31 can’t miss events in Minnesota this July

Not much gets better than July in Minnesota! There’s plenty to do with long summer nights. Bonus: you don’t have to spend 20 minutes putting on a parka and scraping ice off your windshield!

I compiled a list of events happening around the state. Many are your suggestions! Is there one I forgot? Let me know! Fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Happy summer!

  1. July and fireworks go hand in hand. Here are Minnesota cities with great 4th of July shows:
  2. Check out a good ol’ fashioned community festival:
  3. Sing with the Twin Cities Beer Choir. The concept is simple and quite fun. The group gathers as a brewery, bar or restaurant and hand out “hymnals” to attendees. The music are melodies you are familiar with, but the words are switched out to involve drinking beer. Many Twin Cities Beer Choir participants are alumni from those really good Minnesota Lutheran college choirs, so as a group, they sound quite good. It’s a very lighthearted time. Their July meetup takes place at Spring Cafe, located at the Como Lakeside Pavilion in Saint Paul. (July 3)
  4. The PGA Tour stops in Minnesota with the brand new 3M Open. The field has yet to be announced when this list was published, but Phil Mickelson has already announced he will play. Tournament play takes place July 4-7, but festivities go all week at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. (July 1-7)
  5. Head down to the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis to watch a Twin Cities River Rats show. Every Thursday night, this ski team puts on a free show filled with stunts, jumps and pyramids all on the water. They do have a show on the 4th of July, which is followed by fireworks. They also have a bonus performance on Friday, July 5th. They’re super family-friendly. Bring a blanket! (July 4, 11, 18 and 25)
  6. Little Mekong is the Asian business and cultural district in Saint Paul. It runs along University Avenue between Mackubin and Galtier Streets. At the tail end of the 4th of July weekend, businesses in the area hold the Little Mekong Night Market, which is a huge street festival with really good food,  unique shopping and lots of entertainment. It’s inspired by the night markets you would find in southeast Asia. It runs from 5-10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. (July 6-7)
  7. The Minnesota Orchestra starts their annual Sommerfest concert series by performing the soundtrack to the Disney Pixar movie, “Coco.” Sommerfest 2019 has a Latin American theme, with concerts throughout the month of July. It should also mark the expected debut of the new Peavey Plaza, the public park space next to Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. (July 6-7)
  8. If you can’t wait for the Minnesota State Fair to start, check out the Ramsey County Fair in Maplewood. Admission is free. (July 10-14)
  9. There’s no need to head west to catch a classic rodeo! The town of Hamel is just west of Plymouth and since 1981, has hosted a rodeo with barrel racing, steer wrestling and more. More impressive: the Hamel Rodeo is operated by 5 non-profit groups; the large event doesn’t have a single paid staff member. (July 11 – 14)
  10. Kacey Musgraves, Semisonic, Jason Mraz and Hanson headline the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis. The two-night outdoor concert first started in 1995 to raise money for the Basilica of St. Mary. (July 12-13)
  11. A spot featuring one of the best meat raffles in the Minnesota is hosting a parking lot fish fry. Stop by Bull’s Horn in south Minneapolis on July 13 for a fishing tournament, music, drinks, and of course, fried fish.
  12. Celebrate French independence, Bastille Day, on either side of the Mississippi River. In Minneapolis, Barbette hosts its annual block party from 2-9 pm. In Saint Paul, Alliance Francaise and Meritage host an outdoor family-friendly celebration outside of Landmark Center from 12-6 pm. (July 14)
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      Cafe Lurcat in Minneapolis is one of more than 50 restaurants participating in MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week July 14-19.
  13. Enjoy $10-25 lunches and $15-35 dinners at some great Twin Cities restaurants during MplsSt.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week. Over 50 spots are participating. My personal favorites include 4 Bells, Cafe Lurcat, Corner Table, FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar, The Freehouse, Holman’s Table and Lela. (July 14-19)
  14. The Minneapolis Movies in the Park series continues all month with free films shown at parks across the city. Stop by the Nicollet Island Pavilion on Monday, July 15 for “Free Solo,” a National Geographic documentary following Alex Honnold as he attempts to climb El Capitan at Yosemite National Park without any ropes. I recently saw it and it’s riveting.
  15. Once a month, The Spring Street Tavern in Northeast Minneapolis hosts Pundamonium, a pun slam competition. Those who think they are punny are welcome to show off their skills. Participants are selected first come, first serve. The five judges are pre-selected members of the audience. (July 17)
  16. Italian restaurant, Pazzaluna hosts its annual Wheels of Italy street party in downtown Saint Paul on Thursday, July 18. Stop by to see some of the finest street cars along with live music. The car show is free to attend.
  17. Twin Cities Summer Jam at Canterbury Park in Shakopee features three days of big names in music: Tim McGraw, Aerosmith, Pitbull, REO Speedwagon, Soul Asylum, and others. (July 18 – 20)
  18. People from around the Twin Cities will make their way to the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul for the Rondo Days Festival and Parade on Saturday, July 20. The parade begins at 10 am with the festival running from 12-7 pm.
  19. Enjoy Celtic music, Highland dance and a bag pipe band competition during the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games at Central Park in Eagan. (July 19-20)
  20. Minnesota Monthly hosts its Fine Spirits Classic inside Orchestra Hall. Sample cocktails from the best mixologists in the state. (July 24)
  21. Competitive eater Joey Chestnut will be at The Great Midwest Rib Fest at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake. His mission: to eat more than 13.76 pounds of pork meat in 12 minutes. The three day festival is free to attend and also includes performances by Gretchen Wilson and Sugar Ray. (July 25-27)
  22. The iconic Porky’s drive-in diner in Saint Paul has a new home in Hastings. It’s a part of the Little Log House Pioneer Village, a collection of historic buildings which are restored to make it feel like you are stepping back in time. The village is open to the public one weekend a year. Stop by the last full weekend of July for the Little Log House Antique Power Show, which allows you to walk through the Village. This year, they welcome artifacts from the Cottage View Drive-In in Cottage Grove. (July 26-28)
  23. The British choral group, Libera, is astonishing. Boys range in age from seven to 16 and members are from schools throughout London. They tour internationally and are visiting Saint Paul once again. I had the privilege of hearing them the last time they were in Minnesota and I just wanted to melt in my seat. The venue is ideal, too: the gorgeous Cathedral of Saint Paul. (July 26)
  24. Fitness studio Alchemy 365 is taking over the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and will offer a free class as part of the Minneapolis Aquatennial festivities. All fitness levels all welcome, just bring your own yoga mat. Check in begins at 5 pm with the class starting at 6:00. (July 26)
  25. Watch (or walk in) a parade of dogs in northeast Minneapolis. The gathering point is right on the shores of the Mississippi at St. Anthony Main. (July 26)
  26. Say ‘ooh, ahh’ at one of the largest fireworks displays in the country. The Minneapolis Aquatennial fireworks display start promptly at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 27. The best viewpoint is near the Guthrie Theater.
  27. The Loring Park Art Festival in Minneapolis features 140 juried artists in a beautiful setting. (July 27-28)
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  28. Avoid downtown Minneapolis traffic by taking a water taxi! That’s right, the Minneapolis Water Taxi is a solar powered boat and is currently privately operated, meaning that you can book it for your group of friends for an intimate ride down the Mississippi River. The Water Taxi can fit two to six people and does private events for up to one hour. It goes from 10 am to 10 pm.
  29. Rent a Lime or Spin scooter for a ride. They’re very simple to use and their max speeds only get to 15 MPH, so it’s hard to lose control. Pro tip: find someone who has already rented the scooters to refer you before you download the app. That way, you both get a free credit!
  30. Be in control of how much beer you want to sample. Stop by the new First Draft Taproom & Kitchen near Target Field in Minneapolis. They have over 50 beers, wines, ciders and kombucha on tap. You get to control how much you would like. If you’re curious, the average pour is about 5 ounces.
  31. Make sure you dine al fresco. Watch my Twin Cities Live segment featuring the 5 best restaurant, brewery and winery patios in Minnesota!Also on Give Me the Mike: Best places to play bingo in Minnesota

Is there something I missed? Please let me know!



The best free outdoor movies in the Twin Cities this August

Alright, whether you want to hear it or not, summer is halfway done. But that’s a good reminder to maximize every moment we still have with warm temperatures and late sunsets. Free outdoor movies are all over the cities and here are a few worth checking out:

Friday, August 4 — “The Secret Life of Pets” in Bloomington

Bloomington’s Arts in the Parks series includes live music, Monday morning activities if you’re looking to entertain the kids during the day, and movies shown on 30 foot screens. The kid-friendly animated film “The Secret Life of Pets” shows on Friday, August 4 starting at 8:30 p.m. at the Normandale Lake Bandshell right off of 494 and Highway 100.

Wednesday, August 9 — “Ghostbusters” (1984) in Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board hosts its annual Movies in the Parks series throughout the City of Lakes. On Wednesday, August 9, they’re screening a throwback with the 1984 hit, “Ghostbusters.” It’s at Kenny Park, which is located just west of Lyndale  Avenue and 58th Street in south Minneapolis. You can see the 2016 version of “Ghostbusters” at Phelps Field Park in Minneapolis on Saturday, August 12.

“Zootopia” rounds out the Startlight Cinema series on August 10 in Woodbury.

Thursday, August 10 — “Zootopia” in Woodbury

This movie is part of the Startlight Cinema series at Ojibway Park in Woodbury. Festivities start at 7 p.m. with face painting, a craft table and food available for purchase. Twin Cities Live Reporter Emily Engberg will emcee all the fun. The movie begins at 9 p.m. There are contests throughout the evening before the movie starts, and the prizes are awesome; they typically give away passes to Valleyfair and all-day wristbands to Nickelodeon Universe. Park at Woodbury High School and make sure to bring a blanket and lawn chairs.

Thursday, August 10 Friday, August 11 — “Drop Dead Gorgeous” in Minneapolis

Note: The Star Tribune, a sponsor of the “Drop Dead Gorgeous” night (smart marketing move), sent me a note saying that the screening will now happen on Thursday, August 10 and not Friday, August 11. It’ll still be 15 minutes post-sunset at Lake Harriet. The date is also changed on the Music and Movies website.

So every Minnesotan needs to see my all-time favorite movie, the ‘mockumentary’ “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” The 1999 movie, which is based in fictional Mount Rose, Minnesota, has an all-star cast: Kirstie Alley, Kirsten Dunst, Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney, Denise Richards and the late Brittany Murphy. A documentary crew follows contestants participating in the “Sarah Rose Cosmetics American Teen Princess Pageant” which happens to turn into a thriller. The Minnesota accents are thick and you’ll recognize local landmarks in the film, including Eden Prairie Center and what’s currently the DoubleTree Hotel along 494 in Bloomington. It’s extremely underrated and it’s rare to find a copy: new DVDs aren’t being created. “Drop Dead Gorgeous” screens 15 minutes post-sunset at Lake Harriet.

Thursday, August 17 — “Fried Green Tomatoes” in Hopkins

“Fried Green Tomatoes” starring Kathy Bates and Mary-Louise Parker was one of my mom’s favorite movies. The 1991 film will show after a concert by musician Jillian Rae in Hopkins’ Downtown Park. The concert-movie duo are part of that suburb’s Summerfest series which hosts weekly events throughout the summer. The concert begins at 7 p.m.

Friday, August 18 — “Toy Story” in Plymouth

A movie which started a new era in animation will be shown in Plymouth. Watch “Toy Story” at the Parkers Lake Playfield in Plymouth on Friday, August 18. The movie starts at dusk.

Tuesday, August 22 — “The Sandlot” in Stillwater

It’s a scene played out in neighborhoods across America: makeshift games of baseball in backyards. Or in case of one set of boys, a vacant lot. “The Sandlot” is the final movie in Stillwater’s Summer Tuesdays series. A market opens at 5 p.m., music at 6 p.m. and the movie starts at dusk.

Tuesday, August 29 — “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” in Saint Paul 

It’s time to pass one of the most iconic movies of the 1980s on to another generation. Just in time for the beginning of the school year, take your student to a movie where a kid skips school. Maybe not the best message, but definitely a great movie. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will be shown at the Old Highland Poolhouse, located just east of Highland Park in Saint Paul. Flicks in Saint Paul’s Movies in the Parks series start at dusk, but be warned: they might start “earlier or later” according to the city’s website.

Thursday, August 31 — “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” in Saint Paul

Watching a pirate movie on an island feels appropriate. The city of Saint Paul is showing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” on Raspberry Island just across the Mississippi from downtown. The film starts at dusk.