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20 Reasons to Explore Minnesota

Discover some of the many reasons to explore Minnesota, listed here in no particular order.

  • st croix paddleboat

    1. Charming Towns

    Looking for a fun location for the entire family? Enter Taylors Falls – a little town of 976 residents northeast of the Twin Cities. Surrounded by bluffs and high cliffs, the area is a geologist’s dream. There are also scenic boat tours that offer great views of the rocky cliffs along the river.

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  • Dakota Jazz Club 600x512.jpg

    2. Minneapolis' Most Intimate Music Rooms

    A room that can hold 200 or 300 people has a special charm--you're always seated close enough to see the performers’ facial expressions, their beers and set lists, and you can hear the unamplified sounds that the musicians are making.

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  • roadside_vining

    3. Surprising Finds

    Minnesota is full of one-of-a-kind attractions. This summer, make a trip to Nyberg Park in Vining (pictured), the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Jeffers Petroglyphs near Comfrey, the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting in St. Louis Park, or the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead.

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  • Haute Tater Tots
    Haute Dish / Photo by Becca Dilley

    4. Comfort Food Reinvented

    When you think of Minnesota food, you might think of a few classic staples: nutty wild rice, flaky walleye, and hot dish. Change, of course, has arrived with a vengeance as a food revolution has swept the state, and tradition is increasingly seen as a platform for invention.

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  • Haute Tater Tots

    5. Glorious Golf

    Every year, Minnesota is ranked at or near the top of states with the most golfers per capita in the country. Minnesotans simply love golf. It is one of the best places in the country to play, and the locals know that. So here are some reasons why you will love Minnesota golf as well.

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  • Oranosaurus

    6. Kid-Friendly Fun

    Get up close and personal with a newly discovered breed of dinosaurs at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. “Ultimate Dinosaurs” features 20 dinosaur specimens from South America, Africa and Madagascar, and virtual technology helps bring them to life in new ways.

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  • byway bluff

    7. Scenic Byways

    Otter Trail Scenic Byway, in pastoral Otter Tail county, visits the forests and lakes of Maplewood State Park and Glendalough State Park, a scenic overlook at Inspiration Peak, and the 1889 Phelps Mill and millpond.

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  • fishing

    8. Fall is Prime Time for Fishing

    With cooler weather, more active fish and a beautiful backdrop of changing leaves, fall is one of the best times of year to fish in Minnesota. Depending on the area and the size of the lake, walleye, muskie, northerns, largemouth bass and crappie, as well as trout in the southeast Minnesota streams, are all biting.

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  • waterfall

    9. Thundering Waterfalls

    The serenading song of birds and the translucent green glow of freshly unfurled leaves signals the arrival of spring in Minnesota. If you’re lucky, you can add the thunder of waterfalls, too. As winter loosens its grip, snowmelt fills the state’s rivers that roar toward Lake Superior, rumble through hardwoods and cascade across prairie.

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  • disc golf

    10. Trending Summer Sports

    Minnesota has no shortage of new sports to try this summer. Stand-up paddleboarding – an offshoot of surfing that’s popular on the West Coast – is making waves in this part of the country, too. On land, ATVing and mountain biking offer scenic adventures, while disc golfing is great for beginners.

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  • airport dining

    11. One Really Cool Airport

    The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is considered among the best in the country, and was recently called "the best two-hour layover in the U.S." by Men’s Journal. Get there early or spend some time after you land to discover any or all of these 10 highlights.

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  • elm creek bike

    12. Top Bike Trails

    An array of mountain biking destinations around the state have been built or solidified over the past few years. Pedal Minnesota spoke with local mountain biking experts to assemble a list of seven great spots to ride off-road in Minnesota.

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  • camping

    13. All Kinds of Camping

    Relaxation, adventure, escape, and quality time with family and friends are among the many reasons why camping is a beloved Minnesota pastime. Whether you’re ready to take on the Boundary Waters or prefer the comforts of an RV, a Minnesota camping trip will surely be one to remember.

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  • brewery

    14. Plan Your Minnesota Beercation

    For years, domestic beer was viewed as wine's lowbrow cousin, suitable for drinking during sporting events or cookouts, and little else. The craft brew revolution has turned that thinking on its head, and the past five to 10 years have seen an explosion in artisan beer production in Minnesota.

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  • Sunset sail

    15. 10,000+ Lakes

    When you visit a place that’s nicknamed “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (there’s actually 11,842, to be precise), it only makes sense that you explore one or two of them while you’re here. In fact, many would argue that you haven’t had the full Minnesota experience if you haven’t spent any time at a lake.

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  • Antiques In Hastings

    16. Antiquing the Great River Road

    Antiques and the Mississippi River Valley go together like daffodils and a long-awaited Midwestern spring. One holds the power to stop you in your tracks to even better enjoy the other. That's how it is on the southern section of Minnesota's Great River Road, anyway.

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  • motorcycle

    17. Miles of Motorcycling

    For those who love to travel by motorcycle, Minnesota's Scenic Byways offer some of the state's most beautiful, interesting and enjoyable rides. Follow our riders, Charley and Tom, as they explore Minnesota's highways, byways and backroads.

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  • resort

    18. Resort Stays

    It's a Minnesota classic: a comfy lakeside cottage, a chance to go fishing, play in the water, listen to the loons call across the lake, watch the sun set, roast marshmallows, point out galaxies in the starry sky. A resort is a place to get away from it all and reconnect with family and friends.

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  • bear

    19. Wonderful Wildlife

    Wildlife sanctuaries dedicated to wolves, bears and eagles offer fun and education for animal lovers of all ages. Plan a trip to the International Wolf Center and North American Bear Center in Ely, the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr, and the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

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  • powwow

    20. Intriguing Heritage

    Ojibwe (or Anishinaabe) and Dakota (Sioux) heritage figure strongly in Minnesota’s past and its present. Here are some of the best places to admire tribal artistry, learn about their histories, and appreciate their cultures through storytelling and music.

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