Minneapolis is a great city for summer recreation, especially if you like hiking and biking. The Water River Parkway Trail stretches for miles along the Mississippi River. Plus, the city has bicycle lanes on most of the streets. Of course, there are plenty of other fun activities you can enjoy during the warmer months. So, if you're headed to Minneapolis this summer, check out these nine crazy and cool events you won't want to miss.
Participate in the Pratt Ice Cream Social
Head to Prospect Park on May 30th to participate in the Pratt Ice Cream Social. You can eat ice cream, visit with friends, and participate in lots of fun activities. Plus, May 30th is the only night of the year that you can tour the Prospect Park water tower. It's nicknamed the "witches hat" because that's what it looks like. It's something you don't want to miss because a climb to the top offers spectacular views of the city, since it's the highest point in the area.
Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' Art in Bloom Exhibit
From May 1st to May 4th, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is hosting the 31st annual Art in Bloom exhibit. More than 150 floral artists display their artwork throughout the museum. There are both free and ticketed events. You'll be amazed at the gorgeous floral arrangements that the artists create. If you can't stop by the museum during the exhibit, there's always something fun on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It's a popular museum that even offers off-site arts education to students pre-K through grade 12.
Watch the Grand Old Day Parade
Grand Old Day takes place on the first Sunday in June, which happens to be June 1st this year. It's one of the largest festivals in Minneapolis and the Midwest. Grand Old Day starts off with a parade, followed by live music, food, and games throughout the day on St. Paul's Grand Avenue.
This massive festival is separated into four districts — the Entertainment District where live bands perform; the Home and Garden District where vendors show off remodeling trends; the Sporting District where there are interactive games and appearances from the Timberwolves; and the Family Fun District where there's a petting zoo, an inflatable bounce house, face painting, and more. It's a great way to kick off the summer and enjoy the warmer weather.
Get Tickets for Rock the Garden 2014
Rock the Garden 2014 is an outdoor concert sponsored by 89.3 and the Walker Art Center. You need tickets to attend, but they are worth the money. Performances take place all day and you can also grab some food from unique vendors that show up just for the event. Some of the names that'll perform this year at Rock the Garden include David Byrne, Sonic Youth, Wilco, and Bon Iver.
Have Fun at the Minneapolis Aquatennial
Returning July 18th to July 26th, the Minneapolis Aquatennial is coined, "The Best Days of Summer." You can compete in the Xcel Energy Sandcastle Competition and the Aquatennial Milk Carton Boat Races on the 20th; watch the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade on the 23rd; and end the Minneapolis Aquatennial with the Target Fireworks display and pre-fireworks festivities. It's a fun event for the whole family, whether you attend one day or every day.
Attend the Internet Cat Video Festival
Videos go viral for all sorts of reasons, but cat videos are some of the most popular. The Internet Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis on August 30th is an offline celebration of these viral kitties. From short films to six-second Vine videos, you won't be able to stop laughing. The Walker Art Center hosts the festival, which is in its third year.
The Internet Cat Video Festival gets more popular every year; it was even featured on Shane Smith's rebelliously hip Vice.com in 2013. VICE is a digital media brand that includes a film production studio. It's known for the VICE news magazine series on HBO as well as several films including, "White Lightnin" (2009), "The Ride" (2010), "Reincarnated" (2013), and "Lil Bub & Friendz" (2013).
Visit the Minnesota Renaissance Festival
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is open every weekend between August 16th and September 28th and on Labor Day. It's a long-standing tradition in Minneapolis with fun events every day it's open. You can participate in the annual Bloomers and Tights 5K run on August 24th or have fun at Ladies Shopping Day on September 26th. Of course, there are also live performances, booths, and food no matter which weekend you attend.
Walk the Streets of the Uptown Art Festival
Every type of art is celebrated at the Uptown Art Festival, including sculptures, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, wood, and more. It's the second largest event in Minnesota and one of the largest art festivals in the U.S. You can browse art along Hennepin Avenue and The Mall -- some artwork is even available for purchase. There are also live performances and a youth art fair.
Compete in the Minnesota State Fair
At the end of the summer, from August 21st to September 1st, the Minnesota State Fair is open at the state fairgrounds. You can enjoy live performances every day, including a special appearance by Tim McGraw. Walk around the vendor booths, eat some yummy fairground food, participate in the 5K run, or enter your art, produce, or livestock in one of the competitions.
There's so much to do and see that you could spend an entire day exploring the fair with your family. Other events also take place at the fairgrounds during the summer, such as Back to the 50s Weekend.
These are just a few of the crazy and cool events that are happening in Minneapolis this summer. Others include the Riverwalk Market Fair, the Loring Park Art Festival, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Macy's Glamorama, and the ArtCar and ArtBike Parade. Attend as many events as you can for some crazy fun in the sun.