It’s was a beautiful Friday in June. Work was done for the day, picnic dinner was packed, the sun was shining, and we were heading to Lake Harriet to enjoy the evening. I don’t know what I was more excited for, the peaceful walk around the lake, the music at the bandshell, or the traditional ice cream treat we get at the end of the night from Bread & Pickle.
We pull into the parking lot around 5:30 and there are plenty of spaces available. Lake Harriet has great parking and it is pretty rare that we cannot find a spot pretty quickly. We unload and decide to start the night with a walk around the lake. Lake Harriet is part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes and is one of my favorite in the city. The walking path is 2.75 miles around the lake and the bike path is 2.99 miles. This walk isn’t your typical walk in the city. The scenery is amazing. From the gorgeous homes, lush trees along the path, the peaceful water, and the city skyline views off in the distance. And if you are like me, the people watching is pretty great too!
As we begin our walk past the colorful sail boats, the girls are already talking about our first stop ahead, the Elf’s house. It is a little house carved into the base of a tree along the path just past Queen Ave. The girls love to leave things for the Elf and it is said that if you leave him a letter, you may receive a response in a few days!
Our next stop is the beach. The girls love the beach and us parents think it is pretty great as well. It is the perfect spot for a nice break to wade in the water to get your feet wet, sit and build sand castles, or jump in the water and cool off on a nice hot day. The sand is clean and the water was the perfect temperature. We didn’t bring swimsuits and our oldest daughter was quite disappointed that she couldn’t jump in, but we quickly reminded her that once we are done with our walk, we get to have our picnic. Food trumps all for that girl!
We finish our walk at the Lake Harriet Bandshell and quickly find the perfect picnic spot as the spots are filling up quickly. We lay out our blanket, unpack the cooler, and begin to eat. As we begin eating, the band begins to play filling the air with sweet sounds and I am reminded once again how special Minneapolis summers are. The kids finish their meals and begin to run around and play while us parents get to lay back and relax. It is so fun to watch the girls giggle while dancing and playing with each other.
The kids needed to burn off some energy, so we decided to head up to the hill to the playground. The playground has so much for the kids to do and my favorite part is that there is an area for the bigger kids as well as the younger ones. The kids ran, climbed, slid down multiple slides, played ‘restaurant,’ and swung in the swings with a permanent smile on their faces.
It was starting to get late and we decided that is was time for dessert. We rounded up the kids and headed back down the hill to Bread & Pickle. Addison quickly spotted the ducks as we got in line and couldn’t resist running over to see them. Luckily for the ducks, I had an extra piece of bread from dinner! The girls loved feeding them and the fish even got in on the bread action as well. We quickly got back in line and went over our choices. Bread & Pickle has something for everyone whether it is burger, sandwich, ice cream, or even a nice cold beer. They even have hot chocolate for those cooler nights! Tonight we decided on a cup of strawberry ice cream for the girls, and root beer floats for the Dean and I. We took our treats back over to the bandshell to enjoy the music. The girls once again danced to the music and had a great time. Unfortunately as we looked at the clock, we knew it was getting late for the girls and it was time to call it a night. With much protest from the kids, we packed everything up and headed for home. Avery was already asking when we can come back to Lake Harriet again!
We love nights at the lake, and Lake Harriet has so much to offer. Here are some more highlights and things to do:
- Free summer concerts at the bandshell. Monday, Wednesday-Saturday 7:30pm
- Free movies in the park at the bandshell. June 7th through August 23rd. Monday-Saturday starting 15 minutes after sunset.
- Free hour long Yoga class at 6:30am May 20th until Labor Day
- Clean Restroom Facilities including separate family restrooms
- 2 Beaches. North Beach and South Beach
- Picnic tables
- Fishing Pier
- Rose and Peace Gardens
- Bird Sanctuary
- Wheel Fun Rentals including paddle boats, kayaks, canoe, and stand up paddle boards
- Take a ride on the Como-Harriet Street car trolley
- Boat launch
- Separate Biking and Walking trails
- Pet Friendly
- If you have some extra time, take a walk up to the Linden Hills neighborhood and check out the shops and restaurants such as Wild Rumpus, Creative KidStuff, Tilia, Zumbro Cafe, and Sebastian Joes Ice Cream.
A stop at Lake Harriet is a must whether you live in the area or are visiting the Twin Cities for a weekend. What is your favorite thing to do at Lake Harriet?