Minneapolis already had ample urban green spaces, but no one complained when The Commons opened in front of U.S. Bank Stadium last summer. This year, the nonprofit conservancy Green Minneapolis teamed up with the city, and tons of other local organizations, to develop programming to make the most of this downtown oasis all summer long. Here’s The Commons' seasonal events calendar, hot off the press. Almost all events are free, but look for an asterisk to denote those that you'll need tickets for.
Make the most of that lunch break and challenge your coworkers to lawn and board games like Corn Hole, bocce ball, chess, Connect Four, and ladder ball. Free, 6 a.m.–10 p.m., starts June 1
Calling all bookworms! Soak up the sun while reading best-selling books and local newspapers from The Commons' book cart. Free, 6 a.m.–10 p.m., starts June 1
Find out who has the best pong skills in the park! Free, 6 a.m.–10 p.m., starts June 1
As part of the Northern Spark festival, Orbacles—an art installation submitted by MINN_LAB—will be on display at the Commons. The piece explores how climate change affects birdlife in Minnesota, allowing visitors to experience the anticipated shift of birds (in time snapshots from 2017 to 2080) from Minnesota due to species loss and migration. Free, 6 a.m.–10 p.m., starts June 10
The traditional Swedish game, aptly referred to as "Viking Chess," is already popular in Minnesota, and newbies can take a turn with a weekly intramural league. The St. Paul Kubb Society will give you a lesson on the rules and technique, with two hours of game time following. 4:45–6:45 p.m., June 7, 14, 21, and 28; July 19 and 26; Aug. 2, 9, and 16; East Block of the Commons
If you're looking to try a new workout class, but also want to save some money, take advantage of this opportunity to give Fly Feet's popular HIIT and Run class a go. It's an all-levels class combining running, strength training, and mobility training that's designed to have each participate challenge their personal best. Free, 6–7 p.m. June 15, July 20, Aug. 17, and Sept. 21, East Block of the Commons, flyfeetrunning.com
Three different DJs spin soundtracks, but each member of the crowd gets their own personal dance party. Illuminated headphones allow dancers to hear the music of their choice, while keeping downtown quiet. Free, 8–10 p.m., June 16, Aug. 4, Park location TBD
Bring lunch and a blanket to the Good Lawn for performances from MacPhail music students. Is there a better lunch break?12–1 p.m., June 23 and 30, July 20 and 28, West Block of the Commons
Buck the quiet Midwestern stereotype and try your hand at a poetry or spoken word performance. TruArtSpeaks will be on hand to help out. 4–6 p.m., June 26, July 24, Aug. 28, and Sept. 25, West Block of the Commons, at the Reading Cart
Early childhood music teachers from MacPhail lead families through classes that engage children through singing, moving, and making music. 1–2 p.m., June 29, July 27, and Aug. 31, Good Lawn of the West Block
Usually a no-alcohol zone, The Commons lets loose for a few nights this summer. Bring your own bubbly and a blanket to curl up on, and toast to free films in the park. Local filmmakers and popular titles will be highlighted, with specific titles TBA. 7 p.m., June 29, July 27, Aug. 10 and 24
House of Dance Twin Cities is hosting this hour-long dance class that will teach breaking, popping, house, and krump hip hop dance—but no worries, you don't have to an expert at this all-ages, all-skill-levels session. 5–6 p.m., July 7–8, Aug. 11, and Sept. 8., East Block of the Commons
Always bumming about missing farmers markets during the workday? You're in luck: A new nighttime farmers market is opening at The Commons this summer, courtesy of Mill City Farmers' Market. 3:30–7:30 p.m., July 18–Sept. 26, East Block
Meet a National Park Service ranger for a whimsical bike tour of the downtown neighborhood, and discussion of flora and fauna. Ride your own bike or visit a Nice Ride station to see the city from a new perspective. 10–11:30 a.m., Aug. 5, Sept. 16 and Oct. 21, 4th St. and Portland Ave.
From sundown to sunrise, this sprawling, free arts and climate change awareness festival is spread throughout the city, partially along both avenues of The Commons near the Green Line. June 10–11, northernspark.org
The 72-member youth orchestra is in town, all the way from Germany, to perform 4 shows in Minnesota. Catch them on the East Block lawn for a performance that will likely draw on a common heritage for many Minnesotans. 6–7 p.m., June 12, East Block of The Commons
National attention will fall on U.S. Bank Stadium this summer, as Minneapolis hosts the X games. The Commons are celebrating too, with high-profile concerts from A Day to Remember, Flume, and local legend Atmosphere. Concert admittance is included with X Game ticket purchases. Tickets $40–$60, June 14–16, X Games Music Stage on the Commons
Join Twin Cities literary enthusiasts for a picnic and toast to eight years of the Twin Cities Library Calendar. You can BYO lunch, or grab some free sodas and snacks from the event!12–2 p.m., June 17, West Block of The Commons, RSVP here
Talk genealogy and family history with authors of the award-winning book Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land. Then, get crafty and create your own family tree. 11 a.m.–12 p.m., June 18, West Block of the Commons at the Reading Cart
Celebrate the longest day of the year with mini concerts all throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. Walk the sidewalks, streets, and parks to hear performances from local musicians. 7–8 p.m., July 21, Both blocks of the Commons, makemusicday.org
It's not often you get the chance to practice downward dog in the heart of downtown. 5:30 –6:30 p.m., July 21, East Block of the Commons
Bring the little ones for a group singalong and storytime with children's book authors Trisha Speed Shaskan and Stephen Shaskan. They'll read and sign copies of their book Punk Skunks and early releases of Q & Ray: The Missing Mola Lisa. 11 a.m.–noon., Aug. 13, West Block of the Commons at the Reading Cart
Free family fun takes place all day before Vikings home games. Pre-season sessions are Aug. 27 and 31, Sept. 11 and 24, Oct. 1, 15, and 22, Nov. 19, with December dates TBD.