By Brian Fischer   |   August 13, 2014  
things to do in mn in the spring and summer

Things to Do in MN in the Spring and Summer

Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone, MN

Zoom Image One of the first signs of spring in Minnesota is sugar maple tree tapping and maple syrup production.

Group of guests take a tour through the sugar maple tree tapping and maple syrup boiling process at the Dodge Nature Center in West Saint Paul, MN

Zoom Image Dodge Nature Center families take a tour of sugar maple tree tapping sites and learn how to identify sugar maple trees.

The Grand View Lodge main Inn Dining Room is anchored by a large stone fireplace.

Zoom Image With the perfect mix of rustic and modern “cabin” accents Brainerd’s Grand View Lodge hit a home run.

Grand View Lodge on Brainerd's Gull Lake - Main Inn Lobby

Zoom Image Grand View Lodge’s main lodge retains its historic charm while treating guests to modern conveniences.

Falconer Vineyards Wine Tasting in Red Wing, MN

Zoom Image At Falconer’s year round wine tasting you’ll
experience Potter John’s, Vignoles, or their famed Port.

Soudan Underground Mine State Park Tours: Soudan, MN

Zoom Image Tours of Soudan Underground Mine include views
of the historic mine and the current physics lab.


Zoom Image At the top of the Prospect Park “Witch’s Hat” Water Tower, see spectacular views of Minneapolis and nearby University of Minnesota campus.

Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, MN Canal Park

Zoom Image The iconic Aerial Lift Bridge in
Duluth, MN Canal Park

Lake Walk within Duluth, MN Canal Park

Zoom Image The Lake Walk along Duluth Canal
Park stretches to Fitger’s.

International Tug-of-War: International Falls, MN

Zoom Image Celebrities like former MN Viking Matt Blair have helped the United States Tug-of-War team in past years.
Zoom Image Angry Trout Café in the Grand Marais, MN
harbor offers seafood, wine and locally sourced produce.

East Bay Suites Lobby in Grand Marais, MN

Zoom Image East Bay Suites on the Grand Marais harbor
offer modern rentals with a large lobby fireplace.

High Falls at Grand Portage State Park - 120 Foot

Zoom Image High Falls at Grand Portage State Park
is Minnesota’s highest waterfall at 120 feet.

Voyageur role-player at Grand Portage National Monument

Zoom Image Voyageur role-players can be seen at
Grand Portage National Monument
Zoom Image Guests at Barnesville Potato Days watch a
live chainsaw wood carving demonstration.

Summer 2014 Minnesota Travel Guide: It’s time to start planning your spring and summer getaways. Don’t miss these top things to do in MN


After a long renovation, Northrop Auditorium celebrates its grand reopening on April 4 with a performance by the American Ballet Theatre.

Spring is hatching – literally – at the Minnesota Zoo, where its annual Farm Babies exhibit takes place throughout the month.

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival returns April 3-19 at the St. Anthony Main Theatre.

Spend a weekend tracking food from the farm to the table at the Audubon Center of the Northwoods Food & Farms Weekend April 4-6. Participate in workshops on gardening, cooking and food preservation, and visit local farms. The weekend includes chef-prepared meals.

The maple syrup season is coming to an end, but you can still catch a demonstration April 12 at Maplewood State Park. Learn how sap is boiled and have a taste of pure maple syrup.

The North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable hosts “Crafting the North Shore Beer Scene” April 13. Brewers from Fitger’s, Lake Superior Brewing Co, Carmody Irish Pub & Brewery, Canal Park Brewing Co and Blacklist Brewing share what makes the North Shore’s beer scene unique. Ticket proceeds benefit Duluth-area charities.

The Bluff Country Studio Art Tour returns April 25-27 in Lanesboro. Regional artists showcase bead making, pottery, wood carving and other artwork, as well as demonstrations.


May is Minnesota Museums Month. Check for special events and discounts all month long at Minnesota’s more than 600 museums – which includes art and science museums, arboretums, zoos and more.

Spring is in bloom at the annual Minneapolis Institute of Arts Art in Bloom exhibit May 1-4. Showcasing more than 150 floral artists, the exhibit features designs inspired by artwork throughout the museum over four days of both ticketed and free events.

Jump in the car and head to the annual 100 Mile Garage Sale in the bluffs region May 1-4. Fifteen river towns from Red Wing to Winona participate in the sale.

Reserve your weekend at Bluefin Bay May 2-3 during its annual Spring Food & Wine Lovers Weekend. The weekend includes a four and a five-course dinner, plus a wine tasting event.

The 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener heads to the Brainerd Lakes Area May 8-11. Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake will host a weekend of events including music, dining and, of course, fishing.

See more than 250 species of birds at the Festival of Birds in Detroit Lakes May 15-18. The area is located in the transition zone from prairie to northern hardwood and coniferous forest, making it an ideal spot to see the spring migration. Participate in birding and photography workshops during the weekend.

Art-A-Whirl returns to Northeast Minneapolis May 16-18. The free event attracts more than 500 local artists and is one of the largest studio art tours in the country. See live events and demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Head to Whalan, Minn. May 17. The town, which at 63 residents claims it’s too small for a traditional parade, holds the annual Stand Still Parade, during which “the parade doesn’t move, the spectators do.’ Enjoy parade floats, food, live entertainment, and arts and craft vendors.

Interested in craft beer? Visit “Riding the Wave of Beer,” hosted by The North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable. North Shore brewers discuss what it takes to start a beer business. Ticket proceeds benefit Duluth-area charities.

Grape growing season is arriving, and the start of a new growing season is marked with the Tap the Barrel event. Taste the first sips of last year’s harvest and celebrate the new season May 24-25 at wineries along the Three Rivers Wine Trail, including: WineHaven Winery and Vineyard, Northern Vineyards Winery, St. Croix Vineyards, Falconer’s Vineyards and Winery and Cannon River Winery.

Dylan Days returns to the Iron Range town of Hibbing May 22-25. The event, taking place over Bob Dylan’s 73rd birthday (May 24), includes live music, tours of local Dylan landmarks and a music competition.

The annual Pratt Ice Cream Social takes place May 30 in Minneapolis. It’s the only night of the year the Prospect Park “witch’s hat” water tower is open for public tours. Climb to the top and see spectacular views from atop the city’s highest point.

The classic car tradition continues in downtown Hastings, with the first Historic Saturday Night Cruise In on May 31, featuring cars from 1977 or older.

Stillwater’s annual Rivertown Art Festival returns May 31 through June 1. The juried event takes place in Lowell Park and features more than 100 artists, making it one of the largest art fairs in the area.


Billed as the largest one-day festival in the Midwest, Grand Old Day takes place June 1 on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. Kick off summer with live music, food and the Grand Old Day Parade.

Plan a trip along the Great River Wine Trail June 1-2 for the June Bloom Wine Event. Sample wine and ciders paired with local foods. Some wineries will host life music.

Northfield’s Riverwalk Market Fair starts June 7. The farmer’s market also features local arts and craft and artisan foods, and takes place each Saturday through October in along the Cannon River.

The National Eagle Center in Wabasha hosts a day of special programs for Bald Eagle Day June 20, the day the bald eagle was taken off the endangered species list after more than 30 years.

Como Park and Conservatory in St. Paul, MN opens its Chipotle Edible Garden on June 13 – 15 followed by World Giraffe Day on June 21!

Grandma’s Marathon returns June 21. See more than 14,000 take on the half and full marathon, from Two Harbors to Duluth, MN.

Get your tickets early for Rock the Garden 2014, presented by the Walker Art Center and 89.3 the Current June 21-22. The annual summer outdoor concert has featured such names as Sonic Youth, David Byrne, Wilco and Bon Iver. Pre-sale tickets are available to Walker and MPR members.

Back to the 50’s Weekend returns to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds June 21-23. See more than 11,000 classic cars, hosted by the Minnesota Street Rod Association.

The 16th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival comes to downtown St. Paul June 26-28. Enjoy free music in St. Paul’s Mears Park.

Water skiing was invented on Lake Pepin, in Lake City; celebrate the sport June 27-29 at Water Ski Days. Live music, a classic car show, arts and crafts, food, and of course, water ski shows highlight the weekend of events.


USA takes on Canada July 2 in the International Tug-of-War. The event celebrates peace between the two countries – and a bit of rivalry as well. A rope is stretched across the Rainy River between International Falls, MN and Fort Francis in Canada for the annual pull.

A Taste of Minnesota is back July 3-6 in St. Paul. The festival returns to its roots, with live music, food and fireworks displays for the whole family to enjoy.

Mark Independence Day weekend at the Three Rivers Wine Trail’s Red, White and Sangria event July 5-6. Sample your favorite reds and whites, and try a Sangria at each winery on the trail.

Deer River celebrates its annual Wild Rice Festival July 11-13, featuring food, live music and a parade to recognize the region known for its abundance of wild rice.

Head to the North Shore for the 24th annual Grand Marais Arts Festival July 12-13. More than 70 area artists showcase their work.

Stillwater’s summer festival returns July 18-20. Renamed Stillwater Log Jam, the weekend of events includes a parade, lumberjack demonstrations, a fishing contest and more.

Billed as the “Best Days of Summer,” the Minneapolis Aquatennial returns July 18-26. Don’t miss annual favorites like the Torchlight Parade, sandcastle competition, milk carton boat races, and the fireworks display.

Hunt out our local gem, the agate, at Moose Lake Agate Days July 19-20. Try your hand at agate picking during the Agate Stampede – two dump trucks dump loads of rocks mixed with agates onto the streets of Moose Lake and when the cannon goes off, spectators dive in to pick out the agates.

Sample local brews at the All Pints North beer festival July 26 at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, MN. The event features local craft beer samples, life music and food.

The North Shore Dragon Boat Festival takes place July 26-28 in Grand Marais, MN. The paddling event benefits local nonprofits, and also features youth and family paddling opportunities in the harbor, a pancake breakfast and live music.


Grand Marais, MN population will grow by ten times the weekend of August 1-3 during the annual Fisherman’s Picnic. The festival features a fish toss, minnow races, lumberjack demonstrations, food, live music and a parade.

Head to the Minnesota Zoo August 8 for the 5th annual Brew at the Zoo. Sample local craft brews and enjoy complimentary appetizers and live music.

Grand Portage National Monument Rendezvous Days takes place August 8-11. Re-enactors gather to recognize the monument’s rich history. The weekend includes music, demonstrations and workshops. It is held in conjunction with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s Rendezvous Days Pow-wow.

Duluth, MN Bayfront Blues Festival returns August 8-10. More than 20,000 gather for one of the largest outdoor music events in the Midwest, featuring 30 acts on two stages.

Como Park and Conservatory in St. Paul, MN hosts its annual Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival on August 17th.

Celebrate the spud at Barnesville Potato Days August 22-23. Try your luck at a potato sack race, potato pealing, the National Lefse Cookoff and a potato picking contest. Enjoy potato foods and live music.

Don’t let summer come to an end without a visit to the Minnesota State Fair August 21- September 1.

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