25 Must-Dos at the Minnesota State Fair

By Caitlin Rick

Every summer, nearly 2 million people visit the Minnesota State Fair. The Fair is an #OnlyinMN tradition for many Minnesotans and visitors alike. With nearly 500 food items, 30 carnival rides and more than 900 free performances, there's plenty to keep you busy throughout the Fair's 12-day run. Here are 25 must-dos at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair.


  1. Grab a mat and take a ride down the iconic Giant Slide. Challenge a friend and the loser has to buy an ice cold lemonade for the winner.
  2. Board a boat and float through Ye Old Mill. This State Fair staple has been in operation for more than 100 years.
  3. Cool off on the River Raft Ride or test your bravery in the new Haunted Castle Dark Ride, the largest traveling attraction in North America at the Mighty Midway.
  4. Catch your favorite 80's musicians on Monday, September 3 as Boy George and the Culture Club, The B52's, and the Thompson Twins take the Grandstand stage.
  5. Get a bird’s-eye view of the fair by taking a ride on the SkyGlider or Skyride. It’s a great way to get around the fairgrounds when you get tired of walking.
  6. See new heights and great views of the fairgrounds and the Twin Cities by going up in the iconic Space Tower.Minnesota State Fair Parade
  7. Watch the daily parade at 2 p.m. featuring the high school band competition, floats, animals, visiting royalty and more.  
  8. Stroll through the Fine Arts building to see unique pieces by Minnesota artists.
  9. Catch some live music at the Leine Lodge Bandshell, International Bazaar or Schell’s Stage at Schilling Amphitheater.
  10. Watch Princess Kay of the Milky Way and the court have their likenesses carved into a 90-pound block of butter in the Dairy Building.grandstand mn state fair
  11. See a popular show at the Grandstand. Artists this year include Stevie Nicks, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Pentatonix.
  12. Discover Minnesota’s history with the hilarious History-On-A-Schtick show at the Schell’s Stage.
  13. Try one of the new State Fair foods for 2018. This year’s lineup includes a bananas foster French toast, honey cream soda float, and a rainbow cloud roll which includes three scoops of ice cream with fruity cereal and wrapped in a pillow of cotton candy.
  14. Dunk a warm Sweet Martha’s Cookie (or 12) into a cup of ice cold milk from the All You Can Drink Milk booth.  
  15. Enjoy a Minnesota-made craft beverage. There are more than 300 Minnesota beers, wines and ciders on the fairgrounds for you to try. Some Fair favorites are Lift Bridge Brewery’s Mini Donut Beer and the flight of Minnesota wines at Minnesota Wine Country.
  16. Watch a variety of Minnesota fish swimming in the pond or climb to the top of the fire tower at the DNR Building.
  17. See the prize-winning and other giant vegetables in the Agriculture Horticulture Building.
  18. Gaze at the incredible crop art in the Agriculture-Horticulture building. Art and crops collide to create unique pieces made of seeds, corn husks and more. This state fair tradition has been going on since 1965.  
  19. Channel Paul Bunyan at the Timberworks Lumberjack Show with daily shows at the North Woods area. Minnesota State Fair Cheese Curds
  20. Share some piping hot cheese curds with your friends or family.
  21. See former rescue dogs perform new tricks at the All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash at the North Woods.
  22. Walk through the CHS Miracle of Birth Center to see and pet adorable baby pigs, cows, goats and chicks—you may even witness a live birth.
  23. Shop ‘til you drop at the West End Market, Veranda and more. The new Veranda area in the Grandstand features boutique-style shopping showcasing vintage, upcycled, handmade and made-in-Minnesota goods.
  24. Cool off with a delicious malt at the Dairy Building. This year’s featured flavor is That's S'more Like It with graham cereal, tiny marshmallows and chocolate syrup drizzled over vanilla malt ice cream.
  25. Eat something on a stick. A State Fair staple, you can find more than 60 items on a stick including Cajun-seasoned alligator sausage, bacon, deep-fried olives, key lime pie and more.