Sure, getting out of town makes for a great adventure. But sometimes all you need is a little creativity, and you can make your own special weekend staying right here in the Twin Cities.

Become a History Buff

Minnesota is rich in historical places and museums to visit. Spend some time strolling through museums and learning more about the history of our great state. For a complete list of historical buildings to explore click here

Treasure HuntersGPS

Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt. There are 35 state parks around the state where you can check out a GPS unit for free (see link). Get your camping gear together and make a whole weekend out of it, or scale it back and pair with a long hike and picnic lunch. Fort Snelling & Afton State Park offer free GPS’ and are right here in the Cities. For a younger child alternative, head to your local regional park or nature center with a scavenger hunt list.

Where in the WorldScreenHunter_03 Sep. 21 23.12

Take a trip around the world from the comfort of your home. Pick a country that you and your family are interested in learning more about and prepare to begin your adventure. Here are a few countries for inspiration Vietnam, Italy, China, Russia, Ethiopia, Korea, Germany, or Spain. sKIDaddlers Global Edition has fun Paris inspired ideas and activities for kids.
  • Help the kids find your destination on a map, look up some fun facts online, research traditional foods, and practice a couple of easy sayings (maybe numbers 1-5, or “I Love You”), etc.
  • Find a movie from the country with English subtitles.
  • Find an authentic restaurant and experience some international flavors.
  • Find a specialty grocery store to buy your goods and create a cuisine from that country at home.
Some of our favorite international grocery stores in the Twin Cities: Asian – United NoodlesHmongtown Marketplace  Indian – India Bazaar, Indian Spice House  African Value Foods African Market,  Mexican – Mercado Central,  Andale Taqueria & Mercado,  Italian – Buon Giorno Deli,  Cosettas,  Broder’s Cucina  European – Paradise Market,  Minsk Market,  Bills Imported Foods Polish – Sikoras  
mercado
Many of these countries are represented at the Midtown Global Market.

All Aboard the Fun Train

Does your family like trains? There are a number of train options around the city and a few more honorable mentions around the state:

skidaddlersprincessday-10A Royal Event – Princesses

Who needs Disney World when you can have your own special fairy tale weekend right here? Get out the princess costumes, go to a salon such as Kids’ Hair to get dazzled up, then go out for cupcakes at your neighborhood bakery, and watch Disney movies.  A fun alternative to this could be to have dad take his princess out for a special daddy/daughter dinner and a movie. Have dad dress up like prince charming (or maybe just with a tie and jacket)… did I hear someone say, White Castle? Read our Princess for a Day blog for more inspiration.

Apple PancakesAn Apple A Day

Hit up an apple orchard for your next farm to table meal. To prepare in advance, pick out a few apple recipes to make with the kids over the weekend such as apple pie, apple cider, apple cinnamon pancakes. Weave in apple focused entertainment such as watching the movie ‘Snow White’ where Snow White eats the poisoned apple, or read a book such as ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein. Have creative kids? Ask them to write their own story weaving in this classic American fruit. Still in need of more apple opportunities? Take a mini road trip down the Apple Blossom Drive Scenic Byway, known for its rolling hills of apple orchards in Southern MN. Related: Kids Eat Free Days, Birthday Party Venues, Admission Free Days

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  1. Judith Ramsey

    Love all your staycation ideas. When gas prices first skyrocketed, I wrote a we page about how to have a Staycation or a Back Yard vacation. There is so much to see close to home no matter where we live in Minnesota. I will be providing my site visitors a link to your article.

    Judith