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20 Reasons to Explore Minnesota

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

  • nisswa_artfest

    1. Charming Towns

    Home to some of Minnesota’s biggest lakes, world-class golf courses and fun for the whole family, the Brainerd Lakes and Mille Lacs areas in central Minnesota make ideal summer getaways. Stay a whole week, or set aside a couple weekends to explore each area on its own.

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  • Dakota Jazz Club

    2. Wonderful Sounds

    Local hip-hop icon Dessa talks about some of Minneapolis’ most intimate music rooms. Find out why she loves to perform and attend shows at venues like The Icehouse, Aster Cafe and Triple Rock, each of which has its own unique appeal.

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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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  • Northern Waters Smokehaus

    4. Local Flavors

    The North Shore of Lake Superior has a lovely gastronomic style all its own. From smoked fish to fresh berries to cured meat to some of the region's tastiest breakfasts, the foods found here can transform a pleasant trip into a great vacation.

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  • golf cup

    5. Glorious Golf

    Minnesota has hundreds of golf courses, and probably at least that many unique golf holes. Find 10 of the most unique at courses around the state, ranging from a footprint-shaped green to one that includes a ferry ride from the tee box.

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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

    The Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway runs west from the Wisconsin border near LaCrosse toward Austin in southern Minnesota. Wind your way through a landscape of woodsy hills and dramatic bluffs, sometimes marked with the tranquil silhouette of a lone Amish buggy.

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  • fishing

    8. Fabulous Fishing

    Fishing is a time-honored tradition in Minnesota, and with more than 10,000 lakes plus streams and rivers, there's no shortage of places to cast a line. Large and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, trout, crappie and muskie are among the species that swim in these waters.

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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. Sumptuous Suds

    While Minnesota is known for producing foods like wild rice, sweet corn and blueberries, it’s the state’s drinkable crops that are making headlines. Wineries, breweries and distilleries – the latest local craze – continue to up the ante, and they’re inviting visitors to come taste the results.

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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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  • mall of america

    16. Tax-Free Shopping

    The largest shopping and entertainment complex in the country, Mall of America always has something new to impress first-time guests and frequent visitors alike. New stores, celeb-studded events and an on-site hotel are among the many highlights the mall has in store this season.

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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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