Minnesota – this “Land of 10,000 Lakes” – is well known as an outstanding destination for outdoor fun, but also is the place for family entertainment, cultural and historic explorations, dining, and shopping. Renowned theater, music, and visual arts centers make Minnesota home to one of the most vibrant arts scenes in the country. With the Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and many other stellar venues and groups, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are arguably the premier arts center between the East and West coasts. Several outstanding community theaters, art galleries and art centers throughout the state feature regional artisans and add to Minnesota’s arts appeal.
Minnesota destinations for family fun include a wide variety of amusement parks, theme parks, and zoos. Among the top places for fun in the Twin Cities area include Nickelodeon Universe, an indoor amusement park at Mall of America, Valleyfair family amusement park in Shakopee, the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, and the Como Zoo and Como Town amusement park for the younger set in St. Paul. In greater Minnesota, there are dozens of amusements with mini-golf, go-karts, rides and much more, plus the Lake Superior Zoo and Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth.
Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes, scattered throughout vast forests, make it a playground for outdoor lovers. Public recreational lands include a first-rank state parks system, a wide variety of hiking and biking trails, two national forests, one national park, and much more. In the winter, there are more than 20,000 miles of designated snowmobile trails, ice fishing, and skiing on well-groomed cross-country trails or at exciting downhill venues.
When its time for a vacation to head indoors, Minnesota’s shopping venues offer the perfect escape. Minnesota is the place to shop, and the state’s shopping history lets it show. The first enclosed mall in the U.S. was Southdale in Edina, and one of the country’s most famous discounters – Target – was founded in Minneapolis in 1962. And don’t forget the famed Mall of America, the largest indoor mall in the nation. Add to that several outlet malls, antique shops, charming Main Street shopping statewide, and urban shopping districts, including Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis and Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
If a chance to earn a back a bit of that shopping dough intrigues the traveler, Minnesota is set up to please with 18 American Indian-owned casinos located throughout the state. Some of the casinos offer golf courses and concert venues attracting big-name entertainers. For racing action, head to Canterbury Downs horse racing track and Running Aces Harness Park, both in the Twin Cities metro area, and each with a card room.
For the cultural explorer, museums and interpretive centers throughout Minnesota feature science and history collections worth visiting. The Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota State Capitol, and the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul all capture the essence of the state’s beginnings. Science and history come together at such places as the Kensington Runestone Museum, the Bell Museum of Natural History, and the Bakken Museum. Jump into the past and visit another era at mansions like the Glensheen Estate in Duluth or Mayowood in Rochester. Additionally, many Minnesota State Historic Sites present Minnesota’s Indian and pioneer heritage, farming, milling, forestry heritage, and more.
With over 10,000 lakes, immense forests, and rugged bluffs, Minnesota is perfect for outdoor thrill seekers. Whitewater kayak, hike winding climbs, mountain bike challenging trails, rock climb, or buzz over 900 miles of ATV trails. In winter, make tracks on more than 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails, or ski or snowboard at Minnesota’s exciting downhill areas with black diamond runs and terrain parks.
Minnesota has one of the nation’s great, diverse state parks systems, with over 227,000 acres in 73 parks and recreation areas and 1,030 miles of hiking trails. Minnesota boasts both the Chippewa and Superior national forests, the latter home to the renowned Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Beyond that there are innumerable public campgrounds and parks at the regional, county and city level.
With such an enticing selection of things to do for a vacation or quick getaway, Minnesota is the destination of choice for explorers and travelers of all stripes! Come and enjoy the outdoors, explore the state’s wealth of history, and experience the cultural breadth of expansive Minnesota.