12 Things to Do in Coon Rapids, Minnesota

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Coon Rapids is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do. From scenic parks and trails to unique museums and attractions, Coon Rapids offers year-round fun for visitors of all ages and interests.

This article highlights 12 of the top things to do in Coon Rapids, providing a handy guide for first-time visitors and longtime residents alike. We’ll cover popular city parks, family-friendly activities, cultural experiences and more as we explore this dynamic community along the Mississippi River. With scenic riverfront views, extensive recreation opportunities and vibrant arts and shopping districts, it’s easy to see why Coon Rapids has something for everyone.

So whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, kid-friendly museums or interesting local history, read on for 12 of the best ways to experience Coon Rapids, MN!

1.Explore the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

As the largest park in the Three Rivers Park District system, Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is a must-visit destination in the city. Spanning over 800 acres, this scenic park overlooks the Coon Rapids Dam spanning the Mississippi River.

Visitors can enjoy miles of walking and biking trails that meander through peaceful prairie lands and along the river. The park also encompasses picnic areas, a popular dog park and the Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center with educational displays on the local watershed.

Walk across the majestic dam itself for scenic views or try your hand at fishing as massive carp and catfish gather below the lock and dam structures. With abundant recreational opportunities in a beautiful natural setting, you’ll want to spend a full afternoon exploring the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

2.Learn at the Anoka County History Center

For a dose of local history and culture, make a stop at the Anoka County History Center in downtown Coon Rapids. This museum brings the county’s rich history to life through creative galleries focused on different periods and themes.

Younger visitors will love the hands-on children’s area, while the rotating exhibits showcase interesting aspects of Anoka County’s past. From Native American tools and artifacts to a recreated mercantile store from the 1800s, you’ll gain new insight into the communities and people that shaped this area over time.

Don’t miss the Wick House – an authentic Victorian-style home filled with period decorations and furnishings. Between the educational displays and unique historic house museum, the Anoka County History Center has something to pique every interest.

3.Play Mini-Golf at Ruster’s Park

For family-friendly fun, head to Ruster’s Park – home to one of the top mini-golf courses in the metro area. With two creative 18-hole courses spanning a sprawling, picturesque landscape, Ruster’s offers top-notch mini golfing for all skill levels.

Wind your way past waterfalls, caves and ponds as you putt your way through the engaging courses. You can also practice your swing at the on-site batting cages or driving range before enjoying a tasty meal at the Full Swing Grill. With affordable prices and endless entertainment the whole family can enjoy, Ruster’s Park is a premier destination when visiting Coon Rapids.

4.Shop Local at Riverdale Village

The vibrant Riverdale Village shopping district offers the perfect break for retail therapy or an afternoon pick-me-up. Spanning 60+ acres with over 60 shops, restaurants and services, the open-air Riverdale Village has options for every interest and craving.

Browse cute home décor boutiques, sample local fudge and chocolate confections or grab a coffee from one of the area cafes. With sizeable anchors like HomeGoods, Michaels and Marshalls, you’ll also find plenty of major national retailers.

After shopping, refuel at popular restaurants like Chipotle, Panera Bread orxbbRaising Cane’s Chicken Fingers before catching a show at nearby Riverdale Cinema. With its bright, welcoming atmosphere and fabulous mix of shops and dining, Riverdale Village is a must-visit local shopping hub in Coon Rapids.

5.See Unique Species at Minnesota Herpetological Society

Calling all reptile and amphibian lovers – the Minnesota Herpetological Society’s public exhibit in Coon Rapids is a one-of-a-kind attraction you won’t want to miss. As the only herpetological society with a public exhibit in the state, this educational facility gives visitors the special chance to get up close with fascinating frogs, snakes, turtles and more.

Friendly staff and trained volunteers provide engaging information on each featured cold-blooded species in various displays and terrariums. Learn about the habitats, behaviors and conservation efforts vital to their survival as you admire these intriguing creatures.

With new species continually acquired for the exhibit, you’re bound to discover amazing amphibians and reptiles you’ve never seen before on each visit to the Minnesota Herpetological Society.

6.Catch a Show at Coon Rapids Civic Center

As one of Minnesota’s newer event venues, the Coon Rapids Civic Center brings stellar entertainment options like concerts, plays and comedy shows right to the heart of the community. The modern 800-seat performing arts theatre has welcomed major headlining acts since opening in 2012 while also hosting various local theatre, dance and music performances.

For superstar power, check the calendar for the latest concert announcements featuring nationally-touring musicians of all genres. Prefer the intimacy of community theatre or an inspiring lecture?

You’ll find a vibrant mix of educational and cultural events on the theater’s eclectic calendar as well. With world-class acoustics, amenities and ambiance, the Coon Rapids Civic Center provides a premier space to enjoy outstanding live entertainment just minutes from home.

7.Play Pinball at Coon Pinball Company

For offbeat entertainment, check out the Coon Pinball Company – an awesome little arcade housing over two dozen classic pinball machines. As Minnesota’s first pinball-exclusive venue, Coon Pinball brings the nostalgia of old-school arcade fun back to life through its rotating selection of restored pinball games.

Test your reflexes on machines from the 1970s to 2000s with heroes like Spiderman, Star Wars characters and The Simpsons featured across intricate themed machines. Skilled regulars compete for high scores as lively lights, sounds and action create an energetic atmosphere reminiscent of pinball’s heyday.

Affordable hourly pricing allows for epic all-day gaming sessions with the option to reserve machines for parties and events. With arcade fun for all ages and skill levels, the Coon Pinball Company offers a delightful dose of retro entertainment in Coon Rapids.

8.Hike or Bike Along the Mississippi River

Paralleling the city’s entire eastern border, the mighty Mississippi River provides endless scenic recreation through riverside trails and parks. Grab your walking shoes, bike or cross-country skis to enjoy miles of pathways including the scenic Coon Rapids Dam Trail.

Wind through tranquil wooded sections, pause at scenic overlooks and spot local wildlife as you traverse through and between riverfront parks and natural areas.

Link up to even more regional trails via the iconic Anoka County Rum River Trail spanning from Coon Rapids Dam through St. Francis. With options for fitness enthusiasts and leisurely explorers alike, a journey along the Mississippi River captures the area’s natural beauty while powering outdoor adventures.

9.Find Artisan Gifts at Creative Crossings Cooperative

Local artists and crafters sell their unique handmade creations direct to the public at Creative Crossings Cooperative – an eclectic arts hub housed in a former church. Featuring the wares of 50+ resident artisans, this vibrant shop brings jewelry, pottery, paintings, glasswork, textiles and more together under one roof.

Chat with the talented consigners as you browse inspiration for truly one-of-a-kind gifts and home wares you won’t find anywhere else. Creative Crossings also hosts regular community painting events, craft workshops and special shopping nights showcasing different resident artists. Support local business while finding that perfect artisan creation by spending an afternoon in this charming Coon Rapids boutique.

10.Play Frisbee Golf at Sand Creek Park

For affordable recreation and fresh air, hit the frisbee golf course at Coon Rapids’ scenic Sand Creek Park. Spanning over 250 acres of woodlands, wetlands and prairie, Sand Creek offers visitors over 5 miles of multi-use trails to hike, run or cross-country ski based on the season.

Bring your own disc or rent from the park office to play a round on the creatively-designed 18-hole course as it winds through mature oaks and tricky terrain. With picnic areas and playgrounds also on-site, you can easily make an entire day enjoying Sand Creek Park’s natural splendor while sharpening your frisbee golf skills.

11.Tour Historic Roundhouse Brewery

Beer lovers can sip craft brews in a distinctive setting at Roundhouse Brewery – an artisan microbrewery housed in a restored 1880s locomotive repair shop once used by the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. Savor creative house-made brews like the Smokey Robinson smoked lager or fruity Windjammer blonde ale in the scenic taproom situated beside the historic railway turntable.

Learn about the rich rail history of the building through displayed artifacts as you sample award-winning ales and lagers on tap. Beyond the beer, you can feel good knowing Roundhouse focuses sustainability efforts from solar paneling to repurposing ingredients from bakeries or coffee shops. For an exceptionally crafted pint in a landmark Coon Rapids structure, make the short trip to Roundhouse Brewery.

12.Find Family Fun at Al Flyer’s Air Sports

Take playtime to new heights – literally – at Al Flyer’s Air Sports! This hugely popular trampoline park offers endless bouncing fun across interconnected trampoline surfaces, tumble tracks, slack lines, basketball hoops and more aerial features.

Little jumpers can stay safe in the separate toddler area while daredevils play a friendly game of trampoline dodgeball or practice tricks into the expansive foam pits.

With special glow-in-the-dark jumping nights, fitness classes, birthday party rooms and weekday jump specials, the entertainment stays fresh and affordable. Burn tons of energy or simply have a blast while defying gravity at Al Flyer’s fantastic indoor trampoline playground.

Conclusion

This roundup presents 12 exceptional ways to experience the very best of Coon Rapids, Minnesota. From scenic riverfront parklands to unique museums, shops and attractions, Coon Rapids’ vibrant mix of recreation and entertainment will delight visitors of all interests for a day, weekend or longer stay.

So whether you opt to play 18 exciting holes of mini golf, catch a national act at the Civic Center or discover artisan gifts galore, these highlights offer a showcase for premier destinations that have made Coon Rapids a thriving Twin Cities community.

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