Grand Meander on Grand Avenue in St. Paul – Saturday, December 1st

Grand Meander is an annual opportunity to stroll along Grand Avenue in St. Paul and enjoy the communal spirit of the holidays.

Pick out your Christmas tree, have breakfast with Santa, hear carolers meander from store to store, and hop on a classic trolley and ride the 20-block length of Grand Ave – See more at:

Enjoy breakfast with Santa, hear carolers meander from store to store, hop on the trolley for a free ride, and more!

It’s this Saturday, December 1st from 8:30 am – 5 pm.

The North Pole Express at the Union Depot

This recent snow has us thinking it’s December and although we don’t want to rush things, we know it will be here soon.  If you love trains the The North Pole Express at the Union Depot is something you’ll want to put on your list and get spots reserved.  It takes place November 29-December 2nd.  There’s a great video and more information about this event here.   Tickets can also be purchased in advance here.  It’s not a long ride but it will be a memorable one for the kids.

The North Pole Express

Children and trains go together during the Holiday Season like colorful lights, brightly iced cookies, festively wrapped gifts, family and friends. Please join the nonprofit Friends of the 261 annual journey on the North Pole Express.

The North Pole Express is our group’s largest yearly fundraiser enabling us to continue to operate and maintain the star of the show the Milwaukee Road #261 steam locomotive, built in 1944, and experience a ride in one of our of historic rail cars.

Our show is brought to you by our excited ALL volunteer crew, Santa and his elves that promises to make this a memorable Holiday Tradition.

Climb aboard this holiday train from the past that includes the North Pole and a visit from Santa himself! Avoid the trouble of setting up your old train set around the tree this year and let us provide you with a REAL steam train for the holidays.

Girls, Science, and Technology at the Science Museum of Minnesota – 4 Free Child Admissions with Each Paid Adult

Saturday, November 10th is the day for for Girls, Science, and Technology at the Science Museum of Minnesota, a day for girls to explore and learn about science. The event takes place from 10 am – 4 pm AND you can get a coupon via Fox 9 for four free child exhibit admissions with each paid adult. Fill out this form or text SCIENCE to 25899 to get your coupon.

Tomorrow’s scientists start today
Join Fox 9 and prominent female scientists from around the state for this important community event. It’s a brilliant and fun opportunity for girls to be introduced to the exciting worlds of science and technology through hands-on demonstrations and activities.

Buy your tickets in advance
Avoid the lines and get right to the fun! This is a popular event so we highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Call the Science Museum’s Box Office at (651) 221-9444 to make your purchase and tickets will be emailed to you.

Four kids free with full-price adult admission
Admission to the event is included in museum admission. On November 10, get up to four kids free with full-price adult admission. Discount not available online.

Minnesota Museum of American Art

I discovered the new location of the Minnesota Museum of American Art while walking in downtown St. Paul on a sunny afternoon.  I’m excited for it to open up so I can plan a visit!  A great location, not far from the light rail.  The “M” will be free, no admission to get in which is nice.  The grand re-opening is set for December 2nd, exactly one month from today.  Put it on your calendar and read up on the specifics here. 

I wanted to share this now, because the “M” will be offering some great art classes.  Some may not be in the thrifty budget but others are quite reasonable and there’s always gift ideas for those hard to buy for friends and family.  Check out the class schedule here.  The youth and family classes will be updated later on so keep checking the website for those.





Twin Cities Birth & Baby Expo

Babies, Parenting and raising kids. The Twin Cities Birth & Baby Expo is the place to be on Saturday.  The Expo is from 9:30-3 in St. Paul.  A free event that includes:  Speakers, classes, special events, exhibits and more.  You can find more specifics here on the event website.

Sorting through all your options for pregnancy, birth, and parenting can be a big challenge!

That’s why, since 2009, the Twin Cities Birth and Baby Expo has been bringing together under one roof expert speakers, educational events, and plenty of exhibitors that offer healthy and empowering services and products every year. Join us to explore, learn, and celebrate the transformative experience of growing your family!

The Expo is packed with speakers, presentations, classes and other special events, making it more like a conference while still having the same number of high-quality exhibitors.

Special events will be scheduled to run all day long so no matter when you come, you are bound to learn something new!

Night Trains – Twin City Model Railroad Museum


This Saturday is the start of the Night Train Season.  The Twin City Model Railroad Museum hosts a night train event on Saturday evenings, beginning November 3th through February 23th (2018).  These are not trains you ride, instead it’s a huge city of miniature/model trains.  Admission is $15 for adults and kids 4 and under are free.  *They also have group/family rates, see more on that below.  This would be a great activity to have as a yearly tradition, with friends or family.   This year they have also added an advance ticket option and you can save a little on admission by planning ahead.

Night Trains season is a special Holidays tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum. Night Trains will begin on Saturday, November 3th and will runs every Saturday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 pm through the last Saturday in February (Saturday, February 24th, 2018).

Night Trains Season comes to museum layouts in a magical way, the lights are turned down, the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of vintage passenger trains. The make believe town of Matlin is buried in a blizzard, and throughout the Museum the layouts are adorned with miniature Christmas lights and decorations.


$15 for Individuals

Family and Group Rates (Groups of 3 or more, max 10) available: The first two visitors pay full price ($15) and each additional member of the group pays half price ($7.50). Examples: 4 Guests: $45, 6 Guests: $60, 10 Guests: $90. This equals a great savings for your family or group!

Children 4 and under FREE

Gangster Ghost Tour at the Landmark in St. Paul

Perhaps you’ve heard or researched some of the St Paul history?  The gangsters that made their home there?  If you want to learn a little more, check out the Gangster Ghost Tour at the Landmark in St. Paul.  It takes place October 24 with half hour time slots beginning at 6pm.  There’s a small admission for the tour, but $10 is a bargain to learn what took place in that fabulous building.  As they say… “if those walls could talk”….

October 24 – Wednesday
Gangster Ghost Tour
Building-wide; half hour slots starting at 6 pm; $10

Haven’t met a gangster you liked?  Come to Landmark Center and enjoy a tour throughout the building and visit rooms where gangsters were put to trial.  This is their chance for their ‘ghosts’ to tell the true story of what happened in St. Paul during the prohibition era. Call 651-292-3063 for ticket reservations.

Twin Cities Book Festival

The Twin Cities Book Festival takes place this Saturday (October 13), from 10-5 at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.  Our girls attended this event last year and really enjoyed it.  They had a chance to meet one of their favorite young adult authors and get his autograph.  It’s a free event, which if course makes it even more fun.  Take a look at the schedule of events here on the website.

Progress Center and Fine Arts Building–FREE!
All day book fair, readings and talks, children’s programs, used books & records, and more! Info here on the event website

The Twin Cities Book Festival—brought to you by Rain Taxi—is not only the largest and most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest, it is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community. This FREE, day-long festival brings people together to celebrate our vibrant literary culture. The festival welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, magazines, booksellers—all of whom connect over great books and conversations.

Highland Tower Open House – St. Paul

Highland Tower Open House - St. Paul

Get a higher perspective of fall in St. Paul.  This coming weekend you can climb the steps of the 127 foot Highland Tower in St. Paul.  Check out the fall colors from up high, and look at the city and neighborhoods below.  The tower is open just twice a year, once in the summer and once in the fall.  The tower is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, October 13-14, with free admission. It’s located in St. Paul, on the corner of Snelling and Ford Parkway.

(Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi) “

MN State Fair Favorites: Cheap and Free Fun!

MN State Fair Favorites: Cheap and Free Fun!

We love the MN State Fair! We started taking our kids when they were 4 months old, double stroller and all.  We usually go at least once if not twice, spending almost a whole day there.  Typically we don’t arrive when the gates open, we get there around 9 or 10 but we are there until it closes.

A couple years ago  we arrived in time to see the Milk Run take place, before many of the buildings were even open. We still stayed until almost close, and enjoyed a full day. Even spending an entire day there, we still didn’t have enough time to see everything.


The best part about the fair is that it’s for all ages and it can be a thrifty fun day.

One of our must do’s at the fair is to head to the Educational building.  Each year we get a free calendar with our picture on it. The Minnesota Education booth, just inside the big doors, has been giving out free photo calendars for many years.  It’s a simple and free process and the line moves fast.  A great free souvenir, of course we try to do that before anyone spills fair food on their clothes!

One of our favorite inexpensive foods that we seek out is the Apple Freezies.  These are great, especially on a hot day. With a bargain price of around $1.50, it won’t break the bank.  Located in the Horticulture building in the apple area.


There are countless places to stop and relax your tired feet.  A smaller unique venue is a seat inside in the Blue Moon Cafe. Not only do they have some unique food (this year the new thing is the Smoked Soft Serve Ice Cream), but they show old movies.  Yes old, like the black and white movies from the 1950’s era.  I recall one of the films was “Teenagers from Outer Space”.


Another place we almost always stop at is called Sausage by Cynthia, located next to the Current Radio Station.  Their portions are perfect for sharing and our kids like it, especially the wild rice sausage.


We don’t typically do rides, many people do, we just choose to skip out on the Midway.  (If your family does rides, then get the Minnesota State Fair Blue Bargain Book. The first coupon is to save $8 on a sheet of Midway or Kidway Tickets, so you’ve already made back more than the $5 price of the book.) We’ve done the Giant Slide, and the Skyway Rides occasionally. 

A couple years ago we decided to ride the Space Tower ride, three of us had never been on it. It wasn’t very expensive and cheaper than some of the food choices.  A fun birds eye view from the top:


With kids, we don’t always move through the fair really fast, but we cover a lot of ground.  We love that there are so many spots to stop and catch a break or listen to music. 

The animal barns are always a huge hit, just make sure to check the hours when you arrive.  Sometimes they close early for cleaning or changing out the animals. You can also hang out in the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum to watch animal judging or horse shows. There is LOTS of seating and it’s air conditioned inside, so it’s a comfortable place to spend a long stretch of time.


It’s really true that the State Fair has something for everyone who goes.  Food, Fun and variety is the name of the game for the Minnesota State Fair.  You can find schedules, maps and more information on their website if you’ve never been, or just need a refresher course on the hours, schedule or layout.

Minnesota State Fair Butter Sculptures

Would love to hear why you love the fair, your favorite must see and do things each?  Or maybe a favorite food?

Ready to eat? Check out the Minnesota State Fair NEW Foods for 2018 HERE!

Minnesota State Fair Free and Cheap Fun