Best Picnic Spots in Minneapolis

When the weather is nice in Minneapolis, typically the six-month stretch from May until October, you have to take advantage of it! And what better way to enjoy it than by spending time outside.

Whether you’re taking the family on a bike ride along one of the city’s many trails, splashing in the waters of Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet or Lake Nokomis, visiting the sculpture garden or taking advantage of something else the city has to offer, a great way to top the day off is with a picnic.

The city has close to 100 parks with designated picnic areas. Log on to the Park & Recreation Board’s website, to find information about all of them.

While all of the city’s facilities are nice, the best picnic spots in Minneapolis may be Minnehaha Park, Lake Harriet and Theodore Wirth Park. All three parks have plenty of tables that are available on a first come, first serve basis. For a fee, you can reserve shelter areas.

Minnehaha Park

Perhaps one of the nicest picnic spots in all of Minneapolis is Minnehaha Park. Located at the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue, Minnehaha Parkway and Godfrey Avenue, just east of Highway 55, the park features a 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs, and river overlooks.

You can picnic in the grass overlooking the falls, in a field under majestic elm, oak, silver maple and cottonwood trees, or in the park’s Pavilion, which features indoor and outdoor picnic areas, and an award-winning restaurant.

Lake Harriet

If you enjoy fishing, boating and canoeing, Lake Harriet, which features 67 acres of land and 344 acres of water, is a great place to picnic. It is noted for biking and walking trails, a variety of water activities and summer concerts at the stunning band shell.

There’s a picnic shelter, which can be reserved, on the west side of the park with grills, tables, water and electricity. A new picnic shelter on the north shore is available on a first-come-first-serve basis, or you can set down a blanket pretty much anywhere.

Theodore Wirth Park

Gardens, nature and wildlife are the draws at Theodore Wirth Park, the largest regional park in the Minneapolis system. It features walking & biking trails with some pretty amazing scenery along the way. On a typical day it’s not uncommon to see deer and wild turkeys wandering around the park, and bald eagles and hawks flying overhead. It’s easy to forget you’re not too far from the city’s downtown. The park has a lot of history too. Its picnic pavilion was built in the early 1900s.

No matter where you decide to picnic, be sure to bring along the essentials, which include:

* A picnic basket

* Food storage containers

* Plates/cups/utensils

* Napkins or paper towels

* Water

* Condiments

* A cooler filled with ice

* Sunscreen

And don’t forget the trash bags. Most parks have trash cans, but on the rare chance you can’t find one, you don’t want to leave a mess behind. Always make sure to clean up after yourself.