Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in St. Louis Park, MN

  • Published 2023/01/24

Also known as Minnesota’s Sweet Spot, St. Louis Park has the charm of a small town but the excitement of a big city.

This city in Hennepin County is conveniently located a few minutes from Minneapolis, making it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway from the big capital.

Despite being a small city, it has plenty of fun places to see, including quaint parks, beautiful nature preserves, historic museums, and lively homegrown restaurants.

Want to know more?

Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in St. Louis Park, Minnesota:

Have a Picnic at Lilac Park

The grounds of Lilac Park

Steve Skjold /

Formerly known as St. Louis Park Roadside Park, Lilac Park is a testament to St. Louis Park’s history.

The park is located near Highway 100 and highlights unique beehive-shaped fireplaces and picnic tables made of limestone, which were built by local stonemasons.

Over time, the park degraded and was restored, giving it the name Lilac Park after the beehive-shaped fireplace from the original Lilac Park was moved to the current location to save it from road construction.

Welcome sign of Lilac Park

Steve Skjold /

Today, the park is a favorite hangout for locals and tourists who want to see the fireplace and stone tables.

Bring lunch or finger foods, have a relaxing picnic at the park in spring, and admire the blooming lilacs around the park.

Beehive-shaped fireplace at Lilac Park

Steve Skjold /

Sip on Craft Cocktails at Copperwing Distillery

Looking for the best booze in St. Louis Park?

Drop by Copperwing Distillery, located along Cambridge Street.

Founded by three friends with different backgrounds, the micro-distillery offers award-winning grain-to-glass spirits and a changing cocktail menu using their homemade liqueurs, syrups, and infusions.

Some of their award-winning bottles include gin, blended straight bourbon, and old-fashioned and barreled negroni.

Unwind at Copperwing Distillery and enjoy handcrafted cocktails like the classic Old fashioned and Pink Gin or unique ones like their Dalgona Whipped Lebowski or Royal Mary.

They also offer finger foods like pretzels, cookies, cheese crackers, and pizza to go with your cocktail of choice.

The cocktail bar whips up a new menu every three to four months, giving its patrons and customers something to anticipate and come back for.

Bring Your Dogs to Dakota Park

Treat man’s best friend to an exciting day at Dakota Park, a 20-acre day park with playing fields, picnic facilities, and an off-leash dog park.

It is one of the few parks in the city that has an off-leash area where your pets can run, play, and socialize with other four-legged friends.

The fenced area provides a safe space to let your dogs free, play with other dogs, and meet fellow animal lovers.

Aside from the dog park, facilities at Dakota Park include a playground, baseball fields, softball fields, batting cages, drinking fountains, paved trails, picnic tables, and a sliding hill in winter.

But even if you’re not traveling with your dog, you can visit the park and enjoy various outdoor activities.

Tour Pavek Museum

Exterior of Pavek Museum

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Forms of electronic communication like radio and television are important to society and have helped bridge connections around the world.

That’s why Pavek Museum on Raleigh Avenue aims to share and educate visitors on the importance and legacy of electronic communications through its exhibits and collections.

Housed in a 12,000-square-foot space, the museum features a wide collection of antique radios, televisions, and broadcast equipment which were initially the collection of Joe Pavek.

Join a guided or self-guided tour around Pavek Museum and enjoy a blast from the past as you check out vintage artifacts such as telegraphs, telephones, magnetic tape machines, and phonographs.

The museum also hosts educational programs for all ages that give them a deeper insight into the broadcasting industry.

Savor Delicious and Healthy Meals at Mill Valley Kitchen

Eating delicious food shouldn’t come at the cost of its nutrition!

At Mill Valley Kitchen on Excelsior Boulevard, customers can enjoy a wholesome dining experience from breakfast to dinner.

Its name was taken from the Mill Valley Region in Northern California, credited as the birthplace of the Slow Food movement, which uses sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients.

With this, the restaurant aims to provide a healthy lifestyle for conscious eaters, those with special dietary needs, and anyone searching for a nourishing yet satisfying meal.

Begin your day with a steak salad, breakfast burrito, or a smoked chicken sandwich paired with an Irish coffee at Mill Valley Kitchen.

Aside from brunch, lunch, and dinner offerings, the restaurant has an impressive bar menu with handcrafted cocktails, beers, and wines.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreational Activities at Aquila Park

Take the family out for a memorable bonding experience at Aquila Park on Xylon Avenue, a family-friendly park with athletic fields, picnic tables, and multi-use trails.

The park features lighted baseball fields, softball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic tables, outdoor grills, and restrooms.

Moreover, you can find paved trails and a sliding hill, making Aquila Park a great place to hang out for the whole family.

Its wide green space is also ideal for activities like frisbee, tag, kickball, and relaxing things to do like reading a book or painting.

Aside from its playing courts and picnic facilities, you can also hop on a bike and follow the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail from the park to Minneapolis.

Follow the Cedar Lake Regional Trail

Bicycle ride along Cedar Lake Regional Trail

Steve Skjold /

Cedar Lake Regional Trail is a multipurpose trail from downtown Minneapolis to St. Louis Park.

The trail spans 4.3 miles and is mostly paved, making it a good trail for beginners and easy terrain for more advanced bikers.

It also follows the former railroad lines of the Great Northern Railway and the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway.

Along Cedar Lake Regional Trail, you’ll be treated to charming cityside views and tree-lined pathways.

Make the most of your day and go on a longer adventure since it connects to other trails like the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail, Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail, and the Minnesota River Bluffs Regional Trail.

Surround Yourself With Nature at Westwood Hills Nature Center

Tired of the sight of skyscrapers and large billboards?

Disconnect and unwind at Westwood Hills Nature Center, a 160-acre nature park along Franklin Avenue.

The nature center is a home for animals like deer, turtles, foxes, mink, and owls and has habitats such as marshlands, woodlands, and restored prairie.

In addition, you can find over three miles of hiking trails, a floating boardwalk, a canoe landing, picnic tables and shelters, and indoor educational exhibits.

Immerse in the beauty of nature at Westwood Hills Nature Center and get a deeper appreciation of Mother Nature’s wonders as you explore the area.

Follow the trails, join scavenger hunts, and join expert naturalists on educational yet fun recreational programs.

Feast on American Comfort Food at McCoy’s Public House

Nothing feels better than having a delicious meal and drinks after a day out exploring.

That said, head to McCoy’s Public House on Grand Way for your favorite comfort food after spending the day at the park or on the many biking and walking trails around the city.

The family-owned and operated neighborhood is a go-to among locals for its relaxed atmosphere, friendly service, and classic comfort food with a creative twist.

Some of the house specialties at McCoy’s Public House include their Real McCoy Burger, mac & cheese, Chipotle lime chicken salad, and any of the brick-oven pizzas.

Complete your meal with any of their craft cocktails, signature drinks, or draft beer.

For customers with special dietary needs, the restaurant also serves gluten-free and vegetarian options.

Beat the Summer Heat at Oak Hill Park

Looking for ways to beat the heat at St. Louis Park?

Spend the day at Oak Hill Park on Rhode Island Avenue, one of the most popular neighborhood parks in the city.

Complete with playing courts, walking trails, outdoor grills, playgrounds, a splash pad, and more, it has all the facilities you need for an exciting day out.

On a warm summer day, head to Oak Hill Park and enjoy sports like softball, baseball, and basketball, or watch your kids play at the splash pad.

Those who’d like to stay active can also make use of the biking and walking trails that go around the park.

But if you prefer a relaxing activity, find shelter from the heat within the designated picnic areas and enjoy an ice-cold drink.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Centennial Lakes Park

The waters of Centennial Lakes Park

Deyan G. Georgiev /

Travel 20 minutes south of St. Louis Park and check out Centennial Lakes Park, a 24-acre green space in Edina.

The park features a man-made pond surrounded by more than 1.5 miles of pathways, well-manicured gardens, fountains, picnic areas, and more.

This is one of the best places to relax, have a picnic, take a leisurely walk, watch lawn games, and enjoy live entertainment.

An old bridge at Centennial Lakes Park

Deyan G. Georgiev /

No matter what season you visit, Centennial Lakes Park has different activities in store for you.

In winter, lace up your skates and glide on the frozen 10-acre lake, browse through the stalls at the farmers market in summer, attend the Fall into the Arts Festival in autumn, and watch the blooming flowers in spring.

Wooden chairs at Centennial Lakes Park

Deyan G. Georgiev /

Spend the Day at Bryant Lake Regional Park

From St. Louis Park, travel 16 minutes south to Bryant Lake Regional Park in Eden Prairie.

The park has 170 acres of a diverse environment featuring rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands.

There’s also a lake and beach where you can take a dip, bask under the warm sun, go fishing, and enjoy other water activities.

Because of its diverse environment, you can enjoy numerous outdoor activities at Bryant Lake Regional Park.

Explore the trails and get a chance to spot animals like waterfowl, deer, or songbirds.

Other activities you can enjoy in the park include biking, boating, disc golf, picnicking, geocaching, and hiking.

Hit the Slopes of Hyland Hills Ski Area

If you’re spending winter in St. Louis Park, go on a day trip to Hyland Hills Ski Area and enjoy all its winter-related recreational activities.

Located 20 minutes from St. Louis Park in Bloomington, the ski resort is a winter lover’s mecca thanks to its impressive terrain and features.

Hyland Hills Ski Area offers 1,000 acres of cross-country ski trails, snowshoe trails, a Nordic ski jumping complex, and eight different lifts.

The park also has adequate lighting at night so you can ski safely.

If you have little to no experience in skiing and other winter sports, the ski resort has one of the best snow sports academies in the area, and you can join their private, semi-private, or public skiing, snowboarding, and Telemarking lessons.

Visit Paisley Park

Studio of Paisley Park

miker /

If you’re up for a road trip, drive 30 minutes from St. Louis Park to Paisley Park in Chanhassen, the home and studio of the iconic American artist Prince.

This was where Prince would perform, write, and record songs.

Once a cornfield, the museum is a “creative sanctuary” that has drawn music, art, and fashion enthusiasts as well as big-name artists.

Artist painting a portrait of Prince at Paisley Park

Steve Quinlan /

Join a guided tour of Paisley Park and get a chance to visit areas where Prince recorded and produced some of his most popular songs.

The tour also includes visits to the soundstage, concert hall, and music club, where he rehearsed, performed, and held private concerts.

People at Paisley Park

Steve Skjold /

See the Natural Wonders of Theodore Wirth Regional Park

Theodore Wirth Regional Park is a sprawling 759-acre park in Golden Valley, a 15-minute drive from St. Louis Park.

It is the largest park in the Minneapolis park system, boasting miles of multipurpose trails, bike paths, a disc golf course, a picnic area, and gardens.

No matter what season you visit, you’re sure to have a fun and fulfilling day at Theodore Wirth Regional Park.

The trails at the park suit visitors with varying fitness levels and will take you through scenic woods, rolling hills, and lakeside views.

In winter, go snowboarding, tubing, sledding, and snowshoeing.

Final Thoughts

With its location near Minneapolis, St. Louis Park has everything you need for a memorable weekend getaway.

Its small-town charm isn’t to be underestimated, as the city has several beautiful parks, multi-use trails, must-try restaurants, and other places of interest.

If this sounds like the perfect vacation idea for you, plan your itinerary with these best things to do in St. Louis Park, Minnesota!

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