Ask most locals, and they’ll admit that fall is Minnesota’s best season.
It sure is in my book!
For years, my friends and I have even been celebrating Fall Day, our own made-up holiday to rein in our favorite season.
It’s actually a little obnoxious how much I love fall. But safe to say, if you’re looking for Minneapolis and St. Paul’s most fun fall activities, I’ve got your back!
Here are all of my favorite fall traditions around the Twin Cities:
- 1. Visit an Apple Orchard
- 2. Take a drive to gawk at fall colors
- 3. Attend a harvest fest
- 4. Go berry picking
- 5. Enjoy fall scenery with a scenic train ride
- 6. Get lost in a corn maze
- 7. Pick your pumpkin at a local patch
- 8. Get spooked at a local haunted house
- 9. Celebrate with an Oktoberfest
- 10. Enjoy fall colors at the Arboretum
1. Visit an Apple Orchard
Every fall, tons of apple orchards around the Twin Cities open their fields for guests to pick their own apples! Plucking a perfect honeycrispy, right off the tree? It doesn’t get any better.
Plus, these places are a hotbed for all kinds of fall festivities. In addition to the apple picking, most orchards also offer wagon rides, petting zoos, and of course, gift shops with tons of apple-baked goods.
In my mind, nothing quite postmarks the beginning of fall like a stroll through a local orchard, fresh apple cider in one hand with a bag of fresh-picked apples in the other.
For more info, check out our complete guide to the best apple orchards in the Twin Cities.
2. Take a drive to gawk at fall colors
Nothing is as simply fall as an autumn drive.
Check out one of our recommended day trips from the Twin Cities, and then keep your eyes peeled for the changing colors! Any of the routes will do, but for maximum colors, you can’t beat the trip from the Twin Cities to Red Wing.
3. Attend a harvest fest
Ready to ramp up the festivities? Check out the the numerous harvest festivals that fire up every August – October.
- At Stillwater Harvest Fest, you can celebrate all things giant pumpkin, including an official weigh off, the dropping of a 1,000+ pounder getting dropped from a 100 foot crane, and even a kayak race where the boats are… hallowed out giant pumpkins!
- At Eagan’s Holz Farm Fall Festival, you can get front row seats to a live fiddling contest!
- At The Great Scarecrow Festival at Emma Krumbee’s, you can check out an annual competition with over 100 hand-crafted scarecrows.
Of course, this is just the tip of the cornstalk. You can see a full list of our favorite harvest festivals here.
4. Go berry picking
Admittedly, berry picking in Minnesota peaks in the summer, when strawberries and blueberries are in full swing. That said, a number of pick your own farms offer raspberry picking all the way through October.
You can check out our Twin Cities berry picking guide for more details.
5. Enjoy fall scenery with a scenic train ride
Want a totally underrated fall activity? Grab a ticket aboard one of Minnesota’s best scenic train rides.
For some of the best fall color viewing in the entire state, check out the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Riverway. Located about 50 minutes from the Twin Cities, it will take you on a 1.5 hour scenic ride from Osceola, WI to St. Croix, MN via the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
If you prefer less train time and more fall activities, you can instead opt for the Dresser Pumpkin Express, also in Osceola. It will shuttle you on a 25 minute, family-friendly ride to Dresser, WI for pumpkin picking and other fall activities.
And for the most fall color viewing, the 2-hour Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad line out of Duluth offers tons of colors in the fall!
6. Get lost in a corn maze
If you want to check out the most popular corn maze in Minnesota, head to Severs Corn Maze. There you’ll find the famous maze, plus more fall activities than you could imagine, including live music, a beer garden, a market, and even pig races!
Recently, Twin Cities Harvest Festival in Brooklyn Park has been claiming they have the largest corn maze in the state. I have no idea which one is actually bigger, but I do know each are plenty big enough for lots of fall fun.
7. Pick your pumpkin at a local patch
Can you even call it fall if you haven’t picked out a pumpkin yet?
The Twin Cities offers tons of local pumpkin patches where you can find your perfect pumpkin. Check out all our best pumpkin patches here.
8. Get spooked at a local haunted house
Fall is the season of Halloween, and there’s no better way to get in the mood than by scaring yourself out of your wits!
And good news! Minneapolis and St. Paul have tons of awesome haunted houses.
9. Celebrate with an Oktoberfest
Say what you want, but we’re a metro that knows how to celebrate Oktoberfest.
For the ultimate, the nearby towns of New Ulm, MN and La Crosse, WI offers two of the biggest and best Oktoberfests in the whole country. (If you want to keep things a little local, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul both offer tons of local celebrations, too.)
Here’s our full guide to Oktoberfests near the Twin Cities.
At the very least, you can grab an Oktoberfest beer as the seasonals start pouring at the 80+ Twin Cities breweries.
10. Enjoy fall colors at the Arboretum
We love the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
But while most people immediately think of the Arboretum when the flowers start blooming in the spring, less people consider the Aboretum in the fall when those colors start changing. Those people are missing out!
With so many plant specious, the Landscape Arboretum boasts the most diverse collection of fall colors in the state. It’s a perfect fall activity, and one of our favorite traditions.
Check out our full Arboretum guide here.