10 Minnesota Summer Activities You Can’t Miss This Season

Updated February 18, 2022
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We might be a little biased, but Minnesota summers are simply the best. With warm weather, lots of sunshine, and plenty of fun places to explore across the state, this season can’t be beat!

While every other summer activity guide will tell you to do the same things like “go to the State Fair” or “watch a baseball game at Target Field,” we want to share ten unique summer activities in MN that will help you see our state in a whole new light. (Even though the State Fair and baseball games are fun too.)

1) Stop and Smell the Roses: Lyndale Park Rose Garden

One of the best hidden gems in Minneapolis is Lyndale Park. The shining feature of Lyndale Park is the Rose Garden. Between mid-June and early October, this vibrant garden with 3,000 plants blooms with stunning colors and aromatic scents.

Fun fact: The Rose Garden is the second oldest public rose garden in the entire country!

While you’re there, have a picnic at the Peace Garden across the street or take a walk around Lake Harriet.

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2) Support Local Artisans at the Farmers Market

Nothing says a summer weekend morning like going to the farmers market. Between straight-from-the farm produce, fresh flowers, and yummy food trucks, this is one of our favorite summer activities in Minnesota.

Not only are there dozens of farmers markets in the Twin Cities metro, but you can find farmers markets across the entire state!

Tip: Bring cash, as many vendors won’t accept credit cards.

visiting the farmers market for summer activites

3) Take a Grand Tour of Our Six National Parks

This summer, give yourself a little challenge to complete. Minnesota is blessed with not one, not two, but six national parks and monuments! Make a checklist for yourself and visit all six Minnesota national parks.

Our six family-friendly national parks across the state are:

  1. Voyageurs National Park
  2. Grand Portage National Monument
  3. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
  4. North Country Scenic Trail
  5. Pipestone National Monument
  6. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

4) Get Your Wheels Spinning: Rent a Bike With a Friend

When the sun comes out in Minnesota summers, so do Nice Ride rental bikes. In the surrounding Minneapolis area, more than 3,000 bikes get placed outside for rental. If you’re looking for something different to do with friends or family members, consider renting a bike and riding around the Chain of Lakes. With more than 400 return stations across Minneapolis, it’s a breeze to rent a bike for a few hours or the entire day!

bike ride summer activities

5) Saddle Up: Check Out Our Horseback Riding Trails

When’s the last time you rode on the back of a horse down a beautiful trail at sunset? Make this summer the best one yet and try something new like horseback riding! Minnesota features over 1,000 miles of horse riding trails.

Guided trail rides are available through multiple horse stables and resorts across the state. No need to worry if you’ve never ridden a horse before— a friendly and talented wrangler will teach you everything you need to know. Plus, horses used for trail rides are well-trained and accessible for any skill level.

Some of our favorite guided horseback riding trails in Minnesota are:

  • Bunker Park Stable- Andover
  • Silver Sage Guest Ranch- Clitherall
  • HHH Ranch- Hastings
  • Hiddenbrook Peruvians Horseback Riding Adventures- Cambridge

summer activites horseback riding trails

6) Go Rooftop-Hopping

Whether you’re on the search for the best breakfast spot in the Twin Cities or you’re determined to discover the best margarita in the state, soak up the summer sun on a fun rooftop restaurant. Rooftop restaurants are fantastic places to get fresh air and enjoy the stunning city views Minnesota has to offer.

Some of our favorite rooftop bars and restaurants:

  • Brit’s Pub- Minneapolis
  • Ox Cart Arcade- St. Paul
  • Amore Uptown- Minneapolis
  • The Lexington- St. Paul
  • Grandma’s Saloon- Duluth
  • Kathy’s Pub- Rochester
  • Restoration Hardware- Edina
  • Hewing Hotel- Minneapolis

group of friends rooftop hopping as minneapolis summer activities

7) Cool Down With Unique Ice Cream Flavors

Even though our winters get cold, Minnesota has no shortage of ice cream shops across the state. There’s never a bad time for ice cream during the summer, but you can get classic vanilla and chocolate flavors anywhere.

To round out your summer bucket list, be sure to check out these unique ice cream shops to discover flavors like “Cereal Killers” at Milkjam Creamery or edible glitter at MN Nice Cream.

  • Sebastian Joe’s- Minneapolis
  • Bebe Zito- Minneapolis
  • Milkjam Creamery- Minneapolis
  • MN Ice Cream- Minneapolis
  • Two Scoops- Anoka
  • Adele’s Frozen Custard- Excelsior
  • Grandpa’s Ice Cream- Fridley
  • Honey & Mackie’s- Plymouth


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8) Enjoy the Open Breeze on a Dinner Cruise

Spend a luxurious evening sailing through the stunning bluffs along the St. Croix River by booking a dinner boat cruise in Stillwater, MN. Stillwater River Boats are one of the most quintessential indicators of summertime in Minnesota. This unique activity is perfect for family outings and date nights alike! After your cruise, take a stroll through the quaint downtown area in Stillwater.

9) Kayaks, Paddleboards, and Canoes: Oh My!

In the land of 10,000 lakes, it would simply be wrong to miss out on water activities during the summer. We love how people are always enjoying the outdoors as much as possible during Minnesota summers.

See what all the fun is about and spend a day (or many days!) out on the water yourself. Many rental companies on the lakes and rivers will rent out equipment like:

  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Canoes
  • Pedal boats

Enjoy a relaxing day out on the water— just don’t forget your sunscreen!

canoeing as fun summer activities

10) All That Jazz . . . in the Park

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is a unique event that occurs every June in St. Paul, MN. Ever since its inception in 1999, the Twin Cities Jazz Fest brings the best live jazz from across the state and country to Mears Park and other venues across St. Paul.

Almost all of the stages and venues are within walking distance, making this weekend-long event a great excuse to explore Downtown St. Paul with your own personal jazz soundtrack.

Oh, and did we mention the Jazz Festival is completely free?

Minnesota Summers Can’t Be Beat

With all that Minnesota offers in summer and every season, it’s no surprise why so many people call this beautiful state home. Whether you want to be nearby your favorite ice cream shop, Minneapolis park, or farmers market, Bigos has the perfect place for you to call home.

Check out our available apartments today!

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