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Outdoor Dates in Saint Paul for Every Season

BY: Zach Bosteel | Jul 9, 2015
Outdoor Dates in Saint Paul for Every Season

In Saint Paul, activities change every season. The Twin Cities boast one of the most diverse climates of any American metropolitan area, ranging from a cold, flat 0 in winter months to monthly averages of 85 in the summer, making figuring out what to do in Minneapolis or St. Paul tough to suss out year-round. Here are few ideas on how to make the most of any minute’s weather.


March is still mercilessly chilly, but April usually brings temperatures averaging in the 50s—just warm enough to shed the winter coats and start seeing the outside world.

Blooming Paradise at Lebanon Hills Regional Park: At over 2,000 acres, this park encompasses more than few wildflower fields. Come springtime, they’re in full bloom, making for a stunning spot for a picnic. Just dress warmly.

Babies at Minnesota Zoo: Fluffy chicks and baby bunnies have long symbolized the renewal of spring, but there are lots of animals being birthed in the early months of year. The Minnesota Zoo makes an event of it, putting together a April-only petting zoo of the fluffiest, friendliest baby animals around.

Alfresco Dining on W.A. Frost’s Stunning Patio: W.A. Frost is of the most beloved restaurants in St. Paul in large part because of its stunningly landscaped patio. In the spring, potted annuals are just growing into their full seasonal color, livening up the already verdant foliage and classic cobblestone surroundings.


As the temperature increases, so do the number of open patios, rooftop decks, and second-story balconies. Everybody’s got their opinion on which one is best, so we’re going to recommend something (mostly) different.

Sipping Suds at Summit Brewing: Summit Brewing offers free tours of its facilities for small groups of visitors, samples included. After a tour, guests can retire to the bluff-side patio for expansive views and additional beverages. Feel free to bring a third wheel—the patio is dog-friendly.

Sunset Dinner Cruise from Padelford Riverboats: Every Friday night, a Padelford captain takes a old-fashioned paddleboat for a cruise down the Mississippi, romantic lighting courtesy of a setting sun. The cruise’s chef serves braised beef brisket, Port Royal chicken, sides, desserts, and coffee. It’s quite a comprehensive menu. There’s also a bar and, of course, the deck open to the twilight air.

Cutting a Rug at the Ordway Summer Dance Series: Held in Rice Park on select evenings, this free event supplies the live music and elbow room, but attendees must bring the dance moves. There is some instruction at the event, with styles ranging from salsa and swing to classic ballroom.


Fall boasts a whole slew of outdoor activities all its own, mostly related to the harvest. From pumpkin patches to apple orchards, seasonal scares and treats abound.

Apple-Cider Donuts at St. Paul Farmers' Market: One of the most delicious inventions to stem from the fall has to be the apple-cider donut. They’re sold by the half-dozen at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, even into the colder months.

Howling Pines Woods Walk at Trail of Terror: This attraction has no walls or tight corners but rather preys on the more primal fear of being trapped in a dark wood. The barely human creatures that haunt the trees soon lunge forth, spattered in gore, likely eliciting a scream from even the bravest trailblazer.


Most everyone can find a little romance in the shortened daylight of the holiday season, when candles, colorful lights, and the spirit of kindness reign. But what about in January and February, when the cold, gray winter persists? Here are a few recommendations on how to mine a bit of fun from these frigid months.

Gliding Through the Wells Fargo WinterSkate: This free, artificially chilled skating rink stays open November through February, though it doesn’t end up needing its refrigeration abilities that often. The chilly open air keeps the ice nice and solid and goes well with views of a snow-covered downtown.

Hot Chocolate from Mickey’s Dining Car: Featured in movies and even released as a collectible model train, Mickey’s Dining Car is a Twin Cities institution. It also happens to serve hot chocolate, which goes well with a stroll down the wintry streets and salted sidewalks.

St. Paul Winter Carnival: This months-long festival features parades, 5Ks, and beer tastings, all centered around an epic legend of gods dueling for celebration in St. Paul. If it sounds a little larger than life, it is. Every annual festival involves people taking on the roles and costumes of deities and their appointees, and it culminates in the crowning of a new festival queen.