Minnesota-- the "North Star State"-- is the northernmost state in the continental United States. “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” has a lot to offer outdoor explorers. Biking, skiing, hiking, ice fishing, and white water rafting down the Mississippi River are just some of the many adventures you can experience.
Home to the metropolis area of the Twin Cities, tourists and Minnesotans alike can enjoy a thriving shopping, culture and entertainment scene. With something for everyone, there are plenty of reasons to explore Minnesota.
Best Places to Visit in Minnesota
Minnesota is full of outdoor adventure and charm, with major national parks and monuments, scenic byways, and quaint riverfront small towns. Arts and culture is alive and well in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Cities in Minnesota
The Twin Cities: Minneapolis-St. Paul
This major Midwest metropolitan area is built around the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers. The Twin Cities are named after Minnesota's largest cities of Minneapolis and state capital St. Paul. There is a thriving live music and theater scene and a historic Riverfront District where Minneapolis began its flour and milling industry. There is so much to see and do in Downtown Minneapolis, including:
North Loop & Warehouse District: Packed with creative restaurants, hip bars and gay nightlife, this neighborhood of converted warehouses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries features indie shops, craft beer, and the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
Central Business District: This is the financial, cultural, and retail hub of the city.
Downtown East & Mill District: Old flour mills converted into office spaces, homes, and retail shops make up this emerging neighborhood.
Loring Park: The largest park in Minneapolis, this large green space has a lake and extensive walking and cycling paths.
Nicollet Avenue: Downtown's core shopping and entertainment district, this area includes a mile-long pedestrian-only retail area and numerous skyways above the street.
A suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Bloomington houses the Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the U.S., with more than 500 stores, 10 attractions, and an indoor theme park.
The largest city outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is home to the renowned Mayo Clinic medical center.
Minnesota State and National Parks
Home to six parks, monuments and recreation areas of the National Park Service and almost 70 state parks, Minnesota's diverse park sites highlight the natural, historical and cultural resources the state has to offer.
Pipestone National Monument: Check out sacred pipestone quarries, the Winnewissa waterfall, and petroglyphs (ancient American Indian carvings).
Mississippi National River & Recreation Area: This area is home to Minnehaha Falls Park, which features a 53-foot waterfall and limestone bluffs.
St. Croix National Scenic Riverway: Paddle boat, fish or camp along the 200 miles of clean water that flow through this forested landscape.
Grand Portage National Monument: Located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota, this national monument preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage.
Voyageurs National Park: Located in northern Minnesota on the Canadian border, this maze of interconnected water highways, forests, and lakes, including Rainy Lake, Lake Kabetogama and Namakan Lake, spreads across more than 200,000 acres.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: This 1.9 million acre wilderness area is located within the Superior National Forest near Ely, Minnesota.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park: This state park includes hiking trails, camping sites, and the historic Split Rock Lighthouse.
Minnesota in the Winter
Minnesota is a top tourist destination in the winter for its many outdoor activities, seasonal festivals, cozy getaways, and other hidden gems. From ice fishing to cross-country skiing, hockey championships to holiday festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Minneapolis in the winter like a local.
Attend the St. Paul Winter Carnival, a family friendly annual festival featuring parades, ice sculptures and live entertainment.
Enjoy the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park holiday lighting display.
Cross-country ski through the thousands of miles of ski trails.
Ice-fish or snow-shoe.
Snowmobile through 22,000 miles of groomed trails.
Cheer on a Minnesota home team: Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota RollerGirls, or Minnesota Wild.
Stay in one of Minnesota’s 150 bed & breakfasts, often equipped with cozy fireplaces and rustic restaurants.