Searching for the best tourist attractions in Minnesota? This beautiful state has so much to offer!
With so many fun things to do in Minnesota, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
If you are interested in nature, art, history, or architecture, then you should consider a visit to Minnesota!
The Land of 10,000 Lakes provides visitors the chance to immerse themselves in nature, discover cute small towns, or wander lively cities.
Whether you travel to Minnesota for a family vacation or a romantic getaway in the Midwest, you are sure to have a fantastic time!
Let’s look at what to do in Minnesota!
15 Best Tourist Attractions in Minnesota for Your Bucket List
Mall of America
Located in Bloomington, just south of Minneapolis, the Mall of America is one of the top tourist attractions in Minnesota for families.
Although you can do plenty of shopping here (there are 500 stores!), this is far from your normal mall. There are so many fun activities, you could easily spend all day here.
One of the top things to do here is Nickelodeon Universe. This indoor theme park has seven acres of rides, games, character meet-ups, shops, and restaurants.
The mall also has a movie theater, mini golf courses, an aquarium, an escape room, a Build-a-Bear Workshop, a ropes course, a zip line, a mirror maze, a Crayola Experience, and more!
There are also a ton of dining options no matter what you are craving.
Whether you are traveling with kids or are just young at heart, you need to add the Mall of America to your Minnesota bucket list.
Minnesota State Capitol Building
The Minnesota State Capitol Building is one of the must-see tourist attractions in St. Paul.
Completed in 1905, this Beaux-Arts and Renaissance Revival-style building features the second-largest self-supporting marble dome in the world. The largest is found in the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican.
The exterior is made from white Georgia marble and St. Cloud granite. You can spot many statues above the entrance including the golden “The Progress of the State” sculpture.
The inside is just as beautiful with over 150 pieces of decorative and fine art. Admire the many paintings, big murals, and statues.
To experience this MN attraction, you can do a self-guided tour or a free guided tour.
You will see the amazing rotunda, the Governor’s Reception Room, the Senate Chamber, the House of Representatives Chamber, and the Supreme Court.
This is one of the best places in Minnesota to visit for locals and tourists alike.
Grand Portage State Park
Set on the Canadian border, Grand Portage State Park is one of the best state parks in Minnesota. Although it is out of the way, it is 100% worth a visit.
You will want to see High Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state at 120 feet. It is a beautiful sight cascading into a rocky gorge on the Pigeon River.
To reach the waterfall, there is an easy one-mile round-trip trail. This is a beautiful photo spot, especially during fall in Minnesota.
If you want a longer, more rugged hiking trail, you can make the trek to Middle Falls. The trail is 4.5 miles round trip.
Bring along your passport so you can cross the border and walk the trails on the Canadian side of the river.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is a great stop on Minnesota’s North Shore Scenic Drive, one of the best Midwest road trips.
This cute lighthouse was completed in 1910 after about 30 ships were sunk here in a 1905 storm. It is 54 feet tall and stands on a sheer, 130-foot cliff overlooking Lake Superior.
The lighthouse is absolutely picture-perfect in all seasons. In fall, the structure is surrounded by fiery foliage while in winter, it is a snowy wonderland.
Climb to the top of the lighthouse, tour a keeper’s house, and walk the trails as you search for the best viewpoints.
This historic lighthouse is easily one of the best Minnesota tourist attractions.
Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge Is One Of The Popular Tourist Attractions In Minnesota
One of the top tourist attractions in Duluth is the Aerial Lift Bridge next to Canal Park downtown.
This National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark was originally constructed in 1905 and then later modified in 1929.
The bottom portion of the bridge rises to allow boats to pass under and enter Lake Superior. The boats range in size from small sailboats to giant bulk carriers. It is fun to watch them sail by!
To learn more about the bridge and the region’s maritime history, tour the nearby Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. This museum is free and full of interesting artifacts.
Walk across the bridge to visit the lighthouse and beach on the other side.
Make sure to check out the other best things to do in Duluth!
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Minneapolis. Whether you love art or just beautiful parks, this is a great place to check out.
The 11-acre park features over 60 sculptures and beautiful landscaping.
The most famous art piece here is the Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The giant sculpture is more than 50 feet long and sits on a small pond.
This free garden is a fantastic place to get some fresh air in the city and take pictures.
Make sure to walk across the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge to visit Loring Park as well.
SPAM Museum Is One Of The Best Tourist Attractions In Minnesota
If you want to visit one of the most unique tourist attractions in Minnesota, check out the SPAM Museum in Austin. This free museum is more fun than you might expect!
SPAM was invented in 1937 by Hormel Foods. The name is said to stand either for “spiced ham” or “Shoulder of Pork And Ham.”
There are ten flavors and varieties of this canned meat available including maple, jalapeno, and teriyaki. Over 9 billion cans have been sold since it hit the market.
At the museum, you can learn all about the history of SPAM and its influence on pop culture.
There are a bunch of cool, interactive exhibits. You will leave with a ton of interesting SPAM facts. For instance, did you know the circumference of the Earth would equal 415,549,599 SPAM cans?
Pipestone National Monument
In southwest Minnesota, the Pipestone National Monument is an important historic site.
For over 3,000 years, Native Americans have used the quarries here to create sacred ceremonial pipes. These beautiful, handcrafted pipes were used for prayers, rites, and different ceremonies.
Today, the quarries are still active and reserved for Native Americans to use.
When you visit, walk the .75-mile Circle Trail. The easy, paved trail showcases a tallgrass prairie, the pipestone quarries, and the beautiful Winnewissa Falls.
In the visitor’s center, check out the informative exhibits and watch a short film. There are also cultural demonstrators from April through October.
This national monument is one of the best-hidden gems in Minnesota for history buffs.
Cathedral Of Saint Paul
Overlooking downtown, the Cathedral of Saint Paul is another of the best things to do in St. Paul.
This exquisite Roman Catholic cathedral was completed in 1915 in the Beaux Arts style. It stands 306.5 feet tall with a 120-foot-wide dome. It is the sixth-largest church in the U.S.
Inside, you will be amazed by the stained-glass windows, frescoes, marble columns, beautiful organs, statues, shrines, and other details.
Feel free to attend a service here or sign up for a guided tour. The tours are an hour long and accept a small donation per person.
Whether you are religious or not, this is one of the best tourist attractions in MN!
Itasca State Park
Founded in 1891, Itasca State Park is the oldest state park in Minnesota and one of the prettiest!
One of the best MN attractions here is the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The mighty waterway starts are Lake Itasca before flowing 2,340 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.
This is a wonderful natural site to witness in person. Stop by the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center to learn more about the river’s history and importance.
As you hike and explore the park, you will also see an old-growth forest, more than 100 lakes, and over 280 native plant species. The park is also a fantastic area for birdwatching!
The Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center has educational exhibits, a kid’s play area, a cozy fireplace lounge, big observation windows, and a gift shop.
If you are looking for one of the best places for camping in the Midwest, you can’t go wrong with this state park. There are multiple campgrounds with over 200 campsites in total for both tents and RVs.
You can also stay at the historic Douglas Lodge which was built in 1905.
Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is one of the most remote and untouched national parks in the Midwest. If you are looking for a camping and canoeing adventure, this is one of the best places to visit in Minnesota.
The park is located on the Canadian border and comprises thirty lakes with over 500 islands.
One of the best ways to experience this park is by taking a guided boat tour. The tours range from 1.5 hours to 6.5 hours, bringing visitors to many different spots.
If you want more of an adventure, set out on a canoe and backcountry camping trip. Paddle through the serene water and spend the night in pretty waterside campsites.
This is one of the top places for camping in Minnesota. The park is an awesome place for stargazing. In winter, you might spot the northern lights too.
Other things to do in the park include hiking, fishing, photography, and birdwatching.
This is easily one of the best nature Minnesota attractions.
Minnehaha Falls Is One Of The Popular Tourist Attractions In Minnesota
Looking for more of the best waterfalls in Minnesota? Head to the Minnehaha Regional Park in south Minneapolis where the Minnehaha Creek meets the Mississippi River.
The 53-foot Minnehaha Falls is the star of the park. The waterfall has been a popular attraction since the pioneer days. There are even photographs of the falls dating back to the 1850s.
The falls are easily accessible with a short, paved walk from the parking lot. You can view it from above and below.
The 193-acre park also has gardens, a bandstand, picnic tables, playgrounds, statues, disc golf, a wading pool, and other amenities.
The park is one of the most fun tourist attractions in Minnesota for families. Walk along the trails and enjoy a picnic.
Munsinger Clemens Gardens
The Munsinger Clemens Gardens are one of the best St. Cloud attractions. These two gardens are separated by Riverside Drive and each offers a different vibe.
Munsinger Gardens sits on the Mississippi River and is shady with lots of trees. It is bursting with flowers and ferns. There is also a pretty lily pond.
You can also see Joseph Munsinger’s historic cabin. In spring, many ducks and geese make their home here. This half of the Munsinger Clemens Gardens has a more overgrown, wild look.
Clemens Gardens on the other hand is more formal with geometric brick walkways and organized flower beds. The Virginia Clemens Rose Garden is especially beautiful with over 70 varieties.
There are also a few fountains, statues, an arbor, and a gazebo. Concerts are held in the gardens during the summer.
If you want one of the best free tourist attractions in Minnesota for couples, this is a wonderful spot for a romantic stroll.
One Of The Coolest Tourist Attractions In Minnesota Are The Paul Bunyan And Babe The Blue Ox Statues
If you love a fun roadside attraction, make a plan to visit the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Statues. These unique statues are located in Bemidji, one of the best small towns in Minnesota.
Folk hero Paul Bunyan was a giant lumberjack whose footsteps are said to have formed the lakes of Minnesota.
There are a few statues of Paul Bunyan around Minnesota but the one in Bemidji is the oldest. These statues of Paul and his blue ox, Babe, were built in 1937.
Paul stands at 18 feet while Babe is ten feet tall. They are found in a pretty park near Lake Bemidji. Make sure to stop by the Tourist Information Center next to the statues.
If you are in the area, you have to visit and take a family photo with Paul!
If you want to attend one of the top events in Minnesota, visit in August during the Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival.
Minneapolis Institute Of Art
One of the top things to do in Minneapolis for soaking up some culture is the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
This world-class art museum was founded in 1883. The collection includes 90,000 artworks spanning 5,000 years.
Whatever type of art media or style you like, there is something for you to enjoy here. You’ll find sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, and decorative arts from many cultures.
The museum also puts on an assortment of events for all ages.
As a bonus, the museum is free although some special exhibitions have a fee. Art lovers will agree a visit here is one of the best activities in Minnesota!
Packing List When Visiting Tourist Attractions In Minnesota
If you will be traveling, either by plane or by car to Minnesota, here are some tips on how to pack lightly.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when looking for Minnesota attractions.
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone as I have. And wow is it fast!
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking photos during your London activities.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
The replaceable carbon filter ensures clean drinking water when you want it.
Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc…. No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
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Hopefully, you have discovered some new fun things to do in Minnesota for your next trip.
From parks to museums, there are so many great places to see in Minnesota!