Early summer is a time to celebrate the achievements of recent graduates and wish them well on their new journeys. But where is the best place to host a get-together for friends and family? Minnesota boasts many options for celebrations large and small, indoor and outdoor, extravagant and budget-friendly. Here are just a few of the top picks for a party to remember.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive
St. Paul, MN 55103
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory provides a variety of graduation party location options for your size and budget. For a small, relaxed celebration, try an informal gathering on public park grounds, which makes for a beautiful, yet inexpensive option. For a larger group still looking for a casual outdoor party, rent out a Como Zoo picnic shelter. Lancer Catering, the exclusive caterer for the zoo, can cook up your group anything from burgers to fajitas. For something more elaborate and formal, try the Lakeside Pavilion which has a full-service banquet area and gorgeous surroundings.
Franconia Sculpture Park
29836 St. Croix Trail
Franconia, MN 55074
For the art-loving grad, consider an outdoor gathering among the more than 95 contemporary sculptures found at Franconia Sculpture Park. Located 45 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities, Franconia Sculpture Park is free and open to the public every day of the year. This 20-acre park does have a picnic area, but is first come, first serve. Party-goers will enjoy walking around the conversation-provoking pieces of art and kids will love the colorful and unique playground area which is its own work of art.
7801 County Road 101
Maple Grove, MN 55311
Larger, more formal graduation parties will love Rush Creek as the backdrop for their celebration. The elegant ballroom can accommodate up to 350 guests and includes a terrace that overlooks the Maple Grove golf course. Smaller-scale rooms are also available within the clubhouse. The delicious catering options, from appetizers to buffets to formal dinners, will leave your guests raving.
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Loring Pasta Bar
327 14th Ave. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Hosting a grad party at Loring Pasta Bar will bring a funky and festive vibe to your celebration. The unique and eclectic décor within this Dinkytown favorite expands throughout the private party areas called the Red Room and West Mezzanine, both of which hold up to 80 guests. Renting out the Sky Bar area as well accommodates up to 125 guests. The menu options include spicy tuna sushi rolls, balsamic beef skewers, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and the popular artichoke ramekin. Plus, planning an indoor celebration means the good times won’t be dampened by wet weather.
Wayzata Bay Charters
Head out on the waters of Lake Minnetonka to host a party for your grad. With choices of two, three and four-hour cruises, groups of up to 60 people will enjoy sailing the 125-miles of scenic shoreline on Wayzata Bay Charters. Guests can dine on food as simple as fruit and cheese trays to full-scale taco bars to plated dinners of steak and salmon. Full bars, casino games, live bands, DJs and flat-screen televisions are also available. There is even a Hawaiian-themed party option, complete with leis, souvenier pineapple glasses and Hawaiian music.
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Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.