To make the most of a long weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul, lock in a budget-friendly room in Roseville. We are perfectly positioned between Minnesota’s dynamic Twin Cities, making it the ideal base for exploring everything kid-centric the metro area has to offer. Here are 10 fun ideas to get you started.
Be first in line at the Minnesota State Fair
The Great Minnesota Get-Together is one of the biggest draws on the season—with the traffic to prove it. But if you book a hotel in Roseville between August 22 and September 2, you’ll be within three miles of the fairgrounds. Snag a parking spot early and dedicate the rest of the day to riding giant slides and whirling teacups on the Kidway, inhaling buckets of deep-fried cheese curds and Sweet Martha’s fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, and bopping along to the kooky lyrics of “Weird Al” Yankovic, this year’s top headliner.
Catch a free concert at Central Park’s Frank Rog Ampitheatre
Roseville’s summer-long Live @ The Rog! series kicks off on Sunday, June 9 with a rollicking set by the boot-kicking Texas swing band Honky Tonk Jump. It’s part of a special “Creative Crossroads” program that cuts across many different cultures and musical styles, from Haitian dance anthems to Asian hip-hop. Sundays aren’t your only opportunity to see free shows, either; the Rog also hosts a wide array of artists on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7 until 8 p.m., so parents can enjoy an exhilarating bluegrass or big band performance and little ones can still be tucked into bed at a reasonable hour.
Ring in Fourth of July weekend at Rosefest
The community celebration starts June 24 with the 29th annual Rose Parade and wraps up on July 4 with a Central Park soiree featuring live music, puppet shows, bouncy castles, food vendors, and a fireworks finale over Bennett Lake. In between, look out for the Superhero Carnival on June 28 (costumes encouraged!) and a Backyard Campout at Harriet Alexander Nature Center on June 29.
Cool down at Como Regional Park
Some two million people visit St. Paul’s most beloved park every year. The sprawling grounds boast a miniature golf course, zoo, conservatory, century-old carousel, and a water park with a lazy river and aquatic zipline. Check the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory calendar before heading over; highlights include zookeeper talks and free Groovin’ in the Garden concerts. Plus, the zoo and conservatory are free (donations accepted).
Explore the natural history exhibits at the Bell Museum
The paint has barely dried on the Bell Museum‘s new 90,000-square-foot, $79-million-dollar space, which opened on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus last summer. Among its main attractions are the famed dioramas of world-renowned artist Francis Lee Jaques — now beautifully restored and displayed in climate-controlled glass cases — and a digital planetarium that features intergalactic lessons on dark matter, constellations, and far, far away planets.
Root, root, root for the home team at CHS Field
For a more affordable alternative to a Twins game, head for the St. Paul Saints’ 4-year-old stadium. Owned in part by actor Bill Murray, the independent baseball team is known for staging publicity stunts such as the world’s largest pillow fight (6,261 people joined in the mayhem) and a Bobblehead Battle between John Kerry and George Bush. “SPLASH Zone” bleacher seats are $6 bucks for adults and $5 for kids aged 14 and under.
Sample the something-for-everyone fare at Keg & Case
USA Today readers christened Keg & Case the country’s Best New Food Hall in 2019. While parents dig the barbecue platters at Revival Smoked Meats, kids go crazy for the cotton candy poufs from Spinning Wylde. More than 50 far-out flavors are on offer, including cherry lemonade, cookies & cream, and wacky dilly pickle. (Don’t worry, Mom and Dad — the dye-free candy is spun using organic cane sugar.) If ice cream is more Junior’s speed, book it over to Sweet Science, which doles out creamy, dreamy scoops of timeless flavors like peanut butter chocolate and peach cobbler.
Say hello to the chickens at Wild Rumpus
Imagination doesn’t just pour from the pages at Minneapolis’ beloved children’s bookstore. It spills into the aisles, which are frequented by a chinchilla named Caldecott, a fluffy chicken named Neil DeGrasse Tyson, two cats, and a trio of mice, a.k.a. Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit. A Mexican Fireleg tarantula also sleeps in the fantasy section, making Wild Rumpus’ kiddo customers wonder if Harry Potter‘s magical tales are a true story after all.
Snorkel with stingrays at SeaQuest
This brand-new attraction is a 23,000-square-foot, hands-on aquatic “edutainment” center—imagine an aviary crossed with an aquarium and a petting zoo. For kids, it’s a maritime fantasyland where they can get up close and personal with 1,200 creatures, including sharks, turtles, snakes, lizards, and birds. (Warning: The parrots might sit on their heads. Rude!) Families that pack their own swimsuits and book a 30-minute snorkeling session in advance will find themselves floating above dancing stingrays and schools of rainbow-bright fish. Teens, meanwhile, can buddy up with SeaQuest’s bird trainers to learn all about animal psychology—or explore the Rosedale Center’s other offerings. SeaQuest is just the latest chapter in the Roseville mall’s multimillion-dollar makeover; the renovation also includes a new food hall and department store.
See a top-rate musical at the Children’s Theatre Company
The Tony Award-winning Children’s Theatre Company is winding down its latest season with Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical. Make a day of it by pairing the play with a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, located under the same roof. Mia’s free monthly Family Day events feature dance and musical performances, crafty crafts, and art-themed scavenger hunts.