Looking to get away from the urban jungle with one of Minneapolis’s best picnic spots?
From BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket!) to endless picnic tables, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve always been a huge picnic fan, but thanks/no thanks to COVID-19, I’ve really upped my picnic game lately.
Now, I can say I’ve been to nearly every picnic area in Minneapolis, and I’m here here to report back on my 9 favorite!
Psst – Don’t forget to check out all the best picnic sites in St. Paul!
Map of the Best Picnic Spots in Minneapolis
1. Minnehaha Falls Regional Park
If I’m looking for the prefect picnic in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls is definitely one of the first places that comes to mind.
This Regional Park features tons of picnic tables sitting in the shade of huge, mature oak trees. From each table you’ve got a chance of hearing the roar of the giant 53 foot tall Minnehaha Falls waterfall, located just a few steps away. And as an added bonus, Sea Salt Eatery serves some of the city’s best seafood right on the grounds, so you can always grab a quick and easy to-go order for maximum convenience.
- Website: Minnehaha Regional Park
2. Wabun Picnic Area
Wabun Picnic Area sits next door to Minnehaha Falls. This beautiful space has several picnic tables, some of which sit in the open, others sit underneath large roof structures and are available to rent from the City of Minneapolis.
Either way, Wabun is one of the best picnic areas in Minneapolis.
- Website: Wabun Park Map
3. Chain of Lakes
What’s arguably the crown jewel of the Minneapolis Parks System naturally makes for a wonderful picnic area.
Lake of the Isles, Lake Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet all feature tons of benches and greenspace that make for an awesome picnic spot. But my personal favorite tables? The ones scattered near the Lake Harriet bandshell.
4. Lake Nokomis
Lake Nokomis boasts a big, clean, sandy beach that’s perfect for a picnic. If you want to get adventurous, bring a sandwich and a blanket and you’ll feel like you’re on a beach vacation. If you’d prefer a table, you can find a collection of them sprinkled around the beach and in the nearby trees.
- Website: Lake Nokomis Park
5. Beard’s Plaisance
Okay, this is technically part of the Chain of Lakes too, but this picnic spot has become popular enough to deserve its own mention.
This large park at the Southwest edge of Lake Harriet includes many first-come-first-serve picnic tables nestled under the park’s old-growth trees. There’s also a massive shelter available for rent. More on that at the end of this post…
- Website: Bear’s Plaisance
6. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
While technically part of the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture gardens remain free to the public seven days a week.
While you won’t find any tables here, there’s just something inspiring about laying out a blanket and enjoying a meal near all the art. (There’s also a few lounge chairs scattered around.) And of course, you can always grab that perfect shot of the cherry spoonbridge. Do it for the ‘gram!
- Website: Walker Sculpture Garden
7. Loring Park
Loring Park is a total urban oasis. This 34 acre greenspace includes meandering paths, undulating greens, and a beautiful pond, all in the heart of Minneapolis.
Like a number of Minneapolis parks, there’s no picnic tables onsite, but that’s not the end of the world when you can put down a blanket and grab such peaceful views. There’s also plenty of well positioned benches in the park, which work out just fine for a delicious picnic sandwich.
- Website: Loring Park
8. North Mississippi Regional Park
This large and often overlooked park sits on the far north edge of the Minneapolis city limits. With 67 acres stretched along the Mississippi, you’ll find plenty of places for an outdoor meal. The park includes lots of shaded picnic tables available first-come-first-serve, as well as three larger structures available for reservation.
- Website: North Mississippi Regional Park
Picnic Shelters for Rent in Minneapolis
If you have a larger group, the Minneapolis Parks & Rec Board rents out picnic shelters at the following city parks:
- Beard’s Plaisance
- Minnehaha Park
- Boom Island
- Columbia Park
- Xcel Field
Shelters are available for half day or full day rentals, with prices ranging from $125 to $450, depending on the size and location of the shelter being rented.
For more information, check out the Picnic Reservations Page on MinneapolisParks.org.