July 5, 2022

Give Me The Mike

Exploring Minnesota and Beyond

The ultimate 2022 Minnesota summer to-do checklist

Download this free ultimate bucket list guide for a list of what to do in Minnesota during summer 2022!

Last summer, I rejoined the team at KSTP-TV to be the Executive Producer of Minnesota Live, seen weekdays at 9:00 A.M. I’m so happy to be back. Please tune in! To learn more about me and my personal story, click here.

As part of my job, I share my picks for what’s happening this weekend every Thursday on KSTP-TV and KS95. A few years ago, our team had the idea of coming up with a summer bucket to-do checklist so you’re never at a loss of things to do around Minnesota. I brought it back for 2022 and came up with some fantastic activities and events happening between now and the Minnesota State Fair. 

You can download a PDF of this guide for free and put it on your fridge! Click here

If you do some of these events, please take pictures and send them to me! Connect with me at mmarcotte@kstp.com


55 things to do this summer: 2022 edition

  1. Drive up to Cloquet and get an order of Gordy Hi-Hat’s famous homemade onion rings.
  2. Fore! Avoid the windmills at Big Stone Mini Golf in Minnetrista or Adventure Falls Mini Golf in Taylors Falls.
  3. Go tubing down the Cannon River at Welch MillCheck their website before you go to make sure they’re open. Before you head out, pack a cooler with beverages! On your way back, stop by King’s Place in Miesville for one of the best burgers in the State.
  4. Search for something special at Central Minnesota’s largest gift and souvenir shop, Treasure City in Royalton. This iconic spot has been in business for over 50 years!
  5. Open every Saturday thru the end of October, The Wright County Swappers Meet in South Haven averages 150-200 sellers. On a holiday weekend, expect 350 sellers with antiques, vinyl, jewelry, and more!
  6. Hop in the car and drive up to Two Harbors for a visit to Rustic Inn Café for a slice of their made-from-scratch pie. You’ll be glad you did.
  7. Admire some pink rocks at Iona’s Beach in Two Harbors. If you listen closely, the rocks will sing to you! 
  8. Cool off in a cave! In Harmony, travel one-mile underground to explore Niagara Cave. About 20 minutes away in Preston, you’ll find Mystery Cave which spans 13 miles. Spring Valley, WI is home to Crystal Cave, which offers one-hour tours.
  9. See drag racing in its purest form at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR). They host the NHRA Nationals August 18-21.
  10. Jason AldeanMiranda Lambert, and Luke Bryan visit Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes for the annual WE Fest, happening August 4-6.
  11. A Father’s Day Weekend tradition continues at the State Fairgrounds June 17-19. MSRA’s Back to the 50’s Weekend features more than 12,000 street rods, classic and restored vehicles. 
  12. Twin Cities Live teamed up with Invictus Brewing Company in Blaine to create another seltzer that will help keep you cool this summer! The “Spoon and Spiked Cherry Limeade” seltzer will be available at their taproom and at liquor stores around the Twin Cities. $1 from every pour in the taproom or 6-pack sold will be donated to Open Arms of Minnesota!
  13. Volunteer in the garden! Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit delivering free meals to Minnesotans living with life-threatening illnesses, operates five organic farms in the Twin Cities and needs volunteers to help harvest vegetables, which are used in meals. Read a Give Me The Mike story about Open Arms of Minnesota here
  14. Minnesota’s self-proclaimed “Largest Candy Store” is a sight to behold! Jim’s Apple Farm is right on Highway 169 in Jordan. You can’t miss the big yellow barn! Remember to hit up the ATM…it’s cash only. And they don’t have a website!
  15. Let the kids run around at Valleyfair in Shakopee (don’t forget the bathing suits) and finish with classic burgers at Lions Tap in Eden Prairie. Meet the owners of Lions Tap – and their recipe to success – at TwinCitiesLive.com
  16. Plan a full day in downtown Hopkins! Enjoy a meal at Thirty Bales, see a show by Stages Theatre Company at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, and visit the two-level beer wall at Bear Cave Brewing. A great time to visit is during Raspberry Festival, held July 13-17.
  17. There’s no shortage of activities happening the last weekend of June! Lake City celebrates its 50th annual Water Ski Days June 23-26. In Minneapolis, the Twin Cities Pride Festival also celebrates its 50th anniversary with a festival and parade June 25-26. Finally, one of Minnesota’s oldest communities, Afton, holds its annual Strawberry Festival June 25-26.
  18.  Have you tried smelt? This is the summer to eat the small fish! Check out Russ Kendall’s Smoke House in Knife River to get started. While you’re there, pick up some brown sugar trout and salmon to-go.
  19. See a parade! Delano claims to have Minnesota’s oldest and largest 4th of July celebration. The parade starts at 10:30AM on Independence Day.
  20. Visit White Bear Lake on a Thursday from June 16-July 28 for Marketfest. Enjoy live music, a car show, plenty of shopping, and themed weeks.
  21. We all scream for ice cream! For a cool treat, visit Love Creamery in DuluthCup and Cone in White Bear Lake, and What’s the Scoop? in Buffalo and St. Michael. Get a list of the 5 best ice cream shops in Minnesota
  22. Eat at a drive-in! Stop by Peppermint Twist in Delano for a shake. Make sure to save extra time for the Teddy Bear Park!
  23. See a movie at a drive-in! Vali-Hi in Lake Elmo, Long Drive In Theater in Long Prairie, and Starlite Drive-In Theater in Litchfield are all classic drive-ins showing movies under the stars. Get a roundup of Minnesota drive-in move theaters
  24. Participate in a minnow race. Your kiddos can do so in Hackensack at the Children’s Fishing Contest, which takes place every Tuesday from June 14-August 16.
  25. Stop by Nisswa for Turtle Races, which take place every Wednesday. The tradition started in 1963.
  26. After a few years off, Sparky the Sea Lion is back performing at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul. Best of all, admission to Como is free. If you’re hungry, stop by nearby Nelson Cheese & Deli for an amazing sandwich.
  27. Watch water ski stunts by the Twin Cities River Rats along the banks of the Mississippi River in northeast Minneapolis. Shows are Thursday nights in June and July. Grab a pint of beer on the patio of Pryes Brewing Company before.
  28. Rent out the Mpls Water Taxi with your friends and family for a unique view of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis.
  29. Discover Minnesota grown at farmers markets! The Edina Farmers Market runs Thursday afternoons through September. Thursday is also when you can visit the Maple Grove Farmers Market at the Community Center. Saturday is a great day to visit the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Lyndale, but it can get busy. The Saint Paul Farmers’ Market in Lowertown Saint Paul is a great way to start your Sunday. If you’re looking to connect with unique vendors, stop by the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis. Check out this list of farmers markets you can miss. Give Me The Mike also has a guide on navigating the Minneapolis Farmers Market
  30. Grab your roller skates and head to Cheap Skate in Coon Rapids for Adult Night! After 8 P.M. on the last Saturday of the month, the roller rink turns into a 21+ venue with adult beverages and music from the 80’s and 90’s.
  31. In ShakopeeBlake SheltonTrace Adkins, and Nelly take the stage for Twin Cities Summer Jam at Canterbury Park. The music takes place July 21-23.
  32. Canterbury Park will be busy all summer, and not just with horse racing! Stop by June 26 for basset hound races, July 10 for unicorn and llama races, and July 17 for something they call “Extreme Race Day”.
  33. Every Minnesotan needs to walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Make a trip to Lake Itasca in Bemidji and don’t forget to wave at the video livestream on YouTube! 
  34. 2022 marks a big birthday for a Minnesota icon. The Mall of America in Bloomington is celebrating 30 years all year long with giveaways and events. Look for more around their birthday, August 11.
  35. Explore 50-acres of public art at Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer. Each year, 200 artists apply to have their work installed at this free site. 
  36. In Taylors Falls, order a root beer from the staff at The Drive In Restaurant. The secret to why it’s so good: water from Taylors Falls. The Drive In has served guests since 1956. 
  37. Take your whole house on the road and live in a van! Voyager Campervans, based in Minneapolis, lets you rent out a sleeper van for a trip to the North Shore, the Saint Croix River Valley, Yellowstone, or beyond.
  38. Go on a beer and wine cruise down the St. Croix River! They’re hosted by Haskell’s and take place once a month starting in June. You can sample dozens of wines and beers, plus, lunch and stunning views of the river valley are provided! 
  39. Ride up the gondola and go down the Alpine slide at Lutsen Mountains. They have fun in the summer, too!
  40. Visit a pizza farm where ingredients can’t be more fresh. Try the Red Barn Farm in NorthfieldPleasant Grove Pizza Farm in Waseca, or Two Pony Gardens in Long Lake.
  41. The Hilde Performance Center is a hidden gem outdoor amphitheater in Plymouth. The Music in Plymouth series is celebrating its 50th anniversary and returns July 6 with free outdoor performances by the Minnesota OrchestraThe Okee Dokee Brothers, and The Steeles. On July 30, Kelsea Ballerini and The Band Perry will perform at the Hilde during a ticketed event.
  42. Find a good spot to play bingo! The Chester Bird American Legion in Golden Valley was ranked as the top spot on Twin Cities Live and offers games Wednesdays and Saturdays. Click here for the top 5 places to play bingo in Minnesota. Wednesday nights is celebrity bingo at LUSH Lounge & Theater in Minneapolis. I will be your bingo caller on Wednesday, July 6! (Facebook event coming soon)
  43. Why settle for a pool when you can visit a wave pool! Bunker Beach Water Park in Coon Rapids is Minnesota’s largest outdoor waterpark.
  44. Minnesota has some of the best park systems in the country. Go for a hike at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Apple Valley, through the Grand Rounds in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, or a classic, Voyageurs National Park in the Arrowhead.
  45. Head to CHS Field in Lowertown Saint Paul to take in a St. Paul Saints game! Before the game, head to Saint Dinette for one of the best cheeseburgers in the cities. Stuck at home? Watch Saints Sunday home games on 45TV.
  46. Maria BamfordCharlie Berends, and Chris Redd from Saturday Night Live are in town for the Minneapolis Comedy Festival June 13-19.
  47. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes over Mears Park in Lowertown Saint Paul June 24-25. It’s free to attend.
  48. A three day celebration of all things Irish takes place on Harriet Island in Saint Paul. Visit the Irish Fair of Minnesota August 12-14.
  49. Take a road trip down Minnesota’s Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River for 565 miles.
  50. Plan a day to pick berries! Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake usually opens in mid-June for strawberry picking.
  51. Sammy Hagar and Toby Keith both play outdoor concerts in Prior Lake this summer. See them at the Lakefront Music Fest July 8-9.
  52. The 2022-2023 Broadway on Hennepin season kicks off by ‘defying gravity’! The musical, Wicked, makes its return to the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis July 27-August 28.
  53. Find the bar serving the best broasted chicken. Start at Brass Rail in GrandyBlacksmith Lounge & Broaster in Hugo, and Carl’s Corner in Essig.
  54. Hop on a bike. Take your own bicycle along a route, stop by Wheel Fun Rentals at Lake Nokomis or Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis for tandem bike rentals.
  55. The unofficial end to summer is the Great Minnesota Get Together. Get your fix of food, animals, and people watching at the Minnesota State Fair, which runs August 26-September 6. When you’re there, make sure to visit the 5 Eyewitness News building to watch a broadcast and spin our prize wheel!