Defying the Mundane: An Adventure through the 17 Must-See Spots in Minnesota

Welcome to Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes!

This dynamic Midwestern state is known for its captivating natural beauty, fascinating culture, and a plethora of recreational activities. From vibrant city life to stunning landscapes, Minnesota has something for every type of traveler.

In this piece, we’re going to dive deep into 17 extraordinary things to do in Minnesota.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, foodie, or simply a curious explorer, you’re sure to find something that will make your visit to this diverse state a memorable one.

So, sit back, relax, and let’s embark on this unforgettable journey!

1. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

A million-acre wilderness with over 1,000 pristine lakes and streams, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a paradise for anyone seeking solitude and an unspoiled natural environment.

Spend days canoeing, hiking, and fishing while soaking in the magnificent natural beauty.

Traveller’s Tip: Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Unpredictable weather conditions can make your journey more challenging than expected.

2. Minnehaha Falls

Located in Minneapolis’ oldest park, the 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs, and river overlooks at Minnehaha Falls offer a tranquil setting for picnics and leisurely strolls.

Traveller’s Tip: Summer is a popular time for the falls. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting on a weekday or early in the morning.

3. Minneapolis Institute of Art

With a collection exceeding 80,000 items, the Minneapolis Institute of Art offers an expansive look at diverse art forms from different periods and cultures.

Traveller’s Tip: While admission to the museum is free, some special exhibitions may charge a fee. Check the museum’s website before your visit.

4. The Spam Museum

The Spam Museum in Austin provides a unique, fun, and interactive look at the history of this iconic canned meat product.

Traveller’s Tip: Be sure to participate in the Spam trivia quiz, it’s an absolute riot.

5. Mall of America

Home to over 500 stores, numerous eateries, and an indoor amusement park, the Mall of America offers a shopping experience like no other.

Traveller’s Tip: To cover as many stores as possible, plan your visit during the weekdays when the mall is less crowded.

6. Split Rock Lighthouse

Perched high on a cliff over Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. Its history dates back to the early 20th century when it guided ships sailing on the lake.

Traveller’s Tip: The short film in the visitor center provides valuable historical context about the lighthouse.

7. Foshay Tower

Once the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis, Foshay Tower is now a hotel.

The tower’s observation deck offers stunning views of the city.

Traveller’s Tip: Visit the Prohibition Bar on the 27th floor. It’s worth it for the drinks and the view.

8. Gooseberry Falls State Park

Located on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls State Park is home to spectacular waterfalls, a river gorge, and shoreline picnic areas.

Traveller’s Tip: For the best views, follow the trails around the park that lead to the falls.

9. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

These larger-than-life statues in Bemidji are a nod to Minnesota’s logging history.

Kids love them, and adults find them quirky and nostalgic.

Traveller’s Tip: There’s a great photo op with Paul and Babe.

10. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

This family-friendly destination in St. Paul features a variety of animals and plants. The zoo offers a fun and educational experience for all.

Traveller’s Tip: The zoo is free, but a donation of $2-$3 per person is encouraged to support their conservation efforts.

11. Itasca State Park

The Mississippi River begins its long journey to the Gulf of Mexico at Itasca State Park. Here, visitors can walk across the headwaters of the river.

Traveller’s Tip: Biking is a popular activity in the park, so consider bringing your bikes.

12. North Shore Scenic Drive

This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior, as well as numerous state parks, lighthouses, and historical sites along the way.

Traveller’s Tip: Plan stops at some of the small towns along the way to make the most of your journey.

13. Cathedral of Saint Paul

This architectural masterpiece is one of the most distinctive cathedrals in the United States.

Its stunning interior and beautiful stained glass windows are a sight to behold.

Traveller’s Tip: Be respectful of worshipers if you’re visiting during service times.

14. Lake Minnetonka

One of the largest lakes in Minnesota, Lake Minnetonka is perfect for boating, fishing, and swimming.

It’s also surrounded by lovely towns with great dining options.

Traveller’s Tip: Charter a boat for a day on the lake.

15. Aerial Lift Bridge

A unique landmark in Duluth. When a ship comes in, the entire road lifts up.

Traveller’s Tip: Stick around to see the bridge in action.

16. Minnesotan Food

It’s not just about sights, right? Indulge in local favorites like hotdish and cheese curds.

Traveller’s Tip: Visit a local farmer’s market for fresh produce.

17. Munsinger Clemens Gardens

These beautiful gardens in St. Cloud are perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Traveller’s Tip: Visit during the annual art fair for local crafts.


Minnesota might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of thrilling vacations, but let’s be honest, the usual is boring.

It’s time to step off the well-trodden path and dive headfirst into the unexpected.

Who knows?

You might just find that Minnesota is your new favorite destination. With our style guide, you’re sure to experience the best that Minnesota has to offer. Get ready to make some unforgettable memories!

David Kingston

Leave a Comment