1. Outdoor Culture
Minnesotans love to be outside and there’s no shortage of things to do. With over 11,000 lakes Minnesota has more shoreline than California, Hawaii and Florida combined. That’s a lot of boating, fishing and lying on the beach.
2. Minnesota State Fair
Close your eyes and imagine the most delicious food you can think of. Fry it and put it on a stick and you can buy it at the state fair. Chocolate bars, Caprese salad, ostrich, and beer are all served a la stick. There’s also bacon ice cream. One of the biggest state fairs in the nation, you can do everything here from watching animals get born in the “birthing barn,” see big name concerts, or view a butter statue of this year’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
Minnesota has one of the largest pride celebrations in the world. Having legalized gay marriage earlier this year, June’s celebration is going to be even crazier. Local companies like Target and General Mills show up to support our GLBTQ community. The highlight of the festival is Sunday’s Pride Parade down Hennepin Avenue which features floats upon floats of shirtless men dancing to club music. Also, politicians and dogs dressed like drag queens. This year’s grand marshal is former Vikings punter and outspoken tweeter Chris Kluwe.
4. Lake Calhoun
In the middle of Minneapolis is a beautiful lake with a running and biking path around all 3.2 miles of it. It has three swimming beaches, two playgrounds, volleyball courts, grills, a restaurant, fishing docks and a place you can rent paddleboards, kayaks and canoes from. Calhoun is the platonic form of summer bliss.
5. Rooftop bars
Minnesotans love to be outside so much, they’re even outside while eating dinner or enjoying nightlife. Every bar and restaurant seems to have both a patio and a rooftop for outdoor seating and drinking.
Bicycling Magazine named Minneapolis the best biking city in the nation. You don’t even have to live in Minneapolis—or own a bike; the city’s Nice Ride system makes renting one for a spin around Lake Calhoun super easy. There’s also a bicycle highway, the Greenway, and tons of bike shop/café hybrids. In a state where there’s ice and snow on the ground most of the year, our love for biking runs deep.
7. City Parks
With only six blocks separating the majority of people’s homes from a city park, Minneapolis has the best parks ever and was even given that distinction by the Trust for Public Land. It’s not a coincidence that Minneapolis was also named the fittest city in the U.S. by Shape Magazine. Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Happy people have the best summer ever.
There is a magical land you will hear Minnesotans refer to called “up north.” There is no physical place that “up north” is or city that phrase relates to. Up north is wherever your cabin is. Weekends at the lake home (or your friend’s lake home) are the best weekends of the summer.
9. Boundary waters
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a network of over a thousand lakes and is a frequent destination for backpackers, fishers and hikers.
10. Music festivals
Minnesota has a long history of producing unique and legendary musicians: Bob Dylan, Prince and The Replacements to name a few. Summer in Minnesota has no shortage of music festivals. There’s Rock the Garden, an indie festival held at the legendary Minneapolis Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, The Basilica Block Party which is held outside the nation’s first Basilica in downtown Minneapolis, and hugely popular country music festival, We Fest, in Detroit Lakes.
11. Big Island
Lake Minnetonka is a large lake in the western Twin Cities metro suburbs. In the middle of the lake is Big Island, a popular place to dock your boat, tan and enjoy daytime cocktails with strangers.
Zorbaz is a magical Minnesota restaurant chain that you can drive your boat up to for pizza, beer and sand volleyball. Zorbaz is our religion.
13. High-fives from R.T. Rybak
If you live in Minneapolis, you are enjoying a bittersweet summer as the last one with the country’s best mayor. If you attend even one parade this summer, you’ll probably get a high-five from a very sweaty R.T. as he runs through the crowd, crowd surfs, or does cartwheels down the parade course.
14. Brit’s Pub
Downtown bar Brit’s Pub hosts a menu of beer and food from England in addition to a large grassy area on the rooftop for the British game of lawn bowling. Stretching out on the lawn in the midst of downtown skyscrapers is a very cool experience.
15. Renaissance festival
Dress up in a costume, play renaissance games and get lost in a completely different world. If jousting and wenches aren’t your thing, they also sell huge turkey legs and mead.
16. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
An 11 acre park in the middle of Minneapolis and one of the largest sculpture parks in the U.S., the garden is the perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying a book or a picnic. No Minnesota summer is complete without a photo in front of the Spoonbridge and Cherry.
17. Target Field
Our poor baseball team has both never had their own stadium, and never played a home game outdoors until the 2010 season when they began playing at Target Field. Now everyone in Minnesota can cheer on the home team while getting a tan.
18. Hidden beach
You can swim with dogs and hippies! If you can find it.
19. Food Trucks
Food trucks are big in Minnesota. We love our snacks so much this summer boasts the first annual Food Truck Festival in Minneapolis. They’re not the basic dishes of yore; these food trucks bring us delicacies like eggplant fries, lobster rolls and donut burgers.
20. Music and Movies in the Park
The City of Minneapolis provides a free event at seven days a week throughout the summer. Every night of the week in a different park there’s a concert and a movie. For free!
Minnesota ranks frequently among the happiest states in the nation. Minnesotans are having the best summer because no matter what time of year it is, we’re usually happier than most of the country.
22. We deserve it
Minnesota has some freaking grueling winters. Scraping ice off your car daily for five months can take a toll on your psyche, but what doesn’t freeze you makes you stronger! It’s no wonder Minnesotans are having a better summer than you are, we earned this.