Taste of Minnesota: What to know before you go

Taste of Minnesota, a free festival featuring food from across the state and live musical entertainment, is returning to downtown Minneapolis this weekend.

Event organizers say the event is coming back "bigger and better" than last year after it returned from a seven-year hiatus in 2023. They add there will be about 60 food vendors this year compared to 23 last year. 

The festivities will be held on July 6 and July 7 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on both days at Nicollet Mall. 

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Here's what attendees should know before heading out: 

Getting there: Metro Transit is offering free transit passes to Taste of Minnesota on both July 6 and July 7. There are also services from Southwest Transit available. Parking options in downtown Minneapolis can be found here. 

Getting inside: Entry is free, but attendees should expect their person and bags to be searched. Entrances can be found at the corner of Washington Avenue & Hennepin Avenue, 5th Street and Nicollet Mall as well as 4th Street & Nicollet Mall. Anyone under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and proof of age is required. No weapons of any kind are allowed, including those carried by licensed firearm holders.

Getting a drink: A variety of alcoholic beverages are available for anyone with a valid ID.

Getting water: Water filling stations will be available throughout the event. 

Paying: Taste of Minnesota accepts both cash and card payments. 

What can be brought: A small bag or purse, empty water bottle (any style), strollers, wheelchairs, personal umbrellas. 

What not to bring: Taste of Minnesota prohibits the following items: Backpacks, large bags, camelback-style hydration packs, outside food and beverages, cans or glass bottles, alcohol, coolers, illegal drugs or substances, firearms, knives, weapons, or objects that could be used as weapons, fireworks, professional-grade cameras or video equipment or other recording devices, banners or flags, laser pointers, lawn chairs, skateboards or skates, hoverboards or recreational scooters.

Severe weather plan: Any lightning or heavy rain will suspend operations until organizers feel it is safe to continue. Safety announcements will be made via the Great Clips Main Stage and the event's social media platforms. Emergency shelter locations are located at the 3rd Street Ramp across from the main stage, the Hennepin County Library and at the 4th Street and Marquette Parking Ramp. 

Dogs: Taste of Minnesota recommends leaving dogs at home, unless the dog is a registered service animal.  

Accessibility: Viewing areas for people who need accomodation and a clear view of the main stage will be made available, as well as ADA portable restrooms. 

During the 2023 legislative session, a "Taste of Minnesota" bill was introduced by Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids), and Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlain), and would provide $1.8 million in Fiscal Year 2024 from Minnesota’s general fund for a grant to the Downtown Minneapolis Council for infrastructure and costs of the event. At the time, the money was marked as a one-time appropriation.