Minneapolis and St. Paul for Children and Families

Photo by Aine

Finding kid heaven in Minneapolis and St. Paul

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The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota offer enough activities for children to keep families busy for days. Here’s a plan for finding the Twin Cities version of kid heaven, indoors and out.

Day 1: Minneapolis and St. Paul for Children and Families

This is an easy one. Spend the entire day at the Mall of America. It’s located not far from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.  The mall connects to downtown Minneapolis via light rail, making even the transportation fun for kids.

The Mall of America offers a full list of activities including Nickelodeon Universe amusement park and the LEGO store in the center of the Mall. Children and adults enjoy Flyover America, a flight simulation ride that brings guests on a breathtaking, aerial tour of some of the greatest landmarks and regions of the United States.  It uses virtual flight technology, complete with wind, scents and mist.  SEA Life Minnesota Aquarium is among many other kid-friendly mall experiences. Just next door to the Mall of America, visitors splash around the Waterpark of America.

Evening: It’s no surprise that Mall of America eateries that cater to children abound. Girls love the American Girl Bistro, and the Rainforest Cafe offers a great opportunity to dine in a jungle-themed atmosphere with a great kid’s menu.  Be aware that the mall has a policy that requires minors to be accompanied by adults during evening hours.

Day 2: Minneapolis and St. Paul for Children and Families

Morning in St. Paul

Time to explore other parts of the Twin Cities. Enjoy breakfast at the iconic Mickey’s Diner, a real 1930s dining car in St. Paul. Then head to the Science Museum of Minnesota or find friendly animals at the Como Zoo and ride its gorgeous carousel.  Families may want to hop on the Green Line light rail train and head west to Minneapolis.

Afternoon in Minneapolis

Start on the riverfront with a visit to the Mill City Museum. Afterward, families may want to take a Magical History Tour on a Segway. Be sure to admire St. Anthony Falls from the Stone Arch Bridge and feel the mist.

Later, a bike or walking tour of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes makes a great way to explore several of Minneapolis’s most beautiful neighborhoods. That includes a stop at Wild Rumpus Books. Publishers Weekly named this children’s bookstore its Bookstore of the Year for 2017.  It’s  the only children’s bookstore ever on that list. Kids love the live animals, stories, music, and the child-size front door.


Have dinner at Brasa (American/Mexican/Caribbean) or Quang (Vietnamese), two of the city’s most kid-friendly restaurants.


The JW Marriott at the Mall of America offers perfect proximity to the mall’s many activities.

The Depot Renaissance Hotel in downtown Minneapolis is located at the site of a former railroad depot and offers ice skating in winter.

At A Glance

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