Find which residential property is right for you at Explore Downtown Living and be part of the vibrant downtown scene

A crucial part of a thriving and vibrant community is activity. The more events and programming that are taking place, the more people who live, work and play in the area will be engaged.It is something that the mpls downtown council values as part of its mission to create an extraordinary downtown. As part of its 2025 Plan, mdc is focused on helping the downtown area create a consistently compelling downtown experience—that means offering free activities and programming for all ages and abilities to enjoy throughout the year.

When you live downtown, you’re already close to the action. All the major sporting events and concerts, plays and musicals, and incredible dining and nightlife locales are within walking distance at all times. Adding in the opportunities to enjoy free and entertaining programming is an additional bonus residents get when they live in the heart of the city.

You can get acquainted with downtown Minneapolis at Explore Downtown Living on September 23 from 10 am – 5 pm. Once you’ve found the right place for you, there are many ways to enjoy downtown programming throughout the year.

These activities continue to grow. Throughout the year, you’ll find fun places to stop and spend time. Here is a quick look at some of the ways to enjoy the downtown community.



The Best Days of Summer wrapped up in July, but this annual event is the Official Civic Celebration of Minneapolis. Bookended by two flagship events — the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade and Target Fireworks — this four day event is jam-packed with nearly 30 free events.  It is focused around downtown and the Mississippi Riverfront, where our city was born. Visit for information on activities that include Twin Cities River Rats waterski shows, a daily tennis tournament, outdoor yoga, a 5k, AquaJam skateboarding, the Candid Canines Film Fest, and more.



Holidazzle runs Thursdays through Sundays from the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 24th this year in Loring Park.  It’s a free event that includes incredible local foods, beverages and gift merchandise along with winter fireworks, skating, outdoor movies, Santa visits, carriage rides, fantastic holiday lighting and more.  Don’t miss out on a winter wonderland in the heart of the city.  Learn more at

Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate


The Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate is open in Loring Park from the Friday after Thanksgiving through the end of February. The skating rink is free to use daily, including complimentary skates available for use during designated daily warming house hours, and also includes many days of events including Holidazzle, movie skates, skating lessons, community skating days and more. Learn more at  

Go Outside with Hennepin County


Go Outside with Hennepin County features fun activities and events from June through October in downtown Minneapolis at both Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza and Target Field Station.  From June through August at South Plaza, enjoy Tuesday piano performances and Wednesday food trucks and yard games, plus take in the Downtown Farmers Market from May through October each Thursday from 6 am – 6 pm.  At Target Field Station, come out and watch free movies, play outdoor trivia, enjoy great kids activities during The Most Epic Family Day on Sunday, August 13th, and even take a fitness class during a Monday in September.  The full schedule is listed at

Pianos on Parade


The Pianos on Parade program takes place from June 1st through 30th in downtown Minneapolis.  The program, produced by the mpls downtown council and mpls downtown improvement district in partnership with Keys 4/4 Kids, features 25 pianos painted in a “summer in downtown” theme by local artists.  The pianos are available for playing daily and include great performances by local musicians.  Learn more at



The Nicollet Mall Project is wrapping up and will be completed in November 2017.  Nicollet will feature more trees and plants, great pedestrian features, new lighting, incredible artwork and more.  Plus, there will be more programming and activities up and down Nicollet from Washington Avenue to Grant Street.  Learn more at

Sculpture Garden


The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden just reopened this summer and features brand new artwork added to an area that already features the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.  The Sculpture Garden is operated by the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.  It features incredible views of the city and a fun, Minneapolis-centric experience.  Visit for more information.

The Commons


The Commons is a 4.2 acre park spanning two blocks in East Town (near U.S. Bank Stadium) that opened in 2016.  It features activities throughout the year and is especially active in the summer.  Enjoy food trucks, kubb lessons, movies, ping pong, a reading cart, concerts, Vikings game-day activities and more.  See their full schedule at


For more, visit

By Mark Remme, mpls downtown council