The Absolute Best Things to Do in the Twin Cities This Summer

Updated On 06/22/2017 at 06:28PM EST Updated On 06/22/2017 at 06:28PM EST
Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota State Fair | Flickr/smcgee
Twin Cities Pride
Flickr/Tony Webster
Jun 24
Downtown East
The Mill City Market just keeps on growing when it comes to the amount of vendors, variety of goods, and types of treats to eat. Now in it’s 12th season, the market will also feature cooking demos, yoga, and live music.
Saturday - Sunday
Jun 24-25
Loring Park
Don your brightest rainbow gear and head to celebrate love and equality at the annual Loring Park festival on Saturday and Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade down Hennepin Avenue on Sunday. The march is the crowning glory of Pride, drawing nearly 300,000 people and featuring more than 100 floats ranging from family-friendly to anything... butt.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Basilica Block Party
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Basilica Block Party | Flickr/Dustin Gaffke
Jul 1
Harriet Island Park, St. Paul
Wanderlust puts on one-day events all over the world that combine a 5K run, outdoor yoga flow class, and a guided meditation for what they call “mindful movement.” You’re guaranteed to get your sweat on and leave feeling awesome, inside and out.
Jul 4
Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront
What’s the Fourth without fireworks? Red, White & Boom has the best display in town, but be sure to stake out a spot along the river early, because prime blanket space goes fast.
Friday - Saturday
Jul 7-8
The Basilica of Saint Mary
Witness a great outdoor block party at Basilica’s two-day festival, which features The Shins, Brandi Carlile, Walk the Moon, and AWOLNATION this year. You can also sip local beer, vodka, and whiskey, and sample the wares from a bunch of great food trucks.
Jul 8
Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, Maple Plain
Did you love summer camp as a kid? Well, now you can enjoy it in a whole new way -- with tons of pizza, as an adult. Pizza Camp, appropriately named, is an overnight pie party where you stay in rustic cabins, go canoeing and hiking, practice archery, drink craft beer, and learn how to make your own pizza in a woodfire oven.
Jul 9
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Wear all-white and get bombarded with every hue in the rainbow as you race in the Color Run. This year’s giant inflatable unicorns will make for great Instagram shots, too.
Thursday - Sunday
Jul 13-16
U.S. Bank Stadium
ESPN’s X Games roll into U.S. Bank this summer with more than 200 of the world’s best skateboarding, freestyle motocross, and BMX athletes competing for major prize money. Post-competition, Atmosphere, Flume, and other artists will perform.
Sunday - Friday
Jul 16-21
Twin Cities-wide
Picking up the check at some of the Twin Cities’ hottest restaurants can really add up, but Restaurant Week offers your wallet relief with a week’s worth of great dining deals. Book early -- tables at newer spots like Mercy and McKinney Roe and favorites like Borough and Lurcat will fill up fast.
Monday - Wednesday
Jul 17-19
Target Field
There’s nothing that says summer like a Twins game. During this stretch, the surprisingly good Twins are home for a three-game series against the surprisingly good Yankees, so it’s a great few days to head to Target Field.
Wednesday - Saturday
Jul 19-22
Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront
The official civic celebration of the City of Minneapolis returns downtown with the Torchlight Parade & 5K, and of course, Target Fireworks. Aquatennial has changed a lot in 78 years, but one thing remains the same: it always seems to fall during the hottest week of summer, so hydrate accordingly.
Jul 22
Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden
Moved to Boom Island last year due to construction at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Rock the Garden returns to the real garden at the Walker. In addition to catching Bon Iver and The Revolution, you can take selfies with that new gigantic blue chicken sculpture.
Jul 29
Midtown Greenway
The Greenway is an artery through the city for bikers, and the Glow is the trail’s largest fundraising event to keep it clean, well-maintained, and safe. The evening event consists of an arts festival, 10mi bike ride, 5k fun run/walk, free snacks and beverages, and prizes for the best costumes.
Minneapolis State Fair
Minneapolis State Fair | Ben Harding/
Friday - Sunday
Aug 4-6
Over 350 artists and 25 food stands will stop traffic at Hennepin and Lake for this massive three-day art fair, which also includes beer gardens, live music, and family activities. Always popular is the Kitchen Window Culinary Arts Competition, which pits local chefs against one another to create dishes that are visually dazzling.
Aug 15
Father Hennepin Bluff Park, St. Anthony Main
While the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board offers outdoor showings of your Tinseltown favorites all summer, we think this year’s almost-best picture La La Land makes an Oscar-worthy evening under the stars.
Thursday - Monday
Aug 24-Sep 4
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
You’re not doing summer right without a trip to the great Minnesota get-together. Whether you’re going to eat the insane fried food, look at baby piglets, or listen to this year’s grandstand headliner Toby Keith, there’s truly something for everyone.
Aug 26
Mt. Normandale Lake Park, Bloomington
Most 5k races start in the morning, but if you’re more of a night owl, The Glo Run provides a welcome alternative with its 8:30pm start. Along the course, you’ll find black light zones, glow sticks, lasers, and live DJs, and at the finish line, you’ll join a rave-like dance party.
Aug 30
Brit’s Pub, Minneapolis
Saying “om” under the downtown Minneapolis skyline is a great way to wrap up your summer. Brit’s plays host to YogaFit Studios this year, where instructors will lead a complimentary all-levels class and the pub will provide drink specials post-savasana.