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Best Summer Outdoor Music Festivals In The Twin Cities

With summer finally on the horizon, it's time to get outside after being cooped up all winter long! The sun is out, the weather is gorgeous and it's time to put those flip-flops on and enjoy the Twin Cities. What better thing to do in this beautiful weather than spend some time in the park listening to music? The Twin Cities is teeming with musicians and local parks hosting outdoor music events. So, grab your coolers and lawn chairs and head out to the parks! This is a list of the best places to attend an outdoor concert.

Como Pavilion
Como Pavilion (credit: Colleen McGuire)

Music in the Parks

Various locations

Como Lakeside Pavilion
1360 N. Lexington Parkway
St. Paul, MN
Directory Listing

Phalen Park Amphitheater
1530 Phalen Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55106

Rice Park
109 West 4th Street
St. Paul, MN 55102
651-266-6400 ‎

Mears Park
221 East 5th Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
Directory Listing

Now until Sept. 4
Time: Days and times vary
Cost: Free, except at Como Lakeside Pavilion on Thurs., Fri., and Sat. evenings in July and August

Once again, Saint Paul is bringing out the bands for all the locals to see! Four of the city's biggest parks are putting on a show this summer with local acts that can't be missed. Como Lakeside Pavilion, located off North Lexington Parkway, will provide listeners a taste of all different kinds of music including the Minneapolis Police Swing Band and Como Pops Ensemble. With its short distance from Black Bear Crossings, food vendors will be set up nightly. All concerts are free at this venue, except for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in the months of July and August. Resting on the shores of Lake Phalen, the Phalen Park Amphitheater is a beautiful escape for those wanting to experience music at an open-air stage. Located on the north end of the lake, visitors can partake in all varieties of music at this amphitheater throughout the summer. Rice Park is another great location for outdoor music this summer. Focusing on the blues and jazz arena, Rice Park will have concerts in the early afternoons on most Mondays. Finally, Mears Park, also boasting a covered bandshell, will also give listeners a taste of blues and jazz in the early afternoons on most Tuesdays. All the events are free except for certain dates. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the Music in the Parks website.

6/3 Family, Kids & Pets - Lake Harriet Bandshell Concert Series

2011 Concert Series at Lake Harriet

4135 West Lake Harriet Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55419

Date: Now until June 30
Time: M-Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (unless otherwise scheduled)
Cost: Free

Underneath the iconic and award-winning Band Shell at Lake Harriet, artists from all walks of music take the stage for this summer's 2011 concert series. From big band and folk to rock and bluegrass, this year's lineup is sure to please the palette of any musical liking. Along with bands there will also be solo acts, chorale ensembles and full orchestras. Come enjoy all facets of music under the trees while the sun sets over beautiful Lake Harriet. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the 2011 Concert Series at Lake Harriet website.

Bryant Square Park
(credit: Minneapolis Park & Recreation)

Bryant Square Park

3101 Bryant Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Directory Listing

Date: Now until Aug 18 (Every Tuesday and Thursday)
Time: 7 p.m. (unless otherwise listed)
Cost: Free

As part of this summer's Music and Movies in the Park special, Bryant Square Park will once again be hosting music in its nearly one-block facility. Every Tuesday and Thursday until August, Bryant Square Park will showcase acts from big band and swing to solo acts and folk music. A family friendly establishment, this park offers recreation and concert entertainment for all ages. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the Music and Movies in the Park website.

Twin Cities Jazz Festival
(credit: Twin Cities Jazz Festival)

Twin Cities Jazz Fest at Mears Park

221 East 5th Street
St. Paul, MN
Directory Listing

Date: June 23 – 25
Time: Begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday
Begins at 12:30 p.m. on Friday
Begins at 12:00 p.m. Saturday
Cost: Free

Noted as the Twin Cities largest jazz festival, Mears Park proudly hosts the 13th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Fest in St. Paul. Running from Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, dozens of jazz enthusiasts will descend upon the beautiful park under the covered bandshell. This free, three-day, three stage event offers visitors a taste of the best local and regional jazz artists. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the Twin Cities Jazz Festival website.

Warped Tour
Photo Credit: Emily Buss

Warped Tour 2011 at Canterbury Park

1100 Canterbury Road
Shakopee, MN 55379
Directory Listing

Date: July 10
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Cost: $33.75 plus tax

For all you punk rock and alternative rock fans, it's time to get warped once again. For the past 16 years, Warped Tour has put together the best in punk rock, alt rock, pop and metalcore bands and thrown them together for one crazy day of mayhem. Located on the grounds of Canterbury Park, this 28-acre site will accommodate more than 100 bands on eight stages throughout the day. Some of the acts headlining this year's Warped Tour is pop-punk favorites Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, and 3OH!3, and hardcore rockers Against Me, D.R.U.G.S and The Devil Wears Prada. If moshing, stage diving and crowd surfing are on your to-do list, don't miss the Minnesota stop of Warped Tour. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the Warped Tour website.

Centennial Lakes
(Credit: CBS)

Centennial Lakes Family Music in the Park

7499 France Avenue South
Edina, MN 55435
Directory Listing

Date: Early June until August
Time: Noon
Cost: Free

For families with young children, it may seem though to find something to do with them during the summer months. Instead of being cooped up at home or doing another boring activity, why not bring them to the Centennial Lakes Family Music in the Park event? Hosting a variety of kid and parent-friendly music events, the park offers an escape for families looking to have wholesome fun for cheap! Surrounded by the absolutely breathtaking park that is Centennial Lakes, visitors can relish in the beauty and music of the Maetzold Amphitheater. And, if they can stay up a little later, the park even offers movies outdoors. All events are free and dates and times vary. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the Centennial Lakes website.

Minneapolis Music and Movies in the Parks
(credit: Minneapolis Music and Movies in the Parks)

Minnehaha Falls Park

4801 South Minnehaha Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Directory Listing

Date: June 1 – Sept 5
Time: 7 p.m. (unless otherwise listed)
Cost: Free

Also part of this summer's Minneapolis Music and Movies special, bands of varying avenues of music will take the stage at Minnehaha Falls Park. A scenic view, overlooking the Mississippi River, this 193-acrepark is an ideal getaway for families, couples and all locals to take in some music. Each week, this park will offer listeners performances in bluegrass, jazz, choral ensembles and many other facets of musicianship. This free event is part of the 200+ concerts going in throughout the metro. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the Music and Movies in the Parks website.

Alive After 5 at Peavey Plaza

Land O' Lakes Presents Tunes at Noon and Alive After 5 at Peavey Plaza

1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Date: Now until June 24; M–F
Time: 5–9 p.m.
Cost: Free

It's summer in the city and it's time to enjoy downtown the way it is meant to be, with outdoor concerts! Sponsored by Land 'O Lakes, the Summer in the City outdoor concert series brings together rock, pop, swing and blues for a summer downtown you won't soon forget. Two separate music concerts will give locals the opportunity to get out in the city twice as much and enjoy twice the music! First, Tunes at Noon at Peavey Plaza, a 20-year lunchtime tradition in the summer, takes place each day during the workweek. So, grab your sack lunch and head outside to enjoy the outdoors and music at its finest. During the evening, take a break from rush hour and relax underneath the city buildings with great music. Alive After 5 is a nighttime hot spot for the past 20 years and is a great spot to meet friends, have a drink and listen to area singers like G.B. Leighton and Lynhurst. For more information, complete lineup and set times, visit the website.

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