Top 10 Rainy Day Activities in the Twin Cities

Photo by Erica Loeks

by | Apr 12, 2017

Well, it’s spring. And in Minnesota that can only mean one thing. We have no idea what the weather will bring each day. Sometimes you wake up to find an inch of snow piled on your car, and just a few days later it’ll be 60 degrees and sunny! The fluctuation of weather patterns this time of year is enough to drive the most even keeled Minnesotan a little zany, so we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 indoor activities for those rainy days of spring and summer. There’s a wide variety of things to check out—indoor mini golf, a historic home tour, breweries, a seven-acre indoor amusement park and much, much more. So the next time you find yourself in a gloomy spring afternoon, trade in your day snuggled up with a book for an exciting day at one of these rainy day spots.

A mother holding her small child up to the glass at an aquarium as a tiger shark swims byCourtesy Mall of America

SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium

1. Mall of America

Bloomington’s massive shopping and entertainment destination has so much more than shopping, though, I wouldn’t blame you if you spent your rainy day hitting the more than 520 shops in the mall. Be sure to also check out SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe, a seven-acre indoor amusement park with rides that are fun for all ages. Check out our footage of the Spongebob Squarepants-themed Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course here!

2. Must-See Museums

Here in the Twin Cities, we have plenty of arts and culture exhibits to transport you into different times, places and experiences. Check out Minneapolis Institute of Art (free of charge for permanent exhibits) for thousands of pieces spanning 20,000 years. Now through November 18, check out one of Mia’s current exhibitions, Enchanted Mountains: Chinese Landscape Painting. Also free for its permanent collection is the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum, whose unique exterior was designed by none other than Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect whose resume also includes the Guggenheim Museum, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

3. Midtown Global Market

Enjoy cuisine from around the world and peruse handmade goods while you’re at it. Check out our in-depth guide of the offerings at this Lake Street market here, and don’t forget to grab a pint from Eastlake Brewery & Tavern while you’re there if you find yourself in need of an ice-cold brew.

Kids putting on a vibrant mini golf course inside a warehouse-like buildingCourtesy Can Can Wonderland

Can Can Wonderland

4. Can Can Wonderland

Mini golf meets craft beer meets arcade games meets ping pong meets art gallery. What a mouthful. Located in a nondescript warehouse in St. Paul, this place is all about whimsical fun. Can Can Wonderland is perfect for kids and adults alike—or the kid in every adult. Enjoy craft beer from one of their bars, or order a cocktail served up with locally made ingredients. But whatever you do, be sure to play their 18-hole artist designed mini golf course. We promise it’s worth the wait.

5. James J. Hill House Tour

Get a glimpse into 19th century life at St. Paul’s James J. Hill House. The historic home was built in 1891 and was the residence of the eponymous railroad tycoon, who had a huge impact on the region’s economy throughout his lifetime. Tour the home and learn about the period and admire the many details in the design of the 36,000-square-foot mansion such as ornamental wood carvings and opulent chandeliers. The Minnesota Historical Society also offers children’s tours, in which younger visitors will learn about the Hill children and grandchildren and participate in special programming.

6. Minnesota Orchestra

The Grammy award-winning Minnesota Orchestra performs in a luxurious concert hall in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall. The hall was recently renovated to unveil an updated lobby and gathering space, but the performance space itself was untouched (thankfully) as its acoustics are hard to beat. Conducted by Osmo Vänskä, the ensemble performs classics alongside contemporary pieces and even film scores.

7. Breweries

Many taprooms around the Twin Cities have board games to enjoy with a pint of craft beer. Head to Insight Brewing Co. for board games and free brewery tours (including free beer on the tour!) every Saturday at noon. At Bauhaus Brew Labs, test your knowledge of random facts on Wednesday nights, or challenge your friends to vintage arcade games. If you want to feel like your outside even though it’s pouring rain, check out Lakes & Legends Brewing Co., where they bring the outdoors in with yard games, adirondack chairs and green turf. And be sure to check out the crown jewel of Minnesota breweries, Surly Brewing Co., where they pour pint after pint of world-renowned brew.

8. Indoor Rock Climbing

It may be raining outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be active! Check out one of the Twin Cities’ indoor rock climbing attractions. One of our favorite is Vertical Endeavors, which has three locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington. Bloomington is also home to an REI store that features a rock climbing wall, so you can shop for new outdoor gear and round out the afternoon with a climb.

9. Science Museum of Minnesota

Young and old will learn something new at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Featuring exhibits in paleontology, human anatomy, history of the region and more. The St. Paul-located museum is the perfect place to spend a day inside exploring the many facets of the world. Admission to the museum is $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for children, but you can purchase a package for museum and Omnitheater admission for an extra $6.

Sunken Garden at Como Park Zoo & ConservatoryKent Kanouse

Sunken Garden at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

10. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

The indoor garden oasis at this conservatory (located at St. Paul’s Como Zoo) will transport you into a tropical paradise no matter what the weather looks like outside. Visit the Tropical Encounters room for humidity-loving plantings, and gaze at exotic flowers blooming in the indoor Sunken Garden. You might even be lucky enough to spot the conservatory’s favorite resident, Chloe, a Hoffman’s Two Toed Sloth.

What are your favorite rainy day activities in the Twin Cities? Tweet us @visittwincities!

Original post by Aubrey Schield. Edited by Kyle Smelter on May 18, 2018.

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