From vast prairie lands to steep rocky cliffs and rolling hills connecting the two, fall is in its glory here.

There’s something about fall activities in Minneapolis that I absolutely love. It’s not just the crisp morning air and cloudless skies that seem to breathe life into winter. It’s not just nature’s unique ability to transform into a grandiose canvas of colors, sights and smells. No, it’s all of this and so much more. Minnesota is often heralded as one of the best states in which to see this wonder unfold. From vast prairie lands to steep rocky cliffs and rolling hills connecting the two, fall is in its glory here. Here are a few of my favorite spots to get out and enjoy it.

Caponi Art Park

Some 60 acres of fall’s beauty unfold across the rolling hills at this gem of a park in Eagan, just 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and even closer to St. Paul. Meander aimlessly without fear of getting lost among intertwined wooded trails, and see how the park blends with 30-plus sculptures seamlessly hidden—it’s as if you’re embarking on an archaeological dig.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Spread across more than 1,100 acres of natural areas and public gardens, the Arboretum can understandably seem daunting at first blush, but you can’t go wrong no matter the path you take. My favorites include Green Heron Pond, Pepper Meadow, Wildflower Garden and High Point where you can also take in the Sculpture Garden.

Scenic Drives

Take in the majestic cloak of a canopy lining Summit Avenue in St. Paul, where the architecture of Victorian homes is as breathtaking as the foliage. Drive along Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis, meandering around Lake Nokomis and stopping eastward at Minnehaha Falls, the urban waterfall that inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha” poem. While in the park, meander along creek bed trails as it collapses into the Mighty Mississippi about two miles further down. You’ll be surrounded by fall’s natural beauty the entire trek. If you’re staying close to St. Paul, drive along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway northbound or south. Either direction affords amazing views and plenty of parks to stop in along both sides of our great river.
Scenic Fall Drive Along The River

Image by Todd Buchanan/Greenspring Media

Apple Orchards

Two of my favorite apple orchards a short drive from the Twin Cities are the Afton Apple Orchard in Hastings and Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater. Aside from the obvious activities found in, well, apple orchards (think requisite hay rides, apple picking, etc.) these small towns alone are worth the fall journey. The ride to both will provide ample fall color viewing and each town offers amazing boutiques, pubs, eateries and outdoor activities.

City Secrets

While at Aamodt’s: Be sure to visit the winery and tasting room at Saint Croix Vineyards, then take your glass to the Apple Barn and order an amazing apple brat. It’s the perfect fall pairing. Or visit Lift Bridge Brewing Co. or Maple Island Brewing for a pint of craft beer to round out your fall day.

apples in a basket at an orchard

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