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Twin Cities on a Budget

One of the many advantages to Hamline University is the location: in the middle of the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities area is known for theatre, literacy, Prince, cold winters, art, and lakes. There are many opportunities for exciting experiences. However, many college students are striving to make ends meet; they’re working multiple jobs with meager spending money. Contrary to popular belief, you can still experience the wonders of the Twin Cities with little money! Here are the best places to go to have a great time while spending little or no money.

1. Weisman Art Museum

Location: 333 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Price: Free!

Besides having unique architecture, the Weisman Art Museum interprets and displays art with historical context and relevant social and cultural significance. The founder, Frederick Weisman, was dedicated to helping emerging artists and dreamed of this museum way back in 1934.

2. Minnehaha Park

Location: 4801 S Minnehaha Drive Minneapolis, MN 55417

Price: Free!

Minnehaha Park is one of Minneapolis’s oldest and most popular parks. It features a magnificent 53 foot waterfall, river overlooks, hiking and biking trails, picnic spots, and wading pools. They also host movies and music in the park and bike renting services. It’s definitely worth checking out to get away from campus and experience some nature!

3. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Location: 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 5540

Price: Free!

Home of the iconic giant “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a group of exciting pathways that surround interesting artistic pieces. If the weather permits, it’s a must-see while residing in the Twin Cities. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is open from 6AM – 12PM, all 365 days of the year– so you have no excuse!

4. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Location: 1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103

Price: Free, $3 suggested donation

Como Park Zoo houses many exciting animals to visit as well as fourteen beautiful and exotic gardens. The combination will definitely make a fun visit and break from the routine of college life. Additionally, Como Town is a small amusement park with mini golf. There are plenty of places to picnic in Como Park by Como Lake, or you can choose to eat at the Spring Cafe, a full-service restaurant by a lakeside pavilion. As if this isn’t enough to do, Como Lake also offers kayak, paddleboard, and paddle boat rentals! With so much to offer, we’re lucky that Como Park and Conservatory is only a 5 minute drive or 20 minute bus ride from the Hamline University campus!

5. Enjoy the Trails!

Locations: Minnesota River, Mississippi River, St. Croix River, Greenway

Price: Free!

The Twin Cities is home to 3 beautiful rivers and is known for the extensive walking and biking trail system. Check out the Mississippi River Trail, the Greenway bike trail, or any of the plethora of trails along the river! Check some out here. Though the Twin Cities is a metropolitan area, there are still lots of opportunities to experience nature!

6. Gorilla Yoga

Locations: Around the Twin Cities

Price: Free, donation suggested

Gorilla Yoga is a movement in the Twin Cities area with the goal of bringing yoga outside the studio doors. They practice in museums, on street corners, music venues, and restaurants. You can find their next event as soon as they post it on their website. Try it to connect with yourself and the space around you– and step out of your comfort zone at the same time!

7. Attend a Literary Reading

Locations: Twin Cities

Price: Free!

Rain Taxi is a literary organization based in Minneapolis that sponsors many readings throughout the Twin Cities. Check out the entire calendar with dates, times and locations here– conveniently color coded by topic. Go appreciate art!

8. Winter Ice Skate

Location: 379 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102

Price: $4 per person or FREE with a Wells Fargo card

Test your balance and channel your inner Minnesotan on this skating rink in the heart of downtown St. Paul. Surrounded by the city, you can definitely make some great memories here! In addition, check out the ice castle and live music schedule at Rice Park where the rink is located.

9. Lakewood Cemetery Tours

Location: 3600 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Price: Free!

Call 612-822-2171 to schedule a guided tour through the rich history of Lakewood Cemetery, or simply explore the unique architecture on your own. There are beautiful gardens and paths throughout the cemetery, revealing over 135 years of history.

10. Art-a-Whirl

Location: Northeast Minneapolis

Price: Free!

For one weekend, studios and galleries in Northeast Minneapolis open their doors and share their work for public view and purchase. It usually occurs in the middle of May, so mark your calendars for a getaway before finals! Art-a-Whirl usually features over 600 artists in every medium imaginable.

11. Visit Indian Mounds Regional Park

Location: 10 Mounds Blvd. Saint Paul, MN 55106

Price: Free!

Explore history at Indian Mounds Regional Park in Saint Paul. Featuring 6 mounds, the park overlooks the Mississippi River and downtown Saint Paul. They remain sacred to the Dakota tribe today and serve as a reminder of Minnesota’s history.

12. Enjoy a Sinfonia Concert

Location: Twin Cities, usually churches

Price: Free

Sinfonia is a professional, classical nonprofit organization that gives concerts to the public several times throughout the year. They serve everyone in the Twin Cities community, and want to make sure quality music is available to all people. You can check out their concert schedule here!

With this diverse list of fun and low priced activities, it’s time to go make the best of the city you live in! From the zoo to a literary reading to hiking trails– the Twin Cities has a lot to offer, even if you have a low budget. Go explore!

Emma Harrington is a first year at Hamline University studying English and Creative Writing. Besides writing, she enjoys singing in the A Capella Choir, dancing, running, and being outdoors.
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