Fourth of July fireworks, Bastille Day Block Party, Boom Days and more

Minneapolis' stream of summertime festivals continues with Bastille Day Block Party, Basilica Block Party and Boom Days.

Fourth of July Fireworks over the Mississippi River Credit: File photo

Fourth of July

Nothing screams summer like the sounds of fireworks exploding over the Mississippi River. Rather than simply enjoy the light show, Minneapolitans can also take advantage of free fun all Fourth of July weekend with programming along the downtown and Northeast Minneapolis riverfront, in addition to parades and picnics in southwest.


Fourth of July Fireworks

The quintessential Fourth of July experience can easily be found on the downtown Minneapolis riverfront. For years, the Stone Arch Bridge has provided the best location in the city to view the firework show, but there are plenty of alternatives for those looking for a new spot or avoid the crowds. Gold Medal Park is the most traditional choice, with plenty of room for throwing a blanket on the grass. The Mill City Museum has a ticketed ($35) observation deck for some of the best seats in the city. The Guthrie’s Endless Bridge and the Hennepin Avenue Bridge may be your best bets for a last-minute spot.

Where: Water Power Park, 204 Main St. SE.

When: July 4 at 10 p.m.

Cost: Free


Red, White and Boom

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board is once again hosting its Red, White and Boom weekend of Fourth of July events. The two-day celebration begins with the Hot Dam 5K on Friday, July 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Main Street Southeast and Merriam Street, in addition to a half marathon on July 4 at 6:30 a.m. After the 5K, runners and guests can enjoy music from Chris Koza at 7 p.m. and a screening of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” at the Nicollet Island Amphitheatre at 9 p.m. There will also be free family activities and live music at Father Hennepin Bluffs Park and Mill Runs Park from 6-10p.m. before Saturday’s fireworks.

Where: Downtown Minneapolis riverfront

When: July 3-4

Cost: Free, no registration required



Tangletown Picnic and Parade

Start your Fourth of July early with an old-fashioned parade and picnic in southwest Minneapolis’ Tangletown neighborhood. The parade begins at Washburn High School at 10 a.m. and is open to all, so grab your bikes and strollers and start decorating. The festivities end at Fuller Park with entertainment, games, prizes and lots of food.

Where: Fuller Park, 4800 Grand Ave. S.

When: July 4 at 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Cost: Free



Bastille Day Block Party

The annual Bastille Day Block Party returns to Barbette with an impressive lineup of local bands and entertainment. Soul singer PaviElle and Suzie, an alternative-pop project from Night Moves’ Mark Ritsema, were both winners of First Avenue’s Best New Bands 2014 and now top the festival’s bill this year. There are other big names: hip-hop collaborators Toki Wright & Big Cats, Brass Messengers and Grandma’s Boyfriend. The block party will host entertainment from Infiammati Fire Circus, North Star Roller Girls and a Light Grey Art Lab artist market. You can be there will be plenty of food and cold beverages at this annual summer festival.

Where: Barbette, 1600 W. Lake St.

When: July 12 from 3-10 p.m.

Cost: Free



Patches + Stitches

Light Grey Art Lab’s latest exhibition, Patches + Stitches, is a two-part showcase displaying badass patches and beautiful needlework. While patches may not be the most conventional medium for artists, creative have submitted hand-painted, embroidered or dyed patches for this show. Far more than the patches from teenage rebellion, this exhibition takes the medium to another level. On the exhibition’s other side, artists will also be showcasing their elegant embroidery in textiles and patterns. Illustrator Teagan White will give an artist talk from 7-8 p.m.  

Where: Light Grey Art Lab, 118 E. 26th St.

When: Friday, July 3 from 7-10 p.m.

Cost: Free



Secret Colors Revisited

Minnesota writers of color Alexs Pate and David Mura will host “Secret Colors Revisited,” a conversation on race and the arts. The two longtime collaborators have written 15 books between them in multiple genres that examine the issues of race and identity. The name of the talk gets its name from the writers’ performance piece “Secret Colors,” which was a response to the Rodney King beating and violence in Los Angeles. The two will discuss the project and their PBS film “Slowly This” in light of recent events, such as the Black Lives Matter and Million Artists movements.

Where: Loft Literary Center, 1011 S. Washington Ave.

When: July 10 at 7 p.m.

Cost: $5-10 suggested donation



Boom Days

Boom Island Brewing Company’s Belgian Independence Celebration, dubbed Boom Days, returns this summer in tandem with the release of the brewery’s much anticipated 2015 Cuvee de Boom. The three-day festival kicks off on Friday, July 17 with a Cuvee de Doom release party with a 750ml bottle blowout. The party continues on Saturday with a 5K run with the MN Brewing Running Series and a lineup of bands in the evening. On Sunday the brewery is hosting several hour-long classes on brewing Belgian-style beers in addition to giving out awards for its home brewing competition.  

Where: Boom Island Brewing, 2014 Washington Ave. N.

When: July 17-19

Cost: Free




The Minnesota Orchestra’s annual summertime festivities include intimate chamber music experiences, Viennese favorites and a celebration of Cuba, diving into the musicians’ experience touring the country this year. In addition to a season full of concerts, the orchestra is also hosting free events before and after its evening performances in the Target Atrium. For example, around its “Singin’ in the Rain” performance on Friday, July 10, guests can check out Belle Amour (6-7:45 p.m.) and the Atrium Jazz Trio (10-11 p.m.), in addition to food vendors and happy hour drink specials. Check out the orchestra’s Sommerfest event calendar at

Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall

When: July 5 through Aug. 1

Cost: Free and ticketed events



Basilica Block Party

The annual two-day Basilica Block Party returns with headliners Weezer, Wilco, O.A.R. and Fitz and The Tantrums. The event begins Friday, July 10 with music from Minnesota bands Motion City Soundtrack and Zoo Animal, along with performances from Nate Ruess, Matt Kearney and Matthew Sweet. The block party continues on Saturday, July 11 with music from Jason Isbell, Jenny Lewis and Minneapolis band American Scarecrows. There will also be food and drinks on hand for this summertime music staple.

Where: Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 N. 17th St.

When: July 10-11

Cost: $55–$60 per day, $100 for both. $20 for kids 5-12, and those under 5 are free.