Hometown Tourist: fun family things to do in the Twin Cities

Following is an excerpt from my new eBook: “Hometown Tourist, 27+ {minn}ecations around Minneapolis/St. Paul & Beyond.” If you don’t live in Minnesota, you can use this idea to take on a Hometown Tour challenge in your own area.

Hometown Tourist eBook

I love to travel. I love big cities —New York, Boston, D.C. — and sun and sand vacations, such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The year after my husband and I were married, we traveled to Sydney, Australia with my high school bestie and her hubby. It was an amazing experience. But forget the travel guide, they had me. I basically figured out the sites we should see and took them on a walking tour of Sydney — in one day. Seriously. I think they’ve probably never slept so well after I was finished with them.

When I was a young girl growing up in the 70s and 80s, one of my favorite TV shows was The Love Boat. I put myself in the shoes of my namesake, Julie McCoy, the ship’s cruise director. I wanted to be her. My neighbor friend and I would pretend we were cruise directors on a cruise ship. She had a really cool house with a lofted hallway, so we could look over the balcony at our pretend passengers. While I didn’t grow up to be an official cruise director, I’ve accepted the unofficial title with my friends, often planning trips, weekend getaways and outings. When I travel to a new place, I try to pack it all in. I want to see as much as possible, for I never know if and when I’ll be back.

As much as I love to travel, though, Minnesota is where I call home. I’ve lived here my entire life. My family, which includes my husband and two kids (ages 13 and 11), lives in a northern suburb of the Twin Cities. Last summer, I took some friends, who were visiting from out-of-state, to a few sites. My kids both commented, “Wow, we’ve never been here before!” That’s when it dawned on me: I needed to show my kids our hometown, like we would if we were on vacation and touring it for the first time. That’s when my self-imposed challenge began. How many new places and activities could I find to do right here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul? I dedicated the month of August Hometown Tourist month, and so we began.

Nearly every day (we had other activities on four out of the 31 days), we set out to do something fun and unique to our area. After posting our daily activities on Facebook, I had so much interest in this idea I decided to write an interactive PDF as a guide for others to embark on a hometown tour themselves. (In the Table of Contents, just click on the listing and it will take you right to the page of that activity.) This guide features 27+ activities and things to do in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the summer, as well as a couple of out-state destinations. Some are free, and most are paired with eating options or other places to check out along the way. All activities are family friendly or would also make great date nights or outings with friends. Each day is numbered in the order of the way we completed our hometown tour. You can choose to do one or all of the activities. I hope you have as much fun as we did!

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3 Comments on Hometown Tourist: fun family things to do in the Twin Cities

  1. Deb Halbach
    July 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi julee, how do i get your home town tour. Ive tried a couple of times but have never gotten it. Must be doing something wrong.

    • Julee
      July 15, 2015 at 4:29 pm (3 years ago)

      Sorry you’re having troubles, Deb! When you enter the email address in the form at the end of this post, you will get an email confirming your subscription. (You will have to wait a little while; it doesn’t come immediately. Maybe check your spam, too, just in case.) You must confirm the subscription from that email. Once you do, you will immediately be sent to a page with the link to the eBook. Super easy! Thanks for your interest!

  2. Wendy
    June 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm (3 years ago)

    thanks for doing this Julee! I’ve started a similar list but I’m sure it pales in comparison to yours. Gotta keep these kids busy this summer!


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