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Best places to picnic in Minneapolis?

I'm going to Minneapolis in late August with a friend and we are looking for the best spots to hang out and picnic for the afternoon! We are planning to bike somewhere from Uptown, so it has to be accessible by the bike paths. We'd love to go somewhere by the lakes, but open to other options too. Any suggestions?

6 Answers

top answer by
Gina from Minneapolis

Hi Jacqueline, 

You'll have lots of great options right around UptownLake Of The Isles has lots of open grassy spaces around its perimeter; on the west side of the lake (around the intersection of Lake of the Isles Parkway and W 26th St.), near the dog park, there is a pretty big open field (also used as a soccer field). Lake Calhoun also has lots of green space on its perimeter—the southwest side is particularly popular for people hanging out, sunning, playing volleyball, frisbee, etc. Lake Harriet also has some beautiful spots—one of my particular favorite areas is around the Peace Garden and Lyndale Park Rose Garden, but there's also lots of good space near Lake Harriet Band Shell. If you'd like to ride a little farther, the good news is that bike trails around the lakes connect to trails along Minnehaha Creek. It's absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of little fields and meadows where you can stop and roll out your blankets—just take your pick! Nota bene: the Creek flooded this spring, so the area surrounding it has been a little soggy in places lately, but that could very well be a non-issue by August. You can ride the trails toward Lake Nokomis, where you'll find still more park space open for picnicking, or all the way to Minnehaha Park, which has gorgeous oak-shaded spaces and the added bonus of Minnehaha Falls. Really, you'll be spoiled for choice. If it was me, I'd shoot for a spot along Minnehaha Creek, just because that's one of my favorite thoroughfares in the city—you can really find a spot that's all your own. But if you want a little more liveliness and people around, maybe shoot for Calhoun—it's almost always jumping around there. Hope you have a blast!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Uptown (neighborhood)
  2. Lake Of The Isles (attraction)
  3. Lake Calhoun (attraction)
  4. Lake Harriet (attraction)
  5. Peace Garden (attraction)
  6. Lyndale Park Rose Garden (attraction)
  7. Lake Harriet Band Shell (attraction)
  8. Minnehaha Creek (attraction)
  9. Lake Nokomis (attraction)
  10. Minnehaha Park (attraction)
  11. Minnehaha Falls (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Brian from Chanhassen

Lake Calhoun or Lake Harriet in Uptown will be your best bets for a picnic.  There are a number of places to picnic around the lakes.  There is a cafe in the NE corner of Calhoun and a bandshell on the north side of Harriet.

If you want to get out of Uptown, there is Mill City area with a park along the Mississippi or a little bit east of downtown there is Minnehaha Falls which has a number of cool spots.  

It is really easy to ride a bike between any of these parks using the trail system in MSP.

Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lake Calhoun (attraction)
  2. Lake Harriet (attraction)
  3. Mill City (attraction)
  4. Minnehaha Falls (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

My absolute favorite place I Lake Of The Isles.  It has gorgeous homes all around, and it isn't a "circle" lake, so there are little bays which make sitting under a tree with a picnic basket a little quieter and more scenic!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lake Of The Isles (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jared from Shoreview

Minnehaha Falls or Lake Nokomis is a great area for biking and afternoon picnics.  Check out the Minneapolis Grand Rounds web page ( for other parks that are right on the bike path. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Minnehaha Falls (attraction)
  2. Lake Nokomis (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Aaron from North Loop

I would suggest three different locations, all of which are reasonably accessible via bike paths (it just depends on how far you like to ride).  The closest to Uptown would be Lake Harriet Band Shell.  If you would prefer to ride into Downtown Minneapolis, you could consider Father Hennepin Park.  Alternatively, you could ride south to Minnehaha Falls and grab a bite to eat at Sea Salt Eatery

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Uptown (neighborhood)
  2. Lake Harriet Band Shell (attraction)
  3. Downtown Minneapolis (attraction)
  4. Father Hennepin Park (attraction)
  5. Minnehaha Falls (attraction)
  6. Sea Salt Eatery (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Dylan from Minneapolis

Try out Bread & Pickle on Lake Harriet. They often have live music in the evenings and on the weekend. Lake Harriet is also right next to the more popular Lake Calhoun, but Lake Calhoun tends to get a bit more traffic, and Lake Harriet seems to have a bit more relaxed atmosphere. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bread & Pickle (restaurant)
  2. Lake Harriet (attraction)
  3. Lake Calhoun (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

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