Commonly called “the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota is known as one of America’s unspoiled great wildernesses. With lakes, shorelines, forests, parks, and open wilderness areas. While the more remote regions of the state might be tourist’s favorites, the urban cities, like Minneapolis and Saint Paul, called the Twin Cities, are home to most of the states citizens and a wide variety of tourist attractions.
Some of the most popular attractions in Minnesota’s cities include the Como Zoo, Canal Park, and the ever-popular Mall of America. For an outdoor escape of a lifetime, visitors and vacationers can head to Lake Superior, Itasca State Park, or the Minnehaha Falls.
Mall of America
This massive world-famous shopping mall mall in Bloomington, Minnesota receives 40 million visitors each year. When the mall opened in 1992, it was second largest shopping mall in total area and largest in vendors in the United States. In addition to hundreds of shopping destinations, the mall hosts an indoor theme park with numerous rides and attractions.
Science Museum of Minnesota
The Science Museum of Minnesota is an American museum focused on topics in technology, natural history, physical science, and mathematics education.There are a number of exhibits that are always in the museum the Dinosaurs & Fossils showcases several real and replicated dinosaur skeletons. The Human Body Gallery shows visitors the various tissues, organs, and systems that make up the human body. The Experiment Gallery allows visitors to explore concepts in physics, math, and physical and earth science with interactive displays.
Near the joining of the Mississippi River with a creek stemming from Lake Minnetonka is the stunning 53 foot Minnehaha Falls. The falls and the surrounding park are popular destinations for hiking and rock climbing. There are also historic properties such as the John Harrington Stevens House which dates to 1849, a train station from 1875, the Longfellow House a replica of the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, all within the park’s boundaries.
Como Zoo and Conservatory
In Saint Paul, Minnesota, the Como Zoo and Conservatory encompass a park, zoo and conservatory filled with animals, attractions, an amusement park, a carousel, Lake Como, a golf course, a pool, and many other sites. The zoo, which is free of charge, but a donation is recommended, is a popular attraction. Visitors can also rent paddle boats at the lake or go fishing on the pier. For other attractions, the park features art, sculptures, and historic structures.
Voyageurs National Park
Located near International Falls is this national park named for the French-Canadian fur traders who first settled the region. The park is a popular destination for campers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists, and fisherman because of its water access. The park encompasses most of four major lakes: Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Namakan Lake, and San Point Lake, which range in size from 60 to 8 miles across.
Top Things to Do in Minnesota
This unique zoo in Apple Valley was revolutionary when it opened in 1978, organizing animals by their habitat rather than species. Today, the zoo is organized into six themed areas with walking trails throughout. The zoo features habitats for native Minnesota animals, northern, tropical marine, and farm animals, as well as an exhibit just for animals from Russia’s Far East.
Canal Park & Waterfront Pier
This tourist and recreation-oriented area in Duluth, Minnesota is a transformed old warehouse district which now features restaurants, shops, cafes, hotels, and a waterfront pier. Some of the popular attractions at Canal Park are the 4.2 mile lake walk trail, a lighthouse, a maritime visitor center and aquarium, and the William A. Irvin floating ship museum.
Mill City Museum
Mill City Museum is a Minnesota Historical Society museum in Minneapolis. The museum focuses on the founding and growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling and the other industries that used water power from Saint Anthony Falls. The museum features exhibits about the history of Minneapolis, flour milling machinery, a water lab and a baking lab. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the multistory Flour Tower, where visitors sit in the cab of a freight elevator and are taken to different floors of the building.
Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary contemporary art center. The Walker is one of the most-visited modern and contemporary art museums in the United States and together with the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The museum’s permanent collection includes over 13,000 modern and contemporary art pieces including books, costumes, drawings, media works, paintings, photography, prints, and sculpture.
Itasca State Park
America’s most famous river finds its headwaters in northern Minnesota at Itasca State Park which spans more than 32,000 acres. The state park is the first in the state and the second oldest in the country, established in 1891. The park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, as well as Lake Itasca, the official source of the Mississippi River. Parts of the park are also designated at a National Natural Landmark with some of the oldest and most finely preserved trees in the country. Visitors come to Itasca State Park throughout the year for boating, riding, and hiking.
Things to Do in Minnesota
With approximately 11,843 lakes, the Land of 10,000 Lakes more than measures up to its nickname and it is sure to be any outdoor adventurer or nature lover’s vacation paradise.