19 Reasons to Visit Shakopee This Summer

Shakopee is where the Midwest comes to play! Shakopee is home to world-class attractions and festivals like Valleyfair Amusement ParkMinnesota Renaissance Festival, and Canterbury Park. Shakopee is also part of the vibrant Minneapolis and Saint Paul metro area, so there are other great entertainment options nearby!

1) Valleyfair

Shakopee is home to the Upper-Midwest’s Largest Amusement, featuring over 75 rides and attractions meaning fun or people all ages. Ride thrill rides such as Steel Venom, Wild Thing, Xtreme Swings, North Star, Delirious or Renegade, or take the kids to experience Planet Snoopy and let them get their thrills on pint-sized rides. Add in live entertainment throughout the summer, Dinosaurs Alive, and Soak City Waterpark, and you have everything to make your visit spectacular.

2) Canterbury Park

Canterbury Park is one of Minnesota’s premier year-round entertainment destinations, featuring live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing mid-May through September. A family-friendly destination, check out special days like Buck Night and Family Day, or special events like Extreme Race Day and Bulldog Races. When live racing has concluded, enjoy blackjack and poker in the Canterbury Card Casino, or bet on the horses during live simulcast racing on one of their many television screens.

3) Minnesota Renaissance Festival

The largest Renaissance Festival in the country, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has brought the merriment of the 16th century to Shakopee for 43 years. Guests coming to the festival are whisked back in time to a 16th century village with more than 300 street characters entertaining as you explore.  The kids can have fun of their own at the Mystical Fairy Wing Forest, venture into Mermaid Cove, play on games and rides, watch sheep herding, enjoy the petting zoo, and more! Sixteen stages of live entertainment, 250 artisan vendors, live jousting, and all the amazing foods, the entire family will enjoy a full day of entertainment for the entire family.

4) Mystic Lake Casino

For a Vegas feel in the Midwest, head to Mystic Lake Casino, located minutes from Shakopee. Mystic Lake has a wide array of gaming options, but that’s not this beautiful resort has to offer. Amazing dining options including The Buffet, Mystic Steakhouse, and Minnehaha Café are located throughout the property. Check out the lineup of concerts in the Mystic Showroom or the outdoor Mystic Amphitheater, or recharge and relax at The Spa. Plan your escape around the fun, FREE events taking place throughout the season, including The Great Midwest Rib Fest; Rock and Rockets; Rock, Brats & Beer, and more!

5) Summer Concerts

Summer in Shakopee will be a concert-goers dream! Rhythm on the Rails is a FREE five week outdoor concert series, taking place Wednesdays mid-July through mid-August in Downtown Shakopee.

Twin Cities Jam is a new concert event taking place at Canterbury Park July 18 – 20. Featured acts will include Tim McGraw, Aerosmith, Rascal Flatts, REO Speedwagon, Pitbull, and more.

The annual Lakefront Music Fest in Prior Lake will take place July 12 & 13, and will feature Steve Miller Band and Brad Paisley.

In addition, there are always terrific headliners performing throughout the summer at the Mystic Showroom or Mystic Amphitheater at Mystic Lake Casino!

6) The Landing

Nestled along the banks of the Minnesota River, The Landing is an 88-acre living-history park that explores the charms and challenges of life in the Minnesota River Valley from the 1840s to the 1890s. Visit a pioneer-era farmstead, a fur trader’s cabin, or the merchants along the streets of Eagle Creek. The Landing also has costumed interpreters and special events throughout the year, including Wild West Weekend, Independence Day Celebration, Folkways of the Holidays, and Living History Days.

7) Sand Creek Adventures

Located just minutes from Shakopee in nearby Jordan, Sand Creek Adventures is your ultimate outdoor challenge featuring zip lining, ropes courses, and more! This venue is great for individuals, parties, groups, and team building activities.

8) Destination Golf

The Shakopee area is adorned with numerous 18-hole championship courses for the golf enthusiast to enjoy. Take a swing at one of the naturally beautiful and challenging courses in the area – The Wilds Golf ClubStonebrookeThe Ridges at Sand CreekLegends GCThe Meadows at Mystic Lake, and Creeks Bend.

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9) Theater

Shakopee and the surrounding area, and the great Twin Cities region, area hotbed of engaging live theater options that offer top-rate performances all year. Locally, enjoy the River Valley Theatre Company as it offers a season of new productions each year.

A short drive from Shakopee in nearby Chanhassen is the nation’s largest dinner theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Enjoy a wonderful dinner and show in this unique setting. Playing now through September 28 is Mama Mia.

There are other high-caliber theatres located throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, from independents to the nationally acclaimed Guthrie Theatre.

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10) Minnesota Zoo

Located in nearby Apple Valley, The Minnesota Zoo features more than 4,200 animals representing over 500 species from five continents in naturalistic settings, including Amur Tiger, Chinese Takin, South African Penguins, Wolverines, and many other endangered species. Other popular exhibits include Discovery Bay, Russia’s Grizzly Coast, Tropics Trail, and more!

11) Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a corridor of land and water that stretches nearly 70 miles along the Minnesota River. You can explore this amazing natural attraction by bike, foot, snowshoe, snowmobiling, or cross-country skiing. See numerous animals including the over 297 species of birds recorded throughout the refuge.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

12) Mall of America

With over 40-million guests per year, Mall of America is the largest shopping and entertainment destination complex in the Western Hemisphere. In nearby Bloomington, this shopping mecca features over 520 stores, and over 50 restaurants, and in the center of it all, Nickelodeon Universe with over 27 rides and attractions. Other great attractions inside Mall of America include SEA LIFE Minnesota AquariumThe LEGO Storeminiature golfSMAASH, and more!

13) Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Open 363 days a year, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is home to stunning gardens, art, workshops, cooking classes, nature hikes, and more. Families can learn about plant life in the Marion Andrus Learning Center and children will love getting lost in the Maze Garden, located along the beautiful three-mile drive.

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14) Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries

The Southwest Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro is home numerous wineries and breweries. Take the libations tour throughout the region and enjoy great wineries such as Parley Lake WinerySovereign Estate Vineyard and WineryWoodland Hill WinerySchram Vineyards Winery & Brewery, or Cannon River Winery.

Is craft beer more your thing? Shakopee is your next stop for a brewcation. Badger Hill Brewery and their award winning craft beers served in a cool taproom is located minutes from Valleyfair and Canterbury Park. Or, head to Downtown Shakopee and grab a craft beer at the Shakopee BrewHall.

In nearby Waconia, you’ll find the J. Carver Distillery, stocked with fine spirits distilled on-site, including Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Premium Gin, Premium Vodka Apple Brandy, and more! Also, come for a tour of the venue and try one of their spirits at the facility.

15) Scott County Historical Society

History buffs can learn some of the rich history of the Minnesota Valley Region at the Scott County Historical Society, located in Downtown Shakopee. Come and see some of the current on-site exhibits including the Maurice Stans Family and Government Life, the Native American Gallery, 40 Years of Fun at Valleyfair, and more!

Scott County Historical Society Exhibits

16) Main Street Shopping

Shakopee is home to shops and boutiques located in historic Downtown Shakopee. You will appreciate the sophisticated styles of clothing for men located at Bill’s Toggery, or for women at Shelly’s Boutique. Women biker enthusiast will enjoy the unique accessories, sassy shirts, and custom leather goods at One Sexy Biker Chick. Or, admire the beauty and detail of Native American crafts and collectibles at the Shakopee Trading Post.

Bill's Toggery Downtown Shakopee Shopping

17) Great Dining

Check out local dining in downtown Shakopee with your choice of true Irish fare in an authentic Irish setting at O’Brien’s Public House, Turtle’s Bar and Grill for a true, home town pub with delicious pizzas and over 90 beers on tap. Have some of the area’s best Mexican cuisines at Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, a delicious meal at the historic Dangerfield’s, terrific sushi at Tokyo Sushi & Grill, or venture across the Minnesota River and try one of the Lions Tap’s famous hamburgers.

18) Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store

A must visit! Located south of Shakopee along Highway 169, is the can’t miss yellow barn known as Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. Follow the yellow fence to this unique Minnesota attraction and be amazed at their extensive variety of  some unique candies rarely found anymore. Also, enjoy baked goods, a wide-selection of sodas, apple-wood smoked jerky, and more. Be sure to visit their Facebook page to find out when they are open, as they are a seasonal business.

Minnesota's Largest Candy Store

19) Shakopee City Parks and Trails

Located on the edge of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, and along the Minnesota River Valley, Shakopee has plenty of green space available for the outdoor enthusiast. The City of Shakopee parks system has nearly 920 acres of parks and open space, including over 60 miles of recreation and transportation trails for walking and biking. Huber Park is home to the Performance and Event Series, and Quarry Lake Park is home to the Shakopee-Prior Lake Shockwaves Water Ski Show in the summer. SandVenture Aquatic Park is also part of the City’s park system.