My sister lives in the twin cities. My kids and I visited for a couple weeks earlier this summer, so we had a chance to explore a lot both Minneapolis and St. Paul. I love visiting the Twin Cities in the summer because there is so much to do, especially with young kids. It was rather hot while I was there, so we looked for fun ways to cool off and keep the kids entertained. Here are 8 fun kid-friendly things to do in the Twin Cities in the summer.
8 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in The Twin Cities
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Sculpture Garden is another place I had yet to visit in the Twin Cities, so my sister suggested it. Even if art really isn’t your thing, the sculpture garden is a great place to visit to just be outside, to walk around, and take in the views of the city. Since there is so much green space, my kids had fun just running around. Of course, I had to remind them not to touch the sculptures. But beyond that, I’m glad we brought them there.
It’s good to expose kids to art at a young age. They may not understand the cultural significance, but it is good for them to be comfortable in spaces like that. It is probably not at the top of the list of kid-friendly things to do in the Twin Cities, but I do think it’s a place you should bring them. Maybe have a little picnic or just let them wander around all the sculptures, like I did, and ask them questions about what the artist might have been thinking.
Mini Golf at the Walker Center
After checking out the Sculpture Garden, we decided to go to Skyline mini golf. It’s a mini golf course right on top of the Walker Art Center. The course itself is more of an art sculpture that you get to play with, than an actual mini golf course. The holes are all very wacky. One is a giant wedge of cake that you have to get your ball up, for example. None of the holes are traditional like you’d consider for mini golf, but that’s what made it so fun. Plus, it’s on the 7th floor roof of a building, so you have a great view of downtown Minneapolis. I believe the golf course is only open in the summer, but it was definitely a lot of fun.
I lived in the twin cities for awhile and have visited about a million times, but I had never been to Minnehaha Falls prior to this trip. I’m so I finally made it there. The falls are beautiful. After seeing Niagra Falls this year, I wasn’t sure I’d be that into them, but honestly, I loved the Minnehaha Falls because you can get so close to them. It’s amazing to see the rushing water. My mom later told me that she’s visited the falls many times where the water wasn’t so rapidly streaming out. Apparently, I hit it on a high flow day. Either way, it was quite beautiful, we got the chance to walk around, and my kids were pretty amazed by nature too.
Great River Water Park
If you end up with a rainy day, you should check out Great River Water Park. The day that it rained, we had planned to go to Como Pool. Since it was raining, we opted to check out Great River Water Park. I’m so glad we did. It’s quite inexpensive and my kids absolutely loved it. They have two giant pools with indoor water slides and other water activities, like monkey bars over the water and splash pad features. They also have a whole separate room for indoor play with giant climbing tubes. I think my kids would have stayed all day and night if I let them.
The thing I love most about Como Zoo is the fact that it is free. It’s a fairly small zoo, but it’s really easy to get in and out, there’s always street parking, and the zoo, itself, is very nice. This trip, we saw a giraffe and a gorilla so close that my kids could almost touch them (if the glass wasn’t there, of course). The zoo is the perfect half-day activity. You can walk around the conservatory, the zoo and even take a stroll around Como Lake. Como Town is also nearby, if you want to pay for rides (it’s a mini amusement park, perfect for little kids). The Como area itself has tons of kid-friendly things to do in the Twin Cities.
Ice Cream at Nelson’s
Whether you’re a kid or an adult, make sure to order the kid’s size. Even the kid’s size is massive. I had my kids split one kid’s size and I threw half of my kid’s size away, it’s that large. The cool thing about Nelson’s, besides the massive size, is that they have tons of flavor choices. It is fun to try more than one flavor, and my kids absolutely loved both flavors they chose.
Phalen Beach and Splash Pad
It was quite warm while we were in the twin cities, so we spent one day at Phalen Regional Park. because they have a beach, a playground and a splash pad.
Lake Harriet and Street Cars
One afternoon, we headed to Lake Harriet to go for a street car ride. Unfortunately, the street cars have limited hours. My kids have already been on them, but we’ll know better for next year to check hours before we go. Fortunately, there is still a lot to do at Lake Harriet even without the street cars. It’s a lovely lake with a cute little outdoor dining area where they sell ice cream, other food, and even beer and wine. There’s also a massive playground nearby where my kids had a great time playing on the equipment. We spent some time walking around the lake, as there are nice paths that circle it.
Overall, we had a great time visiting my sister. There are so many kid-friendly things to do in the Twin Cities, this list could probably be triple the length. Either way, my kids and I always look forward to our summer trip to the midwest, and we can’t wait to go back next year to explore even more of the Twin Cities.
Looking for other kid activities? Here’s a story about 27 fun and free things to do with kids.