20+ Things to Do in Minnesota: Your Ultimate Fall Bucket List
Minnesota Fall Bucket List Ideas for Your Family

It’s time to plan your Minnesota fall bucket list, and we have got some great picks for you! From U-pick farms and corn mazes, this time of year, the farms are exploding with the ripe flavors of fall, and Minnesota cities are celebrating the season with fall festivals. Check out this bucket list and make the most of your family fun this fall in Minnesota.

Lose Yourself in a Corn Maze

Minnesota’s corn mazes are pure fall fun in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. As the leaves turn vibrant shades of red and gold, sprawling cornfields transform into intricate labyrinths. These mazes, often designed with creative themes like state landmarks (check out Twin Cities Harvest to see The Saints) or wildlife, offer a delightful challenge for families and friends. The tall cornstalks, , interesting paths and scavenger hunts, spark a sense of adventure. Each year, farms across the state vie to craft the most mind-boggling designs, drawing visitors from all corners. It’s not just about getting lost but forging unforgettable memories amidst Minnesota’s stunning fall landscape.

Plan a Family Day at the Zoo

Visiting Minnesota zoos in the fall is a delightful experience. As the leaves change color, the animals tend to be more active in the cooler weather. The Minnesota Zoo, located in Apple Valley, offers a diverse range of wildlife, from tigers to snow monkeys, set against the backdrop of autumn foliage. Plus, at night the zoo transforms in the can’t miss Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular.

At the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, the fall season adds a special charm to the historic park. You can see playful polar bears and majestic giraffes while taking in the beauty of the changing leaves.

The crisp air and fewer crowds make it an ideal time for a family outing, offering a unique opportunity to connect with nature and wildlife in a serene autumn setting. Don’t forget your camera, as the fall colors make for stunning wildlife photography.

Take A Fall Scenic Drive

One of Minnesota’s most captivating fall scenic drives is the North Shore Scenic Drive along Lake Superior. Stretching for over 150 miles from Duluth to Grand Portage, this route is a picture of autumn colors. As you embark on this journey, dense forests explode in vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. Along the way, iconic landmarks like Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls provide breathtaking backdrops.

The winding roads lead to charming towns like Two Harbors and Grand Marais, where cozy cafes and plenty of stops for the kiddos. Serene lakeshores, cascading waterfalls, and the immense lake itself make this drive a masterpiece of autumn beauty, and it is a true Minnesota gem.

Grab Dinner at a Pizza Farm

Minnesota pizza farms are a delightful fusion of rustic charm and culinary creativity. These unique establishments combine the joys of farm life with the deliciousness of pizza. Nestled in the picturesque Minnesota countryside, these farms offer visitors an unforgettable experience.

Guests can explore lush fields, pick fresh ingredients like tomatoes and herbs, and even interact with farm animals. The main attraction, of course, is the pizza. Made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients, these pizzas are cooked in wood-fired ovens, resulting in a crispy, flavorful crust.

Here are a few options:

  1. Red Barn Farm of Northfield: This charming farm offers wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and a petting zoo for kids.
  2. A to Z Produce and Bakery: Located in Stockholm, Wisconsin (near the Minnesota border), this farm hosts a weekly pizza night with live music and plenty of outdoor seating.
  3. DreamAcres Farm: Located in Wykoff, Minnesota, DreamAcres offers farm-to-table pizzas made with ingredients from their own farm.
  4. Stockholm Pie & General Store: While not a traditional pizza farm, this store in Stockholm, Wisconsin, serves up delicious pizza pies and has a delightful selection of pies for dessert.
  5. Suncrest Gardens Farm: Located in Cochrane, Wisconsin (near the Minnesota border), Suncrest Gardens offers wood-fired pizza nights on their scenic farm.

Remember to check their websites or social media for current operating hours and availability, as these pizza farms often have seasonal schedules. Enjoy your family outing!

Celebrate Oktoberfest 

Minnesota hosts lively Oktoberfest celebrations that blend German traditions with local flair. The Twin Cities, particularly Minneapolis and St. Paul, are hubs for these festivities. Each year, you can anticipate German brews, bratwursts sizzling on grills, and spirited oompah bands.

The New Ulm Oktoberfest, a standout, offers a blend of parades, contests, and polka dancing. In St. Paul, the historic Schmidt Brewery hosts an Oktoberfest filled with beer tastings and live music. For a unique twist, Stillwater’s Harvest Fest features pumpkin regattas on the St. Croix River.

These events capture the essence of Oktoberfest, creating memorable experiences and lasting cultural connections in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Visit a Winery

salem glen winery in rochester minnesota part of the Minnesota fall bucket list

Minnesota offers a charming array of family-friendly wineries perfect for a fall getaway. Begin your journey at Carlos Creek Winery, known for its picturesque vineyards and live music events amidst the changing leaves. Next, venture to Round Lake Vineyards & Winery, where kids can enjoy the water features while you savor award-winning wines. For a unique experience, visit Sovereign Estate Wine, offering lakeside views and even paddleboat rentals.

The stunning Parley Lake Winery, nestled in the lush Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, is another must-visit, combining nature and wine seamlessly. End your trip at Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery, where the whole family can savor craft beer and wine while relishing fall festivities like their annual Harvest Bonfire event. These family-friendly wineries promise a delightful autumn escape in Minnesota.

Go Apple-Picking

If you’re looking for family-friendly apple orchards to visit in the fall, check out your family favorites and consider these options:

  1. Smith Family Orchard: Enjoy apple picking, hayrides, and a petting zoo for the kids.
  2. Harvest Hills Orchard: They offer apple varieties galore and have a playground for children.
  3. Maplewood Farm Orchard: A picturesque orchard with apple picking, cider, and homemade apple pies.
  4. Sunny Acres Orchard: Family-run orchard with apple picking, a corn maze, and fresh apple cider donuts.
  5. Applewood Acres: This orchard has pony rides, a pumpkin patch, and a charming country store.
  6. Meadowbrook Orchards: Known for their apple picking, they also have a fantastic restaurant on-site.
  7. Honeycrisp Hill Orchard: Specializes in the beloved Honeycrisp apples and has a family-friendly atmosphere.
  8. Bluebird Orchards: Offers apple picking and scenic views, perfect for a fall outing.
  9. Hillside Apples: They have apple picking and a play area for children.
  10. Sweet Valley Orchard: Known for their sweet apples and friendly atmosphere.

These orchards provide a fun and wholesome experience for families to enjoy the beauty of fall and the deliciousness of freshly picked apples. Be sure to check their websites or contact them for seasonal hours and availability.

Take a Family Hike

Minnesota offers abundant opportunities for family-friendly hiking, catering to nature enthusiasts of all ages. The state boasts a diverse landscape, from lush forests to picturesque lakeshores, making it an ideal destination for outdoor adventures with your loved ones.

The Superior Hiking Trail along Lake Superior’s North Shore is a gem, featuring easy-to-moderate trails with stunning vistas. For a more relaxed experience, explore Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis, with its short, paved trails leading to a majestic waterfall. Families can also visit Gooseberry Falls State Park, renowned for its cascading waterfalls and accessible pathways. Minnesota’s family-friendly hiking ensures cherished moments in the great outdoors.

Here are six great hikes to try with your family.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

girl and boy sitting on pumpkins in minnesota

Minnesota’s family-friendly pumpkin patches are fall gems, promising joy for all ages. These enchanting destinations combine the magic of Halloween with wholesome family fun. Kids delight in navigating corn mazes, their giggles echoing through the fields. The search for the perfect pumpkin becomes an adventure, as families bond while picking vibrant gourds and sharing ideas of what to carve their pumpkins. Hayrides offer scenic views and a touch of nostalgia, while petting zoos and pony rides add an extra layer of excitement for the little ones. Warm apple cider and fresh-baked pies provide cozy feels, and the memory of a day spent together in these lively patches lingers, making them cherished traditions for Minnesota families.

Watch a Parade

biggest pumpkin at anoka halloween parade on the minnesota fall bucket list

Bringing your family to a fall parade in Minnesota is a great idea! Here’s why! Parades offer scenic beauty: Minnesota’s fall foliage is stunning, and a parade is an excellent way to enjoy the vibrant autumn colors. You get a sense of community spirit:

Parades often showcase local culture and community pride, providing an opportunity to connect with your neighbors and celebrate together. The family bonding that parades offer since they are family-friendly events, offering a chance for quality time and creating lasting memories. Fall parades often feature themes related to the season, like Halloween or Thanksgiving, adding an extra layer of fun and excitement.

Parades all you to support local businesses: Many parades include local businesses, giving you a chance to discover and support your community’s offerings. Of course, they offer food and treats: You can enjoy delicious fall-themed treats and snacks from vendors at the parade.

It becomes a family tradition: Attending fall parades can become a cherished family tradition, bringing joy year after year.

Check out Plymouth on Parade and the Anoka Halloween Parade with your kiddos this year!

Take a Boat Cruise

st croix river boat cruise. minnesota fall bucket list

Family fall boat cruises in Minnesota offer a captivating blend of natural beauty and seasonal charm. As the leaves turn vibrant shades of red and gold, families gather aboard cozy vessels to sail on serene lakes, notably Lake Minnetonka or the St. Croix River. The crisp autumn air, coupled with the tranquil waters, sets the stage for unforgettable moments. Passengers relish warm apple cider, indulge in pumpkin-flavored treats, and admire the scenic vistas. It’s a time to bond, share stories, and marvel at the fall foliage reflected in the water. These cruises become cherished family traditions, a perfect way to savor Minnesota’s autumnal splendor together.

Bake Apple Goodies

After your visit to your favorite apple orchard, you are sure to have apples on hand to make these yummy treats for the kiddos!

  1. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter and Toppings:
    • Slice apples into rings or wedges.
    • Spread nut butter on each slice.
    • Add fun toppings like raisins, mini chocolate chips, or crushed graham crackers. Get the full recipe here.
  2. Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal:
    • Cook rolled oats according to package instructions.
    • Stir in diced apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
    • Sweeten with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
  3. Apple and Cheese Quesadillas:
    • Place thinly sliced apples and cheddar cheese between two tortillas.
    • Cook in a skillet until the cheese melts and tortillas are crispy.
    • Cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of yogurt for dipping.

These recipes are simple, delicious, and perfect for kids to enjoy apples in different ways.

One more to check out is this Apple Pie Bars recipe!

Visit a Local Minnesota Farm

Minnesota offers a plethora of family-friendly farms to explore. A prime example is Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater, where visitors can pick apples, savor homemade treats, and enjoy hayrides. Nearby, Pine Tree Apple Orchard provides a similar experience with orchard tours and a charming farm store.

For a unique twist, the Minnesota Alpaca Farm in Finlayson invites families to interact with these adorable creatures, while Baker Orchard in Centuria, just across the border, offers a delightful apple-picking adventure. Young animal enthusiasts can delight in the farmyard fun at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, featuring hands-on encounters with farm animals.

These farms exemplify Minnesota’s wholesome family farm experiences, making them perfect destinations for creating family memories.

Check out Your Neighborhood Fall Festivals and Events

corn pit at pinehaven farm in wyoming minnesota
Image: Pinehaven Farm

Where do we start with family fall festivals and neighborhood events in Minnesota, there are so many to choose from! Here are a few that you can add to your Minnesota fall bucket list:

Sever’s Fall Festival | Shakopee, MN

Pinehaven Farms | Wyoming, MN

Twin Cities Harvest Festival | Brooklyn Park, MN

Visit our calendar for many more to pick from!

Decorate Your House for Halloween

Find fun fall and Halloween themed crafts and decorations to make with the kids here

Celebrate Halloween as a Family

Halloween is an exciting time of the year. It is the perfect opportunity to combine fun and learning, spend quality time together as a family, and create Halloween traditions. Check out these 10 creative ways to celebrate with your family. The spooky science experiment and pumpkin STEAM investigations are sure to bring joy to the kiddos!

Visit a New Park or Playground

Visiting a playground with your family in Minnesota this fall is a fantastic idea for several reasons. The crisp autumn air and vibrant foliage create a stunning backdrop for outdoor play, offering a unique and picturesque experience. It’s an excellent opportunity for your family to bond and engage in physical activity together, promoting health and well-being. Minnesota’s playgrounds often feature innovative equipment and designs that can spark creativity and imagination in your children. Additionally, fall offers cooler temperatures, making outdoor play more comfortable than in the sweltering summer heat. Ultimately, it’s a memorable way to enjoy the season and create cherished family moments amidst nature’s beauty.

Check out these five Twin Cities Parks to visit, especially in the fall!

Minnesota Fall Bucket List: Go Sightseeing

Minnesota offers breathtaking fall foliage and charming destinations. Start at the North Shore, where Lake Superior’s shoreline transforms with vibrant hues. Explore the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse against a backdrop of crimson and gold.

Head to Duluth’s Enger Tower for panoramic views of the city amid fall colors. The scenic byways, like the Gunflint Trail and Great River Road, lead you through forests ablaze with autumn shades.

Don’t miss the Twin Cities’ Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and St. Paul’s Como Park, where you can stroll amid art and gardens. For a true wilderness experience, venture into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where fall’s magic is reflected in pristine lakes.

Minnesota’s fall is a tapestry of beauty waiting to be explored.

Check out a Scarecrow Trail

scarecrow trail part of the minnesota fall bucket list
Photo: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Visiting a scarecrow trail with your kids this fall promises an enchanting adventure. These trails immerses kids in nature’s beauty, with vibrant autumn foliage as a backdrop. The trail’s creative scarecrows captivate young imaginations, sparking conversations about art, design, and storytelling. This outdoor escapade fosters physical activity, promoting healthy lifestyles.

It’s an educational opportunity, teaching kids about agriculture, farming, and the importance of scarecrows in protecting crops. As a family, crafting your scarecrow for the trail encourages teamwork and creativity. The autumn atmosphere, filled with crisp air and warm colors, creates lasting memories. Most importantly, it offers quality bonding time, fostering family connections and creating a treasure trove of cherished moments. Check out the trails happening in White Bear Lake and at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this fall. Make sure to add these stops to your Minnesota fall bucket list!

Grab a Fall Themed Coffee Flight

The Twin Cities boasts a vibrant coffee scene, and coffee flights have become a trendy way to explore the diverse offerings of local cafes. Among the best, Spyhouse Coffee stands out with its meticulously curated flights featuring unique fall flavors, allowing patrons to savor each sip. On the other hand, Five Watt Coffee is known for its inventive flavor combinations, crafting flights that delight the adventurous palate. Canteen Coffee Bar, a cozy gem, specializes in single-origin flights, providing a focused tasting experience. Which coffee shop is your favorite?

Minnesota Fall Bucket List: Visit a Farmers Market

Bringing your kids to a farmers market in Minnesota this fall is an enriching experience with numerous benefits. The vibrant atmosphere of a farmers market stimulates their senses, exposing them to a variety of colors, smells, and tastes, promoting healthy eating habits.

Interacting with farmers encourages curiosity and questions, promoting an understanding of farming practices and the importance of supporting local businesses. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for your children to learn about seasonality, as they discover the unique produce available during the fall months, especially pumpkins and gourds.

Overall, a visit to a farmers market this fall provides a fun, educational, and community-oriented outing that can inspire a lifelong appreciation for fresh, locally-sourced foods and sustainable living.

What do you have on your family’s Minnesota Fall Bucket List this year?

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