I’ve done a few blog posts on the Minnesota State Fair, but I have not done a guide to the state fair. If you’re from Minnesota, you will already have a good idea of what to expect from the fair. If you’re not from Minnesota, the fair is one of the largest state fairs in the country. In this blog post, you will find a guide to getting around the State Fair, the places to go for food/drinks, attractions and much more! You can see my MN blog from 2017 here.
MINNESOTA STATE FAIR:
WHEN: August 23-September 3
OPEN/CLOSE: 6 am to midnight
TIP: Tickets are $14 at the door, but you can get them before for $11. We usually stock up on tickets because we might go more than once.
Getting there can be the most challenging part of attending the state fair, but Minnesota does an excellent job to make sure no construction is happening around the state fair. There are several park and rides, and public transportation to get you to the fair. If you don’t mind paying, there is parking at the state fairgrounds; it’s $14 cash.
30 locations for Free Park and Ride around the Metro area
The park is HUGE, and since 2 million people come to the fair, it can get a little crowded. It is good to have a plan of what you’re going to do first and last, and what you are going to see in between. Depending on when you come, the park opens at 6 am and closes at midnight, will determine where you will start.
TIP: Wear comfortable shoes you will be walking A LOT.
If you want to take a break from walking and weaving through all the people and you want to get a different perspective of the fair take a ride in the sky either with Skyride or Skyglider. Or take the trolly around the fair. But the best way to see everything and not miss a thing is walking.
There are A LOT of things happening at the state fair. There are concerts, shows, activities, rides, and so much more. There are free concerts at all of the stages, except the grandstand where big-name artists like Jason Mraz, and Nial Horn who will be performing this year. There are also animal shows like horse shows that you can watch. Radio shows and news shows are also top-to do’s to try to get on TV. There even rides with two parks; Midway & Kidway. There are a lot of people who participate in the Minnesota State Fair with their animals, cooking, arts, projects, etc. And vendors as well, check out the Heritage Center for more local art.
If you want to see a concert at the GrandStand you would need to get tickets beforehand, they go on sale months before the fair. Can always check weeks before online to see if you can get tickets. But there are a variety of different acts to check out, take a break, sit and eat your Sweet Martha cookies. IF you have kids NO WORRIES there are TONS of things for the kids to do not only rides but local acts just for kids!
TIP: Before going to the Fair check out their website for events on the day you are going. If you forget there are information booths where you can get the daily event sheets that include what’s going on that day.
100 local and national acts for free throughout the fairgrounds
Last year they had the Giant Ferris Wheel, this year it isn’t there but go down the Giant Slide for some fun! There are also the two parks with rides and games; Midway & Kidway. When I was younger, we use to spend so much time there after checking out the animals. For another Skyview of the State Fair check out Space Tower. Also one of the oldest rides at the fair, Ye Old Mill.
Besides the rides, concerts, acts and different booths to check out you want to walk into the buildings! Not only to cool off but see some cool things. The Dairy Building where the Princess Kay Butter-heads are sculpted. You have to see it to believe it. Another building you want to check out is the berthing building. This is where you can see animals be born and also see the newborns. The birthing building can get crowded so go right away in the morning or later in the day. You can get free stuff like pencils, magnets, buttons, and information sheets. Which when I was in school we were all about collecting the free stuff!
Buildings to check out:
4-H building, the Environmental Building, the Education building which houses all the college booths, check out the ALL the Animale buildings -get yourself pig ears at the swine building and of course the food building.
There is something to see and do at the fair for anyone, you will never be bored
There is a lot to see at the state fair and if you are going for the first time and don’t know what to see first it might be a little overwhelming so have a destination in mind and take a walk and stop at booths and buildings along the way.
It is all about the food at the state fair!
There are different food vendors, not only at the food building, but all around the state fair; FOUR stands to get Martha’s cookies, French Fries, or Corndogs. And if you have been to the state fair before you know which stand to go to for the best of the best! For instance, if you want some delicious pickles, go toThe Perfect Pickle. The Minnesota State Fair is known for the random, weird and deep-fried on a stick food. Because it is all about the food when you come to the fair. Here is a list of TOP food and some places to check out when at the fair. They’re the go to’s and new foods for 2018.
- Milk Shake– you have to get it at the Dairy Barn
- Pickles-there are different ways to get the pickles, like deep fried. My favorite is Pickle on a stick. And always get them at The Perfect Pickle
- Corn on the Cob
- French Fries
- Pronto Pups
- Martha Cookies- these are the MOST POPULAR food at the fair, and there are now four stands, and it is still crazy! Get the bucket and take them home, you can thank me later!
TIP: Usually, I find like a ‘meal’ to eat either a Gyro, check out the food building for some fish on a stick or go to any of the local sit down places you can choose from like Blue Barn.
- Sassy Pecan Sweet Cakes– Sweetie Cakes in the food building
- Earth Wings (cauliflower wings)– French Meadow Bakery & Cafe- between Nelson and Underwood Street.
- Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs- Dino’s Gyros North side of Carnes Ave
- Irish Tater Kegs– O’Gara’s at the Fair Southwest corner of Dan Patch Ave. & Cosgrove St
- Shrimp Ceviche– Shrimp Shack southwest corner of Carnes Ave. And Underwood St.
- UpNorth Puff Pasty– Sausage Sister & Me in the Food building
The state fair brings new things each year and here are some food venues to check out that are NEW:
The Anchor Coffee House – West side of Underwood St. between Carnes & Judson Avenues outside Ramberg Music Cafe- Great place to start your adventure of the fair
The Hangar– northeast corner of Murphy Ave. And Underwood St.
Midtown Global Market’s Mama D’s at the International Bazaar, east wall. Only Aug. 29-Sept. 3
Over 21? There is a Beer Garden at the MN State fair that is very popular. For some local craft beers, some are the typical fair, while some are State Fair-themed.
- Dill Pickle Ale Giggles’ Campfire Grill
- Funnel Cake Cream Ale Coasters
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Beer Andy’s Grille
- Candy Apple Hard Cider Andy’s Grille
- Beer Malt Coasters
Or you can go with some good old classic drinks, there are TONS of the local Breweries at the fair. What’s a Minnesota fair without local Minnesota Brew??!
Other things to Know
Near the DFL booth, Culligan Water company provides the most refreshing FREE water-great for a HOT DAY- ICE COLD!
GrandStand has night concerts and if you want decent tickets to get them before you go!
Bathrooms, here is an article for best guide. FUNNY too
To get some of the BEST DEALS at the Fair especially on FOOD buy yourself a Blue Ribbon Bargain for $5- it will always pay off in the end! There are also discount days like Senior & Kids Day (Aug. 27), Military Appreciation Day (Aug. 28), Read & Ride Day (Aug. 29), Seniors Day (Aug. 30) and Kids & Last Chance Day (Sept. 3).
If you have more questions check out the State Fair website for more information.
The Minnesota State Fair is called The Great Minnesota Get Together whether you are there to work, present, compete, watch, or to eat the food; it is the one thing EVERYONE looks forward to at the end of the summer. Well maybe not everyone, my dad doesn’t go. But there is A LOT to experience; not only the attractions, concerts, food but the PEOPLE!! It is the one thing I think everyone who visits Minnesota needs to experience! So, next time you are in Minnesota goes to the MN state fair – there is nothing like it.