Summer Activities » Minneapolis, MN

Summer Activities in Minneapolis, MN

While Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, there's seems to be just as many summer activities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, from water play to themed festivals, these sisters cities offer fun all summer long.
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Above the Falls Water Sports

Most people drive over the Mississippi River, but if you're in an adventourous mood, try paddling tours via kayak, canoe, row boats and sculling boats up and down the famous river - above and below St. Anthony falls near downtown. If you're not comfortable naviating the river on your own, opt for instruction, classes and tours which are offfered a nubmer of ways; 2.5 hours, one hour, half day, full day, and weekends. Go alone, bring a girlfriend or the family. All experience levels are welcomed. One tip: Don't forget to apply the sunscreen.


Upwards of 500 artists showing in more than 70 studio buildings, art galleries, homes, storefronts, businesses and restaurants is enough to satisfy anyone's art fix. It happens each May at Art-A-Whirl, the nation's largest open studio tour. Produced by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, Art-A-Whirl features artists working in multiple mediums - clay, fiber, furniture, glass, metal, photography, printmaking, sculpture, multimedia, you name it. Demonstrations, live performances, intimate and large-scale exhibitions are on the ticket. At many of these locales, you'll get to meet and mingle with the artists. Art-A-Whirl typically happens the third weekend of May and is free and open to the public.

Bunker Park Stable

There's nothing like bounding across an open field on the back of a wiry, 1,000-pound horse. Even if you've never taken the reins before, you can learn to ride like a pro at Bunker Park Stable in Andover. Join a guided trail ride on one of Bunker Park's wide variety of horses, including draft horses, or bring your own horse to ride the open-to-the-public trails. If you're new to horseback riding, not to worry. Expert guides will pair you with an animal whose size and temperament is perfect for your skill level. Sign up for lessons that cover all the basics - catching, leading, tying, grooming, saddling and riding. Watch the calendar for fun outings like the Mother & Daughter Afternoon of Horses and Women's Equestrian Getaway.

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory has been a Twin Cities icon for over 100 years and is the perfect location for a summer activity. The family-friendly property and zoo features various gardens, mini-golf, a seasonal mini-theme park (tickets must be purchased for rides) and a beautiful historic carousel. Indoor and outdoor animal exhibits welcome visitors year-round but summer really is the best time to visit since the animals are out and about in the warm months. The most exciting new edition to the zoo is the world-class Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit. Other popular attractions include sea lions, gorillas, lions, orangutans and penguins. Admission is free, but a small donation is recommended.

Extreme Sandbox

Who says girls don't like playing in the dirt? Whether you were the tomboy type or the little princess growing up, there's nothing like getting dirty to help de-stress. And Extreme Sandbox lets you do just that - in a big way. The Midwest's first and only recreational heavy equipment adventure offers you the thrill of getting behind the controls of a 38,095-pound Caterpillar 315 excavator or a 17,960-pound Caterpillar D4 bulldozer and barreling through 10 acres of Hastings, Minnesota dirt. Expert instructors guide you through a precision obstacle course and a set of feats including knocking a tennis ball off a cone with just teeth of an excavator bucket. Way to show up your guy! Flex some muscle, move some dirt and dump some stress. Ladylike, indeed.