Did you know that Minnesota is known for its forests and lakes? It is also home to the twin cities Minneapolis and Saint Paul. These are home to several Fortune 500 companies.
It is always worth visiting this incredible state, which is why you need to know the most fun things to do in Minnesota. Minnesota is a Midwestern state. It is also known for its cultural and natural beauty.
If you are an outdoor wanderer, you will be pleased to know that there are plenty of hiking trails, waterways, and wilderness to see when you visit Minnesota.
However, even indoor enthusiasts have many heritage festivals, art museums, and historical sites to explore. Here is everything you need to know about a trip to Minnesota and why this state should be number one on your adventure bucket list.
1. Minnehaha Park
Minnehaha Park sits along the banks of the Mississippi River. This is around 193 acres of natural goodness that can be the perfect getaway if you have a stressful day-to-day routine.
Everyone deserves a break from the tiring hustle and bustle of city life. So, pack up your bags and head to this gorgeous urban park. The minute you start walking, you will feel and breathe fresh air like never before.
Then you will stumble upon a 52-foot waterfall that will make you feel refreshed. This is also a great scene for a photo or a picnic with loved ones.
You can also find volleyball courts, a playground for the little ones, and bike paths if you want to burn those extra calories.
The best thing to do is to pack a delicious picnic with some light snacks to munch on while admiring the scenery.
During summer, you can also experience attractions like the Wabun wading pool and the Sea Salt Eatery. During winter, the waterfall freezes, and everything looks like Winterfell from Game of Thrones.
2. Tettegouche State Park
If you cannot get enough of natural wonders, you should head out to Lake Superior’s North Shore. Here you will find a 9,346-acre park that will blow your mind if you love outdoor adventures.
You can bask in the glory of rugged landscapes at this park. This is the perfect spot for those searching for the best Instagram shots, thanks to the most picturesque sunsets you will ever see.
The best thing to do is rock climbing at Shovel Point and Palisade Head cliffs. You can also extend your Minnesota vacation by camping, paddling, fishing, or hiking trails that will lead you to stunning waterfalls and small lakes.
During winter, you can wear your sports gear and go skiing or snowshoeing if you want a little more adrenaline pumping through your veins.
3. Duluth – North Shore Drive
For those who want to go to Minnesota to admire breathtaking scenery, this is a drive you cannot miss. The trip stretches for up to 155 miles to the Canadian border from Duluth.
Along the way, you can see why the scenic drive was immortalized by Bob Dylan in 1965. This is an All-American Road that has plenty of gorgeous landscapes to admire.
You will drive past rock cliffs, wildlife, beautiful pine forests, and lighthouses. It would be challenging to get through the drive without stopping for tons of photos.
The best part is that you get to see Lake Superior, which is the world’s largest freshwater lake. Other sites include the Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, and Grand Portage State Park.
4. Mall of America
This is the largest mall in North America and needs to be on your bucket list when you visit Minnesota. Whether it is cold or raining, you can always be snug inside the mall with over 500 stores to check out.
This is the ultimate plate to be if you need some indoor fun and retail therapy. You will walk inside and see the mall sprawling with retail stores.
After a shopping trip, you can take the family to Sea Life at Minnesota Aquarium. There are also plenty of hotels nearby, so you should have no trouble finding the best way to pamper yourself during your trip to Minnesota.
5. Minneapolis Institute of Art
Are you someone who loves and craves the best of art? This is why you should not miss a trip to this art museum. It is nestled in the heart of Minneapolis with over 90,000 artworks that showcase thousands of years of world history.
From Egyptian artifacts to European masterpieces, you will satisfy your art cravings. If you are worried about the little ones being bored in a museum, you can enter scavenger hunts that will make learning history more exciting for them.
It should take approximately 90 minutes to explore the entire museum. However, serious art connoisseurs can do a 2-day museum tour to get more of the experience. The best part is that museum admission is usually free for the public.
6. Science Museum
The Saint Paul Science Museum always gets thousands of people to visit Minnesota because of its incredible hands-on exhibits.
It was established in 1907 and is one of the coolest places to go if you love technology, mathematics, natural history, and science.
You can find plenty of educational programs with excellent theater films. Furthermore, tons of interactive exhibits make topics like science and math more fun to learn.
Head to the Dinosaurs & Fossils zone to show the little ones some skeletons and prehistoric exhibits. Then you can also check out the Human Body display that lets people play around in a Cell Lab to learn how to extract DNA.
7. Quarry Hill Nature Center
Quarry Hill Park is a 329-acre marvel set in the heart of Minnesota. This is an excellent spot for bird-watching. It also has a children’s library with tons of educational experiences for families to enjoy together.
If that is not enough, you can find a 1,700-gallon aquarium that holds up to 50 animal species that your kids will love. There is also an outdoor recreation center for adults.
This is where you can check out sandstone caves, hiking trails, a pond, and a restored prairie. During winter, you have the entire place to enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
8. Mill City Museum
This museum can be found inside an 1870 mill complex in the center of Minneapolis. There are plenty of railroad cars and hands-on exhibits to bring the mill experience to life.
If that is not enough, you can check out the baking lab and learn numerous cooking lessons. At the end of the tour, do not forget to stop by the gift shop and restaurants, especially if you want the best souvenirs to take home after your trip to Minnesota.
9. Como Park Zoo
This is a 759-acre park that is open all year. Besides the zoo and a conservatory, you can enjoy a golf course, a carousel, a swimming pool, and an amusement park.
Venture out to see some majestic giraffes, orangutans, lions, and tigers. Then go for a dip in the warmer months in the pool to keep the kids cool and entertained.
10. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Do you love posing in front of a beautiful sculpture for that perfect Instagram shot? This 11-acre park was created in 1988 by the Walker Art Center. It is a unique landmark for anyone looking for something artsy to do in Minnesota.
Over 40 works of art are surrounded by the most laid-back garden that is landscaped and manicured with plazas and walkways. The best thing to do is to start with pictures of the centerpiece.
Do not miss the famous sculptures, Cherry Fountain, and the Spoonbridge. After walking around the garden, head to the Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge, where you can capture the city’s best view.
11. Cathedral of St. Paul
This is one of the most fun things to do in Minnesota. This marvelous cathedral was built between 1915 and 1941. It will blow your mind with striking Classical Revival architecture.
With its gorgeous copper dome, the cathedral will unleash your photographic fantasies. With a 1-hour guided tour, you can uncover the stunning structure’s history.
12. Voyageurs National Park
You can find this wonderful location near the Canadian border. The vast wilderness is perfect for open-minded and intrepid travelers. You can marvel at the forests and waterways and check out island-dotted lakes.
If this is not enough, you can enjoy crystal-clear skies for the perfect picnic during a hike. It is best to stay overnight and camp in the park if you love stargazing. Then you can also go boating, canoeing, and fishing after waking up fresh in the morning.
13. SPAM Museum
This incredible museum sits in the heart of Austin. Admission is free, and you can learn about the famous canned ham if you are a big fan. This is the place to be in Minnesota if you want to experience something unique and quirky.
Inside the museum, you can check out SPAM artwork and exhibits. There is also a children’s play area to keep the little ones entertained.
Do not forget to grab a yummy pretzel stick when you get hungry. Then head to the gift shop to score some limited-edition SPAM flavors that cannot be found anywhere else.
14. Great Lakes Aquarium
The Great Lakes Aquarium can be found on the Duluth waterfront. It was established in 2000 to home creatures from freshwater ecosystems like the Amazon River.
There are also tons of educational exhibits, especially if you are traveling with kids. You can also take advantage of Nature Play Programs, Toddler Tuesdays, and Summer Day Camps. Finally, do not miss seeing 15 recreated wildlife habitats.
15. International Wolf Center
This is a 17,000-square-foot center that is in the heart of Ely in Minnesota. It is a haven for wildlife lovers with an amazing educational attraction that teaches everyone how mighty wolves survive in the wild.
You can learn about wolf tracking and many other things with interactive, hands-on exhibits. If that is not enough to satisfy, check out the Wildlife Photography and Geocache Adventure workshops to immerse yourself more into the experience, especially with an overnight visit.
16. W Minneapolis
This incredible Art Deco building was the state’s tallest until the IDS Center was built in 1972. This is a hotel with a lot of history.
The best thing to do is to head to the 30th floor. Here you will find the best views of the entire city from an open-air observation deck.
There is also a museum that details the place’s intriguing history. If you love learning about mysteries of the past, this is the place to be.
17. The Great Escape Room
This is one of the most fun things to do in Minnesota, especially if you love scavenger hunts and puzzles to solve with loved ones. The Great Escape Room Minneapolis is voted the number one escape room across America.
It provides the most innovative experience that will have you addicted in no time. You can test some code-breaking and problem-solving skills that will make you feel as though you are in a spy movie.
Then you also have scavenger hunt rooms that are fun for all ages. You must follow the clues to search the room you are in for clues to help you break out.
Escape rooms are excellent because they are immersive experiences that foster teamwork. You need to work together to find clues and solve puzzles. They are the most cognitive and educational learning experiences with a thrill like no other.
Enjoy Fun Things to Do in Minnesota
Now that you know the 17 most fun things to do in Minnesota, it is time to start packing for your next vacation. Remember that Minnesota has more coastline than Florida, California, and Hawaii.
There is so much to do, and you will never find a more breathtaking scenic drive. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or an indoor adventurer, there is always something fun to do for everyone.
If you loved reading this visit Minnesota guide, check out some of our other posts for more information.