6+ ways to celebrate the season on the south side of the Twin Cities metro area.
Nobody does summer like Minnesota! We may be best known for our winters, but we know how to celebrate the sun. Maybe we’re grateful for the chance to skip out the door without gloves and scarves, maybe we just like an excuse to party. Whatever the reason, Burnsville is home to the hottest happenings in the southern Twin Cities metro area this summer. Come join the fun under the sun.
We’ve got festivities planned indoors and out, with special occasions and anytime options on the calendar. There’s always something to do in Burnsville.
Even when temperatures rise, it’s time to hit the slope. Buck Hill Ski, Snowboard, Tubing and Mountain Bike Area is an 80-acre community hub with 15 runs and 11 lifts, one of the few half pipes in the Midwest, and is the slope nearest to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul—it also happens to be where Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn learned to ski. Locally owned and independently operated, Buck Hill is open to enjoy year round, thanks to an innovative dry surface called Neveplast. The synthetic surface offers the same gliding experience as snow without water to allow competitive skiers and snowboarders to keep up with their training and novices to take lessons in the off-season. The Neveplast run is available by special request all summer and on select weekday evenings and weekends in September. Also this summer, week-long Snowboarding and Skiing Camps are set for the weeks of June 10, 17 and 24 with lessons from 9:30 a.m. to Noon daily. Prefer pedals? Mountain Biking Camps will be held the same dates and times, and include the Magic Carpet transport up the Hill. All camps are for students ages 8-12. Enthusiasts of any age can buy a $49 Mountain Biking season pass for access to all of the trails from June through October. Ride dawn to dusk on five miles that loop through trees and across gravel. Single track, pump track and a skills areas offer extra thrills and challenges.
Bring your lawn chair to Buck Hill for the second annual Buck Concert Series and ride a sound wave back to the ‘80s. This second year event promises three nights of ‘80s rock musical performances exclusively for adults age 21 and older. Sing along, sip cocktails and groove to the beat this July. Lou Gramm will take the stage Thursday, July 11; Don Felder on Friday, July 12; and The Guess Who will close out the festival on Saturday, July 13. Local bands will offer additional entertainment on all dates. Arrive early to decide where you want to hang out on the grounds when you’re not roaming among the food trucks, beverage carts and other vendors. Black Diamond Restaurant will serve as an exclusive area for VIP ticket holders; among the perks of these limited VIP tickets is the chance to meet band members. But every ticket holder will be able to enjoy the time-traveling vibe of this totally righteous new fest.
All summer long, free entertainment is staged at Nicollet Commons Park in the Heart of the City, Burnsville’s green space in its walkable downtown area. The park, open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight, features a 250-seat amphitheater for concerts and events, though you’re also welcome to sit anytime to nibble on a picnic lunch or enjoy the water fountain that flows from late May through late September. Weekly events include Flicks on the Bricks & Friday Fest evenings that help kick-start the weekend as local student bands perform, food trucks gather, and a classic movie is projected outdoors. The Thursday Rockin’ lunch hour concerts are geared toward elementary-aged audiences while the New Spaces concerts on Sunday evenings starting at 7 p.m. are for all ages with musical styles ranging from jazz to gospel, symphony to rock and roll.
Travel the world in Burnsville’s town square. Nicollet Commons Park hosts the 13th annual International Festival of Burnsville on Saturday, July 20 from 3 to 9 p.m. Diversity is celebrated with a range of music and dance group performances representing cultures around the globe, plus a dramatic parade of flags.
A mouthwatering range of ethnic foods will be available to purchase, and you can also view art displays, enter a raffle to win great prizes, and take part in special activities. The family-friendly event is held rain or shine.
The 39th annual Burnsville Fire Muster is a community event that makes the four days it’s held—Wednesday, September 4 through Saturday, September 7—feel like the good old days. One of Minnesota’s longest-running community festivals, the event’s feel-good vibe is hard to resist. Highlights include a Guinness Record-holding Fire Truck Parade that showcases antique fire equipment ranging from horse-drawn hand pumpers (circa 1900) to current state-of-the-art firefighting machinery, an antique car show, community parade, canine demonstrations, musical performances, craft beer tasting, one of the region’s largest fireworks displays, and much more.
Treat your eyes and ears to visual and performing arts at Ames Center, which boasts two theaters—including the best and nicest 1,000-seat theater in the Twin Cities metro area—and an art gallery in addition to event space. The performance calendar presents a range of dramas, comedies, dance and music acts from local and national artists.
Escapology is the most mind-bending entertainment option at Burnsville Center, the community shopping mall anchored by JCPenney, and Macy’s. The three-level mall has 120 stores and is one of the state’s larger enclosed malls, yet it’s sized right so you can most readily find what you need. The new Escapology is open daily and is ready to challenge teams of two to six players with four different brain-teasing scenarios. Whichever one you choose, you and your friends and family members will have an hour to find clues, solve puzzles and open locks in order to escape. Difficulty levels vary, ensuring fun for all ages (though age seven and older is recommended). Current themes include digital hack, mansion murder, train murder mystery and chemical warfare; two additional suites will be added and games will rotate about every six months to present an ongoing array of potential new challenges. Good luck!
For on-the-spot advice about what to do in Burnsville, head to Ficus & Fig located next door to Jensen’s Café in the Heart of the City. The boutique shop is packed with an eclectic mix of goods to browse and buy, from accessories to soaps, candles to socks and much more, but it’s also a local hangout staffed by some of the friendliest folks in town. So don’t be shy, stop by, say hi, and get recommendations if you need ‘em.
Burnsville, Minnesota is located near some of the Twin Cities’ biggest attractions including Mall of America, Valleyfair, and the Minnesota Zoo. Enjoy the convenient location plus free parking at any Burnsville hotel including the Best Western Premier Nicollet Inn.