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Minnesota – True North USA
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A Lay of the Land

The Mighty Mississippi begins in a small spring-fed lake in Itasca State Park and winds its 1,126-kilometer path through Minnesota before flowing south to the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors can walk a stone path across the source of the Mississippi to ensure a long and happy life, according to legend. The 240-kilometer Highway 61 along Lake Superior’s coast, an All-American Road, offers state parks, scenic overlooks, waterfalls and the Split Rock Lighthouse, whether you’re traveling by auto, bicycle or motorcycle, or hiking the North Shore scenic trail. Visit harbor town Duluth, a lively, welcoming place hopping with breweries and a vibrant lakefront scene.


Monumental Outdoors

Two national monuments and two national park sites offer a glimpse into the history and beauty of Minnesota. Voyageurs National Park, the only water-based national park in the USA, features outdoor recreation opportunities year-round, from boating on luxurious houseboats in the summer to excitement on snowmobile trails in the winter. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area spans 115 kilometers of riverfront through Minneapolis and St. Paul, providing a spectacular natural setting amid vibrant city life. Two national monuments, Grand Portage on Minnesota’s northeastern tip and Pipestone in the southwest corner, preserve the state’s American Indian and fur-trapping heritage. Canoeing through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a designated wilderness area with 1,300 lakes, feels like being one of the state’s early explorers. Additionally, more than 75 state parks and over 55 state forests, plus two national forests, provide camping, hiking, biking and scenic driving experiences for visitors of all ages and activity levels.


Midwestern Metropolis

In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, scores of theaters, museums and galleries define the famed Twin Cities as an influential arts haven. The Walker Art Center is one of the nation’s top modern art institutes and includes a beautiful sculpture garden featuring the famous “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture. The stainless steel exterior of Weisman Art Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, sparkles on the University of Minnesota campus. The state’s music scene is legendary, launching native superstars Bob Dylan and Prince, artists whose connections to Minnesota are remembered in murals, displays, annual events, landmarks and attractions. Don’t miss Paisley Park, former home and studio of Prince, now open for tours. Award-winning parks and relaxing boat excursions on lakes and the Mississippi River add a relaxing balance to the energy of this metropolitan area. Mall of America in nearby Bloomington is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the USA. It offers plenty of excitement for all ages, with more than 520 stores and restaurants; Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor theme park; SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium; FlyOver America; and many other attractions and experiences. Plus, there is no tax on clothing or shoes in Minnesota.

Minnesota – True North USA
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Fun Fact

Dressed as elves for the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
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The world’s largest hockey stick and puck are located in downtown Eveleth, which is often called the capital of American hockey and is home to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Photo: EMT

Hiking in Minnesota
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There are more “Rails to Trails” – former railroad routes that have been converted into bicycling and walking paths – paved in Minnesota than any other state in the USA.

Photo: EMT

Canoeing on Kabetogama Lake in Voyageurs National Park
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Voyageurs National Park is the only water-based national park, with its interior accessible only by water. There are roughly 500 islands and 1,050 kilometers of shoreline to explore via canoe, kayak, motorboat, sailboat and even houseboat.

Must see places

The site of the headwaters of the MIssissippi River in Itasca State Park, Minnesota

Itasca State Park

Minnesota’s oldest state park, near Bemidji, has another claim to fame: The headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi River are located here. Boat, paddle or swim the river or hike through the old-growth pines, where you’ll find an Indian cemetery and Wegmann’s Cabin to explore. Drive the Lake County Scenic Byway to catch everything you missed on the hike.

Exterior of Mall of America

Mall of America

With more than 500 stores, an indoor amusement park featuring upwards of 20 rides, attractions like Flyover America and the Minnesota Sea Life Aquarium, as well as two attached hotels and dozens of restaurants, this mall is unlike any you’ve ever experienced.

Couple watching the northern lights from Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior

North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore Scenic Drive begins in Northeast Minnesota in Duluth and follows Lake Superior on a northeastern route all the way to Canada. The spectacular scenery includes seven state parks, several waterfalls and small shoreline towns. Along the route, dine in restaurants serving local fish and produce, and browse unique shops and art galleries. Because of dark skies over the lake, it’s also a popular location to view the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights.

Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park

Four lakes dominate Voyageurs, making it a true water playground. Take a naturalist-led sunset or wildlife cruise, or rent your own boat. On land, fish the walleye-filled waters or go berry picking.

A demonstration at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota

National Eagle Center

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the iconic bird is covered here. Go on an eagle viewing trip in the wild, catch a live eagle program, sit inside an eagle’s nest or engage with any number of interactive exhibits.

The Stone Arch Bridge in the Mill City District along the Minneapolis, Minnesota riverfront
Mike Krivit Photography

Minneapolis Riverfront

Experience the historic Minneapolis Riverfront, which features the only waterfall on the Mississippi River, St. Anthony Falls. The shores of the river feature many scenic overlooks and attractions including Mill City Museum, located in an exploded flour mill; the Guthrie Theater; and the Stone Arch Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river and provides spectacular views of the iconic Mississippi.

A ‘Purple Rain’ exhibit at Prince’s Paisley Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Prince’s Paisley Park

The legendary artist’s Chanhassen estate in Minneapolis offers two tours that will take you deep inside the icon’s daily life. See the Prince archives, which include hundreds of artifacts and awards, and even take a peek at his wardrobe. Upgrade to the VIP tour to go even further into the home, and make sure to stay long enough to see the house at night, when lights turn it lavender.

The Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul

Minnesota State Capitol

The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul was designed by influential architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1905. It features the second largest self-supporting marble dome in the world, as well as stunning decorative and fine art pieces. Free guided tours of the recently renovated building are available year-round.

Many-veiled Winniwissa Falls in Pipestone National Monument

Pipestone National Monument

The slabs and stones of red rock found in this now-protected tallgrass prairie were quarried by the Plains tribes and made into ceremonial pipes. Take the interpretive trail through the quarry area and end at Winnewissa Falls, learning about the area’s rich American Indian heritage and landscape.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center in Minnesota
Walker Art Center

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Since opening in 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has welcomed millions of visitors to see more than 40 works from the Walker Art Center’s collections. One favorite is the iconic and colorful “Spoonbridge and Cherry” by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The free, public garden is open year-round from 6 a.m. to midnight and takes on a special air of snowy wonder during the wintertime.

Explore Minnesota destinations

Sunset at Voyageurs National Park
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Explore Minnesota destinations