Why the Minnesota State Fair is Worth Crossing the River For
Reason #1: The Food
From fair favorites to whacky new creations, the Minnesota State Fair is a place where anything goes. Deep fried, on a stick, with peanut butter on top, we’ve got it all. Plus, calories don’t count at the State Fair (we swear).
Reason #2: Shopping
Here’s your chance to shop local and grab some Minnesota-made goods all in one place. Many popular local brands set up shop at the Fair, so you can find anything from Christmas decorations to paddle boards. Make sure to check out some of these markets for some unique shopping.
- West End Market: A collection of stands selling handmade goods, up-cycled products, Minnesota themed apparel and home furnishings. Popular sellers include, Anchor Iron Co. (cast iron antique reproduction toys and mechanical banks), I Like You (items made by local artists and crafters, many of them Minnesota themed) and Love From Minnesota (Minnesota-related products).
Location: corner of West Dan Patch Avenue and Liggett Street
- International Bazaar: Buy jewelry, apparel, purses, bags and artifacts from all over the world. The Bazaar is a treasure trove of goods that you can find in places like Scandinavia, Australia, China, Mexico, Guatemala, African countries, Native American cultures, the Philippines, France, Russia and Ireland.
Location: south side of Judson Avenue between Underwood and Cooper streets
- Merchandise Mart: Purchase the latest goods for home improvement, including kitchen gadgets, cleaning supplies and more.
Location: corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Cooper Street
- The Veranda: One of the newer market additions to the Fair. It features 20+ boutique-style vendors selling things like handmade, up-cycled and made in Minnesota goods. Here you’ll find the Adam Turman Gallery (a local artist famous for capturing the essence of the Twins Cities through his designs) and Hagen and Oats (handcrafted Minnesota themed wood décor).
Location: second level of the grandstand.
- Fan Central: If you’re a sports fanatic this is a must-stop on your list. Load up on apparel, hats, jerseys, and memorabilia from Minnesota’s favorite sports teams like the Wild, Timberwolves, Lynx, and United FC.
Location: west side of Underwood Street between Dan Patch and Carnes avenues.
Reason #3: The Rides
What's a fair without giant swings and ring tosses you swear are rigged? When you're not deciding what food to try next, you're probably wondering which ride you'll finally get talked into this year or deciding what game you're determined to conquer once and for all.
Reason #4: The Music, Activities and Showcases
Because what goes better with good food? Okay, maybe a good drink. But also great entertainment. At every turn you'll find free music, hype performances and new opportunities to see one-of-a-kind exhibits and learn something you never knew.
Free Live Music & Shows: Yeah, you read it right – free. The State Fair hosts 900 shows and over 100 acts throughout its 12-day duration. A broad assortment of musicians and bands are just one of many types of shows and activities available. Live broadcasts, unique demonstrations and presentations, performances, contests and a wide array of activities for all ages can be found each day!
View the State Fair’s official performance schedule here.
Letting those Sweet Martha cookies settle a little before taking on some rides? Good choice. Pop on down to any or all other attractions available! From Bob’s Snake Zoo, the Butterfly House and Giant Singalong to the Great Big Sandbox, Haunted House, Reptile Show and the X-Zone, we’re sure you’ll find something to suit your group’s interests.
Booths and Showcases
- Educational Experiences and Exhibits
Find educational experiences and exhibits about everything from numbers, letters, animals and agriculture. Perfect for kids or even the open-minded learner of any age, experiences like Math-On-A-Stick and the Oink Booth are ready to throw some knowledge your way.
- Healthy and Sustainable Living
Interested in understanding more about healthy and sustainable living? Discover what you can do for yourself and the planet with healthy cooking demos, free and low-cost health screenings, reduce-reuse-recycle how-tos, green technology exhibits and much more.
- History and Traditions
If the fair is your favorite time of the year, learn more about it to boast to your out-of-state friends. Explore the rich traditions and history of the fair at five destinations throughout the fair.
Oh, you’re a sports fan? We’ve got something for you to cheer about with ten sports exhibits throughout the fair. Enjoy player meet-and-greets, team gear and activities that will get you so pumped for next season that you might need a moment to collect yourself from sheer excitement.
Tickets and Transportation
Where to Buy Tickets
You can buy your state fair admission tickets at a discount now through August 23 for only $11. There are plenty of locations to choose from if you’re antsy about getting tickets right away.
- Minneapolis Visitor Information
- Minnesota State Fair Ticket Office or Website
- Cub Foods locations throughout the Twin Cities. Full ticket details can be found here.
Insider Tip: While you’re there purchase a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book filled discounts to keep you more focused on the food and attractions and less on your wallet.
And don’t worry if you decide to go to the fair last minute, you can always buy tickets at the gate too. Regular fair-admission tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and kids.
Getting there from Minneapolis
All photos courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair (unless otherwise stated)