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Best Picnic Spots Around The Twin Cities

June 2, 2011 1:20 PM

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Looking to take a tasty retreat? Well, you don’t have to pony up the big bucks at a restaurant — just get outside and enjoy fine living outdoors. If you believe that the grass is always greener on the other side, you haven’t seen all the best picnic spots in the Twin Cities. This list contains 10 great places for dining outdoors, but if you have a favorite spot, we’d like to hear about that place too. So, pack up the picnic basket and enjoy the scenery that makes the land of 10,000 lakes so great!(In no particular order…)
Hidden Falls Park

(Credit: CBS)

No. 1: Hidden Falls

City Of St. Paul Website – Hidden Falls
1415 Mississippi River Blvd. S. | St. Paul, MN 55116

With plenty of trails, fishing and a scenic picnic area, Hidden Falls stands out for its views of the river bluffs and connection to Mississippi River Boulevard parkway. Of course, you can forget the beauty of the park’s namesake, the small spring-fed waterfall located in the heart of the park.

Moir Park

(Credit: CBS)

No. 2: Moir Park

City Of Bloomington Website – Moir Park
W. 104th St. And Morgan Ave. S. | Bloomington, MN 55431

Moir Park, which sits along nine-mile creek, has playgrounds, two picnic shelters, a disc golf course and areas for playing softball and volleyball. It is noted for its many picnic table locations around the trails and serene creek area.

Minnehaha Falls

(Credit: CBS)

No. 3: Minnehaha Falls

Minneapolis Parks Website – Minnehaha Falls
4801 S. Minnehaha Park Dr. | Minneapolis, MN 55417

This picnic spot has been a favorite to Twin Cities’ residents and tourists alike. The landmark 53-foot waterfall is roaring and you can check out the beauty along the limestone bluffs and wooded trails along the Mississippi River. It has all the great amenities of most picnic spots, but also has the added addition of an off-leash dog park, concessions area and live concerts in the park’s band shell.

Hyland Play Area

Credit: Three Rivers Park District

No. 4: Hyland Park

Three Rivers Park District Website – Hyland Park
10145 Bush Lake Rd. | Bloomington, MN 55438

This is a park known for its extensive recreation facilities year round, nature programs and huge playground for kids. Besides the picnic areas all around the lake, it also boasts a group campsite and canoe and paddle boat rentals on the lake. We dare you not to find a new picnic table to sit at each time you come here!

Lake Calhoun

(Credit: Explore Minnesota Tourism)

No. 5: Chain of Lakes

Minneapolis Parks Website
Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake | Various Locations Minneapolis

Popular with runners, sailors and pretty much everyone looking for a picturesque place to plunk their picnic basket, the Twin Cities Chain of Lakes is the Mecca of all things outdoors in the heart of the Twin Cities. So much so, that we had to combine them into one entry here. Between Lake Harriet’s rose garden, Lake Calhoun view of city and the miles and miles of paved trails around all of them, you will discover the relaxing way to do urban living and dining.

Loring Greenway

(Credit: CBS)

No. 6: Loring Greenway

Loring Greenway Association Website
Between 12th and 13th St. S. and Nicollet Mall | Minneapolis, MN 55403

This small strip of land is a hidden green gem amongst the tall downtown skyscrapers. It spans from Nicollet Mall towards Loring Park and recently underwent a $1.1 million renovation that makes it feel cleaner and safer. If you work or live downtown, this is the place to get away from it all.

Como Park

(Credit: CBS)

No. 7: Como Park

Como Park Website
1225 Estabrook Dr. | St. Paul, MN 55103

When we say this place really has everything, we really mean it: a golf course, a lake, ponds, sport fields, trails, pavilions, pools and paddle boats. Of course you can’t forget about the places that make Como Park stand apart from the rest: Majorie McNeely Conservatory, Como Town Amusement Park, and of course the zoo. It’s the perfect place to grill some hot dogs and stay busy all summer long.

Centennial Lakes

(Credit: CBS)

No. 8: Centennial Lakes

Centennial Lakes Website
7499 France Ave. S.| Edina, MN 55435

Right in the hub of Edina, this 24-acre park is landscaped to perfection. Follow the winding paths around the 10-acre lake and enjoy a luxurious lunch while sitting on the lawn, picnic tables or swinging benches. You can rent paddle boats, play on the putting course or croquet and lawn bowling courts, or just watch model boating races.

Gale Woods Farm

(Credit: Three Rivers Park District)

No. 9: Gale Woods Farms

Three Rivers Park Website – Gale Woods Farm
7210 County Road 110 W. | Minnetrista, MN 55364

You are welcomed to a simpler time when you arrive at Gale Woods Farms. After you enjoy your picnic, checkout the views and sweeping scenery of Whaletail Lake and nearby prairies. Forgot food? Gale Woods is a real, working farm and they sell meats, produce and other goods grown or raised right on location, so you are sure to keep your hunger satisfied. Remember to see all the farm animals and explore the orchards too.

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

(Credit: Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center)

No. 10: Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carpenter Nature Center Website
12805 St. Croix Trail S. | Hastings, MN 55033

Right on the charming St. Croix River, the Carpenter Nature Center has wooded ravines, rolling prairies and an apple orchard. You can enjoy sandwiches near the dock or miles of hiking trails, many of which are paved to accommodate those with disabilities. The area is more than ideal for picnics — some even get married overlooking the area.

-Written By: Alison Lorge, WCCO

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