Minneapolis, Minnesota is in the middle of the country, a forgotten destination to many, yet a piece of paradise for everyone who takes the time to visit as there are many free or nearly free things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You must visit for the art and culture that is prevalent throughout this city. However, there are many other things to do in Minneapolis, MN when you are there. Things to do in Minneapolis in the summer include spending time at the many regional lakes. If you are searching for things to do in Minneapolis in the winter, you do not need to look any further than the Mall of America. This is the perfect destination for parents with children, because there are so many family things to do in Minneapolis for free. This ensures you can have a budget friendly vacation and still have an amazing time. Plus, you will never need to sit and wonder what to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota!
Where is Minneapolis, Minnesota?
The city of Minneapolis is the largest city within the state of Minnesota. You will find this city on the banks of the Mississippi River. Minneapolis connects with the city of St. Paul, which is why they have been nicknamed the Twin Cities.
Best Time to Visit Minneapolis, Minnesota
The months of June, July, and August are the best times to visit Minneapolis, Minnesota. The temperatures are warm and there are plenty of outdoor activities to participate in. Festivals and farmer’s markets are everywhere in the city and neighboring areas. Add in the adventures you can have on the multiple lakes and you will have more things to do in Minneapolis than you have time for.
Weather in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The weather in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the summer months is warm and rainy. The spring and fall are cooler, but the real cold arrives with the snow during the winter months. The temperatures can dip down to zero or below during the winter. While the summers usually hover in the low eighties, it is possible to see a ninety-degree day on occasion.
20 Free (or Nearly Free!) Things to Do in Minneapolis Minnesota
1. See a Concert at the Ted Mann Concert Hall
Concerts at the Ted Mann Concert Hall are performed by students throughout the year. Each concert is slightly different, so you never know what you might see. This is one of the best Minneapolis, Minnesota things to do that should be on your list. You can easily check the schedule, so you are aware of what days concerts are being performed during your visit.
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2. Wander Through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
If you are looking for one of the best things to do in Minneapolis today or this weekend, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden must be on your list. There is a fee to enter this garden normally. However, a little planning ahead will have you adding this to your free things to do in Minneapolis list. Admission is always free on the first Saturday of every month, as well as on Thursdays after five in the evening.
3. Explore the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
One of the top things to do in Minneapolis this weekend is exploring the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. There are multiple garden displays and each one shows a different habitat. Each season brings new blooms, so you are guaranteed to see something new with each visit. The best part about visiting this Minneapolis attraction is they offer guided walks regularly.
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4. Spend Time at the Lake
There are plenty of lakes in Minneapolis. You can easily spend a day or two at a couple of them during your visit. Swimmers will want to spend time at Lake Calhoun, but you can also check out Lake Cedar, Lake Harriet, and Lakes Isles. Every lake offers something different, but they all guarantee free things to do in Minneapolis, MN.
5. Do a Little Stargazing During the Universe in the Park Program
If you are looking for things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the summer, you must add stargazing to your list. The University of Minnesota has a Universe in the Park program during the summer months. They offer nights where the public can view the stars during the months of June, July, and August in multiple state parks. These nights are normally Fridays and Saturdays.
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6. Wander Around the Minneapolis Museum of Art
One of the cool things to do in Minneapolis is wandering around the Minneapolis Museum of Art. This museum has been open since 1915 and is filled with more than eighty thousand works of art. Admission is always free. You will want to plan on spending a few hours at this museum, because it is one of the larger museums in the country.
7. Grab a Bite to Eat at the Midtown Global Market
When you are hungry, you should head over to the Midtown Global Market. This is one of the cheap things to do in Minneapolis, because you only pay for what you want to eat or drink. While you can buy souvenirs and other items from the fifty vendors, you can easily pass those areas by. This is an excellent place to watch Irish step dancing and other types of performances too.
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8. Watch Cross Country Skiing
Every February, or sometimes later in January depending on the year, you can watch cross country skiing in Minneapolis. The cross-country skiing race is actually one of the best things to do in Minneapolis in the winter. You will want to plan your visit for when the Loppet Urban Cross-Country Ski Festival is taking place. While the cross-country skiing is a highlight, you will also find yourself mesmerized with the skijoring and speedskating.
9. Walk the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway System
There are so many things to do near Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can easily venture out of the city for a day or two to do some of them. One of the best things to do in Minneapolis with kids is walking the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway System. This is one of the things to do with toddler in Minneapolis, because they can sleep while you are pushing the stroller along and seeing the sights. Older kids will get tired out from this walk that connects one hundred two miles of railway.
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10. Take a Tour of the Minnesota State Capitol
One of the best things to do in Minneapolis St. Paul is taking a tour of the Minnesota State Capitol. You must travel over to St. Paul to see this Minnesota attraction, but it isn’t too far from Minneapolis. Guided tours are offered every day of the week. We recommend going when it is nice outside, because then you get to go up to the roof to see the golden horses.
11. Check Out the Museum in the Streets
All along Lake Street, you will find the first walking tour museum in the Midwest. There are between fifteen and twenty informational stops. This is an excellent thing to do in Minneapolis this weekend with kids, because they can get their energy out while you see more of this wonderful city.
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12. Relax in Minnehaha Park
Minnehaha Park is right on the shores of the Mississippi River. This park has almost two hundred acres and is one of the best places to visit at any time of the year. There are plenty of things to do for kids in this part of Minneapolis. In fact, you may not be able to get them off the playground at the end of the day. However, you must take the time to walk around, especially along the trail that leads to the Minnehaha Falls. The waterfall is fifty-three feet tall and you will want to spend hours there listening to the rushing water.
13. See Minneapolis’ Art Murals
Minneapolis actually has an art and murals district and you will want to check it out. There are many different murals scattered around this part of the city.
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14. Walk Over the Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge was constructed in 1883. It is twenty-one hundred feet long and you can either walk across it or ride your bike. This bridge connects Mill Ruins Park and Father Hennepin Bluff Park. This is one of the best places to capture views of Minneapolis, so you want to make sure you get there at least once during your visit.
15. Take a Guided Walking Tour of Minneapolis
Another one of the best things to do in Minneapolis this weekend with kids is the guided walking tour. This tour covers a little more than a mile and a half. You will begin this tour at Government Plaza.
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16. Walk Through the Mall of America
The Mall of America is one of the free things to do in Minneapolis with kids, but that is only if you can prevent them from wanting to do everything inside. Besides having more than five hundred stores, you can wander around to see the amusement park, aquarium, flight simulator, movie theater, ice skating rink, and so much more. Please be prepared for crowds and plan on spending an entire day if you want to see everything.
17. Take a Tour of Fulton Brewery
Fulton Brewery offers free tours of the brewery every day and there is a complimentary tasting at the end as well.
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18. Visit the Animals at the Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory
It is easy to find free things to do in the Minneapolis St. Paul area when you are vacationing in Minnesota. The Como Park Zoo offers free admission every day. There are many different types of animals at the zoo including orangutans, giraffes, tigers, and reindeer. Once you have seen all the animals, you can spend time in the gardens at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.
19. Explore the Wells Fargo History Museum
You probably weren’t aware that the Wells Fargo and Company bank owned twelve different museums in the US. The Wells Fargo History Museum is one of them. You can explore this museum for free on the weekdays. This museum is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis, MN and is located within the Minneapolis Wells Fargo Center in the downtown area. There are numerous exhibits on display including an 1863 Wells Fargo stagecoach and mining equipment.
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20. Visit the Lakewood Cemetery
One of the most unique things to do in Minneapolis, MN is visiting the Lakewood Cemetery. Not too many people put cemeteries on their list of things to do in any city, but this is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country. There are more than one hundred thousand markers to see, as well as a Byzantine-type chapel. Many notable people are buried in this cemetery, so you may want to take a free guided tour to find all their graves.
Expert Tips for Traveling to Minneapolis, Minnesota
We love sharing helpful tips with travelers, because it allows people to fully appreciate the destination they are visiting. Here are a couple of our expert tips for traveling to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Venture into the St. Paul Area – You may want to spend all your time in Minneapolis, but we recommend venturing over into St. Paul as well. These two cities are so close together that you may actually find yourself in St. Paul without having any idea how you actually got there!
Dress Appropriately During the Winter Months – Okay, so we told you the best time to visit is during the summer. However, if you are not a fan of the crowds, you are probably going to ignore our advice. That means you will be visiting Minneapolis when it is cold out. Therefore, pack lots of warm clothes and be prepared to add layers every day.
Take Advantage of the Skyway System – The Skyway System will allow you to walk just about anywhere in downtown Minneapolis without being affected by the elements.
These are the twenty free, or nearly free, things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As you can see, there are many things for kids to do in Minneapolis. You can easily spend your days and nights doing things your kids will love. We do recommend bringing a family member or babysitter with you if you want fun adult things to do at night in Minneapolis. The nightlife is amazing, and you won’t want to miss it when you are there.