Biking in Inver Grove Heights: Regional Bike Trails

Pine Bend Bluffs
By Stacy Brooks

Inver Grove Heights is a top-notch biking destination, thanks to its miles of trails, parks, and Bike King, a full-service bike shop.  It’s also a convenient place to connect to some of the Twin Cities’ best regional bike trails and stop for a bite to eat along the way. 

Mississippi River Trail Bikeway (U.S. Bicycle Route 45) 

Minnesota’s segment of the Mississippi River Trail Bikeway runs about 620 miles from the river’s source in Itasca State Park to the Iowa border.  Located mostly on the shoulders of paved and low-traffic roads, the route also includes segments of state and regional trails.

Rock Island Swing Bridge regional bike trials
Photo Credit: Visit IGH

Inver Grove Heights’ portion of the trail passes through the heart of the city, running along Concord Boulevard, 80th Street, and South Robert Trail.  Stop at Swing Bridge Park for panoramic views from the 680-foot walking pier that juts halfway across the Mississippi River.  The park also has a trailhead facility with bike fix-it stations, restrooms, water, and benches.

Several locally-owned Inver Grove Heights restaurants are located on or near the Mississippi River Trail Bikeway.  For river views and elevated bar fare, visit the Mississippi Pub, which has two outdoor patios overlooking the river and a glass-walled dining room.  Other local favorites include Jersey’s Bar & Grill, Turitto’s Pizza, Iwa Sushi, and Dominick’s Pizza.  In the mood for something healthful?  Check out Oyevida Lifestyle Cafe for sandwiches and salads.

Mississippi Pub

 

Mississippi River Greenway- Regional Bike Trails

Extending 27 miles along the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Hastings, the Mississippi River Greenway runs through Inver Grove Heights, with trailheads at Swing Bridge Park and Pine Bend Bluffs.  The paved trail has scenic views of the river and is also connected to other local parks and trails.

Regional Bike Trails
Photo Credit: City of Inver Grove Heights

Salem Hills Park/Harmon Park Reserve Mountain Biking Trail

Looking for a beginner-friendly mountain biking trail?  Check on the 4.3 miles of trails in Harmon Park Reserve.  The one-way trail system includes three loops.  A Loop (Singletrack Sawmill) starts from the parking lot, and is less than a mile long, with a twisting route through the trees.  B Loop (Foul Pond) features two wooden bridges and goes in and out of the woods.  C Loop (Prairie Fire) also incorporates both wooded and prairie areas, with a bridge and an optional rock obstacle. 

Mountain Biking at Harmon Park Reserve

Make Inver Grove Heights your base for a weekend of biking in the Twin Cities!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Enjoy amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, indoor pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Inver Grove Heights

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Inver Grove Heights

Discover why Inver Grove Heights should be your next destination! From our welcoming hotels to diverse attractions, dining experiences, and proximity to the Twin Cities, there’s so much to explore. Immerse yourself into outdoor adventures and uncover the vibrant charm of Inver Grove Heights! Below are our Top 5 reasons to Visit Inver Grove Heights.

 

1. Attractions

Inver Grove Heights is a haven for entertainment seekers, boasting an array of attractions to enjoy. Experience the thrill of axe throwing at PerpleBunny’s Axe House and bowling at local hotspots like Drkula’s 32 Bowl & Pub, providing exhilarating fun for friends and family alike. Another must-visit destination is Nowhere Entertainment, offering 13 holes of mini-golf, escape rooms, arcade games, and seasonal haunted houses. Just next door is Open Window Theatre; view their upcoming shows by visiting our event calendar. They often sell out for a reason – bringing stories to life in an immersive experience that promises an unforgettable show. Inver Grove Heights is also home to Gertens Garden Center! They are Minnesota’s Destination Garden center. If you’re in a shopping mood or want to take in the wide variety of plants, you will be in awe. Come and experience all the attractions that Inver Grove Heights has to offer!

2. Outdoor Recreation

Hit the trails and embark on scenic nature walks through forests and alongside serene waterscapes, offering glimpses of native wildlife and vibrant foliage. For a refreshing adventure, venture to the banks of the majestic Mississippi River, where riverfront parks offer opportunities for nature walks, biking, riverside relaxation, and dining. Cyclists will delight in the city’s extensive network of biking trails, including the renowned Mississippi River Trail, which offers picturesque routes along the river’s edge, with highlights such as the historic Rock Island Swing Bridge. Whether you’re seeking serenity in nature or thrilling outdoor adventure, Inver Grove Heights has parks and trails for a memorable experience in the beautiful outdoors.

3. Proximity to the Twin Cities

Inver Grove Heights boasts a prime location just minutes away from the vibrant urban hub of the Twin Cities. Situated strategically in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, this charming city offers residents and visitors the best of both worlds. With convenient access to major highways and public transportation, commuting to downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul is a breeze. Whether it’s catching a game at Target Field, exploring the renowned Mall of America, or enjoying the cultural attractions along the Mississippi River, the Twin Cities’ endless opportunities for entertainment and adventure are within easy reach from Inver Grove Heights. Yet, despite its proximity to urban amenities, Inver Grove Heights retains its own distinct identity, with serene parks, bustling local businesses, and a tight-knit community atmosphere that sets it apart. It’s the perfect balance of suburban tranquility and urban convenience, making Inver Grove Heights an ideal place to visit.

4. Local Dining Scene

From cozy breakfast spots to enticing coffee shops, exotic international flavors, and indulgent Juicy Lucy, Inver Grove Heights offers a culinary journey that tantalizes taste buds and satisfies cravings. Dive into the dining experience with options for dining in, takeout, or enjoying a meal on the patio, and some restaurants offer stunning views of the majestic Mississippi River. And with the exceptional service from our local restaurants, every dining experience is elevated to a whole new level of satisfaction. 

5. Cozy & Affordable Lodging

When planning your visit to Inver Grove Heights, finding a cozy and affordable hotel is easier than you think. Fortunately, our city offers four wonderful hotels that provide comfortable accommodations and convenient amenities at budget-friendly rates. Here are some options to consider: AmericInn Hotel & Suites by WyndhamHoliday Inn ExpressMicrotel Inn & Suites by Wynham and Coratel Inn & Suites by Jasper.

Book Your Inver Grove Heights Vacation!

We hope you consider Inver Grove Heights for your next family, couples, or friends’ getaway! Book your stay with us. For more information on trip planning, fill out our contact form to get added to our monthly e-newsletter.

Stock up for Spring Planting at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

Gertens Garden Center
By Stacy Brooks

Spring is in the air, which means it’s time to start planting!  Take a trip to Inver Grove Heights to stock up on spring planting supplies from Gertens, Minnesota’s destination garden center that has everything you need to make this season blossom.

Gertens Garden Center items for spring planting
Photo Credit: Gertens Garden Center

Minnesota’s Destination Garden Center- Shop Locally Owned for Spring Planting Supplies

Gertens is a fourth-generation family business that has been supplying customers with high-quality plants and trees since the early 1900s.  Not only does Gertens offer the largest selection of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock in the Twin Cities, they are one of only a handful of garden centers that grows the majority of the plants and trees they sell.  Whether you’re looking for ornamental shrubs, fruit trees, succulents, hanging baskets, rose bushes, or annuals in almost any color, you’ll find it at Gertens. 

Since the Gertens retail store is over 40,000 square feet, it’s a one-stop shop for your garden, lawn, and outdoor living needs.  You’ll find gardening supplies and tools, landscaping materials, patio furniture, grills, fire pits, and planters, plus gift items for garden lovers. 

Pansies at Gertens Garden Center
Photo Credit: Gertens Garden Center

Gertens is known for its excellent customer service.  Trees, shrubs, and perennials are warrantied for one year from the date of purchase, and there’s also warranty coverage for roses, houseplants, and annuals.  Customers can take advantage of the Gertens Rewards Program, which includes earning points that can be used on future purchases, warranty tracking, and special offers.

Restaurants Near Gertens

After you’ve stocked up on plants and gardening supplies, grab a bite to eat at these locally-owned Inver Grove Heights restaurants.

Mallards focuses on globally-inspired, seafood-based cuisine, from jambalaya to Maryland-style crab cakes to fish tacos.  There’s also a selection of sandwiches and salads.  Check out the brunch menu on Sunday, which features sweet specials like brandy French toast and savory items such as shrimp and grits or lobster quiche.

B-52 Burgers and Brew specializes in over-the-top burgers like the award-winning “Trashy” burger topped with deep-fried pickles and cream cheese and the Truffle Shuffle, which is loaded with pancetta, smoked gouda, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and truffle aioli.  The menu also includes salads, sandwiches, and ice cream shakes, and burgers can be made with a vegan patty or gluten-free bun by request.

Burger Flight and B52 Burgers + Brew
Photo Credit: B52 Burgers + Brew

Los Portales Bar & Grill serves up a full menu of authentic Mexican food. Known as a quality and relaxing Mexican Bar and Grill with freshly prepared food specials including tacos and other popular Mexican dishes. Los Portales has regular weekend entertainment too including karaoke, live music, and DJs too. Salsa!

Stay in Inver Grove Heights

Inver Grove Heights isn’t just a great place to shop for gardening supplies, it’s also a great place to stay!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Enjoy amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, indoor pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!

HolidayInn Express

Summer Events in Inver Grove Heights

Inver Grove Heights Days Car Show
By Stacy Brooks

Save the date for a summer full of fun events in and near Inver Grove Heights!  Enjoy the great outdoors with family-friendly activities, take spin into the past with a hangar dance or classic car show, sample food truck eats, and more.

Upcoming Summer Events in Inver Grove Heights

Fishing at Simley Island Park in Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights Parks & Rec

Huck Finn Fishing Derby 

Saturday, June 10, 2023, 9:00am-11:00am

The annual youth fishing tournament at Simley Island Park will feature prizes for the largest fish, smallest fish, and most fish caught, plus all participants receive a fishing goodie bag.  Register in advance online.  

Hangar Dance at Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing
Photo Credit: Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing

CAF MN Wing Spring Hangar Dance 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Party like it’s the 1940s at the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing’s Spring Hangar Dance.  Enjoy big band music, a free swing dance lesson, aircraft tours, and food, and wear WWII-era clothes for a chance to win a prize.

Terrific Tuesdays 

Tuesdays, June 20-August 1, 2023, 10:30am

Enjoy free family-friendly entertainment at Oakwood Park.  This year’s schedule includes concerts, storytelling, and educational programming.  Stick around after the concert to explore the park’s trails or play at the playground.

Back to the 50s Weekend
Photo Credit: MSRA Back to the 50s Weekend

Back to the 50s Weekend

Friday, June 23-Sunday, June 25, 2023

Over 10,000 classic cars will converge on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for a retro fun-filled weekend.  In addition to automobiles, the event includes music, a swap meet, craft fair, and model car contest.

Dive-In Movie 

Friday, June 23, 2023, 5:00pm-7:30pm

Combine an evening of swimming with a screening of Pixar’s Luca at the VMCC.  The movie will be screened on the water park pool deck, and popcorn will be provided.

Movie in the Park 

Friday, July 7, 2023, 8:00pm

Watch The Secret Life of Pets 2 under the stars at Oakwood Park.  Before the movie starts at dusk, there will be pre-movie entertainment, a bounce house, games, and ice cream available for purchase.

Food Truck Days Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Visit Inver Grove Heights

Food Truck Days 

July 20 and August 17, 2023, 4:30pm-7:00pm

Savor dinner or a snack from several local food truck vendors at Rich Valley Athletic Complex.  There will also be music, entertainment, and family activities.

Giant Slide at Minnesota State Fair
Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair 

Thursday, August 24-Monday, September 4, 2023

Deep-fried food, entertainment, livestock, shopping, rides—Inver Grove Heights is closer than you think to the Great Minnesota Get-Together!  Whether you want to rock out at a Grandstand show or try the zaniest new foods, it’s sure to be a fun time.

Inver Grove Heights Days Car Show
Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights Days

IGH Days

Wednesday, September 6-Sunday, September 10, 2023

The annual celebration of all things Inver Grove Heights includes a parade, family activities, and so much more.  Check out the IGH Days website for the most up-to-date information.

In addition to summertime events, save the date for a stay in Inver Grove Heights!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Enjoy amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!

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Hit the Links in Inver Grove Heights

Inver Wood Golf Course
By Stacy Brooks

Hit the links in Inver Grove Heights!  Inver Grove Heights is a great golf destination for golfers of all types and abilities: you can play 9 or 18 holes at beautiful local courses, go disc golfing, or try out foot golf.  Afterwards, celebrate your victory (or console yourself after a defeat) with a delicious meal at one of Inver Grove Heights’ dozens of local restaurants.

Disc Golf, North Valley Park
Photo Credit: Visit IGH

Disc Golf at North Valley Park

With scenic views and four different skill level-based routes, the Disc Golf Course at North Valley Park is fun for beginning and experienced disc golfers alike.  The 18-hole course includes wooded areas and a pond.  

A pass is required to use the course from May through September and can be purchased online.  Daily passes are $5 and season passes are $30 for residents, $40 for non-residents.

After you finish your disc golf game, sample international cuisine at one of Inver Grove Heights’ local restaurants.  iPho2 serves Vietnamese specialties including pho, banh mi, noodle salads, and bubble tea.  Taqueria El Girasol is great for Mexican food like birria tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.  At LW’s Bierstube, feast on German fare such as bratwurst and weiner schnitzel, plus American pub favorites.

Inver Wood Golf Course
Photo Credit: Visit IGH

Golf and Foot Golf at Inver Wood Golf Course

Inver Wood Golf Course’s 27 holes are spread across a scenic setting, with rolling, wooded terrain.  The practice center has a unique design, with two fairways, greens, and bunkers to provide an “on course” feel to the driving range concept.  Tee times can be reserved online.

Foot Golf at Inver Wood Golf Course
Photo Credit: Star Tribune

Inver Wood also offers foot golf, a soccer/golf hybrid that’s a fun outdoor activity for golfers and non-golfers alike.  The game is played on the golf course, and players kick a soccer ball from the starting tee to the hole.  You can opt to play an 18-hole or 9-hole round.

Inver Wood is conveniently located to Iwa Sushi, which is a local favorite for top-notch sushi and hibachi meals.  If you’re looking for a quick bite, Oyevida Lifestyle Cafe offers healthful sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas.

Arbor Pointe Golf Club
Photo Credit: Arbor Pointe Golf Club

Executive Golf Course at Arbor Pointe Golf Club 

One of the top short courses in Minnesota, the 9-hole course at Arbor Pointe Golf Club is a convenient way to play a challenging round of golf in a beautiful natural setting (maybe even spot some wildlife!)  The par 31 course features water on seven holes and extensive bunkering.   Tee times can be reserved online. 

Enjoy a post-game round of drinks at Inver Grove Brewing.  In addition to local craft beer, there’s a full bar and a food menu with elevated pub fare including brick oven Neapolitan-style pizzas, burgers, pasta, and more.

This golf season, plan a getaway to Inver Grove Heights!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Enjoy amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, indoor pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!

Explore the Great Outdoors in Inver Grove Heights

Attractions Rock Island Swing Bridge

If you’re looking to spend more time in the great outdoors this summer, Inver Grove Heights is the perfect destination. With miles of scenic biking and hiking trails, recreational activities, and a host of restaurants offering alfresco dining options, this charming city has something for everyone.  

Rock Island Swing Bridge
Photo Credit: Visit IGH

Whether you’re a casual rider or a seasoned pro, Inver Grove Heights is a hidden gem for avid bikers with its extensive network of trails and picturesque surroundings. One of the most popular routes is the Rock Island Swing Bridge, a former railroad bridge converted into a pedestrian and bike path. This iconic structure provides breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and is a popular spot for photos. Another must-see trail is the Mississippi River Greenway, which stretches 10 miles along the riverfront, offering riders a mix of paved and unpaved paths. For those seeking a longer ride, the Mississippi River Trail  offers a scenic 26-mile stretch from Inver Grove Heights to Hastings. Additionally, Harmon Park Reserve Mountain Biking Trail provides a thrilling off-road experience, with a 4-mile loop that winds through dense woods, rocky terrain, and challenging obstacles.  

Inver Wood Golf Course
Photo Credit: Inver Wood Golf Course

With a variety of courses and activities available, Inver Grove Heights is a great destination for golf enthusiasts. The Inver Wood Golf Course is a popular option, with its 18-hole championship course featuring rolling hills, tree-lined fairways, and water hazards. In addition to traditional golf, Inver Wood also offers Foot Golf, a combination of soccer and golf that is fun for all ages. Another nearby option is the Arbor Pointe Golf Course, which offers a challenging 9-hole course with beautiful views of the surrounding area. For those looking for a different kind of golfing experience, the North Valley Park offers a disc golf course with challenging holes set amidst a scenic natural setting. 

Salem Hills Park
Photo Credit: MN Bike Trail Navigator

Thanks to its abundance of stunning parks and outdoor recreational opportunities, Inver Grove Heights is a paradise for nature lovers. Salem Hills Park is a favorite among locals, with its winding hiking and walking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Similarly, South Valley Park boasts a variety of trails, including paved and unpaved options, as well as an impressive array of pickleball courts. For those seeking a more rugged adventure, the Pine Bend Bluffs hiking trail offers a challenging trek through a mix of prairies and woodlands. Fishing enthusiasts can head to Smiley Island Pond, City Hall Pond, and McGroarty Pond, all of which are stocked with an array of fish species. These peaceful spots are perfect for a relaxing day spent casting a line and enjoying the scenery. The Heritage Village Dog Park (separate areas for large and small dogs) offers ample space, shaded spots, and water stations for furry friends to exercise, socialize, and have fun in a safe and controlled environment. 

B52 Burgers + Brew Rooftop Pation
Photo Credit: B52 Burgers + Brew

When the weather is warm and sunny, there’s nothing better than enjoying a delicious meal while basking in the great outdoors. Inver Grove Heights offers a variety of excellent restaurants with outdoor dining options, perfect for a casual lunch or a romantic dinner. For those who crave burgers and beer, the Rooftop at B52 Burgers & Grill offers both, along with breathtaking views of the city skyline. At the Mississippi Pub, diners can savor delicious food while enjoying a front-row view of the mighty Mississippi River. Seafood lovers can head to Mallards Restaurant, where they can savor delicious seafood dishes while taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding nature. For those who enjoy a cold brew, Inver Grove Brewing offers their brewed beer and woodfired pizza. Jerseys Bar & Grill boasts an outdoor fireplace for cool nights, while Drkula’s 32 Bowl offers casual dining and courtside views sand volleyball courts for some fun in the sun.  

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Make Inver Grove Heights your base for a weekend of exploring the great outdoors in the Twin Cities!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Enjoy amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, indoor pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today! 

Family-Friendly Spring Break in Inver Grove Heights

Sea Life Aquarium at Mall of America®
By Stacy Brooks

Time to spring break in Inver Grove Heights! With budget-friendly accommodations, kid-friendly restaurants, and activities the whole family will enjoy, here’s your guide to fun spring break getaway.

DAY 1

The Grove Waterpark- Spring Break in Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights Park & Recreation

Start off your spring break by splashing around at the VMCC Aquatic Center.  The indoor water park has two large water slides, splash features, a dumping bucket, and a floating log crossing.  There’s also a pool available for recreational swimming and a dive pool with regular and high dive boards.   Day passes are available for open swimming.   Check out the open swim schedule here.

Next, zoom across the ice at the VMCC Ice Arena.  Day passes are available for ice skating, and skate rentals are offered for a small fee.  Find the open skate schedule here.

Iwa Sushi in Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Visit IGH

Wrap up the day with dinner at a local restaurant that has something tasty for the entire family.  Los Portales Mexican Restaurant serves up traditional Mexican favorites including street tacos, tortas, enchiladas, and fajitas.  At Iwa Sushi, enjoy sushi and hibachi meals, with kid-sized junior hibachi meals available for kids under 10.  Inver Grove Brewing has a family-friendly taproom with high chairs and carrier holders, kids’ games, and a kids’ menu with pizza, chicken tenders, burgers, and pasta.  Adults can enjoy locally-brewed craft beer and a menu of elevated pub fare.

DAY 2

Strawberry Pancakes at Cahill Diner
Photo Credit: Cahill Diner

Fuel up for another day of fun with breakfast at Cahill Diner, which has retro 1950s-inspired decor and serves breakfast all day.  Specialties include the apple fritter French toast, Cajun omelet, and Tex Mex hash browns.

AMC Movie Theater in Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: AMC Movie Theaters

Catch a movie at AMC Inver Grove 16 and enjoy recliner seating, a full food and beverage menu, and special discounts on Tuesdays and matinee screenings.  

Hometown Sweets, Inver Grove Heights
Photo credit: Visit IGH

Swing by Hometown Sweets for ice cream, flavored popcorn, and bulk candy.  Can’t decide which of the 16 flavors of ice cream to order?  Get the ice cream flight and try six!

Drkulas's 32 Bowl
Photo Credit: Drkulas’s 32 Bowl

Try a new spin on bowling at Drkula’s 32 Bowl, which has a state-of-the-art Hyperbowling system that adds a video game-style element to the classic game.  There are also automatic bumpers and ramps to make bowling accessible to bowlers of all ages and abilities.

Carbones Pizza Inver Grove Heights

Go out for a crowd-pleasing dinner at a local pizza spot.  Dominick’s Pizza serves both the classics and creative pies like a gyro pizza, plus homemade chocolate chip cookies baked fresh daily.  Serving up family recipes that date back over 50 years, Carbone’s Pizzeria menu is full of family favorites for everyone to enjoy, including pizza, hot hoagies, wings, soup and salads.  Turitto’s Pizza & Subs has a menu with tasty thin crust pizzas, submarine sandwiches, and pasta.

DAY 3 & BEYOND

Sea Life Aquarium at Mall of America®
Photo Credit: Sea Life Aquarium

Inver Grove Heights is a convenient base for exploring the Twin Cities’ top family attractions.  Animal lovers will enjoy the Minnesota Zoo, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory (which offers free admission), and the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium at the Mall of America.  

Dinosaurs at the Science Museum of Minnesota
Photo Credit: Science Museum of Minnesota

Want to visit a museum?  Check out the Science Museum of Minnesota, Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing, Twin City Model Railroad Museum, Minnesota Children’s Museum, and Minnesota History Center for family-friendly educational experiences.

With over a dozen interactive attractions, 500 stores, and  50 restaurants, it’s easy to spend a day (or more!) at the Mall of America.

This winter, book a stay in Inver Grove Heights!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Warm up with amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, indoor pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!

6 Family-Friendly Outdoor Winter Activities in Inver Grove Heights

South Valley Park Inver Grove Heights
By Stacy Brooks

This winter, embrace chilly temperatures in Inver Grove Heights! This is your guide to 6 Family-Friendly Outdoor Winter Activities in Inver Grove Heights. From sledding to snowshoeing, learning survival skills to navigating an ice maze, these outdoor family-friendly activities are fun for kids of all ages (and their grownups, too).

EcoElsa Outdoor Programs

Enjoy the snow with an educational twist: EcoElsa outdoor programs from Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation offer a fun, interactive way for kids and families to learn about STEM and local wildlife. Upcoming programs include a family Winter Night Hike on February 24, 2023 (ages 5 and up), family snowshoeing on February 25, 2023 (ages 6 and up).  Learn more and pre-register online here.  

Snowshoeing Photo Credit: Mael Balland
Photo Credit: Mael Balland

Snowshoeing

Explore the great outdoors on snowshoes at a local nature preserve.  At the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge you can borrow adult and child-sized snowshoes for free at the Bloomington visitor center and check out over 50 miles of trails.  For a backcountry experience without leaving the metro, visit Pine Bend Bluff Scientific and Natural Area, which is an undeveloped, serene spot for wildlife watching or simply appreciating the snow-covered landscape.

Hiking 

The Mississippi River Greenway is plowed throughout the winter, making it perfect for a cold-weather hike.  Bring along your furry friends, too—on-leash dogs are welcome.  Stop at the Swing Bridge Park trailhead for a snowy family selfie at the end of the Rock Island Swing Bridge, a walking pier that juts hundreds of feet over the Mississippi River.

South Valley Park Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights

Sledding

The whole family will love zooming down the sledding hill at South Valley Park.  The large hill has a long, gentle slope and is close to the parking lot, and the park also offers trails, a playground, and a skating rink. 

Inver Grove Heights Outdoor Skating Rinks
Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights

Ice skating

Glide across the ice at one of Inver Grove Heights’ outdoor rinks, which are open through February 20, 2023 (weather permitting).  Rinks are lit after dark, and warming houses and portable bathrooms are available.  The rinks at Skyview, Oakwood, Groveland, and South Valley Parks have warming houses; there’s also a rink at Southern Lakes Park without a warming house.  

Minnesota Ice Maze 2023
Photo Credit: Minnesota Ice Maze

Minnesota Ice Maze

Have fun getting lost at the Minnesota Ice Maze at Viking Lakes.  With nearly half a mile of twists and turns made from over a million pounds of ice, the maze is fully lit with colorful lights.  Kids can win a prize by completing the interactive scavenger hunt, and there are also ice thrones, fire pits, and hot beverages and treats available for purchase.  The ice maze is open daily through February 19, 2023 and tickets can be purchased online.

This winter, book a stay in Inver Grove Heights!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Warm up with amenities including complimentary breakfast, free parking, indoor pools, and more.  Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!

Fun Family Winter Indoor Activities in Inver Grove Heights

The Grove Waterpark
By Stacy Brooks

Stay warm and have some fun with these family-friendly winter indoor activities in Inver Grove Heights!  Whether you want to burn off some energy, visit a museum, or enjoy a relaxing staycation, Inver Grove Heights has something for kids of all ages.  

Indoor Activities in Inver Grove Heights

The Grove Waterpark- Winter Indoor Activities in Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Inver Grove Heights Park & Recreation

Visit the VMCC Aquatic Center’s indoor water park, where kids can zoom down water slides, play in the splash features, and scramble across a floating log crossing.  The Aquatic Center also has a pool and diving area.

HyperBowling at Drkula’s 32 Bowl m
Photo Credit: HyperBowling

Check out Drkula’s 32 Bowl for a fun new twist on bowling: HyperBowling!  The game combines bowling with video game-style technology, and in addition to knocking down pins, you can take aim at colorful targets.  HyperBowling makes bowling exciting for everyone, regardless of ability level.  Drkula’s also offers automatic bumpers and bowling ramps for young bowlers.

Perple Bunny's Axe House Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: Perple Bunny’s Axe House

Try something new with your teens at Perple Bunny’s Axe House.  An axe master will teach you how to throw axes and play games—whatever your experience level or physical fitness, everyone will have a good time!  Note that you have to be at least 14 years old to throw.

AMC Movie Theater in Inver Grove Heights
Photo Credit: AMC Movie Theaters

Watch a movie in style at AMC Inver Grove 16, which offers recliner seating and tasty snacks like flatbread pizzas, nachos, and churros.  Enjoy discounted prices during matinees and all day Tuesday.

Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing
Photo Credit: Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing

Get up close to WWII aircraft kept in flying condition at the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing.  In addition to aircraft, the museum is home to motor vehicles and WWII artifacts, and admission is free of charge.

Holiday Inn Express Indoor Pool
Photo Credit: Holiday Inn Express

Treat your family to a staycation at one of Inver Grove Heights’ hotels, and grab a pizza from a pizzeria.  The AmericInn Hotel and Suites has a pool and game room, the Holiday Inn Express offers a pool, and the Microtel Inn and Suites and Coratel Inn and Suites have great rates and complimentary breakfast.  

Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities

Children's Theater Company
Photo Credit: Children’s Theater Company

Attend a show at the Children’s Theatre Company, which stages entertaining, engaging productions that the whole family will enjoy.  Current and upcoming shows include holiday classic Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (running through January 8, 2023) and Locomotion (January 24-March 5, 2023) which explores how poetry can bring you closer to others and yourself.

Minnesota Children's Museum
Photo Credit: Minnesota Children’s Museum

Visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum, a kid-centered space that utilizes the power of play to spark learning.  The three floors of exhibits include a sensory space for babies and toddlers, a pretend town, and an “underwater” shipwreck.  Special exhibits include the storybook-themed The Amazing Castle (through January 8, 2023) and Framed: Step into Art, where you can explore three-dimensional versions of well-known paintings (January 21-May 7, 2023).

Dinosaurs at the Science Museum of Minnesota
Photo Credit: Science Museum of Minnesota

Make learning fun at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  From dinosaurs and fossils to a real Mississippi River towboat and sports-themed experiments, exhibits are an interactive way to learn about science, math, and technology.  Through January 22, 2023, check out the Nature All Around Us exhibit to discover the hidden natural worlds and ecosystems in cities and towns.

Como Park Zoo
Photo Credit: Como Park Zoo

Travel to the tropics without leaving Minnesota at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, where the indoor Tropical Encounters trail immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of rainforest plants and animals.  Other indoor spaces include the Zoo’s large cats, African hoofed stock, primate, and aquatic buildings, plus the Convervatory’s Sunken Garden and Palm Dome.

Twin City Model Railroad Museum
Photo Credit: Twin City Model Railroad Museum

Discover a miniature world at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, where kids will be entranced by the detailed layout complete with trains, towns, and more.  Check out the Night Trains exhibit Saturday evenings through February 25, 2023, which features low lighting, special lighted model trains, and winter decorations.

Sea Life Aquarium at Mall of America®
Photo Credit: Sea Life Aquarium

Walk through an underwater ocean tunnel and watch thousands of tropical fish, sharks, and sting rays at SEA LIFE Aquarium, located in the Mall of America.  The aquarium also features a kid-friendly touchpool inspired by the Pacific Northwest, rainforest exhibit, and jellyfish.

12 Things to Do in Inver Grove Heights During MEA Weekend

Wondering how to keep your kids occupied over MEA break?  Inver Grove Heights offers plenty of outdoor activities and indoor attractions for a fun and memorable long weekend. If you’re extending your stay, Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Amenities include complimentary breakfast, free parking, and more! Now, onto the list! Below are 12 Things to Do in Inver Grove Heights During MEA Weekend. 

Outdoor activities

Photo Credit: IGH Parks and Recreation

  1. Enjoy crisp fall weather at a local park.

With over two dozen parks, Inver Grove Heights offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.  Amenities include playgrounds, trails, and basketball, volleyball, tennis, and pickleball courts.

Photo Credit: Visit IGH

  1. Spot wildlife and fall foliage.

Look for native wildlife and colorful fall leaves at local nature preserves.  The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge features 45 miles of trails, a nature play area, and the prairie, forest, and wetland habitats are home to bald eagles, river otters, and white-tailed deer.  Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area has awe-inspiring views of the Mississippi River from bluffs overlooking the river valley and is a great spot for bird watching.

Photo Credit: Visit IGH

  1. Play a game of disc golf at North Valley Park.

Enjoy the outdoors with a friendly game of disc golf at North Valley Park.  The 18-hole course features scenic views and is free of charge October through April.

Photo Credit: Samantha Dettinger (@travellingwiththebrunette) 

  1. Take a bike ride along the Mississippi River Greenway.

The Mississippi River Greenway is paved and relatively flat, ideal for a leisurely ride.  Stop at the Swing Bridge trailhead to stand over the Mississippi River on a 680-foot walking pier that juts out over the river.

Photo Credit: Visit IGH

  1. Go mountain biking.

Inver Grove Heights has mountain biking opportunities for all ages and abilities.  Start with the mountain bike skills course at Vista Pines Park, and then try the adjacent mountain bike trails.  Harmon Park Reserve also offers over four miles of mountain bike trails.

Indoor activities

Photo Credit: Visit IGH

  1. Learn about history at the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing.

The Commemorative Air Force Museum is a unique collection of combat military aircraft preserved in flying condition, military motor vehicles, and museum displays with WWII artifacts.  Located in a hangar at an operating airport, the museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Admission free of charge, and donations are appreciated.

  1. Take the Kid Friendly Lights-on Tour at Nowhere Haunted House.

Celebrate Halloween a little early with a kid-friendly, lights-on tour at Nowhere Haunted House.  Held on Sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m., the kid-friendly tours do not include actors and are designed to be less scary and more informative.

  1. Splash around at the VMCC Aquatic Center.

The VMCC Aquatic Center has open swim hours scheduled Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23, 2022.  The indoor water park offers interactive water features, a dumping bucket, and slides, as well as a pool with space reserved for recreational swimming.

Photo Credit: Nerdin’Out

  1. Go shopping at NerdinOut.

Action figures, comics, collectibles, board games, video games—nerds of all ages will appreciate the new and nostalgic selection at NerdinOut.  The locally-owned store is open daily.

Photo Credit: Visit IGH

  1. Take the family bowling at Drkula’s 32 Bowl.

Drkula’s 32 Bowl makes bowling accessible to even the youngest bowlers with automatic bumpers and bowling ramps available by request.  Open bowling is available daily, and you can call ahead for a lane reservation.

  1. Catch a movie at the AMC Inver Grove 16.

Watch the latest releases in style with comfortable recliner seats, reserved seating, and elevated food options like flatbread pizzas.  Matinee tickets (a 30% discount from the evening price) are available every day for showtimes before 4:00 p.m.

  1. Savor a meal at a local restaurant.

Pizza, chicken tenders, gyros, hibachi meals, and more—many of Inver Grove Heights’ local restaurants are great places to eat with kids, offering kid’s menus and tasty options that will satisfy picky eaters.

Spend MEA weekend in Inver Grove Heights!  Inver Grove Heights hotels offer excellent value and are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Amenities include complimentary breakfast, free parking, and more.

Book your stay at these Inver Grove Heights hotels today!