10 Things to Do in Minnesota This Fall

By Erica Wacker


Apple picking, football and pumpkin-flavored everything can only mean one thing: Fall has arrived in Minnesota. This special season is short and sweet, so make the most of it by checking at least a few of these awesome autumn activities off your list.

1. Visit a pumpkin patch

Whether you prefer to carve scary faces into them, bake and eat the seeds, or use them as centerpieces, locally grown pumpkins are a must-have this time of year. Minnesota Grown lists around 140 pumpkin patches statewide, some of which have rides, corn mazes, petting zoos, and enough activities to fill a whole day.

2. Pick your own apples

Fischer's Croix apple orchard Hastings
Dozens of Minnesota apple orchards are open to pickers in the fall

Home to the Honeycrisp, Minnesota is one of the best places to get fresh and juicy apples straight from the tree. Pick your own at orchards like Afton Apple Orchard in Hastings, Emma Krumbees in Belle Plaine or Apple Jack Orchards in Delano. Or enjoy them baked into pies, turned into butter or as a beverage at restaurants and breweries.

3. Visit a museum

On a cold or rainy day, duck into a museum for a day's worth of fun and learning. Minnesota's museums showcase world-class art, rare artifacts, local history and hands-on exhibits. This fall, plan a trip to the always fun Spam Museum in Austin, the Bell Museum in St. Paul, or the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River.

4. Take a drive

Fall drive in Bemidji State Park
Take a drive on one of Minnesota's 22 scenic byways

Minnesota's fall color show progresses from north to south, starting in early September and working its way down the state into mid-October. Sign up for fall color updates to get weekly highlights by email, and explore one of these rainbow routes when the colors are at their peak.

5. See a show

The birthplace of Bob Dylan, Prince, Mason Jennings and more, Minnesota has no shortage of great music. Learn more about today's most popular homegrown music acts, and find upcoming shows in our live music calendar.

6. Sip the local flavors

Beer flight at Fitger's, Duluth_Democratic Travelers
Sample a flight at Fitger's in Duluth, the city's oldest brewery

The craft beer scene continues to flourish in Minnesota, and fall is the perfect time to sample the flavors. Many breweries create special Oktoberfest, pumpkin and other seasonal varieties, available in taprooms and growlers to go. Visit the Land of 10,000 Drinks map to plan your fall "brewcation."

7. Cheer for the home team

The Vikings, Gophers and Minnesota United soccer team are among the local teams to root for this fall. Cheer for the Vikings at the shiny U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis or the United's new Allianz Field in St. Paul. Get there on the light rail, including the Green Line from St. Paul.

8. Attend a harvest festival

Stillwater Harvest Fest giant pumpkin_Thomas Wieland
Guess the weight of the biggest pumpkin at Stillwater Harvest Fest

Pumpkin weigh-offs, scarecrow contests, craft fairs and "booyas" are some of the many ways Minnesota celebrates harvest season. Highlights include the Applefest & Catapult Contest at Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, SeptOberfest in Wabasha and Stillwater Harvest Fest, complete with a giant pumpkin regatta.

9. Celebrate Oktoberfest

New Ulm calls itself Minnesota's most German town, and they do Oktoberfest in a big way. Many other cities join in the fun, too, with celebrations in Deerwood, Waconia, New London and beyond.

10. Find Halloween fun

MN Zoo Jack o Lantern Spectacular Halloween
The new Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo

From kid-friendly to frightening, Halloween celebrations of all types can be found in Minnesota. Anoka, the self-proclaimed Halloween Capital of the World, celebrates all month long. Other options include Valleyscare in Shakopee, All Hallow's Eve in Farmington, and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

Find More Fall Fun