There’s a lot more to Minnesota than meets the eye, and the casual tourist can easily miss some of this state’s hidden gems. With so many attractions to choose from, knowing where to begin is a challenge. So, to make your trip easier, here’s our guide to the top 10 must-see tourist spots in Minnesota:
Stone Arch Bridge
Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, this is a perfect spot to snap pictures of the gushing Mississippi River and the flurry of activity found in this busy metropolis. This historic bridge was previously a railroad crossing but is now a beautiful and popular walking spot.
Mall of America
Everyone should visit America’s mall at least once in their lifetime. It’s massive and provides tons of activities. You can catch a comedy show, sip a cocktail, play mini golf, or shop til you drop. Try to go during off-peak hours to avoid lines for the most popular attractions, like Nickelodeon Universe or SMAAASH virtual gaming. Check out hotels near the Mall of America.
Walker Art Center - Spoonbridge (aka Cherry and Spoon)
Okay, so you’ve seen the pictures, but seeing it in person is well-worth your time. This 1985 sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen is the focal point of the Walker Art Center’s outstanding sculpture garden. Inside the center, you’ll find everything from touring exhibits to gourmet food, to independent cinema from all over the world. This is a must for culture lovers.
Prince’s Chanhassen estate is a home, recording studio, concert venue, and indoor playground. The artist’s whimsy, creativity, and sensitivity are on full display. Listen to the hits, go to one of the After Dark events to dance the night away, and enjoy the flabbergasting art and architecture at the one and only Paisley Park. This is not an experience you can get anywhere else!
This 20,000 square foot mansion in Duluth is the most visited home in Minnesota. Explore the 39-room house and take in its stunning beauty, while learning about the historic Congdon family and their plans for the estate.
Stillwater Brewery Caves
Luna Rossi in Stillwater isn’t just an Italian restaurant. Beneath it lies one of Stillwater’s long-kept secrets: a network of subterranean caves that were used to make alcohol throughout Prohibition. You can take the basic tour to learn the history and see the Blue Grotto - a beautiful water feature - or you can add on sips and snacks for a fee.
Ellsworth Rock Gardens
Five hours north of Minnesota, just miles from Ontario, you will find the picturesque Ellsworth Rock Gardens within Voyageurs National Park. Nestled on Lake Kabetogama, this man-made rock garden is a sight to behold.
Get away from it all near the Canadian border at Boundary Waters. Experience the true glory of Minnesota’s natural wonders, and enjoy everything being outdoors has to offer. You can canoe, hike, or camp to get the most out of your trip.
Head south - way, way South - to the Minnesota-Iowa border to check out Niagara Cave. This underground waterfall is a real gem, and in addition to the falls, you’ll also see fossils, limestone, and flowstone. This is a distinctive experience for people of all ages.
James J. Hill House
There are lots of options when you explore this railroad baron’s historic home. You can tour the house or even the whole neighborhood. Learn about this gorgeous Gilded Age mansion, which is the largest home in St. Paul.