Lifestyle

25 Totally Free Things to Do in the Twin Cities

Published On 08/19/2015 Published On 08/19/2015

If you’re looking for something fun to do,  then the Twin Cities have some seriously sweet restaurants you need to try, or you could always spend the weekend partying on a lake, but you need money (or at least a friend with a boat) to do those things, so since we... uh, may or may not have much of that, we decided to round up 25 legitimately great things to do in MSP that are totally free. You’re welcome...

Visit the Sculpture Garden

If there were just one quintessentially free thing to do in the Twin Cities, it’d be visiting the Sculpture Garden. Seriously though; when was the last time you paid the ol’ Cherry & Spoon a visit? It misses you.
 

Flickr/Meet Minneapolis

Free Thursdays at the Walker

Situated directly next to the Sculpture Garden sits another one of Minneapolis’ best free attractions. Of course it’s only free on Thursdays, but hey, what else have you got planned on a Thursday evening?

 

Flickr/Ernesto De Quesada

Check out the MIA

Now officially pronounced "MEE-uh," this museum tends to focus on more classical works so head on over and check out some art by your old buddy Rembrandt and a few of his buddies! MEE-uh is closed on Mondays, but otherwise, it’s free all day, every day!

Wikimedia

Go for a swim

We live in the land of 10,000 lakes so if you can’t find a local lake worth taking a dip in, you’re not exactly trying. We tend to prefer Nokomis, but hey, if the lake that will soon be the lake formally known as Lake Calhoun is more your thing, then we say go for it.

Flickr/spikenheimer

Hit Minnehaha Falls

Easily one of the Twin Cities' best attractions, this South Minneapolis ecological wonder never really gets old. In addition to just ogling the falls, take a walk along the trail for a nice little way to spend a weekend afternoon.

Flickr/Phil Roeder

Hang out in a park

We might just have more parks than lakes and, according to CNN, the Twin Cities have the best parks system in the entire US, so get up off your butt and go check some of them out! Might we suggest Theo Wirth or Loring?

Flickr/Sanjay

Walk the Stone Arch Bridge

Catch some of the greatest views in the whole city from this pedestrian walk bridge that crosses directly over the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls. On one side is a beautiful park and on the other are the really cool Mill City Ruins which makes it the perfect afternoon hangout spot.

Flickr/Julie Horton

Visit the Lyndale Park Rose Garden

When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses? We’re guessing that it’s been a while, so indulge your inner botanist and hit up this great little park next to Lake Harriet for an afternoon full of quality flower smellery.

Wikimedia

Check out a show at the Hexagon

For all of you local music-loving audiophiles, hit up this Southside dive bar which offers free shows on the regular. Music tends to range from the acoustic variety to full-on thrash.

Wikimedia

Movies in the park

Movies are great, but FREE movies are arguably ever more great. Watching them in a beautiful Twin Cities park is just gravy on the cake so long as you remember to pack copious amounts of mosquito repellent!
 

Music in the park

This is basically the same idea as movies in the park, only instead of some kind of modern classic film, you get to listen to some variety of local band, which is also pretty sweet.
 

Free yoga in the park

If you’re the type that’s an early riser, there will be a yoga instructor right outside the Harriet Bandshell every day until Labor Day. Classes start right at 6:30am and run rain or shine (unless of course there’s a full-on storm or if it drops below 55 degrees)!

Flickr/Larissa Smith

Visit Lakewood Cemetery

Okay, before you accuse us of having dropped off the deep end, let me just assure you that this place is a great place to learn about Minneapolis’ long and fascinating history. Take a tour through the various mausoleums and learn about what it took to make this great city great!

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Visit Indian Mounds Regional Park

Head over to this Twin Cities park to learn about rich and important Native American history and culture in the St. Paul area. The mounds themselves date back to between 1,500-2,000 years ago and were originally built by early Hopewell populations, but were later added to by the Dakota, and... or just go check ‘em out for yourself.

Flickr/Eric Wilcox

Bike or walk one of the many river trails

There are so many trails for both biking and walking. So. Many. Trails. So please, get out and use them already! If you need recommendations, try out the Midtown Greenway or the West River Parkway which runs right by the aforementioned Mill City Ruins!

Flickr/Ernesto De Quesada

Check out a book

In our not-too-distant past, the central library in Downtown was completely redone and it’s quite the spectacular building. Housing the largest collection of items in the entire Hennepin County library system including a variety of books, art, and various other goodies, it’s the perfect place to spend a day learning a few things.

Flickr/Tony Webster

Stroll through the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

There’s no better place to wander and reflect on the state of your life than at this elaborate indoor garden. Or if you’re feeling extra pensive, hit up the outdoor zen garden for a little added reflection time.

Flickr/Eric Austin

Go wild at the Como Park Zoo

Once you’re done taking in the conservatory, head next door to the free zoo and learn a little bit about what gorillas do in the wild... err, captivity technically.

Wikimedia

Visit our state capitol

These days it's best to avoid politics at all costs, but learn a little bit about Minnesota’s rich political history by taking a free tour of the capitol building. Who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired and decide to become a representative. Hahaha... just kidding, but the tour’s still pretty sweet.

Flickr/Allan Lorde

Gaze upon the St. Paul Cathedral

We’re not exactly talking about heading to mass here, but this building is gorgeous and totally worth checking out for the rich, old-school art and architecture.

 

Midtown GlobalMarket

Meander Midtown Global Market

There are few better places in the Twin Cities for quality people-watching/shopping. It also has live music and various events throughout the course of the week.

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Spend a Sunday at the Bell Museum of Natural History

Free to everyone on Sundays, this is a great place to explore Minnesota’s rich past. Plus it has dioramas and everybody loves dioramas!

Acme Comedy Club

Open-mic night at Acme

Strap in for a night of serious chuckles and some potential groans. This open-mic night is legendary in the Twin Cities comedy community and several veterans use it as a stage to test out new material.

Flickr/tanakawho

Take in the art at the Weisman

More art is never a bad thing and the Twin Cities have a long-standing appreciation of the abstract. You should too.

Flickr/Kyle A. Christopherson

Visit the “Witch's Hat” Tower or the Washburn Water Tower

Even if you’re not into crazy-old architecture, you should still definitely check out these strange Twin Cities landmarks. FYI: the “Witch's Hat” observation tower is only open to the public once a year, but the surrounding park is open all year long.

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