Did you know that Brooklyn Park is the sixth-largest city in Minnesota? Did you know that it's also the second most diverse city in the entire state? This eclectic area sits on the west bank of the Mississippi River, upstream from downtown Minneapolis. Its vibrant dining scene, natural wonders, exciting attractions and local events make it a not-to-be-missed stop when you’re visiting. Here are 10 of our favorite things to experience in Brooklyn Park!
1. Go on an adventure at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park
Revel in the wonders of the Mississippi River and its surrounding habitat at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park. The 160-acre green space features trails for walking, running and biking, and in the winter, it’s covered with cross-country skiing tracks. A wide observation walkway spans the river, and outdoor enthusiasts can view both sides of the roaring dam and watch spectacular sunsets. As part of the Mississippi River Paddle Share program, you can rent a kayak from the shores of the river and leisurely paddle seven miles downstream to the kayak return station at North Mississippi Regional Park in Brooklyn Center.
2. Create memories at spring and fall festivals
Twice a year, the northwest corner of Brooklyn Park comes alive with family-friendly festivals that celebrate the changing seasons. Start the year by ushering in spring at the Twin Cities Spring Babies Festival, which features adorable baby chicks, ducks, bunnies and goats for you and your kids to cuddle, feed and learn about. Then come back to the same location in the fall for the Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze, featuring Minnesota’s largest corn maze! Run by Bert Bouwman, an experienced farmer and corn maze-developer, both festivals take place on 20 acres of farmland and include other fun activities for kids and families, like a corn seed pit, hayrides, giant slide and a straw bale maze.
3. Savor international cuisines
Brooklyn Park’s dining scene shines with its varied selection of cuisines from around the globe. Lemon Grass Thai has been delighting diners’ taste buds since 2005 and is known as one of the best Thai food spots in the Twin Cities. Ann Ahmed, owner and head chef, creates original recipes inspired by her upbringing and travels, and she translates them into distinguished dishes. Try the Bento boxes at lunch, the freshly prepared sushi, or delve into the wine list in the evening – you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. And with its low lighting and chic atmosphere, Lemon Grass Thai makes a lovely location for a quaint dinner with friends or a special someone.
Mama Ti’s African Kitchen serves up some of the best African dishes in Minneapolis Northwest. Kabobs, seasoned wings, fried fish, jollof rice, oxtails, couscous, fried okra, collard greens and more provide a wide range of choices. You can even purchase select food items from their store, such as palava sauce, palm butter soup, kittley torborgee and cassava leaf, so you can bring African flavors to your home. With any meal, you’ll want to pick up Mama Ti’s West African Ginger Beer, too (non-alcoholic).
4. Sip a craft beer or craft cocktail
Blue Wolf Brewing Company, the city’s first brewery, has everything you want in a craft brewhouse – great beer, plenty of seating, access to food and extremely friendly staff and owners. Blue Wolf’s German-style beers strike a perfect balance of malt and hops, and flights are presented in vintage cupcake tins. The No Coast Pale Ale is perhaps its most popular beer, earthy but balanced and not overly bitter. The Wolf Cry Rye Beer is recommended for those just learning about craft beer, or someone looking for a lighter brew; the hops are subtle, and the rye gives the beer a little spice. Varying food trucks are on site throughout the week, as well as live music and paint nights, so be sure to check Blue Wolf’s complete schedule online.
Brooklyn Park is home to the metro's newest and best distillery, Skaalvenn Distillery & Cocktail Lounge. The swanky-yet-comfortable Japanese-inspired cocktail bar invites guests to “pillage responsibly." Afterall, the word Skaalvenn translates to “Cheers, friends!” This is a perfect spot for date night, a celebration, or for those times when you simply want to sit back and take your time savoring a premium craft cocktail. We recommend the Skaal Sour with bourbon, passionfruit, yuzu, lemongrass and aquafaba. During chilly months, the Hot hot hothothot Toddy will warm you from head to toe. Enjoy other creative seasonal gimlets, mojitos, martinis using locally made spirits.
5. Experience turn-of-the-century life at Historic Eidem Farm
Take a break from the ordinary when you visit Historic Eidem Farm and discover how one of the nation’s top potato-producing areas worked during the 20th century. The homestead is a living history farm and has been restored to the time of 1890-1910. The property consists of a large red barn and a restored multi-level Victorian-style home. Each season brings tours and activities, such as planting gardens, making fresh apple cider in the fall and exploring the grounds during the winter months. Take a tour and say hello to the friendly farm animals, or attend the homestead’s many events, including story times and movie nights.
6. Celebrate Brooklyn Park events
Throughout the summer, the city hosts a variety of community-building events called Celebrate Brooklyn Park. These fun, family-friendly events acknowledge Brooklyn Park's past as a potato-growing center while creating opportunities to celebrate its rich cultural diversity! Events are open to all ages and are sure to educate and inspire. The new Plaza Park has grown into an inviting event space and has hosted art festivals, live performances, family painting events and much more. Typically held in August, Tater Daze is accompanied by Brooklyn Park History Day and features special events at Historic Eidem Farm. Other Celebrate Brooklyn Park events include Music on the Lawn, Brooklyn Park Farmers Market, Concerts on the Farm, a Halloween Spooktacular, and a winter Holiday Lights tour!
7. Hit the links at Edinburgh USA
For golfers, Brooklyn Park offers Edinburgh USA, a "Scottish design" Championship golf course that’s ranked in the nation’s top 100 by Golf magazine. The amenities at Edinburgh are lovely and the high quality of the course design is remarkable, with purposeful, strategic placement of each and every shot. Known as a "thinking person's course,” you may have to reach for a few more clubs than you’re used to. Publicly owned, Edinburgh USA is operated by the City of Brooklyn Park and includes nearly 70 bunkers, 12 acres of water and an island fairway. If you looking for an easier time on the green, check out Brookland Golf Park, also in Brooklyn Park, which features nine traditional holes, FootGolf and disc golf!
8. Crack open king crab legs at Crazy Cajun
Insider Tip: Brooklyn Park serves the best seafood boils beyond the bayou! Since it opened in 2015, the Brooklyn Park’s Crazy Cajun has become a big hit serving southern fare with a bit of Minnesota flare. While the menu is decked out in po’ boys, frog legs, gumbo, jambalaya, oysters, and fried catfish and gator, the seafood boils are the star. Tie on your plastic bib and go to work cracking open the steamy king crab legs to get to the tender, buttery meat inside. Add corn, potatoes and pork sausage to your boil for even more deliciousness. Crazy Cajun owner and head chef John Nguyen has a long history in the restaurant business and smartly includes rolls of sturdy paper towels on the tables and plenty of wet naps.
9. Spend a night (or two) at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest
Whether you’re exploring Brooklyn Park or the Twin Cities metro area, the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest is the perfect place to make your home base. Relax in the lap of luxury at the city’s finest hotel, which is consistently recognized as one the Midwest’s premier all-suite hotels and meeting and event venues. You’ll be greeted by welcoming staff and wowed by the grand, open-air atrium, natural stonework and signature fireplace. The glass elevator adds extra magnificence, while the chic couches and armchairs invite guests to sit back and converse. You’ll feel at ease in your spacious suite with its comfortable furnishings, and you can escape to the in-house Wadsworth Restaurant for signature cocktails and regionally inspired dishes prepared from the freshest ingredients.
10. Taste Wagner’s Drive-In
Wagner’s Drive-In has been serving hand-crafted burgers, homemade coleslaw and crispy fries for more than 35 years and is one of the only remaining drive-ins in the state. Park and order your meal from the car and have it brought to your window old-school style or opt for the picnic tables outside. Juicy burgers, chicken sandwiches and onion rings fried to perfection are just a few of the must-have menu options. Save room for an old-fashioned malt, ice cream cone or sundae after your meal. On Monday evenings during the summer months, Wagner’s hosts Wag-niters and invites car collectors to bring their classic cars out for a mini auto show. All ages are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, enjoy a burger and meet other car fanatics.
BONUS: Play a variety of games at Bowlero
Bowlero Brooklyn Park hits the spot for all your high-energy gaming needs. Along with 48 bowling lanes, the venue boasts pool tables, a giant game room with arcade and sports games, and even laser tag! It’s so much more than a bowling alley and makes a great party venue, too. With the variety of activities available, everyone can find something to love, no matter their age or ability.