5 Fabulous Fall Activities in Minnesota

Once September starts, I am all ready for fall. I love everything about this time of the year- the beautiful fall colors, the weather, the sounds, smells, soups and sweaters. Fall in the Midwest is a beautiful but very short time of year. We always try to make the most of it for the short time we are able to enjoy these few fabulous fall weeks.

We created this list of some of our favorite fall activities/ places to visit in Minnesota throughout September, October and November. If you are feeling inspired to get out and see what this time of year has to offer in the Upper Midwest, this guide is exactly what you need!


1. Drive up the North Shore for scenic views of Lake Superior

The North Shore is the part of Minnesota that is north of Duluth and continues up the coast of Lake Superior all the way to Canada. There are so many scenic views and great biking/ hiking trails to explore along the coastline. Some of the more famous stops along this drive include Duluth itself, Betty’s Pies, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse. If you continue North, there is a lot more to see and do, so take some time and explore!

We like visiting Duluth because there are so many great choices for food and drink here- Canal Park, Fitgers, and Crank & Dasher Icecream just to name a few! You can also see the famous lift bridge and watch huge shipping boats passing through on their way to the Atlantic.

Once you leave Duluth and continue northwards on Highway 61, make a stop at Betty’s Pies. They are constantly baking new fresh pies and they are available for purchase by the slice or you can get a whole pie! We recommend grabbing a slice to go and taking it with you to the next stop- Gooseberry Falls State Park. This is a beautiful place to stop and have a picnic (or a slice of pie) and walk to the falls, taking in all the beauty surrounding you.

If you continue north from there, you will come across the famous Split Rock Lighthouse. You can get scenic views of the fall foliage and the lighthouse with Lake Superior in the background. There are more hiking trails and picnic areas here as well.

There is a lot more to see and do on Minnesota’s North Shore that we do not have time to write about now, but if you make the trip up here, you will not be disappointed with a plethora of outdoor activities, jaw dropping views and quaint coastal towns.

Let us know what you like to do on Minnesota’s North Shore!

2. Visit an apple orchard/ pumpkin patch

This is one of my most favorite things to do on a sunny, cool, crisp fall day. There are so many great apple orchards and pumpkin patches around the Twin Cities area to visit! One of our favorites is the Luce Line Orchard. They have beautiful gardens, corn mazes, animals, great food and even better caramel apples. You can stop in their shop to get fall decorations or pre picked apples and homemade pies to take with you.

If you want to pick your own apples, there are rows and rows of apple trees here with an amazing variety of fresh, crisp, sweet apples for you to pick and take home with you.

This is a great place for small kids because there are short trails to walk on, lots of cute little animals to visit, playgrounds and lots of space to explore. Dogs are also welcome here and there is a lot of parking available, so you don’t have to worry about driving all the way to Waconia and not finding a place to park (even though the drive is gorgeous and makes the time in the car worth it).

Some other orchards that we like to visit include Sunnybrook Apple Orchard and Applecrest Orchards, but there are so many great ones out there to visit. Let us know what your favorites are!

3. See the pumpkin display at the Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo puts on an amazing display of glowing jack-o-lanterns each year during the month of October. There are over 5,000 carved and lit pumpkins of all sizes and with just about any face (or animal) you can imagine! Tickets are needed for this event and should be purchased in advance. You walk along a paved trail (about a half mile) and can marvel at the sights and sounds of all the glowing pumpkins and the Halloween music playing in the background. Don’t forget to look for Waldo and Carmen SanDiego!

4. Hike the trails along the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers

These rivers are beautiful places to explore any time of year, but our favorite time to visit is during the fall when most of the leaves are in their peak color for the year. There are so many great trailheads to start from, so pick one that sounds interesting and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding you. There are also many orchards, pumpkin patches and small towns to tour along these rivers.

5. See the scarecrows and fall plants at the MN Landscape Arboretum

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a great place to visit. With thousands of plants and trees to look at and miles of trails to walk, bike, or drive through, you can easily spend a whole afternoon here. In the fall, they decorate the gardens with scarecrows made of all sorts of things you can find in a garden or your own backyard.

Down the road from the Arboretum, you will find the AppleHouse. Here you can find bags of delicious apples, baked goods, caramel apples and all kinds of fall decorations available for purchase. There is also usually a truck outside selling apple cider donuts if you want something warm to satisfy your sweet tooth!


We hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite fall activities and you are inspired to go out and try some of these things too! What are your favorite things to do in the fall? Send us an email or leave a comment and let us know what your favorite fall activities are. We are always looking for something new to try!

10 Free things to do in St. Paul

Saint Paul, Minnesota- the other half of the Twin Cities aka “one of the coolest suburbs of Minneapolis to visit while you are here for the Super Bowl” according to a 2018 news report. All joking aside, the Minnesotan capital is an eclectic city mixing both contemporary amenities with historical charm. St. Paul displays its history on the banks of the Mississippi River through its many museums and architecture, while simultaneously offering modern cuisine and attractions. St. Paul is always bustling with its multitude of sporting events, concerts and exhibitions, but you don’t have to break the bank to see all this city has to offer. Below are our a few of our favorite free things to see in St. Paul.

1. See the animals at Como Zoo

This a great zoo with lots of free parking available (if you don’t mind a little bit of walking to the entrance). There is a box for donations if you feel moved to do so, but it is optional. You can see many different animals from all over the world! Arctic, Jungle, Plains and Desert animals are all available to view year round just to name a few. Every exhibit is very kid friendly, and there are even special exhibits that arrive throughout the year (although a few have had a small fee). A great stop for anyone that wants to embrace their “wild side”.

2. Stroll through the gardens at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

These gardens are located at the same property as the Como Zoo. There are so many cool exhibits here- a sunken garden with plants that change seasonally, a room full of ferns, edible plants and spices, a bonsai tree exhibit and even an outdoor Japanese garden to walk through!

3. Visit the State Capitol

The building was recently restored by the state and looks gorgeous! While admiring the building’s architecture, there is a large park surrounding the building filled with paths and memorials to explore, learn and reflect. Inside, you can take a free self guided tour including the Rotunda, the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers and so much more!

4. Free Brewery Tour

With a plethora of craft breweries to explore around St. Paul, you won’t have a hard time finding a new favorite brew! Summit brewing is one that offers free tours where you can see the facilities and learn all about the brewing process.

5. Visit the Markets

To get your fresh fruits and veggies, check out the St. Paul Farmer’s Market! During the summer months (May- October) you can find the market in downtown St. Paul on most Saturdays or Sundays. Check out the Farmer’s Market website for the schedule. If you aren’t visiting on a weekend, check out the indoor Keg and Case market! This market is in a historic brewery and features local restaurants, shops and breweries!

6. Union Depot

A transportation hub for thousands of travelers, Union Depot is a must see. They offer public tours on Tuesdays at 11am. There are also exhibits that change regularly that you can visit and learn about the history of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and transportation. There is even a scavenger hunt you can do to make sure you don’t miss anything!

7. Stop by the Cathedral of St. Paul

This huge cathedral is rich with history. It showcases beautiful architecture and art while overlooking downtown from a hilltop. There are public tours available Tuesdays- Fridays at 1pm.

8. Walk along historic Summit Ave

This is a gorgeous street with hundreds of preserved Victorian Era homes! You can learn about the history of many of the buildings on the Visit St. Paul website.

9. Visit the Minnesota History Center

If you have a Bank of America card, you can visit this museum for free during the first weekend of each month. There are many exhibits to explore and even a fantastic spot to view the State Capitol!

10. Walk along the Mississippi River by Kellogg Park and Raspberry Island

There are so many great sculptures and trails here that allow you to walk, bike or scooter alongside the Mississippi River. You can also just sit, relax and watch the steamboats go by. A wonderful spot for a picnic!


Have you visited or plan to visit St. Paul soon? We would love to know what you thought about the city!

10 Free things to do in Minneapolis (Spring/ Summer/ Fall edition)

If you find yourself in Minneapolis and are looking for some budget friendly (free!) things to do, it is your lucky day! We compiled a list of some of our favorite free things to see and do in Minneapolis, MN. This list is in no particular order, we just added the items as we thought of them.

1. Visit the Sculpture Garden

The sculpture garden is part of the Walker Art Center, but its free! You can stroll along the paths and marvel at the art. The sculpture garden is home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. There is some free parking available, otherwise there is a lot nearby that you can pay to use.

2. Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge is an old railroad bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River. Now it is only available for pedestrians or bikers to use. From the bridge, you can get a great view of the St. Anthony Falls or the skyline of Minneapolis.

3. Shop at the Mill City Farmers Market

If you are visiting on a Saturday and are free in the morning, stop by the Mill City Farmers Market! There is a large variety of vendors- meats and cheeses, pastries and flowers, arts and crafts and much more. There are usually food trucks or stalls that are selling fresh hot foods for breakfast or lunch too. If you haven’t visited the Stone Arch Bridge yet, now would be a great time to go because you will be right there after visiting the market!

4. Visit Minnehaha Regional Park

This area is a huge park with a lot going on. First, there is Minnehaha falls that is beautiful to see any time of the year. There are bikes that you can rent, miles of trails to walk on, disc golf, picnic areas, gardens, restaurants, and more! If you take the stairs down from the waterfall, you can follow a walking trail along Minnehaha falls all the way to where it meets up with the Mississippi River!

5. Bike the Midtown Greenway

Minneapolis is a very bike friendly city. There are miles of trails dedicated to biking or walking throughout the city and the surrounding metro area. If you didn’t bring a bike, thats OK- there are stations all over they city were you can rent a Nice Ride bike for a few hours and explore they city by petal. The Greenway itself is a little over 5 miles long, but it connects to many other trail systems so you can take a nice long bike ride if you wanted to.

6. Visit Lake Bde Maka Ska

This is a very popular spot where people like to spend the day. It is not far from uptown and there are biking and walking trails that go around the entire lake. In addition to trails, there is fishing, kayak rentals, a beach area and a lot of space to put up a hammock or have a picnic. If you don’t mind walking a few blocks to get to the lake, there is free street parking available, otherwise there are pay lots available much closer to the beaches.

7. Smell the Roses at Lake Harriet

Right by another one of the lakes in Minneapolis is the Lyndale Park Rose Garden. The best time to visit is when the roses are in bloom and the fountains are on, but there are usually different kinds of flowers blooming throughout the late spring to early fall.

8. See the Midtown Global Market

The global market is collection of small local shops where you can find anything from food and coffee to art and souvenirs. There are some very nice murals and art inside the global market and the building is right off of the Greenway, so if you decide to bike the trail, it will bring you right here!

9. Stop by the Minneapolis Institute of Art

If you stop here, you will get a chance to see art from all eras from all over the world. There are 3 levels to this museum, so be sure to spend some time here! General admission is free and they have special exhibitions that cost a small fee to see.

10. Stroll along Nicollet Ave and check out the Skyways

Nicollet Avenue has all sorts of shops to visit and restaurants to try. If you are visiting in the winter and it is too cold to be outside, you can go explore downtown Minneapolis via the skyway system! If you can figure out how to read the map, please let me know because I am still puzzled by it. There are even free busses that go along Nicollet Ave so you don’t have to walk the whole way.

If you decide to visit Minneapolis and try out some of the things on this list, be sure to let us know what you think!

Happy Travels!