Getting Around Minnesota

Whether you’re traveling by car, bus, bike, train or light rail, getting around Minnesota is simple and convenient. Read about transportation options below to find your ideal way to explore and make your journey as smooth as possible. For more on getting here, see the Getting to Minnesota page.

Minnesota's major cities can be reached easily by main highways and thoroughfares

Navigating the North Star State

Minnesota is about 400 miles long and between 200 to 350 miles across. Exploring by car is popular, and Amtrak passenger train service crosses the state from the scenic southeast corner to the prairies of the northwest. In the Twin Cities area, public transportation options include light rail and bus service, and it’s also easy to get around on foot or by bike.

Public Transportation 

In the Twin Cities

Check out how to tour the Twin Cities on the Green Line, an easy, accessible light rail service with more than 20 stops between Minneapolis' Target Field and St. Paul's Union Depot.

Beyond the Twin Cities

  • Northstar Commuter Rail: Find schedules, maps, fare information and trip tools at Metro Transit

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Amtrak 8 Maple Springs train

The eastbound Empire Builder as it hugs the Mississippi River near Wabasha  / Jerry Huddleston

Exploring by Train

Union Depot in Saint Paul is part of the Amtrak national train system and serves as a stop along the Amtrak Empire Builder route, connecting Winona, Red Wing, St. Paul/Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Staples and Detroit Lakes. This route features one daily train in each direction. See how to explore Minnesota by train.

Traveling By Car

Hitting the open road in Minnesota means a mix of major highways, small town roads and scenic byways. You'll discover natural and cultural gems along the way. For more information on driving in Minnesota, as well as current road conditions and closures, please refer to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Official Map

Order the free Minnesota State Highway Map before you go. This handy foldout map includes driving distances between key cities – a few popular routes are listed below.

Drive Times & Mileage

Scroll horizontally to view the full contents of this table.

  Ely Duluth Rochester St. Cloud MSP Airport Minneapolis St. Paul International Falls Bemidji Grand Rapids Grand Marais
Ely     2hrs 100mi 5hrs 318mi 4hrs 235mi 4hrs 250mi 4hrs 245mi 4hrs 241mi 2hrs 116mi 3hrs 166mi 2hrs 105mi 2hrs 107mi
Duluth 2hrs 100mi     3.5hrs 226mi 2.5hrs 144mi 2.5hrs 160mi 2.5hrs 154mi 2.5hrs 150mi 3hrs 170mi 3hrs 150mi 1.5hrs 90mi 2hrs 110mi
Rochester 5hrs 318mi 3.5hrs 226mi     2.5hrs 152mi 1.5hrs 81mi 1.5hrs 90mi 1.5hrs 80mi 6hrs 378mi 5hrs 300mi 4.5hrs 265mi 5.5hrs 337mi
St. Cloud 4hrs 235mi 2.5hrs 144mi 2.5hrs 152mi     1.5hrs 80mi 1hr 65mi 1.5hrs 75mi 4.5hrs 249mi 2.5hrs 153mi 2.5hrs 145mi 4.5hrs 254mi
MSP Airport 4hrs 250mi 2.5hrs 160mi 1.5hrs 81mi 1.5hrs 80mi     20min 14mi 22min 16mi 5hrs 310mi 4hrs 230mi 3.5hrs 200mi 4.5hrs 273mi
Minneapolis 4hrs 245mi 2.5hrs 154mi 1.5hrs 90mi 1hr 65mi 20min 14mi     17min 12mi 5hrs 295mi 4hrs 216mi 3hrs 175mi 4.5hrs 264mi
St. Paul 4hrs 241mi 2.5hrs 150mi 1.5hrs 80mi 1.5hrs 75mi 22min 16mi 17min 12mi     4.5hrs 300mi 4hrs 239mi 3hrs 190mi 4hrs 260mi
International Falls 2hrs 116mi 3hrs 170mi 6hrs 378mi 4.5hrs 249mi 5hrs 310mi 5hrs 295mi 4.5hrs 300mi     2hrs 112mi 2hrs 117mi 4hrs 230mi
Bemidji 3hrs 166mi 3hrs 150mi 5hrs 300mi 2.5hrs 153mi 4hrs 230mi 4hrs 216mi 4hrs 239mi 2hrs 112mi     1hr 69mi 4.5hrs 246mi
Grand Rapids 2hrs 105mi 1.5hrs 90mi 4.5hrs 265mi 2.5hrs 145mi 3.5hrs 200mi 3hrs 175mi 3hrs 190mi 2hrs 117mi 1hr 69mi     3.5hrs 176mi
Grand Marais 2hrs 107mi 2hrs 110mi 5.5hrs 337mi 4.5hrs 254mi 4.5hrs 273mi 4.5hrs 264mi 4hrs 260mi 4hrs 230mi 4.5hrs 246mi 3.5hrs 176mi    

Road Rules

Visit the Office of Traffic Safety website for a quick summary of key rules for the road, including laws about seat belt and booster seat usage.

Texting/Cell Phone Usage Laws 

With Minnesota’s “Hands-Free” law, it’s illegal for drivers to read, send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign.

Speed Limits 

Some general rules are below, but be sure to follow all posted speed limits.

  • 20-30 mph on streets in urban districts
  • 55 mph on other roads
  • 65 mph on expressways
  • 65 mph on urban interstate highways
  • 70 mph on rural interstate highways 

Right on Red Rule

Minnesota law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light unless there’s a sign indicating the turn is prohibited. However, drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules when making a right on red.

Twin Cities Rush Hour 

The morning rush hour is worst around 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., while the evening rush hour starts relatively early, at around 4 p.m., and peaks at 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Mississippi River Trail bike tour Saint Paul

The Mississippi River Trail in downtown St. Paul / Anna Min

Exploring by Bike

Getting around on two wheels is a popular mode of transportation that's good for you and the planet. From some of the nation's best urban trails in the Twin Cities to rural rail-trails through lush forest or wild prairie, 4,000+ miles of trails make it easy to explore Minnesota by bike.

  • CITY RIDES – Cycle around the city on the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, a 51-mile urban loop connecting connecting the downtown Minneapolis riverfront, Mississippi River, Minnehaha Falls, Chain of Lakes and more. 
  • TRAILS – Explore paved, unpaved and single-track recreational trails around the state, and take in scenic views along the way.
  • LONG-DISTANCE RIDES – Gear up for long-distance bike rides and find more than 1,000 miles of adventure in Minnesota.