Minnesota's Top Tourist Attractions Ranked by Attendance

Nov 14, 2018

 
EXPLORE MINNESOTA – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State of Minnesota
Media contacts:
Alyssa Hayes, Explore Minnesota, 651-757-1857, alyssa.hayes@state.mn.us
Erica Wacker, Explore Minnesota, 651-757-1862, erica.wacker@state.mn.us
 

Minnesota's Top Tourist Attractions Ranked by Attendance

Explore Minnesota Survey Reveals 2017 Attendance for Attractions, Events Statewide
 
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Nov. 15, 2018) — Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism promotion office, announced 2017 attendance figures today for major attractions and events statewide. From the nation's largest mall to stadiums, museums, zoos, parks, big events and more, the top 40 most-visited tourist attractions in the state can be viewed in this infographic.
 
The top 10 attractions by attendance are:
 
1. Mall of America, Bloomington (40,000,000)
2. Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Minneapolis (7,063,500)
3. Como Park, St. Paul (5,367,400)
4. National Sports Center, Blaine (4,100,000)
5. Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, Minneapolis (2,782,800)
6. Mississippi Gorge Regional Park, Minneapolis/St. Paul (2,734,300)
7. Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center & Park, Duluth (2,526,322)
8. Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul (2,200,000)
9. Target Field, Minneapolis (2,131,787)
10. Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis (2,051,000)
   
Due to the large concentration of attractions in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, it's no surprise that the majority of the top 40 are located in this part of the state. In addition to major tourism draws like Mall of America and professional sports/concert venues, the top 40 include numerous museums and theaters, casinos and plentiful parks, ranging from regional parks like Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove to state and national parks, including Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton and the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area in the Twin Cities.
   
In addition to the statewide list, Explore Minnesota also broke down the attractions into the state's five tourism regions. Regional highlights for northeast, central, northwest and southern include (metro region is highlighted above):
   
Northeast   Central
1.   Lake Superior Maritime Visitor   1.   Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Onamia
    Center & Park, Duluth   2.   Sibley State Park, New London
2.   Grand Casino, Hinckley   3.   Lake Carlos State Park, Carlos
3.   Gooseberry Falls State Park, Two   4.   Cuyuna Country State Recreation
    Harbors       Area, Crosby
4.   Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay   5.   Maplewood State Park, Pelican
5.   Split Rock Lighthouse State Park,       Rapids
    Two Harbors        
 
Northwest   Southern
1.   Itasca State Park, Park Rapids   1.   Cabela's, Owatonna
2.   Lake Bemidji State Park, Bemidji   2.   Mayo Civic Center, Rochester
3.   WE Fest, Detroit Lakes   3.   Minneopa State Park, Mankato
4.   Buffalo River State Park, Glyndon   4.   Flandrau State Park, New Ulm
5.   Sanford Center, Bemidji   5.   Whitewater State Park, Altura
   
"These attendance figures are impressive. They contribute to Minnesota's $15.0 billion tourism economy in a big way, and support jobs all over the state," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota. "Minnesota offers an endless array of things to see and do, and this list goes to show that people are exploring our state's great indoor and outdoor attractions."
 
Survey Methodology
This list includes only those attractions for which attendance was monitored and reported to Explore Minnesota. Attractions on this list feature things to see or do that are entertaining, recreational or educational in nature, and cater substantially to tourists. Other requirements include: permanent places in Minnesota or are events that are always held in the same place; located in a single area; have a regular schedule that is available to the public; and have a systematic method of tracking or estimating attendance.
 
In most cases, attendance reported was for calendar year 2017. If that time period was not available, fiscal year attendance, 2016 attendance or average annual attendance was used. To date, 140 attractions provided their attendance figures for this survey. This list is subject to revision.
 
###
 
ABOUT EXPLORE MINNESOTA
As the state's tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota pursues an entrepreneurial approach, leveraging the state's tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of representatives from the state's tourism industry strongly connects Explore Minnesota with tourism businesses and organizations.
 
Tourism is a $15.0 billion industry in Minnesota, and a key sector of the state's economy. The leisure and hospitality industry—a major provider of tourism services—employs more than 265,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota's private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 18 percent of the state's sales tax revenues. Minnesota welcomes over 70 million domestic and international travelers annually.
 
See what's happening only in Minnesota, at exploreminnesota.com, and on social media @exploreminn on Twitter, or @exploreminnesota on Instagram and Facebook, using #OnlyinMN.