14 Things to Do in Minneapolis With Kids

Updated On November 7, 2023

Minneapolis is a common destination for people in the Midwest due to its unique proximity to its sister city St. Paul, as well as its many amazing and engaging activities.

If you’ve never taken your children there but are thinking of doing so soon, never fear!

There are many kid-friendly activities that they’ll likely love, including many animal-based options that will appeal to just about any child.

Here are a few of the most engaging and entertaining places to check out.

14 Things to Do in Minneapolis With Kids

Minneapolis is known for a few big things: the Mall of America and being the birthplace of Prince and Bob Dylan.

However, there’s much more to this city than The Great Purple One’s legacy as a musician.

In fact, there are many fun and unforgettable kid-friendly things that you can do in Minneapolis that will entertain you and your little ones.

Here are several that we think you will enjoy, broken down into multiple unique and useful categories for easier understanding.

Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America

1. Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America

For over 40 years, Nickelodeon has been the premiere kids-based television program and has provided many unique cartoons, television shows, and other entertainment-based options for little ones.

The Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America exhibit features 27 different rides, as well as unique and fun exhibits that highlight this important channel.

It’s a unique experience that your kids will love as you explore the Mall of America together in style.

SEA LIFE at Mall of America
SEA LIFE at Mall of America

2. SEA LIFE at Mall of America

Let’s be honest here: there are going to be many activities here in the Mall of America.

For example, SEA LIFE at Mall of America is an amazing aquarium (the largest in Minnesota!) that features thousands of creatures, including sharks, sea turtles, and sawfish.

There’s also a 300-foot tunnel where you can sit underwater with these beautiful animals.

Furthermore, there are also a few touch-based exhibits where your kids can handle sea stars and sea anemones.

Crayola Experience at Mall of America
Crayola Experience at Mall of America

3. Crayola Experience at Mall of America

Let’s take one last look at the Mall of America with Crayola Experience!

At Crayola Experience at Mall of America (one of just five in the nation), you and your kids can enjoy over 20 different activities related to crayons and coloring.

For example, you can mold your own personalized crayon color, create a personalized coloring book, design a fashion model, and even make drip art using melted crayon wax.

This experience is immersive and like no other in Minneapolis.

Children’s Theatre Company
Children’s Theatre Company

4. Children’s Theatre Company

The theater has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, with many people falling back in love with live performances.

At Children’s Theatre Company, you and your little ones can enjoy watching children (very talented and well-directed) act out favorites like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Annie.”

You can even instill a love of performance in your little ones or get them to better understand your love of theater, film, and other unique performance-based careers.

Science Museum of Minnesota
Science Museum of Minnesota

5. Science Museum of Minnesota

Science has captured the minds of children for generations and helped create countless innovations in a variety of fields.

The Science Museum of Minnesota features multiple amazing exhibits, such as dinosaur fossils, an experiment gallery, and even an examination of sports and athleticism.

It’s a fun and interesting place to visit: you’ll probably even learn a few things that you never knew and walk away with a better overall knowledge of science.

Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minneapolis Institute of Art

6. Minneapolis Institute of Art

It’s a quiet fact that the Minneapolis Institute of Art is one of the largest museums of its type in America.

It has over 90,000 works of art and features multiple kid-friendly options that should keep your little ones happy.

For example, you can send them to the drop-in kid zone that features books, toys, kid-sized furniture, and meet-up events.

There are beautiful masks and paintings inspired by pieces in the museum that you can display with your little ones.

Minnesota Zoo
Minnesota Zoo

7. Minnesota Zoo

At the Minnesota Zoo, you and your kids can check out over 5,000 different animals in one of the biggest zoos in the nation.

It features animals like wild horses, snow monkeys, bats, and even bison, many of which are endangered or at risk of extinction.

There’s also a fun aquarium where you’ll see sharks, sea stars, rays, and other animals.

With playgrounds, a carousel, a family farm, and even an IMAX theater, the Minnesota Zoo is a stop you’ll be glad you made.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

8. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a low-key but engaging experience that takes you and your children through an 11-acre park that has over 40 different sculptures

. They feature things like a giant spoon with a large cherry that your kids are sure to love.

Some are a little more esoteric and strange, but all are interesting and worth exploring.

That makes this a great option, especially because it’s free and is open as late as midnight (though the kids might not be into staying up that late).

Punch Bowl Social
Punch Bowl Social

9. Punch Bowl Social

Looking for a great grub that the whole family will love?

Punch Bowl Social is a fun option that should keep the family happy.

It’s a family-oriented dinner that also includes a vintage arcade, free games like cornhole and darts, as well as bowling lanes.

There are many food types that kids will likely enjoy, such as queso and chips, burgers, tacos, and much more.

It’s the kind of place that kids and parents both agree that they need to visit many more times before leaving Minneapolis.

Hot Plate
Hot Plate

10. Hot Plate

Hot Plate is another great dining option that works well as a brunch option.

After all: you’re on vacation, and getting your kids up for the hotel breakfast at six is likely not in the cards.

Thankfully, this brunch stop serves food like biscuits, gravy, and waffles that they’ll surely love, as well as provide great board games, dolls, and painting experiences.

In this way, you and your kids will have a kid-friendly and adult-oriented experience that you’ll both love.


11. Tilia

Tilia is another local favorite that focuses heavily on pub-style food that appeals to both Minneapolis visitors and locals.

They serve things like homemade chops with delicious salsa, spaghetti with meatballs, buttered noodles, seafood, pasta, burgers, and chocolate chip cookies.

The atmosphere here is great and is almost always welcoming and friendly.

It’s a great place to get a feel for the life of Minneapolis and the ways it can exude Midwest welcome and charm.

Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge

12. Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge is a nationally recognized family resort that focuses heavily on entertainment.

For example, there are wave pools, a lazy river where you and your kids can float, a MagiQuest (a wizard-style role-playing game), a four-story water tree house, and much more.

Guests also get high-quality and delicious meals with mouthwatering flavors, as well as comfortable rooms with kid-styled amenities.

It’s a perfect all-in-one destination for just about any family.

Paradise Charter Cruises
Paradise Charter Cruises

13. Paradise Charter Cruises

At Paradise Charter Cruises, you can take a trip on Lake Minnetonka on the Minneapolis Queen.

During your trip, you’ll see people living and working on the river, as well as get amazing food, experience lots of fun entertainment, and even have some great music playing.

Furthermore, you’ll also get the chance to relax on deck with your kids and take in some sun.

This experience is one of the most fun and engaging that you can have in Minneapolis, so try it out!

Lake Harriet Bandshell Park
Lake Harriet Bandshell Park

14. Lake Harriet Bandshell Park

Lake Harriet Bandshell Park is a popular destination for Minneapolis residents because it’s so commonly home to various engaging events.

For example, it hosts concerts, food events, picnics, and even sports games.

Furthermore, it’s a comfortable place where you can go swimming, fishing, or boating with your little ones.

With a diverse array of potential activities, it makes for one of the most engaging and rewarding places in all of Minneapolis to visit.

Minneapolis Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Minneapolis Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there many parks in Minneapolis?

In many ways, Minneapolis is the queen of parks in America: it has over 180 within its city limits!

There’s a saying that you’re never within six blocks of a park in Minneapolis, and it seems accurate if you visit.

As a result, you’ll have a fun time with your kids if you simply want to jump from park to park to see all the different experiences there are to offer.

Should I check out St. Paul?

Though St. Paul doesn’t get the same kind of love as Minneapolis, it’s just as worthy of visiting.

There are many fun and interesting things to do in the city.

While it’s a little smaller than Minneapolis and doesn’t quite have the same level of sporting fun that you get there, its low-key atmosphere may be suitable if you need a break from big-city living.

What other unique things are there to see in Minneapolis?

Minneapolis is the home of Paisley Park, Prince’s massive mansion that he lived in until his untimely death.

In fact, it’s open to the public in the summer, though you have to buy tickets ahead of time and can only go during your ticket period.

You’ll get the chance to check out his production studio, learn more about his life, and experience a unique musical world.

Will I see a lot of lakes?

Minnesota is the Land of Lakes: and Minneapolis is no different.

There are 22 different lakes, ponds, wetlands, lagoons, and rivers throughout the area.

In fact, the Mississippi River runs right through the city and is a big part of its geography.

As a result, you and your kids can also have fun just checking out the different lakes.

Many of these lakes even let you swim or boat!

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest