Celebrate Fourth of July with free beer, corgi races, and of course, spectacular fireworks


I’ve already heard the whistle-pop-boom of fireworks going off over this past few days: Minnesota is gearing up for the Fourth. And, even though this year St. Paul has cancelled their fireworks show due to budgetary concerns, there are going to be some spectacular fireworks shows and fun festivities happening all around the Twin Cities.

But yes, all you St. Paulians may actually have to begrudgingly cross the river for a proper fireworks extravaganza.

Not to worry though: The Minneapolis Red, White, and Boom! fireworks display over the Mississippi River is well worth the trip. With the downtown Minneapolis skyline as its backdrop, you’ll watch as fireworks blast into the sky and beautifully reflect off the water. Not surprisingly, this fireworks show draws a large crowd. While it’s best to arrive a bit early before the fireworks go off in order to secure a perfect viewing spot, there are plenty of great vantage points around the area.

Where to watch the fireworks

One of the best viewing spots for the Minneapolis show is right on the Stone Arch Bridge. It’s hard to beat your view of the sky as you’ll be right beneath all the firework action. But if that’s a bit too close to the explosives for your taste, you can head to the Guthrie and step out on their balcony to watch the show. It’s a bit more secluded from the crowds and you won’t have to crane your neck as much.

For the more Fourth of July traditionalists who like to break out the blankets and folding chairs, Gold Metal Park is the place for you. You’ll find plenty of grassy space along the river to lay out blankets and munch on some snacks from your cooler during the show. Pro tip: If you do opt for the blanket-on-the-grass approach be sure to pack some bug spray as those suckers are lethal on a hot night near the water.  

Remember too that parking already can be a challenge near downtown. Plan to come early, stake out a spot, and then enjoy exploring the endless number of excellent restaurants and shops around the St. Anthony Main and downtown area.

Another option to avoid the downtown crowds, is to head to lake Bde Maka Ska. You can grill out and watch the Minneapolis fireworks display from the comfort of a sandy beach or paddle out in a canoe or kayak to watch from the water.

Minneapolis certainly puts on a great celebration, but not to be left out are the suburbs who certainly don’t hold back on their fireworks shows. Unsurprisingly, one of the more noteworthy shows is the display over Lake Minnetonka. Held at the Excelsior Commons Park, see the famous Lake Minnetonka firework show and grab some awesome fair food. Earlier in the day you can head over for the Firecracker Run, sandcastle contest, and check out their free petting zoo.

Other notable mentions are Edina’s sensational fireworks display at Rosland Park near Southdale, where you can watch a parade, catch a concert, and paddleboat at Centennial Lakes before the show. Plymouth’s extravaganza happens on July 11 where the evening begins with the Minnesota Orchestra taking the stage followed by illuminated dancers and then ending the night with a fantastic fireworks display. Maplewood also steps up their Fourth of July game with live music, food vendors, and giant inflatables before wrapping the evening with a grand finale fireworks show.

Be sure to double check each individual fireworks schedule, but as a general rule throughout the cities, most fireworks shows will begin around 10pm.

Other Independence Day Events

As wonderful and magical as fireworks are, you probably are here for the corgi races and free beer.

Canterbury Park is hosting their Family Fun Fest and Corgi Encore for this year’s Independence Day. You can watch adorable corgis as they waddle/race down the track in between the live horse racing. The kids can also enjoy a carnival, parade, face painting, and pony rides.

And after placing your bets on the pooches and ponies, head over to Inbound BrewCo dressed in your best red, white, and blue. Because that’s how you’ll earn your free beer. After purchasing a pint, you will receive a wooden nickel that’s good for a free drink, though ONLY, if you are decked out in some form of patriotic attire. Ah, freedom.

Now the hard part is choosing which amazing Fourth of July events to attend. Though certainly whichever festival you do decide on, it’s guaranteed Minnesota is ready to celebrate.

Happy Independence Day!

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