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Affordable Things to Do in the Twin Cities in 2024

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The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are full of fun and exciting attractions that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or family-friendly activities, you’ll find plenty of options in the Twin Cities that are affordable or even free. Here are some of the best things to do in the Twin Cities on a budget, along with their ratings, pictures, descriptions, prices, and testimonials from real visitors.

1. Mill City Museum

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Rating: 4.7/5 stars (2,444)

Description: Mill City Museum is a historical museum that showcases the history of the flour milling industry in Minneapolis. The museum is built in the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill, which was once the largest flour mill in the world. You can explore the exhibits, watch a film, ride the Flour Tower elevator, and enjoy the views of the Mississippi River and the Stone Arch Bridge.

Price: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $8 for children ages 5-17, free for children under 5 and Minnesota Historical Society members.

What’s this place known for? Mill City Museum is known for its unique architecture, its interactive exhibits, and its baking demonstrations.

Testimonial:”Super cool space to learn more about something we all have, flour! My kids loved the interactive exhibits. The water lab was a special favorite. Make sure to go up to the very top!! Incredible place!” by  Jannean Dixon, M.Ed.

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture of Minneapolis, Mill City Museum is a great place to visit. You’ll get to see how the flour industry shaped the city and the nation, and have fun along the way.    

2. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

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Rating: 4.7/5 stars

Description: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is an 11-acre park that features more than 40 sculptures by various artists, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. You can stroll around the garden, admire the artworks, and take photos with the sculptures.The garden is also adjacent to the Walker Art Center, which is a contemporary art museum that offers free admission on the first Saturday of every month.

Price:Free 

What’s this place known for? Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is known for its diverse and whimsical collection of sculptures, especially the Spoonbridge and Cherry, which is a symbol of the city.

Testimonial:”This was a delight!  So glad we have this amazing free public art park in the Upper Midwest!  Ha ppy that we made this part of our trip to Minneapolis.  I would highly recommend!!” By Elizabeth.

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re looking for a free and fun activity in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a perfect choice. You’ll get to see some of the most famous and interesting sculptures in the world, and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.

3. Science Museum of Minnesota

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Rating: 4.6/ 5 stars (1,643)

Description: Science Museum of Minnesota is a science and technology museum that offers a variety of exhibits, programs, and experiences for all ages. You can learn about dinosaurs, fossils, space, the human body, the Mississippi River, and more. You can also watch films on the giant Omnitheater screen, play with interactive exhibits, and participate in hands-on activities.

Price: $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and children ages 4-12, free for children under 4 and museum members. Additional fees apply for Omnitheater and special exhibits.

What’s this place known for? Science Museum of Minnesota is known for its impressive collection of dinosaur fossils, its immersive Omnitheater, and its fun and educational exhibits.

Testimonial:”First time coming here and I was so impressed with the set up and the variety of things to see here. I loved the view from the outside. By Doa Al

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity in the Twin Cities, Science Museum of Minnesota is a great option. You’ll get to explore and discover various topics and phenomena related to science and technology, and have a blast while doing it.

4. Minneapolis Institute of Art

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Rating:4.8 stars (8,528) 

Description: Minneapolis Institute of Art is an art museum that features more than 90,000 artworks from various cultures, periods, and styles. You can admire paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, and more, spanning from ancient times to the present day. The museum also offers tours, lectures, workshops, and special events.

Price: Free

What’s this place known for? Minneapolis Institute of Art is known for its impressive and diverse collection of art, its stunning architecture, and its family-friendly programs.

Testimonial:”Spent an evening at the MIA.  So many beautiful and interesting works.  We spent moat of our time in the Medieval Europe section.  We’ll have to visit again to spend time in other areas. By Mike Cumbee.

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re looking for a cultural and educational activity in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis Institute of Art is a great option. You’ll get to see some of the most beautiful and inspiring artworks in the world, and learn about their history and context.

5. Walker Art Center

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars(5,591)

Description: Walker Art Center is a contemporary art museum that features a variety of exhibits, programs, and events that showcase the latest trends and innovations in art. You can explore the galleries, watch films, attend lectures, join workshops, and enjoy performances. The museum also offers free admission on the first Saturday of every month and every Thursday night.

Price: $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $7.50 for students, free for children under 18 and museum members.

What’s this place known for? Walker Art Center is known for its cutting-edge and diverse collection of art, its striking architecture, and its partnership with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Testimonial:”I was able to visit the Walker Art Center while at a conference.  It’s a very unique museum with abstract art and other art styles”. – Nicole Justice

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re looking for a cultural and creative activity in the Twin Cities, Walker Art Center is a great option. You’ll get to see some of the most original and inspiring artworks in the world, and learn about their context and meaning.

6. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars(2,104)

Description: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a zoo and botanical garden that offers a variety of attractions and experiences for all ages. You can see animals from around the world, such as giraffes, polar bears, lions, and penguins. You can also admire plants from different climates, such as orchids, bonsai, palms, and cacti. The zoo and conservatory also offer tours, classes, events, and a historic carousel.

Price: Free, but donations are appreciated.

What’s this place known for? Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is known for its free admission, its family-friendly atmosphere, and its conservation efforts.

Testimonial: “Our party of four loved our visit today to the Como Park Zoo Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota! My favorite display was the Fern Room, with its beautiful waterfall fountain, near the entrance to the conservatory. The Sunken Garden display was also amazing and is a favorite place for my husband and me to capture a selfie. The Conservatory’s plants are exotic and well maintained. The volunteers are friendly and well informed.” -Pam Myhra

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity in the Twin Cities, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a great choice. You’ll get to see and learn about various animals and plants, and have a memorable time with your family.

7. Midtown Global Market

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Rating: 4.6 stars(4,095)

Description: Midtown Global Market is an indoor market that features a variety of vendors selling food, crafts, and services from different cultures and countries. You can sample cuisines from around the world, such as Mexican, Somali, Vietnamese, and Moroccan. You can also shop for unique gifts, clothing, and accessories. The market also offers live entertainment, events, and classes.

Price: Free to enter, prices vary by vendor.

What’s this place known for? Midtown Global Market is known for its diverse and delicious food options, its lively and colorful atmosphere, and its support for local and immigrant businesses.

Testimonial:I would like to suggest Midtown Global as a great place to visit. It offers a wide variety of food and products from all over the world, including the Mideast, Latino America, Africa, and Europe.” – Roberto Russo

Final suggestion to visit: If you’re looking for an international and affordable activity in the Twin Cities, Midtown Global Market is a great option. You’ll get to taste and experience different cultures and cuisines, and have a fun and enriching time.

Conclusion

Exploring the Twin Cities on a budget offers a treasure trove of enriching and entertaining experiences, from historical museums to contemporary art institutions, natural wonders, and diverse culinary delights. Each destination, carefully curated for its affordability and appeal, provides a unique window into the cultural and recreational tapestry of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

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