Best places to watch fireworks in Minnesota

I asked for your suggestions on where to watch 4th of July fireworks. The top choice doesn’t take place on July 4th, but instead, on July 6th. I was on Twin Cities Live with a roundup.

  • Highest rated: Delano
    • Saturday, July 6th at 10:30 p.m.
  • Canterbury Park, Shakopee
    • Wednesday, July 3rd and Thursday, July 4th around 10:15 p.m.
  • Stillwater
    • Thursday, July 4th at 10:00 p.m.
  • Richfield
    • Thursday, July 4th at 10:00 p.m.
  • Eagan
    • Thursday, July 4th at 10:00 p.m.
  • Duluth
    • Thursday, July 4th 10:10 p.m.
Advertisements

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)
    • Lurcat 2
      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)
    water taxi.png
  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 birthday freebies in the Twin Cities

Most of these freebies were verified as of May 2019. Enjoy! If you know of others not listed, please let me know about them. Connect with me with the form at the bottom of this page. Note: I am more focused on adding deals for locally owned or Minnesota-based companies than national retailers.

From a bottle of wine worth your age to free car washes, I rounded up the best freebies you can snag on your birthday. Check out my segment on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live.

Featured spots:

Free bottle of wine worth your age at Tria Restaurant

  • Located in North Oaks
  • Required to purchase two entrees
  • Must go during your birthday week (3 days before until 3 days after)
  • Credit can be used towards a more expensive bottle
  • Don’t want wine? You can get a free dessert instead

$25 towards dinner at Lindey’s Prime Steak House

Up to $1,000 in slot play at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

  • Located in Prior Lake
  • Must register to be a Club M member and visit guest services the month of your birthday
  • You’ll spin a virtual wheel to win prizes, including free bingo, blackjack play, or up to $1,000 in slot play

Up to $1,000 in slot play and a free buffet at Treasure Island Resort and Casino

  • Located in Welch (near Red Wing)
  • Must register to be a Island Passport Club member and visit a kiosk the month of your birthday
  • You can win up to $1,000 in free slot play
  • You will also receive a free buffet coupon along with a $20 bingo coupon
  • Thanks to Aaron Moy for the tip!

Up to $50 in Grand Play at Grand Casino

  • Note: their freebie has changed since the segment above originally aired
  • On any day during the month of your birthday, head to Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley
  • Spin the wheel for your chance at $5-50 in Grand Play along with free food based on your Grand Rewards membership tier
  • Go on your actual birthday and receive match points for that day’s play

Free car washes at Paradise Car Wash

  • Locations in Apple Valley, Eagan, Bloomington, Savage, Woodbury and Maple Grove
  • Go on your birthday and be ready to show an ID

Other freebies:

Free concert tickets

  • Even if a show is sold out, you and a friend will get in to a show at the First Avenue Mainroom or 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis for free on your birthday
  • Not only do you get in for free, you will get a bottle of bubbly or a drink ticket
  • This deal also applies to First Avenue’s other venues, the Fine Line in Minneapolis and Turf Club in Saint Paul
  • Don’t forget your ID

Free comedy show tickets

  • At ACME Comedy Company in Minneapolis
  • You and three guests can select to attend one Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night show for free the month of your birthday
  • You must submit your request online no later than 3 p.m. the day prior you would like to attend

$15 to IKEA

IKEA Family

  • Minnesota location in Bloomington
  • You must be a member of the IKEA Family program
  • The IKEA website says you receive a “surprise on your birthday” that is valid during your birthday month; I can confirm that it’s $15 to IKEA (with no minimum purchase required) along with a free meatball dinner at their restaurant

IKEA Family certificate
Click here to learn more about this amazing freebie

$5 to Arc’s Value Village

  • Available only at locations in Richfield, New Hope and Bloomington
  • You must be a member of their Village Rewards program

Discount on Botox at Uptown Dermatology & SkinSpa

  • Located in Minneapolis
  • They take $1 off of every year of your age on Botox
  • Get $50 off if you’re 50, $65 off if you’re 65, $75 off if you’re 75

Free mini golf at Can Can Wonderland

  • Can Can Wonderland is right off Pierce Butler Route in Saint Paul
  • On a Thursday during your birthday month, bring at least 3 friends to play mini golf and you will play for free
  • You will also receive a birthday drink of your choice
  • If you would rather play in the arcade, the birthday person receive 2 hours of unlimited arcade play along with a birthday drink
  • Note that only the birthday person receives the freebie, all others must pay

$25 to The Local Minneapolis, The Local West End, Kieran’s Irish Pub, or The Liffey

  • You must sign up for Cara Irish Pubs’ Pub Club at one of the above locations. They say you can reverse register online but I got an error when I tried to do so
  • You will have to register your card once you have it
  • You receive a free appetizer upon activating your card
  • Accounts with no activity for 24 months are automatically deactivated
  • Thanks to Jessica Jensen for the tip!

Free filet mignon dinner at Cherokee Tavern

  • Located in West Saint Paul
  • Head there on Thursday night during the week of your birthday
  • You must show proof of your birthday with a valid ID at the hostess stand
  • Someone at your table must order an entree of $15 or more
  • Thanks to Emily DeCorsey for the tip!

A free burger at Red Cow

  • Three locations in Minneapolis and one in Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of Red Cow’s eClub and you will receive an e-coupon for their Ultimate Burger for your birthday
  • If you don’t want the Ultimate Burger, the coupon can be used for a discount of equal or lesser value
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free order of cheese curds when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free burger at Red Robin

  • Locations in Shoreview, Bloomington, Plymouth and Apple Valley
  • You must be a member of the Red Robin Royalty program
  • Credit is loaded onto your account the first day of the month of your birthday

A free Juicy Lucy at Crooked Pint Ale House

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Chaska, Duluth, Fairbault, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Rochester, and Waite Park
  • You must be a member of their Crooked Rewards program
  • You receive a free Juicy Lucy of your choice for your birthday

A free glass of wine at Red Rabbit

  • Locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • You must be a member of the Red Rabbit eClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a glass of wine, not to exceed $15
  • The coupon expires 3 weeks from the date it was sent. Mine was sent 4 days before my actual birthday
  • You also get a free New World Margherita Pizza when signing up (coupon is good for three weeks from sign up date)

A free meal at HopCat

  • Minnesota location in Minneapolis
  • You must be a member of their HopCat Rewards program (phone app)
  • You are emailed a free birthday meal on your birthday
  • That certificate is good for 30 days
  • Once you join the program, you also receive a free appetizer. That is good for 14 days after signing up
  • If you know someone who has a membership, have them refer you. They will receive points which can be redeemed for free food

FullSizeRender (4)

Also on Give Me the Mike:
A review of HopCat, the Nicollet Mall bar with 80 beers on tap

Four hours of free beer at Skinner’s Pub

Three hours of free drinks at Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon

  • Minnesota locations in Apple Valley, Blaine, Rochester and Woodbury
  • On the Friday of your birthday week, grab three friends
  • You get free drinks from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • They will get $3 you-call-its from 9 p.m. – midnight
  • You also get a free t-shirt, mason jar, birthday shot, and birthday toast

A free cannoli at Mario’s Italian Kitchen

  • Located in Watertown
  • You can also get a free drink, but why do that when you can get a cannoli

Free dessert at 6SMITH

  • Located in Wayzata
  • Free piece of chocolate cake with your meal
  • Bonus: let them know in advance you’re celebrating a birthday and they will decorate the table and give you a birthday card that contains $15 off your next visit!

Free dessert at Buca di Beppo

  • Locations in Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • Sign up for their E-Club and you will receive an email for a free Colossal Brownie dessert on your birthday
    • Colossal Brownie voucher is only valid if you dine-in (no to-go orders)
  • Email comes to your inbox a few days before your birthday and expires at the end of your birthday month
  • You will also get $20 off a purchase of $40 or more
    • Discount can be used on online orders

Free personalized bottle of wine at Pazzaluna

  • Located in Saint Paul
  • You must fill out this form in advance
  • You must dine the week of your birthday (up to 3 days before and up to 3 days after)
  • You receive a bottle of wine from their Birthday Wine List along with a free dessert
  • You are required to purchase 2 entrees

Free entree at Houlihan’s

  • Participating locations in Chanhassen, Eagan and Richfield
  • You must be a member of the Houlihan’s email program
  • You also get a $10 credit when signing up

$10 off your dinner at Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill

  • Located in Plymouth
  • Go in to their restaurant and sign up in person for their email list
  • You will get $10 off your birthday dinner
  • The certificate is valid 2 weeks prior until 1 week after your birthday
  • If you go on the day of your birthday, you will also receive a complimentary appetizer or beverage

Free entree from Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano

  • Locations in Andover, Blaine, Ham Lake, Maplewood, New Brighton, Ramsey, Stillwater and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their VIP Email Club
  • Heads up: the electronic coupon only good for 10 days from the day they send the email. My birthday is July 1st and coupon was sent and marked June 27th, meaning I only had until July 7th to redeem it.
  • You also get a free order of queso when signing up (coupon is only good for a week)

Free entree from La Casita

  • Locations in Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Roseville and Waite Park
  • You get a free entree if another food item of equal or lesser value is purchased
  • It must be redeemed on your actual entree and an ID is required
  • Thanks to Kimberly McKay for the tip!

Free deep dish pizza from Green Mill

  • 19 Minnesota locations
  • You must be a member of the Green Mill Rewards Club
  • You receive a certificate for a small one-topping deep dish pizza

Free pizza from Park Tavern

  • Located in Saint Louis Park
  • You must be a member of their EClub
  • You will receive an e-coupon good for a 12″ pizza with up to 3 ingredients. That coupon expires two weeks after it was sent. Mine was sent and marked June 27th, although my birthday is July 1st
  • You also receive $5 off your next meal when you sign up. That certificate expires 1 month after registering

A pizza worth up to $17 from Old Chicago

  • Locations in Roseville, Eden Prairie, Apple Valley, Saint Cloud and Duluth
  • You must sign up for their OC Rewards program at a restaurant or online
  • You must visit an Old Chicago once in the 12 months prior to your birthday in order for the credit to upload to your account
  • The credit is added to your account 7 days prior to your birthday and stays on up to 10 days after your birthday. For my July 1st birthday, my certificate arrived June 24th and expired on July 9th
  • Any unused credit does not apply towards future purchases

Free appetizer or side of ribs at Texas Roadhouse

  • Locations in Coon Rapids and Saint Cloud
  • You must sign up for their email or text list
  • You also get a free appetizer (cactus blossom, fried pickles, tater skins, cheese fries or rattlesnake bites) when signing up

Free dessert with the purchase of an entree at TGI Fridays

  • Locations in Saint Louis Park, Bloomington, Maplewood, Maple Grove, Burnsville and Coon Rapids
  • You must be a member of the Friday Rewards program
  • You also get a free appetizer or dessert when signing up

$10 at Jake’s City Grille

  • Locations in Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maplewood and Plymouth
  • You must become a Dining Rewards member (not available online)

$15 or $20 at Wildfire

  • Minnesota location in Eden Prairie
  • You must become a member of their Frequent Diner Rewards program
  • According to their website, you must have “recent activity on your account”
  • The credit is added the first day of the month of your birthday
  • Blue and silver level members get $15 off their meal; gold level members get $20 off their meal
  • To be a silver level member, you must spend at least $1,000 a year; gold members must spend $2,500
  • Birthday rewards do not expire, but are not cumulative

$30 at Benihana

  • Locations in Bloomington, Maple Grove and Golden Valley
  • You must join The Chef’s Table email list
  • You receive a $30 credit on a meal when another adult teppanyaki entree is purchased
  • The credit can only be used Mondays – Thursdays
  • The credit is valid 29 days from the date it was issued
  • You MUST print the certificate — it cannot be shown on a phone

A free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s

A free Magnificent Seven breakfast at Perkins

$10 at GODIVA

A free bundtlet at Nothing Bundt Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Blaine, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Rochester, St. Paul and Woodbury
  • You must be a member of their EClub

A free cupcake at Lunds & Byerlys

  • 27 Minnesota locations
  • Sign up for their Extras program
  • You will receive an email for a free cupcake that is to be redeemed within two weeks of your birthday

A free cupcake at Nadia Cakes

  • Minnesota locations in Maple Grove and Woodbury
  • You must sign up for their mailing list

A free pastry, croissant, muffin, scone, sweet roll or cookie at Panera Bread

A free half hoagie and beverage at Hogan Brothers

A free sandwich and beverage at Jersey Mike’s

  • You must be a member of their Email Club
  • On your birthday, you will receive a coupon for a regular sub and a 22 oz drink
  • The coupon is good for one year
  • You must confirm your subscription to the Email Club at least 24 hours before the birthdate you provide, otherwise you won’t receive a coupon

A free sandwich at Which Wich

  • You must be a Vibe Club Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for the Vibe Club at least 30 days before your birthday
  • You may not receive a certificate if you haven’t purchase anything using your Rewards account in the last year

$15 at Finish Line

A free beverage at Caribou Coffee

  • You must be a Caribou Perks member
  • The perk can be used on any beverage, in any size
  • You have 7 days from your birthday to redeem

A free beverage or food item at Starbucks

  • You must a Starbucks Rewards member
  • You need to sign up for Starbucks Rewards at least 7 days before your birthday
  • The credit can be used for a handcrafted beverage, a food item or a ready-to-drink bottled beverage
  • You need to make one other transaction using your Rewards account prior to your birthday each year to receive the credit
  • The credit usually appears on your account 1 to 3 days before your birthday

$5 at Dunn Brothers Coffee

$10 off your meal at Timberlodge Steakhouse

  • The chain restaurant collapsed: the only Minnesota location left is in Owatonna
  • Be weary here: I asked the location to verify this deal; they did not respond to my request

Know a birthday freebie not listed? Tell me!

20 Mexican restaurants in Minnesota worth the trip

Nearly 1,000 votes came in from Twin Cities Live viewers suggesting where they like to go for the best Mexican food in Minnesota. I presented the top 5 picks on TV — and those are listed below.

While votes came in, I heard from people saying that certain Mexican restaurants don’t serve authentic food and that you need to go to specific parts of the Twin Cities to find true Mexican food. That theory is garbage. No matter if you’re in Minneapolis or Madelia, every establishment has a story to tell. Save your comments for some other blog.

There are a lot of Mexican restaurants out there, and I encourage you to try out new spots. Underneath the top 5, check out an expanded list of restaurants which made the top 20, including some of my personal favorites. And let me know what you think! You can reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

  • Boca Chica Restaurante Mexicano y Cantina, Saint Paul
    • Opened in 1964 with just four tables
    • Now has 64 tables and a patio which seats around 75 people
    • They serve a lunch buffet Monday-Friday and a Sunday brunch from 10:00-2:00
    • What to order: Flautas Banderas, Carne a la Tampiqueña, Tacos Monterrey
Boca Chica
  • El Burrito Mercado, Saint Paul
    • Not only a restaurant, but also has a market and cafeteria
    • Opened in 1979
    • Also operate a restaurant and bar in Minneapolis and sell items at Allianz Field in Saint Paul
    • What to order: Chicken Mole, Ceviche de Camaron, Sopes with 3 Guisados
El Burrito Mercado
  • Pajarito, Saint Paul
    • Opened in December 2016 in a building dating back to 1886
    • Stop in for lunch to avoid long wait times
    • Order one of their craft cockails
    • What to order: Chilaquiles, Elote style Brussels Sprouts, Torta
Pajarito
  • La Plaza F!esta, Madelia
    • Originally opened in 2011; a fire completely destroyed the restaurant in 2016
    • They rebuilt and expanded to nearly 150 seats
    • New restaurant includes a grocery store next door
    • All tables and chairs were painted and carved in Mexico
    • What to order: Flaming Cheese, Malcajete F!esta, Seafood Ceviche
La Plaza F!esta
  • Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, Shakopee
    • Opened in 1986
    • 4 expansions and a remodel later, it features 260 seats
    • Family-owned
    • Closed Sundays
    • What to order: Margarita flight, Ultimate Chimichanga, Surf & Turf with Tamale, 3 Enchiladas & Chile Relleno
Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant

Want more recommended Mexican restaurants? Check out these spots, recommended by your votes!

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

The 5 best restaurants for fried fish in Minnesota

I tallied up your suggestions and appeared on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live with the best places to get fried fish in Minnesota! It’s a part of my Worth the Trip series. You can also watch my roundups for the best places to play bingo and the top 5 spots to attend a meat raffle.

1. The Anchor Fish & Chips, Northeast Minneapolis

  • 90% of what Anchor sells is fish and chips.
  • They go through 2500 pounds of potatoes every week.
  • They do not take reservations and wait times on Friday and Saturday nights can exceed 2 hours. Go on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Sunday to avoid waiting.
  • Fridays during Lent, Anchor’s food truck is in their parking lot serving up fish and chips for walk-up orders.
  • Check out their brunch served Saturdays and Sundays.

2. Trophy House, New Trier

  • New Trier is just a short drive down Highway 52, not far from Rosemount.
  • Trophy House serves an all-you-can-eat fish fry every Friday night, year-round. It is served with salad or coleslaw, choice of potato and garlic toast and will only set you back $14.99.
  • Like Anchor, they also use cod filets.
  • They will go through 300 pounds of fish on a Friday night.

3. Tavern on Grand, Saint Paul

  • Tavern on Grand, located on Grand Avenue, is the place for walleye.
  • The woman-owned and operated restaurant goes through nearly 17 tons of fish a year. It is wild caught Canadian walleye (commercial walleye catching is illegal in Minnesota).
  • Walleye is a good fish for people who don’t like fish. It tastes more like chicken!
  • Try their Surly beer battered walleye and pair it with a pint of Surly beer. The Walleye Sampler is also highly recommended.

4. Obb’s Sports Bar & Grill, Saint Paul

  • Obb’s, located right off of I-94 and Highway 61, originally opened in 1919 as a grocery and feed store. The family who started it had the opportunity to repurchase it in 2001.
  • Their pollock all-you-can-eat fish fry is every Friday night and costs only $14.45.
  • During Lent, they will go through 600 pounds of fish every Friday night.
  • Expect to wait 60-90 minutes if you want a table on a Friday night during Lent. And if you have a group larger than eight, make sure you call ahead.
  • They also have a fantastic fish hoagie on their menu 7 days a week. The fish dinner is also available all week.

5. Minneapolis/Richfield American Legion Post 435, Richfield

  • All are welcome inside the Richfield American Legion, located right off of Portland Avenue.
  • For $10.99, you can enjoy all-you-can-eat fried pollock, along with sides. Kids eat for just $6.99. Dinner service begins at 4:00 pm and the fish fry is held year-round.
  • The Richfield American Legion offers music 7 nights a week.

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

Twin Cities Restaurant Room Rental Guide

Sponsored content
Some restaurants listed below advertised with Give Me the Mike to be highlighted in this guide. 

It’s a question I get frequently: ‘Please recommend a restaurant where you can rent a private room. I’m planning a birthday party for a friend.’

I get it. It sure beats out inviting randoms into your house — and then having to clean up after them.

After a while, I thought, ‘Heck, there must be an extensive guide out there listing all these restaurants.’  Well, there are a couple. One, from 2016, is extremely out of date. Many of the restaurants listed have closed. Another one I found is good, but it’s limited.

Wedding planners have their own rental guides, but you don’t need to rent out a 300-person reception hall for your cousin Janet’s 50th birthday. So, I did my research and created this guide.

Happy planning! And if you know of a restaurant not listed, let me know! Reach out to me by filling out this form.

Minneapolis

4 Bells

Seafood Platter (1).jpg
4 Bells, just on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, has incredibly fresh seafood.

1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 904-1163, events@4bells.com
More information

Overlooking Loring Park; the sister restaurant to Butcher & the Boar
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)
Surface pay lot available next door

Venue: Quarters

Quarters Park
There is lots of natural light in the Quarters Dining Room at 4 Bells in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 24
Capacity (cocktail): Not available
Includes access to smart TV
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Roof Top Atrium

4 Bells Roof top.jpg
Roof Top Atrium at 4 Bells.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): 130
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $1,500-9,500)
Additional experiences: includes indoor and outdoor spaces for guests

Venue: Parkside Room, Lounge Room & Hickory Room

4 Bells Hickory Room
Hickory Room at 4 Bells.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40 (Parkside), 30 (Lounge), 14 (Hickory)
Capacity (cocktail): 30 (Lounge)
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $750-2,500

508 Bar + Restaurant

508 Bar
508 Bar + Restaurant is just one block north of Target Center.

508 North First Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 339-0036, events@the508mpls.com

Close to Target Center and Target Field
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Lower Level

508 Bar Lower Level
The Lower Level at 508 Bar + Restaurant has no rental fee and no food and beverage minimum.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 150
Capacity (cocktail): 347
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to projector, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Pool Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to projector, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Butcher & the Boar

Butcher & the Boar.jpg
The Beer Garden at Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

1121 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-8888, events@butcherandtheboar.com
More information

Just a couple blocks from Minneapolis’ Theater District
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Valet parking is available ($11, hosted for $13)

Venue: Boar Room

Boar Room table & bar.jpg
The Boar Room in the basement of Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis.

Private
Capacity (seated): 32
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500

Venue: Butcher Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 18
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,000

Venue: Beer Garden
Private and semi-private options available
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms, private entrance, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year (ranges from $2,500-9,500)

Cafe and Bar Lurcat

Cafe and Bar Lurcat, overlooking Loring Park in Minneapolis.

1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 486-5500, lurcat@damico.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Valet parking is available ($12 if hosted, $10 cash)

Venue: Private Dining Room

The Private Dining Room at Lurcat.

Private
Capacity (seated): 55
Capacity (cocktail): 70
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, ability to rent private bar with additional charge, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,500 Sunday to Thursday evenings, $6,000 Friday and Saturday evenings — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: Bose Sound Tower/microphone available for rental; includes access to back patio from June 1st to October 1st for cocktail hour; offers large windows overlooking Loring Park

Venue: Lofted Bar Mezzanine

The semi-private Lofted Mezzanine at Lurcat provides a more intimate setting.

Semi-Private
Capacity (seated): 30
Capacity (cocktail): 30
Includes access to private restrooms
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $500 Sunday to Thursday, $1,000 Friday and Saturday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: offers great views of the main bar floor; area for cocktail reception within the space

Venue: Bar Buyout

Planning a big party? Turn Lurcat’s bar into a dance floor!

Private
Capacity (seated): 150-180
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, private restrooms, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $500 Monday to Thursday, $2,000 Friday and Saturday, $1,000 Sunday
Food and beverage minimum: $10,000 Monday, $12,000 Tuesday and Wednesday, $15,000 Thursday, $25,000 Friday and Saturday, $12,000 Sunday — all exclude tax and service charges
Additional experiences: part of the restaurant can turn into a dance floor with room for a band

Erte’ & the Peacock Lounge

323 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413
More information

Venue: Chef’s Table Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $20 per person, minimum of 12 people

Venue: Erte’ Main Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

Venue: The Peacock Lounge
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 54
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night and time of year

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

PDR(1).jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

31 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 216-3473

Located inside the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown

Venue: Private Dining Room

PDR(2)
Private Dining Room at FireLake.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $600-2,000

Venue: Half Private Dining Room
Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 20
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $300-1,000

Venue: Board Room

Boardroom
Board Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 14
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $200-700

The Freehouse

Freehouse Beer.jpg
Guests at the The Freehouse can go on their own on-site brewery tour.

701 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis 55401
(612) 339-7011, michelle.dimuzio@blueplateco.com
More information

Part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
On-site parking is under construction (more details available March 2019)
Valet parking is available ($6)

Venue: Volstead Lounge

Volstead Lounge 3.jpg
Volstead Lounge at The Freehouse.

Semi-private, curtains can be drawn closed
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: go on an on-site brewery tour or add a beer tasting or cocktail class for your group! The Volstead Lounge also offers beer and wine paired dinners.

Venue: Back Bar Area

Freehouse 3.jpg
The Freehouse in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 25
Capacity (cocktail): 40-50
Handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $250 per hour

Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant

_DSC3909.jpg
Gluek’s Bar and Restaurant is in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

16 North Sixth Street, Minneapolis 55403
(612) 338-6621, party@glueks.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Venue: Banquet Room

_DSC3912.jpg
The Banquet Room at Gluek’s has no rental fee.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 60+
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night
Additional experiences: includes access to Beer Garden  

Hell’s Kitchen

hells kitchen.jpg
Hell’s Kitchen is centrally located downtown Minneapolis, within walking distance to downtown hotels, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center and the Convention Center.

80 South Ninth Street, Minneapolis 55402
(612) 238-1427, events@hellskitcheninc.com 
More information

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Underground Room

Underground 2up_
The Underground Room at Hell’s Kitchen comes with a full stage, a 12-foot projector screen, and no rental fee.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 160
Capacity (cocktail): 325
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: full stage; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Minnesota Room

MNRoom 2up_
The Minnesota Room at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 135
Capacity (cocktail): 200
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Far Side Pub

Far Side Pub2up_
Hell’s Kitchen is connected to the Minneapolis skyway system and the restaurant has a parking ramp attached to its lobby.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): 50
Capacity (cocktail): 60
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Venue: Hell’s Kitchen Full Restaurant Buyout
Private
Capacity (seated): 345
Capacity (cocktail): 425
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: 2 full bars; private restrooms; 12 foot projector screen; professional sound system; attached parking ramp which goes into lobby; connected to Minneapolis skyway system

Masu Sushi & Robata

The Nomu Room Bar and Private Dining 2
Masu Sushi & Robata’s location in Northeast Minneapolis has a private room with no rental fee.

330 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55414
(612) 332-6278, info@masusushiandrobata.com

Located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages (with two weeks notice)
Final bill can be split amongst guests

Venue: Nomu Room

The Nomu Room Private Dining.jpg
The Nomu Room at Masu Sushi & Robata in Northeast Minneapolis has its own bar and private restrooms.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): 40
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $1,200

Saint Paul

DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar

DeGidios 2.jpg
DeGidio’s is located along West 7th in Saint Paul, not far from downtown, but quite accessible for guests.

425 Seventh Street West, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 291-7105, info@degidios.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available (for events and after 5:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday nights October – March)

Venue: DeGidio Event Venue

DeGidios 3
The Event Venue at DeGidio’s and seat up to 160 people and does not have a rental fee.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40 to 160
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0 (deposit of $100 required for Sunday – Thursday nights and $500 for Friday – Saturday nights)
Food and beverage minimum: There is a $22 food minimum per adult in the DeGidio Event Venue. Beverages do no count toward the minimum. There is a $1,000 food minimum for events with less than 45 guests on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is a $750 food minimum Sunday – Thursday evenings for events with less than 35 guests. Children under 10 are half price.

The Happy Gnome

Happy Gnome.jpg
The Happy Gnome on Selby Avenue in Saint Paul. Photo courtesy Poppy Seed Photography

498 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul 55102
(651) 287-2018, emily@thehappygnome.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking available as a package

Venue: The Fireside Room

Happy Gnome Fireside Room.jpg
The second level Fireside Room at The Happy Gnome comes with white linens and a roaring fire. Photo courtesy Poppy Seed Photography

Private
Capacity (seated): 80
Capacity (cocktail): 125
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, private restrooms
Rental fee: $350
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on night — $1,000 Sunday to Wednesday evenings, $2,500 Thursday and Friday evenings, $3,500 Saturday evenings
Additional experiences: room rental comes with linens, candles, coffee service and a fireplace

Holman’s Table

Holmans Table 1.jpg
Holman’s Table is dinner and a show. Diners get a view of the tarmac of airplanes taking off at the Saint Paul Downtown Airport.

644 Bayfield Street, Saint Paul 55107
(612) 800-5298, contact@holmanstable.com
More information

View of the Holman Field tarmac
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced and split amongst guests (based on event)
Valet parking available for hire

Venue: Earhart Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: based on event
Food and beverage minimum: based on event

Bloomington

FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar

FireLake Private Dining Room 2.jpg
FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar inside Radisson Blu Mall of America.

2100 Killebrew Drive, Bloomington 55425
(952) 851-4040, reservationsmoa@firelakerestaurant.com

Inside the Radisson Blu Mall of America; connected to the Mall by skyway
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be split amongst guests up to 5 ways
On-site parking is available ($17)
Additional on-site parking is available in the Mall of America ramps
Valet parking is available ($12 event parking, $25 overnight parking)

Venue: Dining Room

FireLake Private Dining Room 1.jpeg
The Semi-Private Dining Room at FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu Mall of America.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 60
Capacity (cocktail): 75
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies

Venue: Lounge

FireLake Cocktail Bar Pool Tables.jpg
Guests in The Lounge at FireLake can enjoy a game of pool.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 46
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee), handicap accessible
Rental fee: $50
Food and beverage minimum: Varies
Additional experiences: includes 2 pool tables

Lela Restaurant

Lela PDR
The Private Dining Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

5601 West 78th Street, Bloomington 55439
(952) 656-5980, events@lelarestaurant.com
More information

Attached to the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests

Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Lela Private Dining Room
Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): 20-40
Includes access to smart TV,  handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Lela Lounge

Lela Lounge
The Lela Lounge gives you access to happy hour prices.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 58
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: happy hour menu available in this space

Venue: Lela Wine Room

Lela Wine Room
The Wine Room at Lela Restaurant in Bloomington.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): 10
Capacity (cocktail): not available
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Chanhassen

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Chanhassen Fireside.jpeg
Whether your group has 4 people or 300, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has a venue to accommodate you.

501 West 78th Street, Chanhassen 55317
(952) 934-1524, randerson@chanhassendt.com
More information

The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres isn’t just for date nights and wedding receptions!
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Discounts or packages for groups of 12 or more may be available for performances in the Main Dinner Theatre, Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret, and the Fireside Theatre Concert Series. Call (952) 934-1547 for details.

Venue: The Club

Club1.jpg
The Club at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

Private
Capacity (seated): 175
Capacity (cocktail): 225
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Garden, Jonathan and Carver Rooms

Ballroom1.jpg
From 50 to 300 people, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres can accommodate groups of all sizes!

Private
Capacity (seated): 250 — the rooms can be divided and closed off for smaller parties (as few as 50)
Capacity (cocktail): 300
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar, handicap accessible (note: dancing area is not handicap accessible)
Rental fee: varies
Food and beverage minimum: varies

Venue: Director’s Suites — available for Main Stage shows at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Private
Capacity (seated): 4 or 33 (two Suites available)
Capacity (cocktail): 33
Includes access to smart TV (additional fee), private bar (additional fee)
Rental fee: guests must purchase dinner and show tickets
Food and beverage minimum: a minimum of 20 people for larger space

Maple Grove

Lookout Bar and Grill

Banquet room
The Lookout Bar and Grill in Maple Grove.

8672 Pineview Lane, Maple Grove 55369
(763) 424-4365
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Patioview and Fireside Rooms

patioview 3
The Fireside Room at the Lookout Bar and Grill.

Private
Capacity (seated): 60 (if booked together)
Capacity (cocktail): 70 (if booked together)
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies
Additional experiences: Patioview comes with a private patio space

Saint Louis Park

Park Tavern

Park Tavern.jpg
Throw a bowling party at the Park Tavern in Saint Louis Park.

3401 Louisiana Avenue South, Saint Louis Park 55426
(952) 929-6810, reservations@parktavern.net
More information

Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available

Venue: Atrium

Park Tavern Atrium
The Atrium inside Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 36
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Party Room

Park Tavern Party Room
There is no food and beverage minimum for the Party Room at the Park Tavern.

Private
Capacity (seated): 40
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: $0

Venue: Bowling Lanes

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 200
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, private bar, handicap accessible, private entrance
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: 20 bowling lanes; 3 buffet areas; children’s arcade; smoking patio

Venue: 11th Frame

Park Tavern 11th Frame
Rent out the entire 11th Frame, which can turn into a private bar for your group.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 100
Capacity (cocktail): not applicable
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Food and beverage minimum: No flat fee — determined by when event is held
Additional experiences: space includes 13 TVs, 4 pool tables, 5 dart boards, Big Buck Hunter video game, Golden Tee video game, Skee Ball machine, TouchTunes juke box, seasonal outdoor patio with additional 120 seats available

Wayzata

6Smith

294 Grove Lane North, Wayzata 55391
(952) 698-7900, party@6smith.com
More information

Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages
Final bill can be invoiced or split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Valet parking is available ($8)

Venue: Revel Room

Revel+Room.jpg
The Revel Room at 6Smith includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka and a private patio.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 50
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,250-3,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: Knotty Room

Knotty+Room.JPG
The Knotty Room at 6Smith in Wayzata.

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 14
Capacity (cocktail): 25
Includes access to microphone, access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $500-1,250)

Venue: Revel & Knotty Rooms 

6Smith+Revel+Knotty.JPG
Combine the Revel & Knotty Rooms at 6Smith for additional space.

Private or semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 86
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart TV, private bar upon request, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $2,000-4,200)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka, private patio space

Venue: The Tavern

Semi-private
Capacity (seated): up to 64
Capacity (cocktail): 50
Includes access to smart TV, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0
Food and beverage minimum: varies depending on time, day of week and time of year (ranges from $1,000-5,000)
Additional experiences: includes panoramic views of Lake Minnetonka

Woodbury

Angelina’s Kitchen

Angelinas 1.jpg
Angelina’s Kitchen in Woodbury.

2170 Eagle Creek Lane, Suite H, Woodbury 55129
(651) 998-0474, angela@angelinaskitchen.com
More information

Final bill can be split amongst guests
Complimentary on-site parking available
Menus can be specialized with logo and special messages

Venue: Tuscany Room

Angelinas 2
The Tuscany Room at Angelina’s Kitchen has no rental fee.

Semi-private or private
Capacity (seated): 70
Capacity (cocktail): 100
Includes access to microphone, access to plug in own music, access to smart Apple TV, access to private restrooms, private bar, handicap accessible
Rental fee: $0, a service fee of $30 per hour per staff member will be charged; staff count will be determined by guest count, menu and service style
Food and beverage minimum: private events: $1,500 Monday – Thursday, $2,000 Friday – Saturday; $0 for semi-private

With the crowdsourced list of restaurants below, it’s recommended you visit their websites to ensure they offer the private dining options you need. 

Minneapolis

Saint Paul

Arden Hills

Apple Valley

Blaine

Bloomington

Brooklyn Center

Brooklyn Park

Burnsville

Champlin

Chanhassen

Coon Rapids

Eagan

Eden Prairie

Edina

Excelsior

Golden Valley

Hastings

Hopkins

Long Lake

Maple Grove

Maplewood

Mendota

Minnetonka

New Hope

Plymouth

Richfield

Rogers

Rosemount

Roseville

Saint Louis Park

Savage

Shakopee

Spring Park

Stillwater

Vadnais Heights

Wayzata

Woodbury

A guide to Minnesota holiday light displays, 2017 edition

The 2019 Minnesota holiday light display guide can be found here.

 

Here’s a roundup of 2017 holiday light displays around Minnesota. Know of one I’m missing? Let me know by filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page. I have personally confirmed these shows are happening in 2017; be wary of other websites!

FFTC_FB_Logo_big
This listing is presented in collaboration with Family Fun Twin Cities.
They have a fantastic holiday activity guide on their website. Check it out!

Looking for more holiday event ideas? Check out my 40 Ways to Holiday guide.

I was on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live to share some of these light display picks. Check out the video!

Minneapolis

23331121_1617042005005993_3645562719023662118_o
250,000 LED lights are set to music in a show planned by students from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. Photo credit: College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota
  1. The University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) will premiere a student-designed 3D outdoor light show starting at 5:00 p.m. on December 1. It features 250,000 LED lights (!!!) set to music. Coolest part: much of the show is designed, sequenced, composed and performed by U of M students. The December 1 premiere includes a party inside Rapson Hall on campus. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be served. The show lasts about 20 minutes and repeats at 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. They’ll also run the light show on December 2, 7, 8 and 9.
  2. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stops at Lions Park between 37th Avenue and Stinson Boulevard on Saturday, December 9 at 7:45 p.m. A program with live music performance takes place from 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. Learn more about the Holiday Train.

Saint Paul

Rice Park.jpg
The holiday tree in Rice Park has 15,000 LED lights.
  1. The Capital City’s holiday tree in Rice Park adorns 15,000 LED lights and stays lit nightly through the holiday season. It’s free to check it out. Make sure to visit Wells Fargo WinterSkate across the street. Learn more.
  2. A few years ago, I met the households behind what’s nearly a full city block of holiday light displays in Saint Paul. Holiday Lights on York Avenue even has its own website. The light show is set to music, and you’ll be able to listen to it from the radio in your car. It boasts more than 60,000 lights across 10 yards. The show starts on Friday, November 24 and runs through New Years Eve. You can see it lit up nightly from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food donation for Merrick Community Services, a non-profit serving the east side of Saint Paul since 1908. To find Holiday Lights on York Avenue, have your GPS take you to 1526 York Avenue, Saint Paul 55106.

Andover

andover.jpg
The Cairl family in Andover has quite a bright yard. Photo credit: Cairl Family Christmas Lights via Facebook
  1. Head to 2342 145th Avenue Northwest in Andover to see the display put up by the Cairl family. It runs Sundays – Thursdays from 5:00 – 9:30 p.m. and Fridays – Saturdays from 5:00 – 10:30 p.m. The show is synchronized to music you’ll be able to listen to from your car.
  2. Set your radio to 107.5 FM when driving by this home in Andover. It’ll be lit up from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. nightly December 13 through New Years Eve. You’ll find it located at 3715 152nd Lane Northwest.

IMG_2680

Also on Give Me The Mike…
My trip inside the Rainbow Outlet grocery store in Maplewood

Anoka

Anoka County Fair
The Anoka County Fair turns into a winter wonderland December 8 – 10. Photo credit: Anoka County Fair
  1. The Anoka County Fairgrounds host a free Holiday in Lights celebration December 8 through the 10. There will be hayrides, live music and an appearance by Santa and his blushing bride, Mrs. Claus. It’s free to attend.

Buffalo

  1. Buffalo is a scheduled stop for the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. Find it on Monday, December 11 at 612 Northeast Third Avenue at 5:45 p.m. The event is free. Learn more about the Holiday Train here.

Chaska

SnoMutt Lights.jpg
Photo credit: SnoMutt Lights/Facebook
  1. The SnoMutt Lights Holiday Show kicks of December 8th in Chaska. You’ll see the synchronized show from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. Sundays – Thursdays and 6:30 – 10:00 p.m. Fridays – Saturdays. It’ll stay lit through December 31. Find it at 1913 Waterford Circle in Chaska.


Cloquet

  1. A handful of homes and businesses in Cloquet are participating in A Sweet Event’s Christmas Lighting Challenge. Click here to see a list of placess all lit up, along with how you can vote for the best display.

Cottage Grove

CP Holiday Train
It’s a light display on wheels: The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into Cottage Grove on Saturday, December 9. Photo credit: Canadian Pacific
  1. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stops in Cottage Grove on Saturday, December 9 at 5:15 p.m. You’ll find it south of the Seiben Bridge in front of the Youth Service Bureau. A program takes place from 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Learn more about the Holiday Train.

Duluth

Bentleyville.jpg
Bentleyville claims to be the nation’s largest free walk-through light display. Photo credit: Bentleyville
  1. Claiming to be “America’s Largest Free Walk Through Lighting Display,” Bentleyville in Duluth is the real deal. They have a “crowd-o-meter” on their website to determine which nights are the most crowded, Santa makes frequent appearances, and they even hand out free knit hats to kids 10 and younger. Organizers say about 30 minutes is a good amount of time to walk through the light display, and if you want a photo with jolly old Saint Nick, set aside at least an hour. The key is to dress warm, as winds coming off of Lake Superior can be nasty. Bentleyville is 501(c)(3) non-profit and accepts tax-deductible contributions. You’ll find it at Bayfront Festival Park — 700 Railroad Street — in Duluth. It’s open through December 26, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  2. Jon Jacobs told me about the holiday sound and light show on Exhibition Drive in Duluth. Their Facebook page says they’ve won holiday light contests in Duluth every year since 2012. Their show features 36 channels of lights choreographed to holiday music that you’ll be able to hear from your car’s radio. See it twinkle through New Years Eve from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Sundays – Thursdays and 5:00 — 11:00 p.m. Fridays – Saturdays.
  3. Peter from A Sweet Event messaged me with a great resource for those looking for lights up north. Every year, they host a Christmas Lighting Challenge and in 2017, have around 50 homes and businesses participating in Duluth, Superior, Two Harbors and Cloquet. Check it out.

Golden Valley

  1. Head to the Level Railway Crossing at Golden Hills Drive on Sunday, December 10 at 4:50 p.m. to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train roll in. Learn more.

Hastings

CP Holiday Train 2
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train makes its way to Hastings on Friday, December 8. Photo credit: Canadian Pacific
  1. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls into the CP Depot at 500 East Second Street at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, December 8. A program with live music will begin at 8:45 p.m. The event is free; attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food donations. Learn more.

18056605_1430983643588473_2157467164460565510_o

Also on Give Me The Mike…
Discover 3 Minnesota-centric Facebook pages worth following

Lake Elmo

  1. Over 100,000 LED lights are choreographed to music you can listen to from your car in Lake Elmo. Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church runs 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. nightly through December 31. Free wagon rides will be offered December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. Rockpoint Church is at 5825 Kelvin Avenue North in Lake Elmo.

Mankato

Kiwanis Holiday Lights
Over 1.5 million lights make up the Kiwanis Holiday Lights display in Mankato. Find it at Sibley Park. Photo credit: Kiwanis Holiday Lights via Facebook
  1. The Kiwanis put on a light show you can walk or drive through at Sibley Park in Mankato. It features over 1.5 million LED lights, a skating rink with warming house and special daily events. You can check it out Sundays – Thursdays from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Fridays – Saturdays from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. through December 31. Friday, December 15 is a great night to visit; you can check out ice sculptures, hope on a horse-drawn wagon ride and visit with Santa and his reindeer. Kiwanis Holiday Lights is free. Thanks to Kathy Gelhaye for the suggestion!

Minnetrista

KasperCook11.jpg
A show designed by Ryan Kasper-Cook in Minnetrista was featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2016. Photo credit: Trista Lights
  1. The owner of this display has shut it down, citing loud party buses and visitors. More from KSTP.  Trista Lights is run by Ryan Kasper-Cook, and this guy means business. Seriously, he owns a lighting business. Just take a look at this video of what he’s doing out in the west metro. He also works with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska to produce their light show. They were actually featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” (click here to watch part of that). Head to 4386 Trista Road in Minnetrista to check it out; it runs from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Sundays – Thursdays and from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. Fridays – Saturdays. The 12-minute show runs every half hour.

 New Hope

  1. The Larson family creates a light show synchronized to music that runs past New Years Day. You’ll see the 100,000 plus lights in action from 4:30 – 10:00 p.m. weeknights and 4:30 – 11:00 p.m. on the weekends. Outdoor speakers will play the music until 9:00 p.m.; you can also hear it on their radio station, “The Sled.” It’s at 3549 Ensign Avenue North, New Hope.
  2. Head to the Level Railway Crossing on 49th Street on Sunday, December 10 at 3:35 p.m. to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train roll in. Free music performances start at 3:45 p.m. It’s free to attend. Learn more about the Holiday Train.

Plymouth

1497810_551973208232567_972353881_n
The Fischer family in Plymouth uses 40,000 lights in just one front yard. Photo credit: Fischer family
  1. The Fischer family in Plymouth says they have “somewhere around 40,000 lights” in their display. It’s computer-controlled and is set to music you’ll be able to listen to through your car’s radio. You’ll be able to see it from December 1-31 with the exception of Christmas Eve. Check out their elaborate website — it unveils the curtain on how they get their yard set up each year. Their display is at 16700 33rd Avenue North in Plymouth.
  2. The PD Shimmers display in Plymouth is designed and built by those living with Parkinson’s disease. In 2017, 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so the PD Shimmers display will feature 60,000 lights this year. On their website, you can dedicate one of their lights to someone you know with Parkinson’s. The display is along Ithaca Lane; head to 4320 Ithaca Lane North, Plymouth. It is lit nightly from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. starting November 24 and lasting through Christmas.

Richfield

Richfield Gingerbread House

  1. Originally known as the Gingerbread House, the display at 7039 Third Avenue South in Richfield is back. They’re also known to set up quite the display for Halloween as well.

Saint Louis Park

  1. Head to the Saint Louis Park Emergency Program building at 6812 West Lake Street on Sunday, December 10 at 6:00 p.m. to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. Free music performances take place from 6:15 – 6:45 p.m. Learn more about the Holiday Train.

IMG_7194

Also on Give Me The Mike…
Save 40% on canvas messenger bags and laptop cases with an exclusive promo code through December 31, 2017 

Shakopee

Shakopee Winter Wonderland.jpg
Is that a Ferris wheel in your front yard?!?!? Photo credit: Shakopee Winter Wonderland/Facebook
  1. There’s a winter wonderland happening in Shakopee! Check out this light display at 921 Shakopee Avenue East in Shakopee. Lights will be on each night through New Years Day. Between December 15 and Christmas Eve, they’ll have crafts, treats hot cocoa and visits from Santa beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Sleepy Eye

sleepy eye
Holiday Lights in Motion started up in 2014. Photo credit: Sleepyeyeonline.com
  1. Holiday Lights in Motion runs through New Years at Sportsmans Park in Sleepy Eye. Select nights will offer free horse and carriage rides along with a freewill concession stand. You’re able to drive or walk through the exhibits, which are all made of LED lights. It’s open nightly from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. Thanks to Cindy LaBrie for suggesting this spot! 

Two Harbors

  1. Homes and businesses in Two Harbors (along with Duluth, Cloquet and Superior, WI) are participating in A Sweet Event’s 2017 Christmas Lighting Challenge. Find an interactive with places participating here.

Waconia

Sovereign Estate
The Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia uses eight miles worth of lights to create its display, The Spirit of Winter. Photo credit: The Winery at Sovereign Estate
  1. This is the event to take the place of Holiday Lights in the Park in Saint Paul. The Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia hosts the Spirit of Winter, a light show featuring over eight miles of lights over 10 acres, with animated displays set to synchronized music. Although it’s at a winery, all ages are welcome. And since it’s at a winery, their wine shop will be open for adults to buy a glass or bottle (no tastings). Cider, hot chocolate, cookies and more will be sold, too. Tickets are only $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 3 to 12. They must be purchased in advance online. The Spirit of Winter runs through Saturday, December 30 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and is open again Thursday, January 25 through Saturday, February 3. It runs from 4:30 – 8:00 p.m.

White Bear Lake

  1. Since publishing this article, multiple people have reached out to me about a White Bear Lake display on the shores of Bald Eagle Lake. It looked as though 2016 was going to be last year of the light display at 5590 West Bald Eagle Boulevard. Well, they couldn’t resist. It’s scaled back slightly, but you’ll still be amazed. Take a look at this YouTube video to see for yourself. It’s lit from 4:30 p.m. – midnight every day through the first week of January. Don’t let the Facebook page “Our Last Holiday Light Show” fool you.

Willmar

Celebrate the Light.jpg
Celebrate the Light of the World is entering its final year in Willmar. Photo credit: Celebrate the Light
  1. Celebrate the Light of the World is entering its 10th and final year in Willmar. The display is a fundraiser for the Salvation Army. You can see it run nightly from 4:30 – 11:00 p.m. until January 7, including all night on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This is unique — organizers host drive-in movies; see “ELF” on December 1, “Alvin and the Chipmunks” on December 2. The December 2 celebration also has a fireworks show. Santa will stop by on Saturday, December 9; a professional photographer will be there to snap free pictures of you and Father Christmas (donations will taken for the Salvation Army of Willmar).

Woodbury

  1. You know a family’s light show is legit when it has sponsors. After taking a few years off, MNlightshow is back again this year in Woodbury. The show is synchronized to music you’ll be able to listen to from your car radio. The homeowners are collecting non-perishable food donations for Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf (look for the bin at the end of their driveway). You’ll see it lit up Sundays – Thursdays from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and Fridays – Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. The address: 891 Winterberry Drive, Woodbury.

614caJxhZkL._SY355_

Also on Give Me The Mike…
The best freebies available on your birthday in the Twin Cities

Contact Mike