Minnesota has nearly endless ways to have fun. From camping in state parks to dining out at our best restaurants, there’s something to interest just about everyone. Unfortunately, many of these things cost money. Luckily, there are plenty of great things to do in Minnesota that don’t cost a dime. These 10 activities across the state are completely free, and they’re so good that you can’t afford to miss them.
1. Como Zoo - St. Paul
St. Paul, Minnesota, is home to one of the state’s most popular attractions. Though a donation is welcome upon entry, the zoo is technically free to visit. Many animal species are on display, as well as a sprawling conservatory filled to the brim with lush plants. Whether you love to watch sloths and gorillas or you prefer bonsai trees and roses, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Address: 1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul, MN 55103.
2. Lake George - St. Cloud
St. Cloud is not without its free attractions. Lake George is one of the best – and most easily accessible. A trail around the lake offers great views and good exercise in the warmer months. In summer, a splash pad will help cool kids down. And in the winter, ice skaters will be happy to race across the frozen lake’s length. All in all, this is an excellent spot in St. Cloud, made all the better because it’s free.
Address: 1101 7th St. S., Saint Cloud, MN 56301-4484.
3. Black Beach - Silver Bay
There are a few great beaches on the North Shore, and Black Beach is one of our favorites. The black sand against the red rocks and blue sky paints an otherworldly picture that you have to see to fully appreciate. Stroll along the shore, dip your toe in the water, and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. You won’t regret the drive
Address: Silver Bay, MN 55614.
4. Acorn Park - Roseville
There are many disc golf courses throughout the entire state. One of the nicest? Acorn Park in Roseville, Minnesota. This park combines a walk through a lovely nature area with a fun activity that you will love. Grab your favorite disc and let it fly! Across many 18 holes, you'll get a workout, some time in the sun, and a new favorite outdoor activity.
5. Munsinger Gardens - St. Cloud
If you’re a flower lover, St. Cloud holds another fabulous free option for you to consider. Munsinger Gardens is a gorgeously maintained flower garden that is absolutely wonderful for a stroll. Located along the Mississippi River, it is home to many concerts and other events. And it’s no wonder – the flowers and greenery attract butterflies and birds, making this a nature-filled spot right in the middle of a bustling city.
Address: 1515 Riverside Dr. SE, St. Cloud, MN 56304.
6. Iona's Beach - Two Harbors
Here’s another incredible North Shore beach that everyone should visit at least once. This one is unique for two reasons. First, it is made up of pink rocks left behind after many years of erosion by the lake’s choppy waters. Second, when the water washes the shore, the rocks tinkle together to create a fascinating song. It’s unlike anything in Minnesota, and it’s completely free
Address: Gitchi Gami State Trail, Two Harbors, MN 55616.
7. Canal Park - Duluth
Northern Minnesota is not without wonderful, free attractions. In Duluth, it’s easy to spend a day outdoors by strolling through Canal Park. The view of Lake Superior is mesmerizing in its own right, but you can also browse nearby shops, learn about the city’s maritime history, and – if you’re lucky – watch ships come in. Sounds like a perfect Duluth day.
Address: Canal Park, Duluth, MN..
8. Minnehaha Falls - Minneapolis
How many major metropolitan centers have a waterfall within city limits? Surely not many – especially one as impressive as Minnehaha Falls. This 53-foot waterfall is surrounded by a lush park. A series of trails leads along Minnehaha Creek, and a set of steep stairs lead to the base of the falls. No matter which angle you choose to view it at, it’ll be nothing short of spectacular.
9. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden - Minneapolis
One of the best free things to do in the state, a visit to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is basically a rite of passage. The spoon and cherry is the most famous sculpture, but there are plenty of lesser known pieces to discover. Pack a picnic and spend some time in the sun – all while enjoying great art.
Address: 726 Vineland Pl., Minneapolis, MN 55403.
10. Franconia Sculpture Garden - Shafer
This quirky garden in small-town Minnesota is filled to the brim with wonderful sculptures. A path around the garden leads to interesting creations by artists in residence, and it’s the perfect way to spend some time outdoors. Don’t forget to check out the huge – and wacky – playground.
Address: 29836 St. Croix Trail N., Shafer, MN 55074.
Have you done any of these free activities? What are your favorite free things to do in Minnesota? Let us know in the comments below!