28 Family Friendly Things to do in Minneapolis on a Budget
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are vibrant and exciting destinations for travelers looking to explore the heart of the Midwest.
With a wealth of cultural attractions, stunning natural beauty, and a thriving food and drink scene, there’s something for everyone in these two cities.
And the best part? You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy all the Twin Cities have to offer.
We’ve all been there, budgets get tight, but that shouldn’t’ limit the fun. There are tons of inexpensive things to do around the cities. The best things are all the free parks, parades and festivals around Minneapolis.
Lets explore some of the best ways to experience Minneapolis and St. Paul on a budget, from free museums to affordable dining options and more.
So whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or simply looking to get the most bang for your buck, keep reading for our top tips on exploring the Twin Cities without spending a fortune.
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28 Family Friendly Things to do in Minneapolis on a Budget
Visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The sculpture garden is located next to the Walker Art Center and is free to the public. Visitors can view over 40 works of art, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture.
Explore the Chain of Lakes
The Twin Cities are home to several lakes that are free to access and offer opportunities for swimming, hiking, biking, and picnicking. Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles are popular options.
Visit the Minnesota State Capitol
Guided tours of the Minnesota State Capitol are free and available throughout the day. Visitors can learn about the history of the state and view the building’s impressive architecture.
Walk across the Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. It offers great views of the river and the city skyline.
Check out the Twin Cities’ many parks
The Twin Cities are home to over 200 parks. All of which offer free activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking. Popular options include Minnehaha Park, Como Park, and Theodore Wirth Park.
Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is a world-class art museum that offers free admission to its permanent collection. Visitors can view over 90,000 works of art from around the world.
Explore the Midtown Global Market
The Midtown Global Market is a multicultural market located in south Minneapolis. Visitors can sample foods from around the world, shop for unique gifts, and attend cultural events.
Visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum
The Minnesota Childrens Museum offers free admission on the third Sunday of every month. Kids can explore interactive exhibits, climb through a giant ant hill, and learn about science and art.
The Minnesota Childrens Museum isn’t the only free museum either, there are tons all around the city, including the Minnesota History Center and so much more.
Explore the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
The Como zoo is free to visit, and the conservatory has a suggested donation of $3 per adult and $2 per child. Kids can see animals from around the world, explore the conservatory’s gardens, and ride the vintage carousel.
The MN Zoo is a great alternative, but there isn’t as much in the way of discounts, unless you are using MN Care, or other assistance programs.
Attend a family-friendly festival
The Twin Cities are home to numerous festivals throughout the year that offer free or low-cost family activities. The Minnesota State Fair, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and the MayDay Parade and Festival are just a few examples.
Go hiking or biking
The Twin Cities have numerous parks and trails that are free to explore. Kids can hike through Minnehaha Park, bike around Lake Calhoun, or walk through the gardens at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden.
Go ice skating
In the winter months, many of the Twin Cities’ parks offer free outdoor ice skating rinks. Kids can rent skates for a low cost or bring their own, and enjoy a fun day on the ice.
Click now to find the top spots for ice skating in Minneapolis and experience the thrill of gliding across frozen lakes!
Explore the Minneapolis Central Library
The library offers free events for kids of all ages, including storytimes, craft workshops, and puppet shows. Kids can also explore the library’s extensive collection of books and media.
Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The arboretum offers free admission for children ages 12 and under. Kids can explore over 1,200 acres of gardens, woods, and prairies, and participate in special events and activities.
Attend a free concert or performance
The Twin Cities are home to numerous free outdoor concerts and performances throughout the year, including the Music in the Parks series, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and the Como Park Summer Concert Series.
Visit the Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center offers free admission on Thursday evenings from 5-9 pm. Kids can explore contemporary art exhibitions, participate in hands-on activities, and attend special events.
Visit the Weisman Art Museum
The Weisman Art Museum, located on the University of Minnesota campus, offers free admission every day of the week. Kids can explore the museum’s modern art exhibitions, participate in hands-on activities, and attend special events.
Check out a farmers market
The Twin Cities have numerous farmers markets throughout the year, where you can find fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts. Many markets also offer live music and entertainment. The Minneapolis Farmers Market and St Paul Farmers Markets. Don’t count out local farmers market either.
Mall Of America Events
The Mall of America hosts a variety of free events throughout the year, such as concerts, storytimes, and workshops. Check the mall’s event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
Alternatively you could by a few rides at Nickelodeon Universe if you have the cash.
Located in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Park is a 193-acre park with a beautiful waterfall and miles of walking and biking trails. Admission to the park is free, making it a great option for a budget-friendly day out.
Murals in Minneapolis
Minneapolis is home to numerous murals and street art installations, many of which can be seen for free. Take a self-guided walking tour of neighborhoods like the North Loop or Uptown to see some of the city’s best street art.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are both situated along the Mississippi River, which offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. The Nice Ride Minnesota paddle-sharing program is a great way to rent a paddleboard or Kayak and return it further downstream.
Stillwater Trolley Company
Stillwater, Minnesota is a charming historic town located on the St. Croix River. The Stillwater Trolley Company offers affordable trolley tours of the town, highlighting its history and landmarks.
Stillwater Lift Bridge
The Stillwater Lift Bridge is a historic bridge that connects Stillwater, Minnesota with Wisconsin. The bridge offers great views of the St. Croix River and is a popular spot for photos and picnics.
Discover the best of Stillwater, MN! Click now to unlock the hidden gems and exciting activities that are sure to make your visit unforgettable.
Ninja Warrior Style Parks
Minneapolis is home to several indoor and outdoor obstacle course parks inspired by the TV show “American Ninja Warrior.”
These parks offer challenging courses for all skill levels and are a fun and unique way to get active on a budget. They are Grassmann Park in Jordan and Schaper Park in Golden Valley
Minneapolis has several affordable mini golf courses, including Can Can Wonderland in St. Paul, which features whimsical, artist-designed holes, and Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden in Minnetrista, which features unique sculptures and water features.
Ready to putt your skills to the test? Click now to discover the best Mini Golf locations in Minnesota and start planning your next adventure!
Minneapolis is known for its thriving food truck scene. At any given time there are upwards of a 100 trucks roaming hte cities, serving up delicous cuisines throughout the city.
Follow your favorite trucks on social media to find out where they’ll be parked on any given day and enjoy a delicious meal on a budget.
The Minneapolis area is home to several beautiful waterfalls, including Minnehaha Falls in Minnehaha Falls, St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, and Hidden Falls Regional Park in St Paul. Many of these falls are easily accessible by foot or bike and offer a stunning natural backdrop for a budget-friendly day out.
Find out where all the waterfalls are hiding by clicking here.
Tips for Low-Cost Transportation
There are several budget-friendly transportation options in the Twin Cities, including public transit, biking, and walking.
The Metro Transit system offers affordable bus and light rail service throughout the region, with fares starting at just $2.
For those who prefer to walk, the Twin Cities have an extensive network of trails and sidewalks, making it easy to explore on foot.
Don’t Stress on your Next Trip to the Twin Cities with these Budget friendly activities
Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul offer numerous family-friendly activities that are budget-friendly. From visiting museums, parks, and zoos to attending festivals and events, there’s something for everyone. The Twin Cities are also home to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, ice skating, and swimming.
There are many opportunities to explore the local food and drink scene, with farmers markets, multicultural markets, and affordable dining options.
No matter what your interests, the Twin Cities are an exciting destination for budget-conscious travelers and families looking for a fun day out.