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20 Reasons to Explore Minnesota

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

  • Paul and Babe_20 Reasons

    1. Charming Towns

    Expect a dose of “Say cheese!” as visitors hit Bemidji’s lakeshore, where historic statues of Babe the Big Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan loom large. Step into the visitor center, and you’ll see his alleged baby shoe and other souvenirs of legendary size. Even beyond folklore, you can bet on a lot of big things in this northwest part of the state.

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  • guitar_20 reasons

    2. Wonderful Sounds

    In its fourth year, the Caravan du Nord concert series celebrates independent, Minnesota-based musicians. The tour starts Sept. 26 in Austin, with stops in Detroit Lakes, Red Wing and Faribault before ending in Duluth on Nov. 6. Headliners include Communist Daughter and the Grammy-winning Okee Dokee Brothers.

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  • roadside_vining

    3. Surprising Finds

    Minnesota is full of one-of-a-kind attractions. 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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  • corn maze_20 reasons

    6. Kid-Friendly Fun

    Each fall, intricate corn mazes crop up at Minnesota farms, wineries, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches, following the centuries-old European maze tradition. Maze-makers plant or cut corn to create a pathway in an elaborate design.

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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. Fabulous 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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  • i like you store mugs

    9. Homegrown Souvenirs

    Sure, you know Minnesota’s got lakes. And pine trees. And snow. But one of the state’s best-kept secrets is our style—and where to get it. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area alone, a plethora of locally owned boutiques and shops share the Minnesota love by supporting local artists, designers, crafters and makers.

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  • apple_square

    10. Apple Season

    A true, ripe Honeycrisp tastes like an apple with the volume turned up: Both honey-sweet and bracingly tart, it conveys its full flavor in extra-juicy bites. Dozens of open-to-the-public orchards dot the landscape around the state, and Minnesotans and visitors alike will have no shortage of good picking come early September through late October.

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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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  • Paul Bunyan Trail fall_20 reasons

    12. Top Bike Trails

    The Walker area has worked hard, and continues to work, on its trails. They are well mapped out and well-marked, and locals are all familiar with them if visitors have any questions. Whether your bicycle has a banana seat or not, these trails will not disappoint.

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  • St Croix kayaking_20 Reasons

    13. Great State Parks

    Five Minnesota state parks provide campers and day trippers the perfect entry point to the pleasures of the St. Croix River. Canoeing and kayaking are perhaps the strongest attraction at many of these parks, but they also offer great hiking, biking, horseback trails and campsites, and all manners of wildlife watching.

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  • brewery

    14. Craft Beer Galore

    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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  • Green line train_square

    15. Light Rail Transit

    Minneapolis and St. Paul have a lot of connections: The Mississippi River flows through them both, their residents root for the same sports teams, and their museums and theaters are world class. Now, they’re also physically connected by the Metro Green Line light rail, which runs between Minneapolis’ Target Field and St. Paul’s Union Depot.

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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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  • The Great River road near little falls and Lindbergh boyhood home

    17. Fall Color Drives

    View a rainbow of colorful fall foliage in Minnesota. The list includes some well-known favorites, and some lesser-known gems where you don't have to share the view with a crowd. From the North Shore to southern Bluff Country, you'll find fall colors on these 10 routes.

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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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