Summertime activities abound in the Twin Cities

Summer vacation is right around the corner. The warm weather and break from school offers the perfect opportunity to explore all of the activities in the Twin Cities. Whether you’re into outdoorsy adventures or cultural exhibitions, the Knight Errant has rounded up a list of events you should have on your calendar this summer.

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courtesy of Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder course is one of the many fun pastimes available this summer.

Boating on the St. Croix River
The St. Croix River is an excellent place to spend quality time with family and friends. Boating season begins in early May and ends in late October. Starting at Taylor Falls, people can launch their boat at Interstate Park and travel down to Osceola or William O’Brien State Park. The journey can last anywhere from two hours to seven hours. Outfitters along the river can provide travelers with all the necessary items they need, including canoes or kayaks. Another way to travel down the St. Croix River is by paddle boat. St. Croix boat tours offer a look at the history of the river. Food and bathrooms are available on board, but visitors are welcome to bring a picnic lunch. Views from the river offer a beautiful view of sandstone and limestone bluffs, sandy beaches and heavily wooded banks.

Mountain Biking
For the adventurous, new mountain biking trails at the Spirit Mountain Adventure Park located in Duluth open on May 23, 2013. These new trails are only for downhill use and mountain biking. Riders will be able to take a chairlift up the mountain to the trailhead and then ride their way back down. The 1.5 mile Candyland trail features large berms, banked turns typically made by soil, and jumps. Originally the trail was designed to help develop skills for “gravity based” mountain biking. A more challenging trail is the one mile long Smorgasbord which features large berms, rocks, jumps and a five-foot drop. The Smorgasbord is called a flow trail because there are very few uphill or flat sections, cyclists “flow” down the hill.

Basilica Block Party
The Basilica Block Party, in Downtown Minneapolis, is a hit every summer however this year’s lineup ranges in artists from new to old. Mathbox 20 and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are set to be headliners at this year’s Block Party. General Admission tickets for the concert on July 12 and 13 have been on sale since May 4 however tickets are usually available up until the day of the concert. Mayer Hawthorne, Goo Goo Dolls, Matt Nathanson,and Family of the Year will be other artists sharing the stages.

Tough Mudder
Fire, ice-cold water, electric fences, 10-foot walls and, of course, mud are just a few obstacles that Tough Mudder racers will run, jump, and crawl through during this summer’s Tough Mudder. This 10-mile terrain tests strength, stamina and overall endurance in a fun, exciting way. Be ready to get dirty in this obstacle course, and always be ready for teamwork. The Tough Mudder, coming to Minnesota on July 20 and 21, is a great way to spend time with friends, test your physical and mental abilities and have an excuse to cover yourself in mud.

Uptown Art Fair
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Uptown Art Fair provides the perfect opportunity to check out the work of local artists as well as the art of people from around the world. Over 350 artists show their artwork each year. This year the event will take place from August 2 to August 4 and admission is free. Children may show their own artwork at the youth art fair. Past years performances on the main stage have included drum ensembles, dancing, and musical performances. Live music, food and artwork make this a popular option for families and friends.

Zip Lining
In the northeastern part of Minnesota, Towering Pines Canopy Tour offers a chance for Minnesotans and tourists to zip line through the North Woods. Towering Pines has eight lines and the journey takes about two hours. Character Challenge Course also offers zip lining and has a ropes course. Before zip lining it is a good idea to make sure that the courses are open and there isn’t a long wait. Reservations are recommended but not required at the Character Challenge Course.

WE Fest
At this year’s 31st anniversary WE Fest, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church will be the headliners for each of the three nights on August 1, 2, and 3 in Detroit Lakes, MN. Artists also such as Rodney Atkins, Kellie Pickler, and Minnesota-based band Hitchville will also be performing along with many other bands.

Mill City Opera
A great venue, outdoors and full of culture, many talented, world-renowned opera performers will showcase their talent this coming July at the Mill City Museum’s beautiful outdoor courtyard. This event will be the Twin City’s second time ever hosting an outdoor opera. Both a fun and culturally educational experience, the Mill City Opera will surely provide a unique night out with friends and family both. Come see the opera on July 13, 15, 17, 19 or 21 this summer in the lively heart of Minneapolis.