Fall Activities In MN (Minnesota), a place full of the picturesque, vast wilderness that begs to be discovered. If you aren’t a resident but feel the call of the wild, it’s an amazing opportunity to get lost in some of its many dense forests, rolling hills, and beautiful lakes.
In my opinion Minnesota natural beauty is at its best during fall, when the yellow and orange colors paint the whole landscape in a new light. During the fall, there are many unique festivals and events throughout Minnesota, and there’s never a shortage of things to see and do.
Here are some of our picks for the most interesting fall activities in MN you can try out:
Apples are a very simple but uniquely beloved treat in Minnesota. There are many orchards where you can participate in apple picking and sample the fruit. There are multiple festivals during the fall that attract many customers throughout the state. It can be a lovely diversion that a whole family can participate in.
If you’re a tourist who’s still exploring Minnesota, you can start at the Aamodt’s Apple Farm. These tours can be surprisingly elaborate for newcomers. They offer packages for school and church groups at a discount, have apple bakeries with apple-based treats and other merchandise. Some even include hot air balloon rides around the premises!
Another option is the Afton Apple Orchard that also grows blueberries, cherries, and raspberries. This is an ideal one to bring your kids to as they have a great playground and a petting farm.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkins are another local favorite in Minnesota. You can explore various pumpkin patches as a part of the autumn fall ritual. The best patches stand out with the healthiest, plump pumpkins. This trend kicks off every year, especially during Halloween, when pumpkins become a valuable commodity.
One of the pumpkin patches we can recommend is the Anoka Country Farms. Similar to apple orchards, these farms also offer other activities and snacks for you to grab. There are pony rides for children, hayrides, pumpkin bowling, and others. You can also buy other vegetables here as the selection isn’t limited only to pumpkins.
Minnesota is full of lovely museums that should definitely be a part of your route. The rich rural culture of the state gave birth to many local curiosities means there’s never a lack of material for exhibitions. There are some dedicated to Minnesota’s history in St. Paul, so you can track the development through time.
There’s a lot to discover here, like the history of the Native Americans, the Rondo Community, or the earliest forms of industry. The museum is famous throughout the world for modern art pieces that attract huge crowds to Minnesota annually. The exhibits are dynamic and switch around often, so the next time you visit, it might be a completely different experience.
Another unique one is the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, that’s filled with Russian artifacts. They make it really easy to appreciate the beauty of Russia from a continent away.
Enjoy a Nice Drive and the Autumn Leaves
Minnesota is arguably at its most beautiful in autumn. The varied terrain and landscapes really shine during this time of year and highlight the natural beauty of the country. There’s also no shortage of drives to choose from and plenty of variety between them.
The Iron Range Loop goes around Minnesota’s highest bridge and provides a backdrop of dense forests and clean air. You can also explore the Soudan Underground Mine on foot if you take a break on this drive. Then there’s the Oberg Mountain loop that coils around hills and valleys with many smaller hiking trails along the route.
There are, of course, many other routes across Minnesota, all of which are at their best in autumn.
Live Music – Dakota Jazz Club
Out of the many jazz clubs that exist throughout Minnesota, the Dakota Jazz Club is probably the most famous one. The club is also a restaurant, and their food is nearly as famous as the club’s amazing music.
You can catch some big names like Ahmed Jamal, McCoy Tyner, or Ramsey Lewis in there. The club is located in downtown Minneapolis, and it was opened back in 1985. It has been a favorite for jazz lovers and musicians throughout the country ever since.
Craft Beer Tasting
All the beer connoisseurs among that find their way to Minnesota, be sure to check out the long-standing Craft Beer Festival. Beer as a beverage has an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years into the past. It was always a drink of choice for crowds and social gatherings, and that remains true even today.
The Craft Beer Tour is one of the many festivals dedicated to this world-famous beverage, and there you can indulge in beer tasting, socializing, and experiencing what the community has to offer. It usually takes place at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and hosts over a hundred breweries. It’s not uncommon to find over 500 types of beer at these events
There are few better opportunities to meet new people knowing there’s at least one thing you have in common.
Watch a Vikings Football Game
Minnesota Vikings are the national sports team based in Minneapolis and are well-beloved throughout the country. If you find yourself there, try to catch one of their games to witness the passionate crowds that always attend these events. This is a must for all fans of football as Vikings are a famous team even outside Minnesota.
There’s also the Vikings Museum that pays homage to the club’s history and accomplishments. The museum preserves their long-standing tradition and is very popular with the fans, and if you’re not a fan yet it just might be enough to convert you!
Boom Island Park
Boom Island Park is a wonderful slice of nature in the heart of Minneapolis. It casts a view on the downtown city area and the riverside with fresh air immediately noticeable upon arrival. The park has many picnic spots to accommodate whole families, along with walking trails and restroom facilities.
The park is also a great choice for riding a bike. There are multiple set paths for biking, where you can still enjoy clean air in an urban environment. Also, the 10th annual Minneapolis Bike Tour started and ended on the Boom Island, which affirms the value of the island for all bike riders.
You can also schedule birthdays on the island and get a permit for half a day or a whole day. The prices are $125 and $250 respectively, and the area is pretty popular with children for all kinds of events.
Shopping is an inevitable part of any journey, and can often be the most enjoyable one. Regardless of what you’re trying to buy, you can start your shopping trip in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area. There you can find a plethora of shops and boutiques, many owned by local artists and designers.
If you intend to buy some unique Minnesota products and souvenirs, or if you just like the support local talent, this would the place to start. As the state is famous for its outdoors, the pine forests, and the lakes, most of the local products conform to this style. You can find authentic hats, scarves, lumberjack-inspired clothing, anoraks, and coats that all follow this aesthetic.
Visit Local Markets
Minnesota has a lot of fresh produce that you can buy at any local market. The Farmers’ Markets in St. Paul are one such place, and there you can find safe and fresh local produce. These markets attempt to combine the locally grown food with the products from the neighboring communities; all sold under the same umbrella.
Visit Minnehaha Falls
If you still crave some natural beauty after your visit to Boom Island Park, Minnehaha Falls are an excellent choice. It shares a similar setting and is one of the most stunning urban waterfalls in the whole of the U.S. The best way to appreciate the area is to take a walking tour that will take you through the noteworthy landmarks.
Minnehaha Falls are about 53 feet tall, and the name means “waterfall” in the Dakota language. The falls are amazing throughout the year, and they particularly shine during winter. When the waterfall freezes, it creates a sort of an ice cave and reflects the rainbow-like colors inside. It really is a magical sight.
Another landmark you’ll see is the house of John Stevens. He was the first non-Native settler to arrive in Minnesota, and therefore his house is first authorized one in the whole territory. There’s also the Minnehaha Garden, which provides an amazing view of the waterfall itself.
Taylors Falls Hiking in Interstate Park
Taylor Falls is only a short drive away from Minneapolis, and it’s a paradise for all hikers and nature-lovers. The falls are a part of the Interstate Park, which is partly located in Wisconsin as well.
They have the so-called nature guards, who can help point you in the right direction to start your hiking journey. Be sure to consult with them as there are are a few potholes you can walk into if you’re not careful. There’s a lot to explore here, and all the trails are relatively tame to walk through, so it isn’t too demanding physically.
You can climb the rock faces with the provided equipment, cool off at the water slides, or engage in Free Falls and other water activities available at the Wild Mountain Waterpark. For more relaxed exploration, take a boat tour around the park with a helpful captain as a guide.
Food Truck Festival
One of Minnesota’s famous local attractions is the food truck festival that takes place in St. Paul. As the name implies, this is one of the most savory events you can attend. Fair hours start at 12 pm and close down around 10 pm in the evening. During that time, you’ll get the chance to sample various delicacies and flavors from a huge range of cuisines on offer.
Aside from the local food, there also serve British, Japanse, Indian, and many other dishes. Live music complements every whole event and adds to the atmosphere. Parts of the profit from these events usually go to charity through certain items or tickets you can buy.
Fall Festivals in Minnesota
Minnesota has a plethora of festivals during fall, all of which are sprawling social events that offer something for everyone. Most of them are family-oriented, and all are welcoming for tourists from around the world, so don’t hesitate to attend any of these even if you aren’t a part of the community!
Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze
This festival provides the definitive fall experience in Minnesota. It celebrates everything that the state is already known for. It’s a great choice for a festival if you’re planning on bringing your kids, as there are many activities they can enjoy. Things like the corn maze, animal petting zoos, hayrides, giant slides into a corn pit are all children’s favorites.
There’s live music and plenty of food and drink to go around. The festival basically celebrates Minnesota at its best and highlights the authentic everyday life. As its name implies, it is celebrated in Minneapolis and St. Paul and goes on from September 21 through to October 27.
Another festival that shines in Minnesota is Oktoberfest. It goes on for two weekends at the start of October, and it’s celebrated throughout the state. It’s a centuries-old festival that started in Munich, Germany in 1810, and is still beloved today.
The main locations that celebrate the event are the Historic Downtown, the Morgan Creek Vineyards, and Grin Mill, among others. Oktoberfest in Minnesota often ranks as the best in the country, and it’s definitely worthy of your time. There’s a variety of bands to listen to, goods to buy, and tons of food and drink to sample.
Oktoberfest is free and covers the weekends between the 2nd and the 10th of October.
Halloween needs no introductions as it is probably the most famous holiday in the whole world. However, it is best-experienced right in Minnesota, as the country’s whole aesthetic is a perfect fit for Halloween. Pumpkins, orchards, expansive forests, and fields all go hand in hand with the spirit of the holiday.
It officially starts on the 31st of October, and activities begin around late evening. Around that time, you’ll start seeing zombies, ghosts, mummies, and other ghoulish costumes pop up along with their treat baskets. Halloween is a favorite both for children and adults, as it allows them to relive childhood memories.
When it comes to Minnesota, there are many places where you can celebrate Halloween through a host of activities they offer. There’s the Scream Town with its scary attractions, Wabasha Street Cave Tours, the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular that takes place within a Zoo, the Haunted Basement theater experience, and many others.
Watch a Classic Horror Movie
If you’re already celebrating Halloween at some of the festivals, you can take the time to visit some of Minnesota’s finest theatres and see some classic horror movies. It’s a perfect time to immerse yourself in a terrifying atmosphere while costumed crowds roam outside. Some of the theaters we can recommend are The Parkway, Riverview, or the Uptown Theatre.
ValleySCARE: The Great Pumpkin Fest
Of all the festivals on this list, the Great Pumpkin Fest is the absolute best for kids or anyone young at heart. There is an endless stream of activities, all with a different spin on Halloween. There are dance shows with famous Halloween figures, Chateau Tours through haunted mazes with a friendly vampire guide, the Sinister Circus with costumed acrobatics, and much more.
You can get a daily ticket for $34 that allows you to participate in all activities, or a seasonal $90 gold pass through multiple smaller payments.
Autumn Woods Classic
Autumn Woods traditionally takes place every fall and is a perfect example of a “fun for the whole family” type of event. Everyone is welcome to join the marathon, both the young beginners and seasoned veterans. The whole event has a light atmosphere where fun takes priority over competition.
The entry fee for the race is $5 at the lowest, and there is no prize money to further cement the casual tone of the race. The best thing about it is that it takes place in the beautiful Elm Creek Park Reserve near Minneapolis. The whole park shines during fall when orange leaves take over the picturesque scenery.
Fall on the Farm
Another family-friendly event that celebrates fall and everything that comes with it. This celebration aims to recreate older times back in 1900 when farmers held long harvests to prepare for the upcoming winter.
There are all sorts of activities you can participate in, like pulling veggies from the gardens, pumpkin mask crafting, pressing cider, cooking on traditional wood stoves, and many others. Fall on the Farm takes place at the Eidem Homestead, and the price is $6 with a discount for children.
Fall Festival on Main Street
This one is a slightly different take on Halloween that’s also suitable for the whole family. The festival takes place at Arbor Lakes in Minnesota and starts on the 29th of October late in the evening. There’s everything you can think of that is associated with Halloween.
Trick or treating, pumpkin decorating, colorful and scary costumes, and various art exhibitions. You can attend a costume contest which should give you the incentive to have the scariest one at the festival. There are also non-profit organizations like C.R.O.S.S, where you can donate long-lasting food items for families in need.
Banff Film Festival
For film buffs, there’s the Banff Film Festival World Tour every November. The tour visits Minneapolis and lasts for two days, with films starting at 7:30 pm. It started in Banff, Alberta, and has since expanded into a much bigger event that promotes over 300 films every year.
It’s open to everyone, including children older than seven-years-old, and the tickets go for $15. Not all movies are appropriate for all ages though, so be sure to check beforehand which ones you should attend.