Top 14 Places to Visit in Minnesota

Minnesota is called the Ten Thousand Lakes State. And it’s true! And if you go deeper into the statistics, you’ll find that there are not even ten thousand lakes, but twelve thousand. Because of this and other parameters, the state is the best in the country’s quality of life and the healthiest, according to national expertise. But it’s not just the beauty of the lakes that makes Minnesota famous. Places to visit in Minnesota include great fishing and hunting, canoeing and rafting, top U.S. biking trails, and skiing are just a few reasons travelers worldwide flock to Minnesota.

 When you are traveling, chances are you will have to use public Wi-Fi from time to time. To make your travel comfortable and safe, you should also install a VPN on your phone. That way, you won’t have to worry about data leakage when connecting to public Wi-FI, and you’ll always have access to blocked content in Minnesota. So not only do you need to provide an exciting ride for yourself and your family, but also cybersecurity for your data.

As the northernmost state in the U.S., Minnesota is home to many unique attractions that offer a wide range of opportunities for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. From the beautiful Twin Cities to lakeside resorts, there are plenty of places to visit in Minnesota.

Minneapolis 

Spoonbridge and Cherry - Minneapolis Sculpture Garden - Places to Visit in Minnesota
Spoonbridge and Cherry – Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Of all the places to visit in Minnesota, Minneapolis is a theatergoer’s paradise: the city is second only to New York City in the number of seats in theaters. So, not surprisingly, the main festival is theater-related. Every year, the state hosts the Fringe Theater Festival. The Minnesota Fringe Festival has expanded from featuring 52 shows in 1994 to showcasing 720 performances of over 142 shows in before the pandemic hit in 2019. So, if you’re lucky enough to arrive in Minnesota during the first two weeks of August, you can catch one or more dramatic dances, musicals, and puppet theaters for young children.

Although St. Paul is the capital, Minneapolis is the most famous city in Minnesota. Are you interested in art? Check out exhibitions at the Art Institute, see works by Picasso and Henry Moore at the Walker Art Center, or check out the Frederick Weisman Museum of Art Culture. Minneapolis’ cityscapes are high-rises that drift toward the sky and wide avenues punctuated by a network of skywalks.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute Of Art

Alvintrusty
CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is located in the heart of Minneapolis, one of the largest art museums in the United States. It has a collection of over 80,000 pieces that span six centuries, including paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet. The museum also has an extensive collection of American art from artists like Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe.

The museum is open every day except on Mondays and July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day; Hours are 10 am to 5 pm.

General admission is free; no tickets are needed. Tickets will continue to be required for special events and exhibitions.

The Student Vibe in Dinkeytown

black and brown train near the building during nighttime
Light Rail Near Dinkey Town, Minneapolis – Photo by Josh Hild

The capital of Minnesota is St. Paul. The large capital city resembles a European settlement: the same streets and the same Late-Victorian buildings. Much of the town is dominated by the University of Minnesota you will find the student hub and neighborhood of Dinkeytown irresistible.

Dinkytown snakes its way through the University of Minnesota campus, right over the river from downtown Minneapolis. Dinkytown not only serves as a bustling hub for student life but also has a long history that has left the neighborhood with ancient historic buildings, quirky stores, and even a thriving live-music scene that still exists today. Dinkytown is a Minneapolis gem you won’t want to miss, with its inexpensive cuisine and eccentric bars/social places.

Mall of America in Bloomington

Mall of America
Mall of America – Photo by Dallas Wrinkle
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Are you a true shopaholic? Then we know how to attract you. Mall of America is one of the largest malls in the entire world. It’s not far from Minnesota’s capital, near Bloomington. Here you can find over forty million people passing through every year. And one out of every four of them is a traveler. So go to the mall with family, friends, or alone – there’s something for everyone. In addition to five hundred stores, the Mall of America has no less than twenty restaurants, an entertainment park with about four hundred trees, and an oceanarium with sharks.

Voyageurs National Park

Early Morning Canoeing at Voyageurs National Park Photo by Tim Umphreys

The northern part of the state is home to the Voyageurs National Park. This National Park was founded in 1971. Water areas occupy one-third of the park’s vast territory. You are truly mesmerized by the views of shallow lakes dotted with rocky islets! Camp or stay in a Rainy Lakehouse, rent a mini boat or explore the expanse in a speedboat, canoe, or seaplane. You may see eagles, loons, deer, and elk. Also, find out about a tour of the famous Kettle Falls. You can even go there with the children.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is located just outside downtown Saint Paul and has hundreds of animals worldwide. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is free and open to newcomers and frequent visitors all year. The zoo offers many exhibits, including a butterfly house, a children’s garden, and tropical rainforest.

The zoo is open year-round with many special events, such as Night at Como Zoo in August or Boo at the Zoo in October, where you can see all kinds of spooky creatures! If your kids love animals, this is one you should check out while visiting Minnesota!

North Shore of Lake Superior

North Shore of Lake Superior

Today, one of the country’s most extensive series of waterfalls rests on Lake Superior’s north shore. Head north along the coast from Duluth along Route 61. The area is home to unique natural attractions. The main attraction of these places is the numerous state parks along Lake Superior. According to some research assumptions, it is a preserved part of a once colossal sea. It is the largest and deepest in the Great Lakes system, and Lake Superior is also the largest freshwater lake in the world.

There is another theory of the formation of the unique lake, which most modern scientists follow. It could have been formed in a basin left by a vast glacier. The latter, in turn, completely melted during the eruption. The beautiful lake has many unique features, which indicate its unusual origin. The water in the lake is always frigid. Even in the height of summer, it does not get warmer than 4 degrees Celsius. However, Lake Superior never freezes during the winter, so there are constant storms. Despite such features, the lake is rich in fish and is home to rare species of sturgeon and trout.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park, located on the north shore of Lake Superior, is a great place to visit on a trip to Minnesota. The park is worth a visit at any time of year, as it has a great cross-country ski trail system in the winter, beautiful colors in the fall, and plenty of hiking trails in the summer. But perhaps spring is when Gooseberry Falls State Park is at its most scenic, as this is when its waterfalls are at their fullest and most powerful. The park is near Duluth and not far from Highway 61.

Grand Marais

Grand Maris Rainbow Over Bait & Tackle Shop
Grand Maris Rainbow Over Bait & Tackle Shop

Grand Marais is a small town located on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It is one of Minnesota’s best places to fish and hike and is home to the Grand Marais Art Colony. This city has a well-preserved historic downtown district with over 100 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many of which were built by lumber barons during their heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Itasca State Park

Headwaters of the Mississippi – Photo by Sandra Dempsey

Minnesota’s oldest state park, Itasca State Park, is, without a doubt, one of the best in the state. The historic Douglas cabin or lodges offer a chance to sleep under the stars with the 2,000-acre nature preserve, one of seven national natural landmarks in Minnesota and one of the many attractions worth visiting within the park. In addition, Itasca State Park offers people the opportunity to walk along the Mississippi River at the beginning of its vast, winding journey across America-a genuinely unique, unforgettable, unforgettable experience.

Silver Bay on Superior’s North Shore

Silver Bay is one of the most picturesque places in Minnesota, with its Shovel Point offering truly spectacular views. Scenic cruises on the North Shore are among the most popular things to do on a trip to town, and snowshoeing in George Crosby Manitou State Park should also be on the list of experiences to try during a visit. The Baptism River may just be the most beautiful place in Silver Bay, although it faces competition from hikes on the stunning Tetegush Trail.

Port Duluth

Duluth and Lake Superior – Photo by Andrew Ling

Duluth, the second-largest city on the shores of Lake Superior, is worth a visit for anyone traveling to Minnesota for the first time. The seaport is home to America’s only freshwater aquarium, and Duluth is also home to the world’s longest freshwater bar. The Aerial Lift Bridge is a surprisingly attractive attraction when visiting Duluth, while the city is a great starting point for a trip along Minnesota’s North Shore. The town itself is also home to popular attractions such as the Lake Superior and Glenschen Seaside Visitor Center, the Historic Congdon Estate, and the Leif Erickson Rose Park and Garden.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Cathedral of St. Paul – Photo by Mick Haupt

St. Paul’s Cathedral, the national shrine of the Apostle Paul, commonly known as St. Paul’s Cathedral, is one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire state. The cathedral’s distinctive copper dome makes it one of the most recognizable cathedrals in the United States. The building, which is one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture, is comparable to the great cathedrals of Europe. The cathedral usually is open seven days a week—the cathedral is listed as a monument on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is an annual fair held at the end of August and beginning of September in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. It is one of the largest state fairs in the United States, with an average daily attendance of over 100,000.

The State Fair hosts a variety of competitions for various fields such as arts and crafts, food preparation, livestock shows (including dairy), and from-the-land competitions like flower displays and gardening contests. Many prominent musicians have performed at the fair, including Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson in the 1980s. Dolly Parton and the Beach Boys played there in the 1990s. 3 Doors Down and Nickelback hosted events in the early 2000s. The Dixie Chicks played in 2016. Diana Ross headlined the Minnesota State Fair in 2022.

Favorite Foods of Minnesota

Tater Tot Hot Dish

Minnesota’s crowning dishes are Hotdish casserole and a fish delicacy called lutefisk. To prepare lutefisk, dried fish is soaked in an alkaline soda solution for three days and then kept in water. The consistency of the fish becomes similar to jelly. Next, lutefisk is fried, boiled, and heated in a microwave oven. Finally, serve the fish with mashed peas, boiled potatoes, and bacon.

If you don’t want to try the gourmet lutefisk, consider another unique dish found only in Minnesota – the Juicy Lucy, a special cheeseburger made with two patties with sizzling melted cheese between them. And for the true conservatives, you can always find an establishment with familiar cuisine in the state: Mexican eateries, Vietnamese, Chinese, and other Oriental cuisines, burger joints, bakeries, and, of course, coffee shops. Coffee is in high demand here: it’s easy to find a place for a coffee break. 

Final Thoughts On the Best Places to See in Minnesota

If you are lucky to visit the state, you will feel the energy of nature and be inspired by the beauty. The state is a treasure for everyone who loves traveling. You can be sure that you will not regret visiting Minnesota!

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