The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a seemingly unlimited number of family-friendly activities, attractions, and dining options that are sure to delight both parents and children alike. From interactive museums and scenic parks to delicious eateries serving up kid-approved fare, there’s something for every family to enjoy in the area. 

Depending on where you are going in the Twin Cities, a drive from the Sioux Falls Area is roughly four hours! While a four-hour drive might be a bit too long for a day trip, it’s definitely close enough for a weekend away! For a day-trip option near Sioux Falls, check out our Guide for Sioux City. If you want a family weekend away a bit closer than the Twin Cities, check out our Weekend Guide to Omaha! 

Below, we tell you where the best stops in the Twin Cities are for families! We also mention a few stops along the way during your drive up/down. Make the most of your trip by truly enjoying the drive as well! 

Here’s your comprehensive guide to exploring the Twin Cities as a family!

Stops Along the Drive

 Make sure to check your route to see where these stops are! Depending on which roads you take, they may be way out of your way! 

Check out the Green Giant Statue Park in Blue Earth, MN. There is no other statue quite like the Jolly Green Giant! While this spot might not take forever (there is a nice little museum/gift shop attached), it sure is unique! 

Mankato has so much to offer! You could easily spend the whole day in the Mankato Area with your family. A few highlights are listed next!

Sibley Park is a wonderful urban park. It offers excellent walking trails near the water, a storybook farm-themed playground, and a petting zoo!  

Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is located in Mankato. This children’s museum is jam-packed with fun for your family! It features an “old” Minnesota Cabin, an amazing fort treehouse, outdoor exhibits in the summer, and more! 

Minneopa State Park is located right outside of Mankato and is well worth the time for those who love the outdoors! Enjoy the beautiful waterfall and take in their buffalo herd on a drive around the Bison Drive. 

If you are traveling through Abert Lee, stop to check out the Fountain Lake Mermaid. This is a fun little spot to enjoy a picnic or stretch your legs for a nice walk. 

Another spot to check out the outdoors is the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, MN. Check out the trails, allow your kids to get some dirt on them in the play areas, or even take a class! 

Minneopa State Park

Family-Friendly Guide to the Twin Cities 

Minnesota Children’s Museum (St. Paul)

Spark your child’s imagination and curiosity at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, where hands-on exhibits and interactive play spaces await. From a pretend town to a rooftop garden, there are endless opportunities for exploration and learning. This museum is enormous; your family could easily spend the whole day here! 

Science Museum of Minnesota (St. Paul)

Dive into the wonders of science at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Kids can marvel at dinosaur fossils, experiment with hands-on exhibits, and catch an educational film at the Omnitheater. 

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory (St. Paul)

Discover exotic animals and lush botanical gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Admission is free, making it the perfect budget-friendly outing for families. Don’t miss the opportunity to ride the historic carousel or stroll through the Japanese Garden.

The Cathedral of Saint Paul (St. Paul)

The Cathedral of Saint Paul is one of the most prominent buildings in Minnesota and welcomes visitors from all over the world. Your family will be in awe with the stunning architectural design and historical significance. 

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

More than 60 sculptures from the Walker Art Gallery are on display in the Sculpture Garden. Enjoy free admission to the sculpture walk and see the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. 

Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley)

Immerse yourselves in the animal kingdom at the Minnesota Zoo. With exhibits ranging from the Tropics Trail to the Discovery Bay, there’s plenty to see and do for animal lovers of all ages.

Nickelodeon Universe (Bloomington)

Experience thrills and excitement at Nickelodeon Universe, located inside the Mall of America. From roller coasters to kiddie rides featuring beloved Nickelodeon characters, this indoor amusement park has no shortage of fun to be had.

Speaking of which, the Mall of America! It’s a classic Twin Cities stop and surprisingly fun for the whole family. Of course, there is plenty of shopping, but there are also plenty of other things to do for those in your family who don’t shop! 

Stone Arch Bridge

Walk across the Stone Arch Bridge while enjoying a scenic view of the Mississippi River and the city Skyline. 

The Outdoors

The Twin Cities are known for having an exceptional park system and outdoor spaces. There are so many great local parks throughout the Twin Cities Area. We list just a few of the highlighted ones here! 

Minnehaha Park (Minneapolis)

Experience the beauty of nature at Minnehaha Park, home to a stunning waterfall, scenic walking trails, and picturesque picnic areas. On warm summer days, kids will love exploring the playground and wading in the creek.

Lake Harriet (Minneapolis)

Spend a day by the water at Lake Harriet, where families can bike, hike, or rollerblade along the scenic trails. Don’t forget to stop by the bandshell for live music performances and family-friendly events throughout the summer months.

Loring Park (Minneapolis)

Relax and unwind in the heart of downtown Minneapolis at Loring Park. Kids can burn off energy at the playground, splash in the fountains, or feed the ducks at the pond.

Como Park in St. Paul

Family-Friendly Dining

Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza (Minneapolis)

Treat your taste buds to delicious coal-fired pizzas at Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza. With options like classic cheese and adventurous toppings, there’s something for even the pickiest eater in the family.

The Blue Door Pub (Multiple Locations)

Indulge in gourmet burgers and mouthwatering tater tots at The Blue Door Pub. Their inventive burger creations, including the famous “Juicy Lucy,” are sure to satisfy hungry appetites.

Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery (Minneapolis)

Enjoy a relaxed dining experience at Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery, where families can feast on comfort food favorites like macaroni and cheese and chicken tenders. Be sure to save room for dessert—their homemade pies are not to be missed!

Sea Salt Eatery (Minneapolis)

Delight in fresh seafood and waterfront views at Sea Salt Eatery, located within Minnehaha Park. This is a perfect spot to eat after enjoying the outdoors. From fish tacos to shrimp po’boys, their menu offers a taste of coastal cuisine in the heart of the Midwest.

Pizza Luce (Multiple Locations)

Savor artisanal pizzas, pastas, and salads at Pizza Luce. With a diverse menu featuring vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, it’s easy to please everyone in the family at this beloved local chain.

Enjoy Your Trip

The Twin Cities offer endless opportunities for family-friendly fun and adventure, from interactive museums and thrilling amusement parks to scenic parks and delicious dining options. So pack up the kids and enjoy everything that the Twin Cities has to offer!