I had an email a few weeks ago from a reader who is moving to Minnesota. She was wondering what there is to do in the Twin Cities for fun. I had so much fun writing her a response that I thought I’d post it here for y’all.
A good resource for you would be momtalk.com, which will give you tips on fun things to do in the Twin Cities area. I’ll list some of my favorites by seasons here.
– Stroll along Summit Avenue in St. Paul and look at the historic houses. There are several you can get tours of, including the James J. Hill house.
– Once it’s warm enough, dust off the bikes and grease them up for biking some trails. There are good trail systems all around the Twin Cities, as well as some good mountain biking parks.
– State parks! Minnesota spends tons of our tax dollars on our state parks, so they are all quite lovely. Great for cheap camping. Some of our favorites: Itasca State Park, Frontenac State Park, and Temperance River State Park.
– Go to the lake. If you don’t have a cabin, make friends with someone who does, and you’ll no doubt get invited to spend a weekend with them once or twice. If not, there are some local lakes right within the Twin Cities–Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Lake Nokomis. And don’t miss Minnehaha Falls! Boat rides, water skiing, campfires with s’mores, and lots of mosquitoes (it’s the state bird, you know) are the order of the day.
– Festivals. The Great Minnesota Get-Together (a.k.a. State Fair) is known for selling pretty much any food you can imagine either deep fried or on a stick. There’s also the Taste of Minnesota, Aquatennial, and countless other local celebrations.
– The MN Zoo
– The leaves! Even though fall only lasts about 3 weeks in Minnesota before snow comes, it’s probably my favorite season in this area. Drive along the St. Croix River (borders Wisconsin) and admire the views.
– Apple orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. All can be visited for fairly cheaply and are a TON of fun! Most of them have special activities or even entire weekends devoted to children, too. Here are two of our favorites.
– Sledding. There are a lot of good-size hills in the area, and Buck Hill in Burnsville even rents tubes for the serious sledder.
– Ice skating. I don’t have skates of my own, but since this is hockey country, there are public rinks everywhere.
– Snowmen, forts, angels, you name it. Snow can stick around for up to 7 months here, so you must learn to enjoy it!
– Hot chocolate by a fire in a warm sweater and a blanket. Though the Twin Cities is mild compared to the temperatures where I grew up (northern MN), it still averages in the teens to 30s 4-5 months of the year.
We took Anja to the State Fair for her birthday yesterday, so there will be an upcoming post with some more detail about that!