So, if you are wondering what to do during summer’s twilight, fear not. We’ve got you covered with our list of 7 things to do before summer ends.
1. Go Mini Golfing
You have plenty of options if you want to putt-putt your way around a mini golf course. Of course, there is the artist designed mini golf at the Walker Art Center where you play through, you guessed it, 9 or 18 holes of artist-designed mini golf. It’s mini-golf unlike anything you’ve seen before (except a few of the holes from last year are back again this year), and if you want to partake, you better hurry. This course shuts down at 8:00 pm on Labor Day.
Looking for something a bit more traditional? You still have options: there is Captains Course Mini Golf in Eagan (closes for the season September 7), Lilli-Putt in Coon Rapids (closes for the season September 10), the Links at Dred Scott in Bloomington (closes for the season October 1). And don’t forget the “miniature” golf course at Centennial Lakes in Edina.
2. Take a Dip in a Pool or Lake
Minneapolis Parks, which have again been named number one in the country, are known for their 63 popular wading pools spread around the city. The pools range in style as some are simply a circular or rectangular pool while others include spray features and waterfalls. The park board also manages the Jim Lupient Water Park, which includes three large water slides, a log water walk, a spray pool for younger kids and much more. Sadly, all of these pools close for the season on Sunday, August 23.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board also manages the Webber Natural Swimming Pool, which is the first swimming pool in North America to have a natural filtration system that uses plants in a nearby pond rather than chemicals to treat the water. And, this pool is open through Labor Day!
If you’d rather go jump in a lake, Beachdeals.com recently named Hidden Beach at Cedar Lake as one of their six underrated beaches in the country. And they’re probably right; Hidden Beach is a gem in the middle of the city.
3. Be a Tourist in the City
Why not play tourist in Minneapolis? You never know what you’ll learn. First, consider a bicycle tour with Minneapolis By Bike. They have four different tours you can choose from running Thursdays through Sundays, including the Farmers Market Tour, Historic Tour, Bike and Brew Tour, and the City Loop Tour. Minneapolis By Bike provides everything you need, including bikes and helmets. They even have some kids bikes and a tag-along, so bring the kids (and a water bottle). And if Thursday through Sunday doesn’t work for you, call them anyway. They’ll try to accommodate you and your schedule.
Another option, and a fun one at that, is to take a Segway Tour around the city. Human on a Stick is a local tour company that provides all of their tours via Segway. Before the tour begins, however, they’ll make sure you fully understand how to operate the Segway. Then it’s off on one of their tours, although the only daily tour is the Magical History Tour, which covers several miles along the Minneapolis Riverfront. The tour, led by a professional guide, takes about three hours to complete and covers the history of the Riverfront from 10,000 BC to the present. You must be at least 13 years old to participate, and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
4. Visit Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store
You can’t miss Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, also known as Jim’s Apple Farm, as you drive along 169 just south of Jordan. This family-run business is seasonal, from June through November, and they have been operating in its current location for 37 years. You will find aisles and aisles of candy, some that you’ve seen before, some from your childhood, and some that you’ve never heard of. But you also will find so much more, like lots and lots of jigsaw puzzles, and the world’s largest collection of soda. In addition, they sell apples and produce from the fields the family owns in Belle Plaine, as well as a variety of locally-made products from their neighbors. Oh, and the store has no phone and no website, so if you want to find them, drive south on 169 until you see a big yellow building just south of Jordan. The address, by the way, is 20430 Johnson Memorial Dr.
5. Visit a Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
Did you know that the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is the oldest public wildflower garden in the country, dating back to 1907? That’s the year Minneapolis botanist Eloise Butler and botany teachers successfully petitioned the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to create a natural botanic garden as the city grew. Since it opened on April 27 of that year when three acres of bog, meadow and hillside were fenced in at Theodore Wirth Park, it has grown to be home to more than 500 plant species and provides habitat for more than 140 resident and migratory bird species. You can either explore the garden on your own or take a naturalist-led hike. Regardless of how you see it, prairie flowers such as asters, sunflowers, blazing stars and goldenrods are currently at peak and a glorious site to see. The garden is open through October 15.
6. Minneapolis Lakes by Boat
Before they freeze over for the winter, get out on the Minneapolis lakes in a boat. At Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis you can rent a canoe, kayak (double or single), stand up paddle board or pedal boat (double or single) from Wheel Fun Rentals. You can rent these by the hour with rates anywhere from $12 to $20 per hour every day through Labor Day.
If you’d rather, you can enjoy a free sailboat ride on Lake Calhoun, weather permitting, of course. Every afternoon through sunset, you can catch a ride with Sailing Lake Calhoun, which has been providing these free rides for a number of years from May through Mid-October. They expect nothing from you except a smile and perhaps a pose for a photo. Oh, and you’ll need to fill out this waiver and hand it to them prior to getting in the boat. To catch a free ride, go to the dock 3000 Calhoun Pkwy E., by Tin Fish. If they are not there, just hang out and wait a few minutes and they’ll be by to pick you up.
7. Music and Movies in the Park
Did you know that you could catch live music at a number of Minneapolis parks every single night of the week throughout the summer for free? What’s more, you could also see a flick for free at a Minneapolis park every Monday through Saturday. Sadly, both are coming to an end soon, but there’s still time.
The last night for a movie is Saturday, August 29 when Beetlejuice will play at Beltrami Park. You also have the chance to see movies like The Help, Finding Nemo, Top Gun and Smokey and the Bandit. For a full list, click here. The free music runs through September 7 with plenty of great options to choose from. For a listing of who’s playing where, click here.
It’s been another great summer in Minneapolis, and it’s not over yet. So get out and squeeze in every last drop that you can.