20 Best Things to Do in Minnetonka, MN

Minnetonka, MN
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Minnetonka is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, about nine miles west of Minneapolis.

The city shares a name with Lake Minnetonka, though it only includes a small portion of the lake called Gray’s Bay.

It takes its name from the Dakota Sioux term mni tanka, meaning ‘great water.’

Minnetonka has lakes and parks such as Minnehaha Creek, Gro Tonka Park, and swimming areas like Shady Oak Beach and Libbs Lake Beach Park.

If you’re looking for shopping areas, see the General Store and the Ridgedale Center, and if you seek prominent businesses, look for Cargill, United Healthcare, and the Carlson companies.

Minnetonka offers a variety of restaurants, with local favorites such as BLVD Kitchen and Bar, the Gold Nugget Tavern, and Italian eateries like Spasso and Bacio.

In Minnetonka, visit the Arts in the Park in the summer, the Farmers’ Market each week, the Minnetonka Ice Arena for ice skating, and the Minnetonka Theater for shows.

Minnetonka has earned a stellar reputation for its fabulous green spaces, beautiful forest, bountiful wildlife, and freeway access.

Its natural surroundings give it a distinct character.

For your next vacation destination, check out this list of the best things to do in Minnetonka, MN.

Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Ridgedale Center

Interior of Ridgedale Center
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Ridgedale Center is a shopping mall in Minnetonka built in 1974 and anchored by Dayton’s, Donaldson’s, JCPenney, and Sears.

This upscale shopping center is a great place to walk, shop, and browse, featuring almost 100 shops with tons of offerings.

It features Ridgedale Play, an inside playground for children up to 12 years old, the Minnesota Playseum, resembling a children’s museum, and Escapology, one of Minnesota’s escape rooms.

White barn store in Ridgedale Center
m01229 from USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ridgedale has a variety of eateries, including five fast-food restaurants, six sit-down restaurants, and candy, coffee, and snack shops.

Taste heavenly pretzels, Thai and Chinese offerings, craft-roasted coffee, delicious cheesecakes, natural Mexican food, American favorites, delectable confections, healthy smoothies, Asian specials, etc.

Wander the mall and go shopping for casual clothing, fashion trends, private labels, everyday outfits, premium outerwear, modern and versatile apparel, fashion-forward styles, athletic footwear, iconic styles, etc.

Evereve store in Ridgedale Center
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Learn to Fly at iFly Minneapolis

At iFly Minneapolis, gear up and experience the sensation of indoor skydiving at their state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnels.

From beginners to professionals, people of different sizes, shapes, and abilities can have an excellent time learning to fly.

Put on a flight suit and learn the basics of indoor skydiving.

Then, enter the wind tunnel and learn to maintain a stable flying position.

You will then learn to adjust your ‘wings’ or your body and learn flying maneuvers in the wind tunnel: side to side, forward and back, up and down.

Learn to explore the tunnel, start flying in three dimensions, enjoy your freedom, and have fun with friends as you play flying games and build skills.

Learn stable back flying where you roll and flip; back flying maneuvers as you move about in the tunnel, including tricky transitions, flips, and rolls.

iFly Minneapolis also offers STEM field trips where students can ignite their passion for physics and math when they see concepts come to life in the wind tunnel.

Take the Whole Crew to Breakout Games

Breakout is a fun escape room experience for friends who’d like to experience solving mysteries together.

With different rooms that have colorful storylines, you and your crew will have 60 minutes to escape by solving puzzles, cracking codes, and tracking clues.

At Undercover Alley, unlock the secrets of the dark alley and stop the Syndicate before their next attack on Breakout City.

At Mystery Mansion, go on a spine-chilling adventure in the ruins of an old mansion owned by a reclusive family and uncover their dark secrets.

You wake up handcuffed and blindfolded inside a strange room at The Kidnapping, and you must free yourselves with collective brainpower and hidden clues.

At Do Not Disturb, track a kidnapper to a run-down motel on the outskirts of town and play his twisted games, trying to save his next victims.

At Operation: Casino, you are a secret agent following a trail of clues to discover a missing agent’s alias and bring down the syndicate who made him disappear.

And at Island Escape, go on an adrenaline-fueled adventure as you escape a tropical island where a dormant volcano is rumbling to life.

Taste Delicious Italian Food at Spasso

Spasso is a thriving wine bar and neighborhood restaurant just a few minutes from the shores of Lake Minnetonka.

The place features a customer-favorite mix of imaginative preparations and Italian dishes featuring tasty desserts, fresh entrees, and great pasta.

Spasso also prides itself on having the best wine program in the Twin Cities.

It is the only restaurant in the area to sell its wine list of over 100 bottles at retail pricing, giving you fantastic wine at affordable prices.

Get your fill of Italian fare in pizzas such as Margherita, prosciutto and fig, meatza, peppe, Bella, burrata pizza, and Sicilian.

Delight in pasta varieties such as Bolognese, chicken parmigiano, shrimp scampi, braised beef ravioli, Tortiglioni Rosa, 3 meat lasagna, vegetarian lasagna, cheese ravioli, and spaghetti & meatball.

In 2014, Southwest Metro voted Spasso as Best Wine Selection and Best Pasta Dish in Lake Minnetonka.

The restaurant also connects with the community via hosting community fundraisers and supporting local sports teams.

Shop for Handmade Items at the Landing Shop

Formerly known as the Mills Landing Gift Shoppe, this Minnetonka store has operated since 1975, featuring crafts from people 55 years old and older.

For decades, it has provided an outlet for resident seniors to create and sell their arts and crafts.

The shop is also how the community members support local artists.

There are over 75 featured vendors in The Landing Shop, and the city of Minnetonka generously sponsors the store.

Spot baby items, hats, mittens, scarves, jewelry, bags, purses, and home décor.

Also, check out greeting cards, kitchen items, lawn ornaments, paintings and photographs, seasonal décor, wooden toys, etc.

The senior crafters who sell their wares at the shop take up long-lost hobbies and create crafts representing their city.

Buy Fresh Goods at the Minnetonka Farmers Market

How about a trip to the Minnetonka Farmers Market for a memorable shopping spree?

Visit the market every Tuesday between the start of June and September.

It's a market where growers, farmers, and producers sell their fresh goods directly to the public, allowing consumers to connect with cultivators directly.

The market emphasizes quality and freshness while providing affordable goods for healthy living.

Buy delicious apples at Akerberg Acres, decadent treats at The Beancounter’s Sweets, pure honey at Bee Happy Honey, terrific drinks at Elevate Smoothies, and gluten-free granola at Good Morgan Foods.

Get charcuterie boards at The Gathering Stones, custom designs at Creative Woodcraft MN, and handcrafted birdhouses and feeders at Your Crafts and Collectibles Source.

Spot wholesome beef at Heritage Angus Farms, exceptional meat at Homeplace Beef, classic noodles at Honey Thai Food, British treats at Nana’s Bake Shoppe, and flavorful jams at Papa Bear’s Jams.

Explore the Charles H. Burwell House

Exterior of Charles C. Burwell House
Ashwin Asokan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Charles H. Burwell House is one of the oldest homes in Minnetonka, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Charles H. Burwell was the manager and secretary of the first mill west of Minneapolis, the Minnetonka Mills Company.

Here, the first permanent Euro-American settlement in the country grew.

Today, the home and grounds house a museum dedicated to the region's people and their history.

Charles H. Burwell and his family lived in Minnetonka Hotel until he built his house in 1883.

Burwell’s great pride in his house is clear from the number of photographs he took and the lack of exterior modifications.

The house stands on a 5-acre site, retaining its original furnishings, Burwell’s mill office, a millworker’s cottage, an old icehouse, and a woodshed.

Play Tennis at Minnetonka Tennis Club

With four courts, Minnetonka Tennis Club provides players with a place to hit balls and get competitive.

The Minnetonka Tennis Club has opened to the public in Minnetonka and the surrounding lake region since 1967.

The management staff has sought excellence in every part of the organization.

Tennis lovers adore the place.

The club offers four expertly maintained indoor courts, a full-court viewing area, locker room facilities, and experienced USTPA tennis professionals on staff.

It also has a complete Pro Shop selling top-quality footwear, clothing, racquet sales, racquet stringing, and accessories.

The club has opportunities for open play, private and group lessons for beginners and advanced players, men's and women’s drills throughout the week, and women’s daytime teams.

It also has year-round junior programs, periodic mixers, and year-round USTA adult leagues.

Browse Gifts and Goods at the General Store of Minnetonka

This old-fashioned store remains a haven for good food, fabulous gifts, and an old-time ambiance and flavor for treasure hunters.

The General Store is a locally owned family business operating since 1984, developing with the times but maintaining its specialized service.

It spans over 15,000 square feet, containing two levels packed with incredible finds.

Browse gadgets and gourmet foods in the kitchen section; florals, scents, and candles in the center court; and décor in the country home section.

Spot toys and games in the kids' section, handmade crafts in the gallery, and old items in the retro area.

Scope out fashion, shoes, and jewelry in the clothing section and state souvenirs found nowhere else in the Minnesota section.

And when you need a break from all the shopping, stop by their café and enjoy salads, soups, and tasty chocolate chip cookies.

Taste Natural Flavors at Olive on Tap

Olive on Tap is a shop that carries organic and natural flavor-enhanced 100% olive oils and balsamic vinegar.

The owner, Rebecca, has a vivid memory of the first cruise she took, where she fell in love with olive oils, vinegar, and spices used to season the gourmet food.

She got the idea of opening a gourmet vinegar, olive oil, and spice store with her recipes and handmade products.

Soon, she and her family started bottling small batches and doing small craft shows, farmers’ markets, food & wine shows, and town festivals.

Olive on Tap’s tasting rooms contain 30 or 40 of the most popular oils and vinegar for sampling.

One can sample mixed spices and seasonings at their farmers' market booths.

Their balsamic vinegar taproom has aged balsamic wine, chocolate, balsamic fruit, and other flavors.

Their olive oil taproom has herb blends, fruit flavors, specialty oils, and extraordinary flavors.

Play Outdoors at the Lone Lake Community Park and Preserve

Lone Lake Community Park and Preserve is in the southeast corner of Minnetonka, with two miles of trails and 146 acres of shoreline featuring views of Lone Lake.

The trails include a 1.2-mile loop with scenic views of various ecosystems like woodlands, prairies, and wetlands.

At the preserve, set up picnic grills while enjoying football, tennis, soccer, and basketball games.

Play pickleball, challenge your family to a game of horseshoes or scope out a fishing spot.

Explore the Big Hill trail, which starts by the docks at the lake, travels the south side of the lake to the northwest corner, goes up and down the hills, then loops back around.

Then try the multi-use mountain bike trail, which is a great place for riders, snowshoers, and hikers to explore the Big Woods’ remnant forest.

Have a Drink at Boom Island Brewing Company

Boom Island Brewing Company has served delicious, locally made, bottle-conditioned, and unfiltered Belgian beer since 2011.

Kevin Welch fell in love with Belgian beer over many trips to the country, working alongside European brewmasters and learning old-fashioned brewing methods.

Today, he and his wife Qiuxia follow the same traditions, brewing Belgian beers, following the traditional craft, and diversifying their beer selections to satisfy preferences.

You will find a comfortable old-world environment at the brewery, with a classic patio reflective of street cafes and a stack of wine and bourbon barrels.

They have a 40-foot bar, long tables for large parties, and booths for more private folks.

One can bathe in comfortable natural light inside their taproom, 100-year-old barnwood beams, and a 30-foot bar with friendly, knowledgeable staff.

They offer 15 rotating options on tap, with non-alcoholic options such as craft sodas and kombucha.

Wander the Minnehaha Creek Headwaters Park

The Minnehaha Creek Headwaters start in Gray’s Bay at Lake Minnetonka, wending through Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Minneapolis for 22 miles.

It crashes and bubbles down Minnehaha Falls, finally ending at the Mississippi River.

The creek offers a beautiful adventure through the wilderness, passing through serene woodlands, urban landscapes, vast wetlands, and scenic parkland.

At Minnehaha Creek Headwaters Park, fish at the creek, learn about nature and launch a canoe.

Pass through the upland zone, the intersection between wet prairie, wetland, and big woods, then discover the transitional area, a swath of soggy soil with many plants.

See life thriving in the aquatic plant zone with its different plants: emergent, floating-leaf, submerged, and free-floating.

You can also spot creatures such as insects, crustaceans, amphibians, fish, swallows, and egrets.

Then paddle the open water zone, which refreshes the wetlands with oxygenated water and is available for fun and recreation.

Have a Virtual Tee Time at Bunker Indoor Golf Course

Do you want to keep your golfing abilities sharp all year long?

If so, Bunker Indoor Golf Course is a top-rated recreation center offering various recreational activities just for you.

It features 12 widescreen, full-swing, and state-of-art simulators and allows players to have an excellent experience golfing.

It also features 94 of the finest golf courses from all over the world, where you can enhance your golfing skills from the comfort of one location.

Each simulator features chipping and putting greens, a driving range, and other programs to improve your game.

Play a full round at different courses and keep your swing sharp at the driving range.

Use target options and strengthened shot tracking to take your game to new heights.

Some favorite courses to visit are Wade Hampton, Torrey Pines, Bandon Dunes, Fairmont Chateau, Bethpage Black, Kapalua, and New South Wales.

Many other indoor simulators feature more than just golf, including activities like soccer, football, hockey, zombie dodge ball, and more.

Go Fishing with Set the Hook Guide

Set the Hook Guide is a friendly fishing guide service around Lake Minnetonka where you can catch Northern Pike, Walleye, Bass, Muskie, and Panfish.

Founder Todd Stauffer is a longtime resident who has fished the lake for over 30 years.

He also took part in tournaments for over ten years.

After he retired from the tournament scene, he started guiding fishers on Lake Minnetonka, staying updated on the fishing patterns and spreading the joy of fishing to his customers.

Lake Minnetonka is one of the finest places to fish, and since it comprises different bays, coming here is like visiting many various lakes at once.

Their Summer Fishing Guide offers an easy and enjoyable day out on the lake, helping people enjoy nature's bounty and connect with the environment.

Their Guided Ice Fishing service will help you catch Northern Pike, Crappies, and Walleye while staying warm out on the lake, making your ice fishing experience relaxed, approachable, and safe.

Set the Hook Guide will help customers find the best and biggest fish around and make sure that people will remember their fishing trips for years to come.

Rent a Boat at Gray’s Bay Marina

The waters of Gray’s Bay
Tony Webster, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Keep your Minnetonka oceanfront escapades memorable with a trip to Gray's Bay Marina.

This marina is open from April to October.

Complete with three launch lanes and 29 permanent boat slips, this place is every boater's paradise.

Explore and feel refreshed by the water at Gray's Bay Marina.

Or better yet, watch the sunset with a loved one while at the dock or on your rented boat.

This marina may be open 24 hours on some days of operation.

Drive to the corner of Gray's Bay Boulevard and County Road 101 South to arrive at this marina.

Jam to Swooning Music at Entertainment in the Park

Have time to spare for a round of good music and good company?

Then, don't miss out on Entertainment in the Park.

Since 2009, this community-centered event has been a summer kick-off tradition for tourists and locals in Minnetonka.

Aside from live music brought to you by local and national artists and bands, this event also offers movie and theater programs.

Not only that but this event effectively highlights the charm of the city's parks.

Don't forget to bring umbrellas, blankets, and outdoor essentials for your fun in the summer!

Don't miss out on Entertainment in the Park this year!

Go for a Woodland Stroll at Purgatory Park

Purgatory Park is not your usual Minnetonka park.

This park, also the largest one within the city, offers 155 acres of open trails and picturesque landscapes.

But do you wonder how the park got its unusual name?

Back during the days of the early settlers, the trails within this very site that led to Excelsior were some of the most excruciating journeys for many travelers.

Worse than hell, they dubbed it as a place like "purgatory".

Several years later, Purgatory Park continues to showcase diverse habitats, including wetlands and prairies.

You can find this park on Excelsior Boulevard.

Enjoy the Heat with a Swim at Shady Oak Beach

Your trip to Minnetonka is never complete without a stop by Shady Oak Beach.

This public beach along Shady Oak Road offers 76 feet of sandy beach and unlimited spaces for fun and excitement.

One of its outstanding amenities includes a multi-age playground section and kayak rentals.

Play with friends and loved ones at the sand volleyball courts.

Go for a few laps at the beach and then rest with a patio in between swim breaks.

Shady Oak Beach's 85-acre recreational space is your best bet to beat the summer heat!

Go Bike around the Trails at Civic Center Park

Civic Center Park is your all-around trail-focused park.

Known as a go-to venue spot for many annual and monthly events, this park features a variety of biking and hiking trails.

This is why many adventurers come by this site to see what the city and its surrounding nature have to offer.

Other amenities you can expect to find within this park include an amphitheater, a canoe dock, an indoor rink, and a soccer field.

Your little ones may like the park's playground, too!

Get a breath of fresh air at Civic Center Park on Minnetonka Boulevard.

Final Thoughts

Minnetonka is a bustling hub of explorations and discoveries where the entire family can enjoy activities all year long.

Bring this list on your vacation to avoid missing the best entertainment in Minnetonka.

This Minnesota city has you covered whether you’re searching for indoor occupations or hungry for outdoor adventures.

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