I love taking my daughter to the farmers market on the weekends.
Now that I’m pregnant and toting around a toddler, decent parking, spaces to wander around, and a nice indoor bathroom is a must. I am absolutely not bringing a child into a porta potty with me.
The key to good parking at any of the popular farmers markets in the Twin Cities is to get there early. Like, get there around opening-early.
Minneapolis Lyndale Annex Farmers Market
The parking situation at the Lyndale market can be nuts. My suggestion is to go as close to eight as possible and park in the stalls under the bridge, as close to Glenwood Ave as possible. If you have a baby or toddler, you’ve already been up for a few hours by now.
First, there are decent indoor bathrooms near the back where they play live music.
Nextdoor is a doggy day care center where you can watch the dogs play inside a fenced patio from the sidewalk.
There’s also plenty of room to chase a toddler around that back area near the music and bathrooms.
This market also has the best selection of more affordable hot food vendors and Asian food – from the typical mini doughnuts and grilled sausages, to eggrolls, papaya salad, boat noodle soup, tacos and tamales, gyros, and crepes (and more).
The highlight of my week is going to Rainbow Chinese’s stand and ordering bubble tea. They have many different types of drinks, all displayed beautifully. My current fav is the jasmine milk tea. The large eggrolls are good, too.
Near the back is Miss Papaya, a stand dedicated to papaya salad. You can order many different types (such as salad with shrimp, or with rice noodles, a vegan version) and customize the hotness. They also serve soup.
I always buy egg rolls from the vendor closer to the front near the breakfast burrito stand. They’re a thinner and longer version served with a non-sweet, slightly spicy dipping sauce – perfect size for my baby’s hands.
Mill City Farmers Market
If you go early, parking along second street, a block or two away (metered parking) is no problem.
The connected Mill City Museum is open and has very nice bathrooms and an ATM.
Next door is Gold Medal Park where your toddler can run free.
Generally, the hot food vendors here more expensive. Ghorka Palace, Chef Shack (what happened to the mini doughnuts?) and Northern Fires pizza are always here with some intermittent ones.
Recently, I splurged on a $20 breakfast pizza from Northern Fires and enjoyed it a lot. It feels expensive for an impromptu food truck snack, but was substantial enough to provide a few meals.
What I loved was the RedWolf Chai stand – they serve iced chai with oat milk – not too sweet, just perfectly sweetened and warm, flaky chapati bread spread with honey. This combination was so delightful. Addie grabbed the chapati roll and munched away, offering me a few bites.
Can I put away our winter jackets yet? Hope you are enjoying the start to summer! Let me know if there are other farmers markets with nice bathrooms.