12 Things to Do in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Robert Wilson


Brooklyn Park is a city located north of Minneapolis in Hennepin County, Minnesota. With a population of over 79,000, Brooklyn Park has plenty to offer visitors and residents alike. From parks and trails to museums and entertainment, Brooklyn Park has something for everyone.

This article will highlight 12 of the top things to do in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Whether you’re a local looking for a new adventure or a traveler curious about what the city has to offer, these activities are sure to provide entertainment for the whole family and create lasting memories.

1.Visit the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is one of Brooklyn Park’s most iconic attractions. It runs from mid-August through late September every year and spans over 40 acres. When you enter the shire, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the 16th century – complete with knights on horses, musicians and dancers, magicians, artisans, and period clothing.

Immerse yourself in traditional Renaissance activities like glass blowing, axe throwing, archery, and jousting. Pick up handmade items at one of the 200+ artisan boutiques or sit for a spell to watch acrobatic shows and performances. The interactive play and themed weekends that pay homage to well-known tales and storylines make the Renaissance Festival a can’t-miss attraction.

Make sure to catch the jousting tournaments, where knights on horseback compete to be crowned champion. Sample hearty fare like cheese curds, roasted turkey legs, meat pies, and more from the variety of food vendors on-site.

Or save room for dessert by swinging by a vendor for a rich chocolate or cinnamon walnut treat. With so much to see and do, plan to spend the full day exploring all of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival’s offerings.

2.Relax at Brookview Park & Golf Course

One of Brooklyn Park’s best kept secrets is the manicured greens and calming scenery of Brookview Park & Golf Course. This park grounds span 147 acres, offering visitors a chance to unwind by strolling along tree-lined trails or playing a relaxed round of golf on an 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Joel Goldstrand.

Even if you don’t golf, the grounds still make for a pleasant outing with a picnic alongside one of the shimmering ponds. Visitors also delight in the lush practice greens and well-marked tee boxes perfect for working on your swing.

After working up an appetite exploring Brookview Park, refuel at the on-site clubhouse restaurant while taking in panoramic views of the course. The fairways café is known for its classic grill fare as well as burgers and wraps you can take to-go after a long day of being active in the park. With its expansive green space and quiet atmosphere, Brookview Park & Golf Course is the perfect place to steal away for an afternoon when you want to relax in Brooklyn Park.

2.Tour Historic Sites

Though Brooklyn Park itself isn’t very old, dating back to around 1900, it still has a number of fascinating historic sites that provide a glimpse into the area’s past. Two not-to-miss historic attractions include the Earle Brown Heritage Center and the Hennepin History Museum.

The Earle Brown Heritage Center occupies an historic 100-year-old farmstead, including a farmhouse built in 1898. Today, the site operates as an open-air museum and event venue. Tour the traditional farm buildings and exhibits displaying what life was like for early 20th century farming families. The site also hosts public programs and community events throughout the year.

Over at the Hennepin History Museum, visitors can explore rotating and permanent exhibits covering various aspects of Hennepin County’s history, from agriculture and industry innovations to local traditions and cultures. Some of the museum’s previous popular exhibits have covered prohibition and mob activity during the roaring 1920s era in Minneapolis. Prepare to leave the Hennepin History Museum with a deeper understanding of Brooklyn Park’s role in the greater region.

4.See a Show at ZPlex

When you’re looking for a memorable night out with entertainment, good food, and drinks, look no further than ZPlex. This multi-use event center can accommodate up to 1,500 guests for concerts, corporate events, and more. The complex houses three unique venues, including a concert hall hosting A-list musical acts of all genres, a two-story sports bar and restaurant dishing out classic American fare, and an upscale bowling alley.

Catch national touring artists like Gin Blossoms, STYX, and 3 Doors Down performing on the concert hall’s state-of-the-art stage. Or challenge friends to a bowling competition on one of the upscale lanes outfitted withmodern scoring systems.

Groups can even reserve VIP bowling lanes with comfortable lounge seating. All ages can find dynamic entertainment at ZPlex’s venues. Conveniently located right off Highway 169 and Brooklyn Blvd, ZPlex offers premier entertainment just minutes from downtown.

5.Pedal Along Rush Creek Regional Trail

Stretching nearly 9 miles across Brooklyn Park, Rush Creek Regional Trail takes cyclists, walkers, and runners past striking landscapes in the city. As one of the top attractions for outdoor enthusiasts, this scenic trail crosses wetlands and woods before circling back towards sports complexes and residential neighborhoods. Along the way, stop to enjoy views of the creek, flowering trees and plants, and even wildlife sightings.

The paved pathway also connects multiple parks like Palmer Lake and Rush Creek Nature Area—perfect places to rest or have a picnic. And with attractions like the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center, Club West Golf Course, athletic fields, and playgrounds lining the route, you’re never far from other popular spots around the city.

Even in cold Minnesota winters, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and fat tire bikers frequent Rush Creek Regional Trail given its plowed, wide track. Whether you’re looking to log miles or simply enjoy nature at a relaxed pace, Rush Creek Regional Trail offers the ideal activity.

6.Play a Round at Edinburgh USA Golf Course

Widely considered one of the top municipal golf courses in the entire state, Edinburgh USA Golf Course charms golfers with its Scottish links-style design crafted by renowned architect Richard Mandell. From undulating terrain and fiendish bunkers to stone bridges crossing the Shingle Creek, Edinburgh USA authentically recreates the feel of legendary Scottish courses.

Players particularly praise the dramatic elevation changes, immaculate playing surfaces, and incorporation of wetland areas over Edinburgh’s 18 championship holes stretching nearly 7000 yards from the tips. While most challenging for low handicap players, forward tee boxes welcome beginners as they gain confidence with their irons and woods.

When you’ve worked up a thirst, stop for a refreshment at the expansive clubhouse also boasting delicious fare at the Grille Room restaurant. Conveniently located in Brooklyn Park right near Maple Grove, Edinburgh USA Golf Course offers an unforgettable round where the Scottish game thrives in Minnesota.

7.Explore the Shingle Creek Crossing

Near Rush Creek Regional Trail lies a more secluded natural retreat at Shingle Creek Crossing. As part of the Shingle Creek regional watershed, this ecological corridor encompasses nearly 200 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and prairieland. A system of mowed trails guides visitors through restored native habitats like wet and dry prairie where black-eyed Susans, blazing stars, and coneflowers flourish.

Pause at one of the creek overlooks or make your way to an observation deck with spotting scopes for potential glimpses of herons, songbirds, waterfowl, and other species that frequent the area. Interpretive signs detail wildlife, plant species, and the larger history of the Shingle Creek Crossing spanning over 6000 years. Benches tucked along trails invite quiet contemplation surrounded entirely by nature.

Through preservation efforts led by the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission, the Shingle Creek Crossing remains an environmental treasure right in the heart of Brooklyn Park.

8.Test Your Sea Legs at Long Lake

Sailors, kayakers, canoers, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts all gather at Long Lake Regional Park where water recreation thrives during Minneapolis summers. Boasting 320 acres and a sprawling lake spanning over 200 acres, Long Lake Regional Park hosted sailing events during the summer Olympics. Today, community members and visitors delight in breezy afternoons paddling Lightning sailboats, Sunfish sailboats or kayaks and canoes available from the marina and sail school.

Sign up for beginner sailing lessons or simply pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on tables overlooking the lake. Walking trails like the Lake Trail and Eagle Lake Link Trail skirt alongside the shores, revealing prime lookout spots for waterfowl like loons, geese, herons and songbirds flitting through the trees.

In addition to sailing, Long Lake stays lively all season thanks to amenities like volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and fishing piers extending into deeper waters. Just 10 miles away from downtown Minneapolis off West River Road, Long Lake Regional Park provides the ideal summer water recreation escape right in Brooklyn Park.

9.Grab Classic Comfort Food at Brooklyn Park American Legion

Since 1946, the Brooklyn Park American Legion has served as a beloved neighborhood gathering place where the community comes together for good eats, drinks, and camaraderie. Though a members-only establishment affiliated with local American Legion Post 493, the Legion Hall grants dining access to all hungry patrons ready to feast on their legendary fried chicken. Held every Tuesday night, the weekly fried chicken buffet draws crowds who praise the perfectly seasoned and crispy fried chicken along with traditional sides like mashed potatoes, vegetables, coleslaw, rolls and cake.

Arrive with an appetite, as Legion Hall portions tend to be bountiful and filling. Snag a spot at one of the shared picnic tables to meet fellow north side locals and swap stories over piping hot platters overflowing with juicy fried chicken.

Apart from Tuesdays, casual bar fare like burgers, wings, and appetizers pair nicely with ice-cold beers on tap. For a heaping spread of comfort food staples surrounded by Brooklyn Park locals and history, American Legion offers an irresistible homestyle dinner.

10.Catch a Show at Performing Arts Magnet School

Those looking for affordable arts performances need look no further than the Performing Arts Magnet School located right off West Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn Park. This public magnet school serves nearly 800 students from kindergarten through 8th grade with specialized curriculum blending rigorous core academics and intensive study within creative disciplines like dance, music, theater, and visual media arts.

Students regularly showcase their talents through musical theater productions, instrument and choir concerts, dance recitals and art displays—all open to the public for a modest fee or donation.

Upcoming events and performances cover popular Broadway shows like Mary Poppins and Mulan Jr. as well as cultural celebrations through dance and song. Talented Magnet School students have participated as featured performers at local venues like Target Field, U.S. Bank Stadium, and The Orpheum Theatre.

Support young artistic talent while enjoying impressive choreography, soaring arias, heartfelt monologues and vibrant mixed media canvases showcasing each child’s unique creative gifts nurtured at the Performing Arts Magnet School.

11.Journey Back in Time at Minnesota Vikings Museum

Diehard Minnesota Vikings fans need only travel a few miles from downtown Minneapolis to indulge their purple pride at the Minnesota Vikings Museum in Brooklyn Park. Part of the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center where the Vikings franchise trains, the museum chronicles the team’s 60-year history with interactive exhibits and extensive collections of artifacts and memorabilia.

Visitors gush over the extensive display of footballs, jerseys, and equipment used by Vikings legends like Fran Tarkenton, Adrian Peterson, and Cris Carter as well as by current stars like Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter, and Kirk Cousins.

Engrossing exhibits detail standout moments like Minnesota’s first Super Bowl run during the 1969-70 NFL season along with fan traditions like the iconic “Skol” chant done during big games at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Young fans smile ear to ear trying on pads and helmets to feel like real NFL players while parents reminisce over nostalgic photos and plays from seasons past. After seeing this awe-inspiring collection documenting Vikings history, locals leave with an even stronger sense of Minnesota pride.

12.Spend a Day Shopping at Maple Grove Crossing


Located right off Highway 81, Maple Grove Crossing serves as a premier shopping destination in Brooklyn Park conveniently anchored by retail giants like Target, Kohls, HomeGoods, ULTA Beauty and popular specialty stores.

Trendy clothing boutiques like Justice, American Eagle, and rue21 allow teens and young adults to revamp their wardrobes with the latest styles each season while adults appreciate staples found at Old Navy, DSW, and Carter’s OshKosh B’gosh.

For home items, browse goods at Pier 1, At Home, Homesense and Kirkland’s featuring an eclectic mix of textiles, cookware, furnishings, and decorative pieces. Take a break from shopping to grab a quick bite at eateries like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Noodles & Company, Starbucks, and Panera Bread—all ideal when you need a tasty lunch but don’t want to detract too much time from crossing names off your shopping list! With its impressive range of over 50 stores and restaurants, Maple Grove Crossing makes it easy to check errands and retail therapy off your to-do list in one fell swoop.

Conclusion


From rich history and interactive museums to scenic nature trails and water recreation through dynamic performing arts and incredible shopping, Brooklyn Park offers visitors endless avenues for adventure and fun with family and friends.

Immersing yourself in beloved traditions like feasting during the annual Renaissance Festival or cheering on the Vikings football team allows you to better understand what shapes Minnesota pride and culture. For outdoor enthusiasts, regional parks and watershed trails deliver access to thriving wildlife and stunning scenery that persists even as the city rapidly expands.

And with vibrant entertainment hubs like ZPlex and excellent local eateries and shops, Brooklyn Park retains its small-town charm while continuing to grow as a Minneapolis metro destination. Whether relishing simple pleasures like fried chicken dinners or embarking on ambitious sailing lessons, Brooklyn Park’s many attractions promise dynamic memories for all.

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