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Top Reasons to Love Minneapolis Northwest in the Fall

Summer may be coming to an end, but the fun doesn’t stop when the temperature cools down.

During fall, Minneapolis Northwest comes alive with tons of events, shopping and activities. Travel and Leisure called the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas among "America’s Best Cities for Fall Travel," praising its lakes, bike paths and the Mississippi River. From finding your way out of a 20-acre corn maze to catching a Minnesota Vikings game, here some top reasons to love Minneapolis Northwest in the fall.



Minneapolis Fall Colors Tours

Between late September and mid-October, Minneapolis Northwest’s urban landscape brightens with spectacular colors. In addition to those colorful views, check out the leaves turning gold, red and orange, with a bike ride down the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, 51 miles of interconnecting parkways throughout the area. You can also ride the trails outside the byway, where you have approximately 120 miles of biking trails in total. Ride along these scenic routes to see picturesque lakes, rivers, woodlands, parks and bridges, all shrouded in fall colors.

You can also explore the 160-acre Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park along secluded forest paths near the Mississippi River. Spend the day exploring the three miles near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers; along the Pike Island loop at Fort Snelling State Park; or stroll around quaint Nicollet Island that offers a beautiful skyline vista and breathtaking views of the Stone Arch Bridge. This is just a sampling of great places to admire pretty fall foliage throughout Minneapolis Northwest. For a panoramic view, take your experience up a notch with a Minnesota Helicopters 30-minute tour. 

Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze

Fall in the Midwest wouldn’t be complete without a corn maze adventure. Twin Cities Harvest Festival in Brooklyn Park is the site of a 20-acre maze (the largest in the state), and is so popular that it’s known to draw up to 30,000 visitors each year! Before entering the maze, you’ll receive a map to navigate your way out. As you wander the paths, look for trivia questions scattered throughout the maze. There’s also a smaller bale maze for kids to navigate, and families can go on a hayride before picking pumpkins to take home. An exciting new feature this year is the exotic petting zoo, where families can expect to see reindeer (perfect if your kids love “Frozen”).


Fall Sports

Bleacher Report named Minneapolis one of the 25 best cities for sports fans and the best time to see why is in the fall when football season kicks off. There’s always fast-paced NFL action when the Minnesota Vikings take to the field. The bright and beautiful new U.S. Bank Stadium, where home games are played, opened in 2016 in the downtown east area of Minneapolis. Members of the National Football Conference North Division, the Vikings have competed in four Super Bowls.

College football enthusiasts can enjoy Minnesota Gophers football too when they play against major teams like Penn State’s Nittany Lions and Rutgers University’s Scarlet Knights. If basketball is your game, visit Target Center and watch the Minnesota Timberwolves play against Los Angeles Lakers or the Miami Heat.

Minnesota’s only professional harness racing park, Running Aces Casino & Racetrack, features a five-eighths oval track. Watch races from outdoor seating while enjoying a meal and a cocktail with track views. Free admission and parking make this a low-cost way to entertain family and friends too. If you want a break from the horse racing, visit the advanced gaming floor, which operates 24/7.


Specialty Sporting Goods Shopping

A new season calls for a new wardrobe—and men—we’re talking about you. Take advantage of all the outdoor activities and nature that Minneapolis Northwest has to offer and go shopping for fall sporting goods, clothing and gear. Thorne Bros Custom Rod & Tackle have outfits and gear to prepare you for fall and winter activities like fly fishing and ice fishing. Looking to go camping or kayaking? Head over to REI in Maple Grove and find everything at your fingertips, including top-of-the-line canoes, camping tents, goggles, flashlights, hiking boots and sports clothing for every occasion. Cabela’s is another prominent sporting goods store in the area, where you can buy both wardrobe and supplies for hunting, camping, fishing and more outdoors activities. 


Early Kickoff to the Holiday Shopping Season

Do you find yourself each December wishing you had done your holiday shopping earlier? Avoid the swarming crowds during the holiday season, and visit the popular shops in Minneapolis Northwest this fall, where you can buy the best gifts before they sell out. Albertville Premium Outlets is a fantastic stop to acquire designer brand clothing and items at discounted prices from stores like Ann Taylor, Adidas, Coach, Nike Factory Store and much more. Explore more than 100 stores for the perfect gift for friends and family. For a small-town shopping experience, visit Main Street Arbor Lakes at Maple Grove to browse through boutique shops and dine at small, family-owned cafes for lunch or dinner. The shops are all within walking distance, making it a great way to get some exercise and check out the local sights. But for a real shopping extravaganza visit the famous Mall of America, declared one of the world’s best shopping districts and outfitted with its own theme parks and a mind-blowing 520 stores.  


Whether you prefer to play outdoors, shop for great deals or watch exciting sports action, all those great options are possible in Minneapolis Northwest. To create your ultimate fall adventure here, visit

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