Apple picking, mazes and festivals, oh my! Experience the best fall activities in Minnesota for couples, families, and friends.
Autumn is a picturesque time in Minnesota, when the trees don their best and brightest colors and the air turns crisp with the promise of the winter to come. Folks of all ages delight in enjoying the fall season, whether they’re setting up camp in one of Minnesota’s stunning state parks or joining friends for a day at a fall festival. And let’s not forget about the built-in romance of fall! In this blog, we’ll cover our favorite things to do in Minnesota in the fall, including fall dates for couples, family-friendly activities, and ideas for fall fun-seeking friends.
Fun Fall Activities In Minnesota
Minnesota is chock full of a variety of exciting seasonal activities for couples, families and friends. Whether it’s bonding with loved ones, indulging in seasonal treats, or immersing oneself in the vibrant colors and festive atmosphere, Minnesota offers a wide range of fall activities for everyone to enjoy:
Fall Dates In Minnesota For Couples
With its cozy atmosphere and abundance of fall-themed activities, it’s no wonder that autumn in Minnesota is synonymous with romance for many couples! As nature starts to display its most enchanting colors, Minnesota transforms into an idyllic backdrop for romantic dates. All you need is a few seasonal activities to top off your perfect date — so here are a few of our favorites!
Scenic Nature Walks
Mother Nature gives couples the perfect opportunity to enjoy the enchanting beauty of Minnesota’s fall season on a scenic nature walk. The rustling leaves, vibrant colors, and crisp air create a romantic atmosphere that sets the stage for a memorable date. Grab your loved one’s hand, explore these scenic nature walks, and create cherished memories together in these beautiful places in the Twin Cities area:
- Minnehaha Regional Park: This stunning park is home to Minnehaha Falls, a stunning natural waterfall. Couples can enjoy strolling along the scenic trails, listening to the rushing water, and marveling at the ample fall foliage.
- Lake Harriet: Located in Minneapolis, Lake Harriet is a picturesque setting for couples looking to enjoy a leisurely walk. With its serene lake, tree-lined paths, and nearby Bandshell offering live music, movies and entertainment periodically throughout the summer and fall seasons, this location is perfect for romantic strolls.
- Lebanon Hills Regional Park: Just outside of the Twin Cities, this expansive park has numerous trails and lakes to explore. Immerse yourselves in nature, wander through wooded areas, and appreciate the autumnal hues.
- Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary: Nestled within Theodore Wirth Regional Park, this beautiful sanctuary boasts an impressive array of native plants and bird species. Couples can take a peaceful walk through the well-maintained trails, relishing the sights and sounds of nature.
Apple picking is a quintessential fall activity, one that’s perfect for a fun and romantic outdoor date. Whether you’re savoring the sweetness of fresh apples or sipping on apple cider, this fall date idea in Minnesota promises a romantic and flavorful adventure for couples. Here are some of our favorite Twin Cities-area orchard and farms where couples can enjoy an afternoon of apple picking:
- Aamodt’s Apple Farm: Located in Stillwater, this charming orchard provides a picturesque setting for apple picking. Couples can wander through the orchard hand in hand and select their favorite apples, including Aamodt’s preferred varietal, the delicious Honeycrisp. Afterward, enjoy a wagon ride, say hello to some adorable goats, and don’t forget to visit the orchard’s on-site market to sample fresh apple cider, homemade pies, and other apple treats.
- Pine Tree Apple Orchard: Situated in White Bear Lake, Pine Tree Apple Orchard offers a delightful apple picking experience. Couples can not only explore the orchard together, but also enjoy wagon rides, a corn maze, live music and more. Browse the market to bring home apple cider, apple butter, apple pies, and other delectable goodies.
- Emma Krumbee’s Orchard & Barn: Located in Belle Plaine, Emma Krumbee’s is more than an orchard: It is a family-friendly site packed with activities, wagon tours, a petting zoo, and a country store with a bakery. After filling a basket with “U-Pick” apples, couples can pop into the store to stock up on homemade apple cider, apple turnovers, and other delectable treats.
- Applewood Orchard: Applewood Orchard in Lakeville offers a charming and romantic setting for apple picking. Couples can relish the beauty of the orchard as they pick their desired apples, get lost in the 10-acre corn maze, and say hello to the orchard’s tractors — yes, they each have names and backstories. Visit the barn on your way out to find an assortment of apple products, including apple cider, apple butter, apple pies, and even apple-centric ice cream sundaes.
After your apple picking adventure, why not take your harvest home and embark on a fun and cozy adventure together—preparing a homemade apple-based dessert! Whip up an apple pie, apple crisp, or even try your hand at caramel apples. The shared experience of creating a treat from scratch using your freshly-picked apples can add an extra layer of enjoyment to the date.
Festival season in Minnesota offers a lovely chance to spend time out in the community, enjoying the autumn bounty, crisp weather and festive activities. Couples looking for an engaging date idea that provides built-in entertainment, food and more should look no further than these fantastic fall festivals in the Twin Cities area:
- Minnesota Renaissance Festival: Held in Shakopee on the 22-acre fairgrounds, this wildly popular annual event takes place in the fall and offers couples the chance to immerse themselves in a Renaissance-era setting. Enjoy live entertainment, cheer for your favorite knight in jousting tournaments, browse artisan shops, and savor a variety of themed food and drink options.
- Apple Fest at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Not apple-d out yet? Great! The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska hosts an enchanting annual Apple Fest. Couples can revel in the beauty of the arboretum while enjoying activities like tastings, orchard tours, apple-themed demonstrations, and educational exhibits.
- Wild Rice Festival at Harriet Alexander Nature Center: Located in Roseville, the Wild Rice Festival at Harriet Alexander Nature Center is a uniquely Minnesotan celebration of the start of the harvest season and Indigenous culture. The festival features Indigenous dancers and storytelling, hands-on apple cider pressing, and traditional wild rice harvesting and honey extraction demonstrations. Couples can also enjoy a variety of seasonal eats like fry bread, wild rice soup, and more.
- Afton Art in the Park: Afton, a charming town on the St. Croix River, hosts the colorful Art in the Park festival during the fall season. Couples can admire the work of talented local artists, listen to live music performances, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the river.
Family Fall Activities In Minnesota
Autumn in Minnesota offers a magical blend of natural beauty, pleasant weather, seasonal festivities, and opportunities for family bonding. It’s a time when parents and kids alike can embrace the outdoors, immerse themselves in the colors and spirit of the season, and create cherished memories that will be treasured for years to come. From corn mazes to festivals to camping and more, here are some of our favorite fall family activities in Minnesota.
Corn mazes give families a chance to explore (and get lost) together in a fun fall setting. Kids of all ages love corn mazes, and even grown-ups may find them to be a challenging puzzle! Here are some of the best Twin Cities-area corn mazes to check out this autumn:
- Sever’s Corn Maze: Another Shakopee favorite, Sever’s Corn Maze is a popular destination for families seeking a fun-filled fall adventure. The maze covers a vast area and includes many intricate paths and challenging twists. In addition to the maze, families can enjoy numerous other attractions, like the “U-Pick” pumpkin patch, petting zoo, and hayrides.
- Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze: This Brooklyn Park festival features a gigantic corn maze that covers 20+ acres. Families can work together to navigate their way through the maze. The festival also offers a wide range of activities including a pumpkin patch, giant slide, corn pit, and live entertainment.
- Afton Apple Orchard: Located in Hastings, Afton Apple Orchard offers a uniquely family-centric corn maze experience. The maze is designed to have varying levels of difficulty, ensuring that kids and adults alike can enjoy the challenge. After conquering the maze, families can explore the orchard, pick their own apples, and indulge in seasonal treats.
- Dehn’s Pumpkins: Located northwest of the Twin Cities in Dayton, Dehn’s Pumpkins offers a five-acre corn maze that is perfect for families. For an especially unique time, visit at night for Dehn’s Flashlight Corn Maze experience. Be sure to bring your own flashlight! The farm also features other family fun, like their huge pumpkin patch, hayrides, and a farm store with various fall goodies.
All the reasons that make fall festivals a great date activity also apply to families: Vibrant atmosphere, live music and entertainment, tasty treats and plenty to do! Minnesota’s harvest festivals offer a range of engaging and educational experiences for all ages, providing a perfect opportunity to immerse yourselves in the spirit of the season, learn about farm life, and participate in hands-on activities. Here are some fantastic places in the Twin Cities where families can enjoy harvest festivals together. You’ll recognize some from our previous collections of spots with top-tier apple picking and corn mazes, plus some new additions to add to your must-check-out lists:
- Apple Jack Orchards: Located in Delano, Apple Jack Orchards hosts an annual Harvest Festival that is perfect for families. Younger children will delight in activities like face painting, pony rides, and a petting zoo, while visitors of all ages will enjoy hayrides, apple picking, and indulging in delicious treats like caramel apples and apple cider.
- Fall Harvest Festival at Gale Woods Farm: Situated in Minnetrista, Gale Woods Farm offers a fun and educational fall experience for families. Their festival includes farm tours for visitors interested in learning about agricultural practices and interacting with farm animals. Kids can participate in hands-on activities like pumpkin decorating, corn shelling, and tractor rides.
- Afton Apple Orchard: Afton Apple Orchard hosts a wonderful Harvest Festival in Hastings that is packed with family-friendly activities. Face painting, pony rides, wagon rides, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, a petting farm — the sky’s the limit on fun for kids of all ages! The festival also hosts live music and sells tasty treats like apple cider donuts.
- Emma Krumbee’s Orchard & Barn: Located in Belle Plaine, Emma Krumbee’s Orchard and Farm hosts an annual Fall Festival that caters to families. Kids can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, and interactive storytelling. Families can explore the “U-Pick” pumpkin patch, take a tractor-pulled wagon ride, and indulge in farm-fresh food like apple pies and cider.
For outdoorsy families, camping is the ultimate autumn activity. Camping gives families the opportunity to disconnect from technology, immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, and create lasting memories together. During the day, families can embark on hikes, explore nature trails and observe the stunning fall foliage. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines into rivers or lakes, hoping to catch some fresh fish for dinner. As night falls, gather around the campfire for storytelling, roasting marshmallows, and stargazing.
If that sounds like a perfect day to you and your crew, pack up your camping gear and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life by heading to one of Minnesota’s top camping spots:
- Interstate State Park: Located in Taylors Falls, Interstate State Park is a popular spot for families seeking scenic camping. You and your family can explore hiking trails that wind through stunning glacial potholes, towering cliffs, and beautiful forests. Love fishing? Try your luck in the St. Croix River while enjoying the serene atmosphere!
- Afton State Park: Also situated near the St. Croix River, Afton State Park provides a tranquil setting for fall camping. Hike the park’s numerous trails, appreciate the breathtaking views of the river valley and vibrant fall colors, and enjoy engaging activities like bird watching, geocaching, and picnicking.
- William O’Brien State Park: Located in Marine on St. Croix, William O’Brien State Park offers a peaceful camping experience. Its hiking trails meander through beautiful forests, wetlands, and along the river. Fishing, birding, wildlife observation, canoeing and the park’s various naturalist programs are all popular activities in this picturesque reserve.
- Lake Maria State Park: Lake Maria State Park in Monticello is revered for its quiet and serene atmosphere. Families can enjoy camping among beautiful prairies, hardwood forests, and scenic lakes. Hiking trails allow families to connect with nature and spot various wildlife species.
Things To Do In Minnesota In The Fall With Friends
Autumn is a wonderful time to get out and about with friends. Mother Nature sets a beautiful scene with plenty of fall foliage and just-right temperatures, while a vibrant Twin Cities dining, entertainment and events scene provides ample excursion ideas. Whether you opt for a thirst-quenching brewery tour, roaming a pumpkin patch, or spending the afternoon tailgating before a big game, you and your friends will make lasting memories with these fall activities in Minnesota.
Cheers to great friends and great beers! Brewery tours are an excellent fall activity for friends to enjoy in Minnesota, offering a perfect blend of camaraderie, exploration, and the opportunity to savor unique seasonal beer releases. With the crisp autumn weather setting in, embarking on brewery tours allows friends to discover new flavors, learn about the brewing process, and make lasting memories together. Here are some fantastic breweries in the Twin Cities where friends can indulge in this tasty activity:
- Surly Brewing Co.: As Minneapolis’s premier taproom, Surly Brewing Co. is a renowned brewery known for its bold and innovative beers. Friends can take a guided tour of the facility to witness the brewing process firsthand and learn about Surly’s distinct beer styles. Afterward, stick around to sample a variety of seasonal brews, such as Oktoberfest lagers or pumpkin ales, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the brewery’s taproom and large outdoor space.
- Summit Brewing Company: Situated in St. Paul, Summit Brewing Company is one of Minnesota’s oldest and most respected breweries. Friends can enjoy a tour of the brewery, gaining insights into the brewing traditions and techniques. Then, relax in the taproom and sip on Summit’s classic and seasonal beers, which include rich and malty fall offerings and hoppy harvest ales.
- Indeed Brewing Company: Located in Northeast Minneapolis, Indeed Brewing Company offers a friendly and inviting atmosphere for friends to explore. Join a guided tour to learn about the brewing process and the brewery’s commitment to giving back to their community. The taproom offers a diverse range of beers, including seasonal releases like spiced ales and robust stouts, allowing friends to savor unique flavors and discuss their favorites in a welcoming setting.
- Bauhaus Brew Labs: Minneapolis’s Bauhaus Brew Labs is known for its vibrant taproom and bold, modern beer styles. Friends can partake in a brewery tour, experiencing the Bauhaus philosophy of combining tradition and innovation. The taproom boasts a rotating lineup of beers, including seasonal and limited-edition releases like crisp autumn-inspired lagers and harvest ales.
Exploring pumpkin patches allows your group to embrace the autumn spirit, enjoy seasonal attractions, and select the perfect pumpkins for carving or decorating. They also offer a great opportunity for group photos and solo shots against a scenic backdrop of autumn color, hay bale rides, and more! Gather your friends and get in the spirit of the season as you immerse yourselves in autumn fun at one of these pumpkin patches:
- Nelson Farm & Pumpkin Patch Festival: Located in Litchfield, Nelson Farm has provided a charming and authentic pumpkin patch experience to groups of all ages for over 30 years. Navigate through corn mazes and hay bale mazes, explore the farm’s many attractions like the pumpkin-flinging trebuchet, and snack on tasty seasonal treats. The patch offers a wide selection of pumpkins, ensuring everyone finds their ideal canvas for carving or decorating.
- Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest: Situated in Jordan, Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest has been a delightful destination for friends seeking a fun-filled fall adventure for more than half a century. The farm boasts an array of activities like hayrides, corn pits, and petting zoos. Explore the pumpkin patch, select your favorite pumpkins, and enjoy the creative process of transforming them into festive works of art!
- Waldoch Farm Garden Center: Less than half an hour northeast of Minneapolis in Lino Lakes is Waldoch Farm Garden Center, a delightful destination for friends to celebrate the fall season. The farm offers a wide range of activities, including hayrides, a corn maze, giant slide, honeybee experience, barnyard, corn pit and more. In late August and early September, friends can take advantage of the center’s fields of blooming sunflowers for beautiful IG photos and stories.
Football tailgating is an exhilarating fall activity for friends in Minnesota, combining the love for sports, good food, and camaraderie. Whether you’re cheering for the local team or supporting your favorite NFL franchise, tailgating provides a memorable experience that brings friends together. Here are some of our favorite places to tailgate in and around the Twin Cities:
- U.S. Bank Stadium: Home of the Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis provides an electric atmosphere for NFL fans. The parking lots surrounding the stadium are highly sought-after tailgating spots, so be sure to arrive early — really early — to secure your space!
- TCF Bank Stadium: Located on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, TCF Bank Stadium hosts Gopher football games. The adjacent parking lots create a vibrant tailgating scene before and after the games, featuring a younger-skewing crowd and an exciting atmosphere.
- Allianz Field: For fans of Major League Soccer, Allianz Field in St. Paul is your go-to tailgating venue. The surrounding parking lots offer spaces for tailgating before Minnesota United FC matches.
Host Your Fall Event At The Heritage Center Of Brooklyn Center
Can’t wait for fall? Same here! We’d love to celebrate the autumn season with you as your partner for your next fall event. Schedule a visit to our historic venue and one of our experienced event planners will show you around the grounds, tell you about our history as a working farm, and help you envision your autumnal event in one of our versatile spaces! Contact us today to learn more about hosting your event at The Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center. We look forward to connecting with you!