Downtown Minneapolis is a blast in the summer. You can go down to the Stone Arch Bridge and feel the restorative spray of St. Anthony Falls blowing up at you. You can go see the Twins massacre those other bums (sometimes). You can go on a toot at all the bars and clubs without having to worry about losing your fingertips to frostbite during the long crawl home. It’s a regular estival festival.

The mpls downtown council and Hennepin County partner to make that good thing even better with their Go Outside with Hennepin County initiative, a bunch of events you can enjoy for free right in our fair city. Here are what our friends have in store for us this year — check out their full schedule at for more information!

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Target Field Station Activities

Trivia Night

July 17 & 24

7:00pm – 8:00pm

That big screen TV isn’t just for train times and ballgame scores. On two Tuesday evenings Target Field Station will become a gladiatorial arena for know-it-alls, and prizes for first and second place will be awarded to the cleverest teams. Once you’ve shown that you’re smarter than everyone else, take your friends for a victory lap around all of the area’s surrounding bars and microbreweries.

Outdoor Movies

July 2, 16, & 23, August 8 & 22


That big screen TV isn’t just for trivia questions. On select Monday and Wednesday evenings families and friends can gather on the grass to watch outdoor screenings of old favorites and new classics. Bring the old wicker basket full of pitted olives, pâté, and Melba toast, and have a nice night watching The Lion King (July 2), The Princess Bride (July 16), Raiders of the Lost Ark (July 23), Coco (August 8), or Mary Poppins (August 22).

Family Events, Outdoor Fitness, and More

August 6, 12, 13, & 20

Most Epic Family Day, which in the past has included activities like mini golf, water slides, movies, arts and crafts, face painting, and more, will be held August 12 from noon – 4:00pm. Kids love it! Alchemy 365, the Twin Cities gym that synthesizes yoga, strength, and cardiovascular training into whole body workouts, will host outdoor group fitness classes on three select Mondays from 5:00pm – 6:00pm.

Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza Activities

Farmers’ Market

June 1 – August 31

Tuesdays 9:00am – 3:00pm

The farmers’ market moved here during the Nicollet Project, but it proved such a great spot for them that they’re taking charge of it this year as well. Meet friendly local growers and take home Minnesota-grown flowers, vegetables, fruits, and more. The locavore movement is in full-swing, and this is the best way to embrace it.

Yard Games and More

June 1 – August 31

Wednesdays 11:30am- 1:30pm

South Plaza becomes an outdoor recreation room with yard games like bean bags and Connect Four. If connecting four isn’t enough of a spiritual catharsis for your lunch break, enjoy the green’s meditation area with colorful blankets and yoga mats. There you can become one with everything, and then you can have one with everything from a nearby hot dog stand.

Piano Performances

June 1 – August 31

Thursdays Noon – 1:00pm

The South Plaza is home to one of downtown Minneapolis’ Pianos on Parade locations, on which you’re welcome to go belt out some tunes any time you like. On Thursdays, however, you can spend a very special lunch break watching a trained pianist playing anything from jazz to classical to showtunes. There is a new pianist every week, so the concert always changes!


David Scheller