School’s out! Parents across the nation know summer is the best time to spend with their kids. Luckily, Minneapolis Northwest has plenty of summertime activities to keep families busy. From kid-friendly outdoor events to fun attractions, here are the top things to see and do with children in Minneapolis Northwest this summer.

1) All the Events

Maple Grove Days bed races

A visit to Minneapolis Northwest in the summer isn’t complete without a stop at one of the exciting area events. There’s endless family fun to be had at Maple Grove Days July 14-18 with bed races, two parades, live music and dancing, a beer garden, a duct tape fashion show, competitions for all ages, and much more. The Arbor Lakes Art Fair also takes place during Maple Grove Days at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. Read about the Top Festivals and Events in Minneapolis Northwest for more summer events you can plan your visit around.

2) Music & Movies

Town Green Bandshell

Get dancin’ during the Sounds of Summer concert series at Town Green. The series provides a variety of music Monday and Wednesday evenings all summer long, from country and classical, rock and oldies, to reggae and polka. Thursday morning events are dedicated to kids’ music with performances by Tricia & the Toonies and the Alphabits Band. Town Green also hosts outdoor movie screenings on Fridays at sunset. Bring a blanket and cuddle up with your kiddos as you watch a warm-hearted movie like Trolls, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Toy Story 4.

3) Make a Splash

kid going down waterslide at park

Swimming is the penultimate summer activity and you and your kids can get wet n’ wild at Bunker Beach Water Park in Coon Rapids, the state’s largest outdoor water park and wave pool! Go for thrilling rides down the slides in the Twisted Towers, conquer the three-foot waves in the Wave Pool, tackle the 10-foot Aqua Climb wall, or relax on a leisurely float along the Lazy Loop. Check the Bunker Beach website for deals and discounts, including half-price admission days.

Experience that one-of-a-kind summery beach feeling at the Elm Creek Swimming Pond located within Elm Creek Park Reserve. This chlorinated pond is the perfect spot for kids to feel the sand between their toes and get crafty building sand castles. Changing areas, bathrooms and concessions are conveniently located, and life guards are always on duty.  

4) Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes


Nothing says summer quite like Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes, the Midwest's largest chalk art festival. Usually held in June, Chalkfest is moving to Labor Day weekend in 2021 so you and your family can end your summer on the highest note possible. While the festival may look a little different due to the pandemic, there will be an in-person component, along with the mural tour through the Maple Grove area. Mark your calendar now for this inspiring family event, complete with epic photos opps, September 4-6!

5) The Great Outdoors

Elm Creek playground

There’s an abundance of beautiful outdoor green space in Minneapolis Northwest where your kids can run and play and get dirty. Elm Creek Park Reserve is the cream of the crop when it comes to area parks with gigantic playgrounds. The 4,900-square foot nature preserve also features a disc golf course, archery stations, endless trails and tables for picnics. Eastman Nature Center, an educational facility within Elm Creek, hosts kid-friendly events throughout the summer - check our Events page for the latest. Throughout the park, families will spot a variety of wildlife such as eagles, cranes, beavers, loons, trumpeter swans, and hawks. 

Central Park Splash Pad

In addition to Elm Creek, Maple Grove’s Central Park boasts one of the best playgrounds in the area and an amazing interactive splash pad! Kids love traipsing through the shooting streams of water and it’s extra fun in the evening when the pad is lit up with colorful LED lights.

6) Celebrate Brooklyn Park

Brooklyn Park family

All summer long, the city of Brooklyn Park is inviting visitors and residents to celebrate the community with family friendly events sprinkled throughout the summer. Summer fun kicks off with the Plaza Park Art Festival on June 26, which features unique local art vendors and live music. Plaza Park itself features convenient family picnic areas, murals, and a robot sculpture kids can play on. The Music on the Lawn series takes place on select Tuesday nights outside the Community Activity Center. There will also be Concerts at the Farm taking place at Historic Eidem Farm! families can gather and relax on the grounds of this historic farmstead for a musical performance. The city celebrations culminate at Tater Daze on Aug. 14, the annual festival featuring live music, food trucks, and tons of family activities. Discover all way to Celebrate Brooklyn Park this summer. 

7) Let’s Go Fly a Kite

kite flying in the sky

Before heading to Elm Creek or Central Park, make a summer game stop at Grey Duck Games & Toys in Maple Grove, a locally owned boutique specializing in new and old-school games of all kinds – including outdoor games – like kites, frisbees, disc golf discs and more. Pick up a cool new toy or game the whole family can will love. There are also board games, juggling props, collectible cards, hula hoops and a real-life laser tag game. The staff at this favorite community shop harbor a genuine love of games. They are eager to help customers discover new games and new ways to have family fun.

8) Get On the Green

footgolf hole

There are many ways for kids to enjoy golf in Minneapolis Northwest. Brookland Golf Park is known for its FootGolf course that people of all ages love. The sport is similar to soccer – players kick soccer balls into 21-inch diameter cups – and is scored like traditional golf. For a twist on the traditional sport, try Night Golf on select Fridays.

If your young golfer has a keen interest in the game, make time to visit the Eagle Lake Youth Golf Center, which caters to beginning golfers. Take advantage of practice areas, driving ranges, two different nine-hole courses and more. Check out our golf page for a complete list of golfing options in Minneapolis Northwest.

9) Food to Love

plate of fries and burgers

Go back in time at the hop when you visit Wagner’s Drive-In in Brooklyn Park. This local favorite has been a staple in the community for years and it’s no wonder, as Wagner’s serves up juicy hamburgers and delicious sides all in a classic drive-in setting. Roll down your window to place your order, or place your order inside and sit out at the umbrellaed picnic tables. Wagner’s is proud to make its food from scratch and ensures every order is satisfying. 

10) I Scream for Ice Cream!

ice cream full of toppings

Hot days call for cool treats and ice cream is a delicious way to beat the heat. Tii Cup in Brooklyn Park serves shaved snow in addition to its cool and colorful bubble teas. Biing, the Taiwanese shaved snow, comes out smooth and velvety – some say it’s even fluffier than ice cream. Try unique flavors like Papaya, Honeydew, Almond or Jasmine Tea. 

Two Scoops in nearby Osseo offers premium hard ice cream and freshly made, chocolate-dipped waffle cones covered in sprinkles or mini M&M’s. Better yet, have your ice cream served in a pretzel cone or chocolate chip cookie bowl. Ice cream flavors include Blue Moon – Fruit Loops flavor with a wacky blue color – lemon poppy seed, butter pecan, peanut butter cookie dough, cherry chocolate chip, and more.

Bonus: In Case of Rain

indoor park for kids

In case of inclement weather, head to Playground Plaza for a day at a climate-controlled indoor playground in Maple Grove. In this facility, kids can bounce their hearts out on the giant trampoline, explore the large and bright playground equipment and play lawn games on the turf field. Picnic areas and party rooms are available, too. Kids should dress to play in socks at all times. This staff-less playground is open 365 days a year, and passes are available on its website.

MiniSota Play Cafe

When kids want to play and you want break, MiniSota Play Cafe hits the spot. This imaginative play area features a "grocery store," "music store," Lake "Mini"tonka, and more; sensory kits are available. Then the space features a cafe with freshly made coffee beverages and smoothies. Have a seat and watch your kids create new worlds while you sip a latte.

Share all your summer adventures in Minneapolis Northwest with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #WeLoveMNW. You and your family may be featured on our website!

Things To Do With Kids

Families are the foundation of our communities, and Minneapolis Northwest is proud to offer so many fun things to do with kids. In our cities, kids of all ages can play arcade games and laser tag, go bowling and go-karting, survive an escape room, visit a living history farm, and experience a...