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Minnesota Renaissance Festival: Best Things to Do & See

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The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is a fun-filled weekend filled with amazing performers and delicious food that can’t be missed. The festival offers something for everyone, including an old-world marketplace and even a wedding chapel. Whether you’re looking for something to do on your family vacation or just want to have some fun (and eat good food), the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has everything you need.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival History

You’re going to love the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It is a fun-filled festival that you and your family can enjoy together. You will be transported back when you visit this fair, where everyone dresses as if they were from the Renaissance period.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Shakopee, Minnesota

Well, sort of. The Renaissance wasn’t something that hit the States; it was more of a European thing. Consequently, there are a lot of confused themes at your average Ren Fest, and Minnesota’s is no different.

You’ll see countless folks adorning medieval gear, fantasy costumes, and even awesome steampunk outfits. Most of the events are British medieval or Tolkein-derived fantasy, and there is no mention of da Vinci, Michelangelo, or Shakespeare.

Tourists in Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Still, don’t let trivial things like facts or history get in the way of a good time! There are plenty of things for people of all ages to do and see at this festival, including watching a jousting tournament or participating in an archery contest! Even your group’s stodgiest, crustiest historian will have a blast here!

Since 1982, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has been held yearly in Shakopee, Minnesota. It is held each weekend during its run (usually late August through early October). Before it was located in Shakopee, the first Minnesota Ren Fest was held in 1971 in Jonathan, Minnesota.

Top Hotels Near the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee

1. Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Minneapolis Shakopee Top Recommendation

If you're looking for a place to stay in Shakopee that offers all the comforts of home, look no further than Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Minneapolis Shakopee. Our spacious suites provide plenty of room to relax, work or entertain, and come complete with kitchenettes and complimentary Wi-Fi. And our on-site fitness centre is the perfect place to stay active during your stay. Plus, we offer free parking and easy access to all the best that Shakopee has to offer. Come see why Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Minneapolis Shakopee is the perfect place to call home away from home.

2. Hampton Inn Minneapolis/Shakopee

Welcome to the Hampton Inn Minneapolis/Shakopee! Our hotel is conveniently located just 6.9 km from downtown Shakopee and Mystic Lake Casino. The 24/7 Suite Shop is also available for snacks and beverages. For those looking to explore the area, the hotel is nearby hiking trails and a golf course. Be sure to take advantage of our beautiful outdoor spaces, including the sun terrace and terrace.

3. My Place Hotel-Shakopee, MN

Looking for a clean and comfortable place to stay in Shakopee, MN? My Place Hotel is your perfect choice! The hotel offers accessible parking, street parking, a shared lounge/TV area, laundry facilities (for an additional fee), and a business center. The rooms are clean and comfortable, with daily housekeeping service to keep everything tidy. And the convenient location means you're close to all the best attractions in the area - including Paisley Park and the Mall of America. Book your stay at My Place Hotel today!

Visiting the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

As mentioned, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is located in Shakopee, about 20 minutes outside of the city of Minneapolis. The festival is open every weekend from late August to early October. During this period, there are special theme weekends like “Highland Games,” “Days of Knights,” “Lusty Lassies,” “Pirates,” “Oktoberfest,” and more. Some of it even covers the Renaissance!

Medieval Houses in Minnesota Renaissance Festival Scenery

They have some great food vendors (like giant turkey legs), but if you want something that isn’t on their menu, they also have several pubs. Some retail shops and stalls offer a truly unique shopping experience that sells merchandise such as medieval clothing items, blacksmith weapons, artwork, and tons of accessories right in the middle of the festival marketplace.

When you visit, we suggest that you purchase your tickets in advance. The good news is that your ticket will include free parking on-site!

Best Things to do at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

The Renaissance Festival in Minnesota is a great place to have fun and step back in time. With so many things to see and do, you’re sure to have a blast! Here are the best things to do at the festival.

1. Eat a Giant Turkey Leg!

Eating Giant Turkey Leg
image by Minnesota Renaissance Festival/Facebook

You can’t go to a Renaissance Festival without indulging in a giant turkey leg! They’re delicious, a real handful, and make for a great photo op. The turkey legs at Ren Fests just hit differently and, for some reason, are generally HUGE!

When visiting the Renaissance Fair, make it a point to grab a beer and a turkey leg right when you get there. It’s the perfect combo on a cool, brisk autumn day.

See Related: Best Music Festivals to Attend This Summer

2. Watch a Jousting Tournament

Jousting Tournament in Minnesota Renaissance Festival
image by Minnesota Renaissance Festival/Facebook

The Medieval jousting tournament is the main event at the Renaissance Festival, and it’s definitely something you won’t want to miss! This action-packed tournament takes place on Saturday and Sunday in the main arena, and despite the violent nature of it all, it’s definitely a family-friendly event!

So cheer on your favorite knight and view live armored jousting! The jousting tournament is a great way to experience some of the Medieval flavors of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, so be sure to add it to your list of things to do in Shakopee.

See Related: Things to Do in Bloomington, Minnesota

3. See the Falconry Show

Falconry Show

Falconry was a popular pastime among the nobility during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and it’s still fascinating to watch today. Be sure to check out the show and see these beautiful birds in action right in the middle of the festival grounds.

See Related: Best Midwest Festivals Worth Traveling To

4. Shop for Medieval-Themed Souvenirs

Minnesota Renaissance Festival Shops

Plenty of booths sell medieval-themed souvenirs, from swords and shields to jewelry and clothing, in the festival marketplace at the heart of the village streets when you enter the grounds. Find the perfect memento to remember your time at the festival.

See Related: Things to Do in Minneapolis, Minnesota

5. Ride a Camel, Elephant, or Pony!

Elephant in Minnesota Renaissance Festival

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is home to a variety of big, furry creatures, as well as some REALLY big leathery ones! You can ride elephants, camels, and ponies if you’re feeling adventurous enough.

Elephant Ride in Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Costs vary depending on what you choose to ride, and certain rides are available for groups only. It’s a fun experience, and you’ll get some great photos.

For more kid activities in Minnesota check out Mall of America Crayola Experience and Nickelodeon Universe.

See Related: Bets Scenic Drives in Minnesota

6. Listen to Live Music and watch Dancers and Jesters perform

Minnesota Renaissance Festival Live Performance

There’s always live music playing at the Renaissance festival, and it’s a great way to relax and take in the atmosphere. You’ll also see plenty of dancers performing throughout the grounds. There’s also no shortage of clowns, jesters, jugglers, and street performers bringing the festival to life.

These memorable characters roaming the village streets are part of what makes this event so truly special. It’s exciting entertainment because you don’t know what you will get next. It makes you feel like you’re in a street scene from Game of Thrones – just less incest and dragons.

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7. Visit the King’s and Queen’s courts

King and Queen Walking the Renaissance Festival

Every Renaissance festival has a king and queen, so be sure to visit their court and say hello! They’re usually happy to chat and pose for photos. For a side quest book before or after experiencing the festival book The Complete Twin Cities Walking Tour.

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8. Go on the Renaissance Festival Pub Crawl

Pub at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

There’s no better way to experience the Renaissance Festival than by going on the Renaissance Festival Pub Crawl. The pub crawl is a great way for you and your friends to meet new people and have fun.

The short pub crawl will take you to three different pubs during the Renaissance Festival, where you can enjoy drinks and food. The price of admission is $35 per person but includes your first drink at each of the three pubs, so it’s definitely worth it. Get your tickets here!

For more pub crawl in Minnesota, check out the 4-Hour Brewery and Holiday Light Tour in Minneapolis and St. Paul or book the History and 4-Bar Crawl Guided Walking Tour.

9. Fairy Wing Forest

Fairy Wing Forest is one of the main attractions that offers exciting entertainment at the Renaissance Festival. Located next to the castle in the heart of the festival grounds, Fairy Wing Forest is a mystical wonderland where all your dreams can come true—or so they say! The forest is the perfect place to get lost in your imagination and have fun.

There are plenty of activities here for kids and adults alike, including a giant treehouse that you can climb up into. In this butterfly garden, you can learn all about the different types of butterflies that live in the British Isles and even a fairy garden where you can make your fairy wand out of twigs and leaves.

See Related: Best Places for Fall Foilage in the US

10. Mermaid Cove

Mermaid Cove Entrance
image by MN Renaissance Festival Mermaid Cove/Facebook

Mermaid Cove is a sea-themed area filled with mermaids, selkies, and other mystical sea creatures. You can expect to see a lot of great entertainment here, including belly dancers, jugglers, and more! One of our favorite performers is the Mermaid Queen.

This beautiful fish woman has been known to perform magic tricks that will leave you breathless. Mermaid Cove is the perfect place to enjoy the company of some of the most fascinating mythical creatures in this fantasy-themed world.

11. Watch Puke & Snot

Puke & Snot Performance
image by Puke & Snot/Facebook

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is a bit of a Renaissance man’s playground, with plenty of activities to entertain you. One of the most popular attractions is Puke & Snot, an improv comedy duo that performs near the Royal Jousting Arena every weekend during the festival season.

These professional jesters have been performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival since 2010 and love it—because who wouldn’t? They perform on weekends (12:00 pm-4:00 pm) and every hour during that period. They’re a hoot!

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Final Thoughts

Crowd and Shops in Minnesota Renaissance Festival

If you want to experience the best of what Minnesota has to offer, then plan a visit to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Whether you are a local or a tourist, there’s no better way to get in touch with your inner medieval spirit than by attending this year’s festival. You can enjoy live music, food, and drink from around the world, costumed performances by talented performers, and much more.

This event is so much fun and offers one of the best opportunities in the Twin Cities during August, September, and October. It’s the true celebration of nature, life, and art.

Why spend your Labor Day at the Minnesota State Fair? Channel your inner medieval in Shakopee.


How long does the Minnesota Renaissance last?

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is a three-week event that runs from late August to early October. The festival will take place at the Renaissance Festival Grounds in Shakopee, MN.

How big is the Minnesota Renaissance Festival?

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is the largest in America, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world to its location in Shakopee, Minnesota. The festival has been going on for over 30 years and is open for about 8 weekends during their season.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival spans over 40 acres. It includes more than 50 shops, six stages, five food courts (including one just for kids), dozens of costumed characters throughout the grounds, two jousting areas with real horses (and armored knights), plenty of themed restaurants that serve everything from traditional medieval food to European delights – plus hundreds of performers who play music throughout the day while they walk around entertaining guests.

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