Fall is a special season in Minneapolis Northwest. The weather is exceptional, the leaves are stunning, and the region overflows with exciting opportunities for kids and parents to get outdoors and celebrate. Explore our top recommendations for fun autumn activities for families.
Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze
Sept. 18 - Oct. 31, 2021
The area's most popular fall festival returns! Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze opens Saturday, September 18, 2021, in Brooklyn Park and is open DAILY through Oct. 31, 2021! During the week, visit the festival grounds to shop for pumpkins (to eat and to decorate), enjoy a hay ride, straw bale maze, corn seed pit, and food trucks. On weekends, conquer Minnesota’s largest corn maze, crafted in the shape of the University of St. Thomas logo. Sip hot cider and munch on mini donuts as you enjoy the autumn atmosphere. There are also great fall photo ops for kids and families, including an antique tractor, beautiful mums, and fun photo boards.
Kid-Friendly Events at Local Parks
Get your fall color fix at Elm Creek Park Reserve, Hennepin County’s largest park. This 4,900-acre space features miles of trails where your family can hike or bike their way through some of the most spectacular fall foliage in the region. On Oct. 9, the whole family can lace up their sneakers for one of Elm Creek’s annual fall runs, the Allina Health Autumn Woods Classic. Take your pick from the 10K Graham Cracker Run, the 5K Chocolate Run/Walk or the 1K Mini Marshmallow Fun Run. Every runner gets a s’more after they cross the finish line!
Then, head to the park on Oct. 24 for the special event: Fire, Starting, Bonfire and S'mores. Learn the basics of fire-making, roast marshmallows, and explore the historic Pierre Bottineau House. Throughout the season, the park's Eastman Nature Center also offers family-friendly events and things to do including the upcoming Halloween event Not-So-Spooky Mystery! Costumes are highly encouraged.
Celebrate the fall at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park with the park's Free Family Fun Days, which allows kids to explore nature through hands-on activities each Sunday. Enjoy a story walk, participate in "bird games" or meet the park's animal ambassadors. There are also events centered around Survival Skills, Spooky Spiders, and Trick-or-Treat Geocaching! Finally, you can't beat the beautiful views of the Mississippi River. Stroll along the beachy riverbanks and walk across the Coon Rapids Dam to see all the fall colors and wildlife.
Fall on the Farm at Historic Eidem Farm
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021
Autumn is an ideal time to visit Historic Eidem Farm, a 10-acre living-history farm that’s been in the Eidem family for more than 80 years. Today, visiting the beautifully restored Victorian house and grounds is like stepping back in time to the beginning of the 20th century when the area was one of the top potato-growing regions in the country. On October 9, celebrate fall turn-of-the-century-style at the homestead’s Fall on the Farm event. Family units will take a tour of the site, watch period demonstrations, listen to story readings, and paint a pumpkin to take home.
Brooklyn Center is a great spot for Halloween fun this season. On Oct. 9, make a pit stop at Kylawn Park for the Pets On Parade event featuring four-legged friends in Halloween costumes! You can register your pet to enter the parade, or simply show up and enjoy the show. Then, on Oct. 22, kids can enjoy a Halloween Party at Centennial Park where they're invited to trick-or-treat along a park trail before doing a little BOOgie at the amphitheater.
On Friday, Oct. 29, gather under a blanket to watch the movie Casper at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center. On Saturday, Oct. 30, head to Zanewood Recreation Center for its annual Spooktacular celebration where kids can also follow an outdoor path and gather treats along the way. Costumes are definitely encouraged here, as well!
Have a scary good time at one of the area’s most popular Halloween celebrations, Anoka Halloween! Known as the Halloween Capital of the World, this month-long annual event is filled with great festivities for the whole family. Kick off the Halloween fun at the Children's Pumpkin Carving Contest on October 23, and enjoy family bonding time while you carve a masterpiece with your little ones. Continue the not-so-scary adventure with the Light Up the Night Parade on Main Street, also on October 23.
Share your adventures with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #WeLoveMNW.