS Field! For more information, visit the Internet Cat Video Festival website.
11. Minnesota State Fair
Cookies, cattle, crafts, and concerts, all deep fried and on a stick! That’s what you’ll find at the Minnesota State Fair in Saint Paul! With over 1.8 million people attending the state fair in 2014, the Minnesota State Fair is the largest gathering in the entire state of Minnesota and is the second largest state fair in the country. Although the fair is still built upon produce and livestock competitions, it has become much, much more! Come explore streets filled with vendors of all different types, from your typical cheese curds and RV salespeople to deep fried banana splits on a stick and stands of different flavors of honey. There is also a large amusement park with rides of all shapes and sizes, perfect for both family fun and exciting thrills. And don’t forget about the concerts in the Grandstand! This year, talented artists such as Carrie Underwood, Meghan Trainor, and Lynyrd Skynyrd are performing during the state fair. And to top it all off, there will be a laser show every night at 9:15, providing an exciting nighttime activity at the fair! The fair will be going from August 27th to September 7th, and tickets are on sale now for only $10! So come on out during the end of summer and see all the quirkiness that makes Minnesota what it is! For more information, visit the Minnesota State Fair website.
12. Mill City Farmer’s Market
Trying to find the best locally grown produce, locally raised meat, or locally made body care? Well then the Mill City Farmer’s Market is the place to be! The Mill City Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday from now until September 26th from 8am to 1pm on the Chicago Mall between the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater. Over 100 vendors come out to the farmer’s market every weekend to supply the city with produce, seafood, meats and poultry, body care, art, and prepared foods. All the products are locally and sustainably made and are completely organic! And the best part about the market? It is completely free and open to the public! So start your Saturday off with some delicious, local food at the Mill City Farmer’s Market! For more information, please visit the Mill City Farmer’s Market website.
13. Bastille Day Block Party
Live music, street performances, art markets, live screen printing, and cake all for Bastille Day? You betcha! Barbette Restaurant in Uptown will be putting on their annual Bastille Day Block Party on Sunday, July 12th from 3pm to 10pm. Performances will include PaviElle, Toki Wright & Big Cats, The Brass Messengers, Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows, and many more! There will also be street performances by the North Star Roller Girls and the Infiammiti Fire Circus, and there will be a local art market and a live screen printing booth. And you can’t forget the best part about Bastille Day: the cake! And did we mention this is all free!? So make sure to save the date on July 12th and come out to the Bastille Day Block Party hosted at Barbette! For more information, please visit the Bastille Day Block Party website.
14. Minneapolis Aquatennial
Minnesotans seem to have a quiet pride to them throughout the year, but the Minneapolis Aquatennial is the time to let it out! From July 22nd to the 25th, watch downtown Minneapolis become filled with excitement and glee, showing off the greatness of the city we live in. On July 22nd, the Torchlight Parade on Hennepin Ave kicks off the festival, with floats and bands as far as the eye can see! On July 23rd, watch water skiers dress up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and save the Mississippi River with their heart-racing show. And on July 25th, watch one of the top five firework displays in the country, as the Aquatennial goes out with yet another glorious bang. And the best part of all this? It’s completely free! So come celebrate the city you love at the Minneapolis Aquatennial! For more information, visit their website.
15. Summer Set Music Festival and other SIM Shows!
And we saved the best for last, Summer Set Music Festival! This year, Summer Set is going to be bigger and better than ever, with artists such as Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, DeadMau5, Action Bronson, Die Antwoord, Odesza, Purity Ring, Zeds Dead, and so many more tearing up the stage over August 14th, 15th, and 16th! Tickets are still only $169 for all these amazing artists, so make sure to grab yours as soon as possible! And trying to dance the night away before Summer Set? Well check out all the other Sound In Motion shows going on over the summer, including Gent and Jawns, Dotcom, Loudpvck, and many more! For more information on both Summer Set and shows going on over the summer, go to the Sound In Motion website!