The Perfect Fourth of July in Minnesota

In Minnesota, we celebrate and embrace our often-too-short summers. As anywhere else, the centerpiece of summer in the North Star State is the Fourth of July, which is celebrated through festivals, firework displays, and more. Here are a few of our favorite ways to make the Fourth of July perfect in Minnesota! 

1. Fourth Fest, Duluth, MN

Numerous food and craft vendors, the Mighty Thomas Carnival, and the biggest fireworks display in the Upper Midwest bring thousands of folks to Fourth Fest at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. Looking to see the fireworks in a little more comfort? Check them out from Silos Restaurant at the harborfront Pier B resort or from JJ Astor, the revolving restaurant atop the Radisson Duluth-Harborview hotel.

2. Red, White, and Boom, Minneapolis, MN

In 2016, Minneapolis was named the second best Fourth of July city in the country, after only Seattle.The thing that draws 75,000 people into downtown every year is the annual Red, White, and Boom celebration along the riverfront. Races, live music, and family activities punctuate the evening, before the fireworks. Stroll along historic Main St. and grab a patio table at Aster Café, Wilde Café & Spirits, or Pracna on Main —the longest-operating tavern in town. If you time it right, you can score a seat on the Guthrie Theatre’s cantilevered balcony to catch the fireworks.

3. Lake Minnetonka 4th of July, Excelsior, MN

This decades-old tradition draws thousands of visitors—many by boat—to the quaint Lake Minnetonka village of Excelsior. It’s an all-day event that starts with “Firecracker Runs” in the morning, followed by a parade, and a day of kids’ activities, as well as live music, before the fireworks. The deck at Maynard’s—or the deck of one of Al & Alma’s cruise boats—afford awesome views of the show.

4. The American Celebration, Brainerd Lakes Area, MN

Brainerd Lakes area residents and vacationers, alike, flock into town for the annual American Celebration every Fourth of July. Live music, food vendors, a parade, and free corn on the cob lead up to the big fireworks display. Most events take place on the Brainerd High School campus.

5. Valleyfair, Shakopee, MN

Every year, Valleyfair amusement park in Shakopee puts on one of the state’s favorite fireworks displays. This year, they’re also hosting an all-you-can eat barbeque from noon until 7 p.m. In addition to all the picnic fare, there will also be an epic dog show at the Galazy Theater. There will be daredevil dog stunts, doggy dancing, and weave pole will all be performed, and meet and greets with the starts of the pup show. Oh, and all the rides, games, waterpark, and other usual attractions will be there, too.

6. Richfield 4th of July, Richfield, MN

For more than three decades, the city of Richfield has promoted the observance of Independence Day by making the holiday its annual city celebration. Three days of family fun include a car show, a street dance, a parade, and of course, fireworks on the Fourth of July. Visitors to the area will enjoy the celebration’s close proximity to Mall of America—and if street vendors aren’t your thing, grab some tacos from nearby Las Teresitas.

7. Fourth of July Fireworks, Hootenanny & Smorgasbord, Detroit Lakes, MN

Folks who are reveling in summer in the Detroit Lakes area have a whole slew of Independence Day activities to choose from. Start the day browsing the Lake Area Farmer’s Market, then look for some musical entertainment. There’s live music at Picnic in the Park, or hit the Hootenanny and Smorgasbord ar Fair Hills Resort for a musical revue and Scandinavian buffet. Top it all off with over-the-lake fireworks at the Detroit Lakes City Beach. 

8. Albert Lea Fourth of July Celebration, Albert Lea, MN

Albert Lea does Indepence Day with gusto. A celebration that includes a themed, evening parade, a carshow, a water-skiing exhibition starts on July 3 and culminates with a fireworks display over Fountain Lake at dusk on the Fourth of July. 

9. Manitou Days, White Bear Lake, MN

Manitou Days is White Bear Lake’s annual celebration that starts in mid-June with Marketfest, live music, food trucks, and family activities, and ends with fireworks on the Fourth of July. Celebrate this year’s 51st annual celebration with more than 70 events and activities, that include street dances, a sand castle contest, and a medallion hunt. Take a break from all the action on the patio at Washington Square Bar & Grill, where you can sip on a refreshing handcrafted beverage while enjoying Manitou Days from a civilized distance.

10. Fort Snelling Independence Day Celebration, Minneapolis, MN

If you like a little history with your Fourth of July celebration, head over to the Fort Snelling historical site where the Minnesota River joins the flow of the Mississippi. Every year on Independence Day, the fort’s interpreters offer insights into how Fourth of July was celebrated in the 19th century. Events include a military dress parade, a mock battle, interpretive checkpoints, and artillery fire. The events wrap up in the late afternoon, so you’re free to celebrate 21st century-style, as well.

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