Best autumn activities in the Twin Cities

Summer’s end usually plagues many Minnesota natives with unwanted thoughts of the harsh winter that’s sure to come. Such thoughts make it hard to appreciate Minnesota’s greatest season: fall.

Fall provides many wonderful opportunities for people to have a great time with friends and family, and to appreciate the outdoors one last time before hibernation begins.

Before you do anything else, make sure to take in the scenery. Fall is arguably the most beautiful time of the year, and everyone needs to appreciate the leaves while they’re still on the trees. The Twin Cities has a slew of great parks where you can do just that. Some local favorites include: Hidden Falls and The Monument in St. Paul, and Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. If you have gas to burn, make the trek out to Chaska and enjoy the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. You won’t regret it.

The apple orchard is also a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Most orchards around town let you pick your own apples and pumpkins, and have other activities to enjoy. You can get lost in a corn maze or go on a hayride, and you can eat and drink a variety of apple-inspired delicacies along the way. Emma Krumbee’s Apple Orchard and Farm in Belle Plaine, Minn. is usually voted the best orchard in Minnesota, but there are a ton around town so look for the one closest to you.

Take a trip down memory lane and get your arts and crafts on. Get a group of friends together and carve pumpkins, bake an apple or a pumpkin pie, and try your hand at making your own Halloween costume. For the creatively-challenged, check out St. Paul’s second-hand and vintage stores for some inspiration.

Blizzards and below-zero weather may be looming around the corner, but fall is the time to push those thoughts out of your mind and enjoy the outdoors without a down jacket. Make plans with your family and friends, and in the end it won’t matter whether you take a stroll through a local park or go to an apple orchard, you’ll be having a blast.

Kristi Battarbee can be reached at