Unlike in Florida, where you can do outdoor activities year-round with your kids, in Minnesota you need to pack all your warm weather activities into a few short months. Living in Minneapolis for the past seven years, I’ve learned a couple things:
1. Winter lasts a long time
2. Minnesotans know how to take advantage of good weather
After a long cold winter, Minnesotans are ready to take advantage of the spring and summer. Here are the top 5 things to with Kids and dogs in Minneapolis:
Elm Creek Park Reserve – Maple Grove
This playground on steroids is my favorite place to take my son and dog Pipa (she’s a Pomsky) in the summer months. With gigantic play equipment and lots of space to run around. This is one of the premier parks in the Twin Cities area.
In addition to the playground this park has a nature center, Frisbee gold, miles of hiking trails, tubing, picnic and BBQ areas, and a man-made swimming lake. It really is a gem that shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone in the area.
Teddy Bear Park – Stillwater
The Teddy Bear park in Stillwater, MN is just a short drive from St. Paul. Parents and kids alike will love the historic nostalgia that Stillwater harkens back to.
The Teddy Bear park is situated about halfway up the hill overlooking the historic downtown Stillwater area.
While dogs aren’t allowed inside the gates, there is plenty of room from them just outside, and the trails along the river are a very popular spot for dog walkers.
The intimate feel of the park will give any parent peace of mind that they can keep on eye their kid no matter where they are.
Lake Calhoun – Minneapolis
One of the most popular summer spots on our list, you can enjoy it with your kids even if you haven’t found your perfect dog. Although you may stick out as pretty much everyone there seems to be walking at least one dog!
Lake Calhoun offers a 2-mile walking loop around the lake with several parks and play areas just off the shore. In the summer months, it becomes extremely busy on the weekends and is a great place to people watch and meet friends.
The lake has several sandy shorelines for swimming and there are paddleboats, sand volleyball courts, fishing, and bike paths nearby. There really is something for everyone in the family.
Minnehaha Park – Minneapolis
One of the most famous spots in the Twin Cities, Minnehaha park is a must visit during the summer months. “The Falls” are a source of local pride and you’d be hard pressed to find an older local who doesn’t have a story of sneaking up behind them at some time in their lives.
Along with walking paths that are perfect for kids and dogs, Minnehaha park has great picnic areas, nature hikes, and a total feeling of Urban escape. You almost forget you are in the heart of the city when surrounded by so much natural beauty.
CHS Field – St. Paul
Home of the St Paul Saints, CHS Field may be my favorite place to take my son AND dog in the Twin cities. Much cheaper than Target Field, the Saints games are a great place to watch America’s pastime and their yearly “Canines Heel” game welcomes dogs into the park!
Grab a hot dog, some peanuts and cracker jacks while you enjoy cheering on the saints with the kids and your puppy for about 1/3 the cost you would down the road. A can’t miss summer tradition in our house!
David Anderson lives in Minneapolis with his wife, 4 year-old son, and Pomsky dog Pipa. David is an avid biker and fisherman and loves spending his days outside with his family.