Frugal Summer Activities and Events

We thought it would never come, but now the weather is finally heating up!  Looking for some fun events and activities to do this summer that won’t break the bank? Check these out:

  • Live Music and Movies: Summer is the time for live music and movies! Check out a drive-in movie where you can essentially get three movies for the price of one. Bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket for some entertainment in a local park. Check out the free Nine nights of music events at the Minnesota History Center on Tuesdays in July and August, music and movies in parks across the twin cities or the Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival, held in June 27-29 in Mears Park.
  • Explore the Outdoors: Summer is a great time for camping and hiking. Visit one of the many great Minnesota Parks, take a day trip to Taylors Falls only an hour NE of the twin cities. Visit Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska on Thursdays evenings where there is free admission as well as live music. Or, visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or the Como Park and Zoo, which are always free.
  • Attend a Sporting Event: Summer is baseball season! Check out a minor or major league game! The St. Paul Saints offer cheap tickets and good deals all summer long. Not a baseball fan? Watch a free water ski show on the Mississippi River on Thursday evenings during the summer – see human pyramids, ballet on the water and ski jumps.
  • Special Events: The twin cities hosts many exciting events during the summer, here are a few highlights. Almost half a million people attend the annual parade and festival at the Twin Cities Pride Celebration June 28-30. Minneapolis Aquatennial, the biggest free summer festival in the twin cities, is July 12-20 featuring milk carton boat races, the Torchlight Parade, sandcastle sculpting contests, live music and fireworks. While not necessarily frugal, it is worth saving your money to go to the Minnesota State Fair, August 22-September 2nd. The “Great Minnesota Get-Together” boasts farm animals, thrill rides, live music, food on a stick, and all the fun of the fair.
  • Art Fairs: August is a prime month for art fairs and festivals in the twin cities. Art Fair weekend is August 2-4 featuring fine arts, local crafts and everything in-between for sale at three art fairs: the Loring Park Art Festival, the Uptown Art Fair and the Powderhorn Art Fair. Also at the beginning of August, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, August 1-11, brings together hundreds of music, dance and theater performances at venues across the Twin Cities.
  • Cultural Events: There are also many outdoor cultural events. Check out the Dragon Boat Races and martial arts demonstrations at the Dragon Festival July 13-14, or the sports, dancing, music and other kinds of Irish-themed fun August 9-11 at the Irish Fair of Minnesota.
  • Block Parties: During the summer many communities and restaurants hold free block parties with music and food. Check out these block parties from three local favorites Bryant Lake Bowl (June 28), Barbette (July 14) and The Red Stag (August 3).
  • July 4th Festivities: July 4th is a great time to enjoy the outdoors! There are many parades and free fireworks displays throughout the twin cities. Check out this site to find events near you.

Join the Conversation: What are your favorite frugal summer activities and events?


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