11 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Minnesota

Jul 22, 2021

What if you could climb to the top of the tallest mountain in the United States of America? Or touch the glaciers of Yellowstone National Park? There are countless adventures you could take in Minnesota, the great Minnesota Vacation Guide, the best state to visit in the U.S.

From jaw-dropping mountain scenery, to prairie landscapes and lakeside homes, this state is a treat for the eye and the spirit. Many of the state's treasures are protected in the national parks and monuments, but there are dozens of other beautiful attractions to experience.

Find more in this state with our list of the best places to visit in Minnesota, U.S.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

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Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: en.wikipedia.org

Since 1992, Minneapolis has been home to one of America's leading sculpture parks, now home to over 300 sculptures. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is at Walker Art Center in Minnepolis. Admission to the park is free and a ticket is not required to view the art, as no one is allowed within 100 feet of the sculptures. It's best to arrive early and start exploring the collection at the Mall of America, as the park closes at dusk. The exhibition rooms have been arranged according to the "History of Sculpture" and the exhibit draws on the museum's impressive collection to showcase sculptures and installations by famous and new American and European artists from a number of different time periods and media. It is a very extensive collection, but certain pieces are grouped by theme.

Minnesota State Fair

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Minnesota State Fair: en.wikipedia.org

The Minnesota State Fair is in its third year in this grand Midwestern city. Located in the heart of the heartland, it's a huge spectacle with daily events like Grand National Horse Show, Gopher Derby, dog and duck races, antique auto show, oil well pumping contest, fireworks displays, and an interactive Hall of Science where visitors can learn about science.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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Minneapolis Institute of Art: en.wikipedia.org

Established in 1914 by philanthropist George B. Dorian, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a splendid art museum, especially for its collection of American art. It's housed in a stunning Art Deco-style building designed by noted architect William Halsey Foster. In addition to being a great example of great American design, it is a beautiful home for more than 8,000 pieces of art, ranging from paintings by Da Vinci to magnificent Rodin sculptures. The superb Renwick Gallery of the American decorative arts features many works by the foremost American artists. A separate building houses African and Oceanic works. The museum has an excellent permanent collection of African art and works by African American artists, as well as in-depth exhibitions of works by notable artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Pollock. The museum is a magnet for artists as well. Renwick's Artist and Scholar-in-Residence Program puts artists and cultural figures together with museum staffers to engage with the work and ideas of the museum in an intimate and provocative way.

The Mall of America

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Mall of America: en.wikipedia.org

The Mall of America is a vast expanse of retail stores and shopping centers in the suburb of Bloomington, just west of Minneapolis. At 27 acres in size, it is the largest shopping mall in the world by area, home to the world's largest Christmas tree, an open-air, seasonal ice-skating rink and other attractions. Construction on the Mall began in 1986, and the center opened in 1993. Since then, the area has had an $8.1 billion renovation. While in some areas of the center, such as The Village Shops, the old look of the mall remains, in most of the center the style is futuristic. Shopping at the Mall includes more than 140 stores, including Nordstrom, Macy's, and a number of others. The main attraction of The Mall of America is a large Christmas tree, which measures 165 feet tall and seats 1,500 visitors. The structure of the tree is made up of steel and has LEDs that, depending on the season, provide different scenes. The Mall is generally open from 10 AM to 11 PM daily, with seasonal hours through Christmas. The center closes on Sundays and on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Mounds Park

Photo of Indian Mounds Park (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
Indian Mounds Park (Saint Paul, Minnesota): en.wikipedia.org

Mounds Park is one of the largest and best-preserved collections of archaeological sites in the United States. In 1987, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. The park features a massive earthwork enclosure that can be explored on a self-guided trail. The park is open year-round and admission is free.

Minneapolis' West Side

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Minneapolis: en.wikipedia.org

Minneapolis is known for its skyscrapers, casinos and US Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. It's also rich in arts and music, with the Ordway Theater, one of the largest non-musical opera venues in the country, the Cedar Cultural Center, dedicated to international art and a great concert hall in downtown. Here, along with arts and culture, is where locals can also enjoy fantastic food and drinks in some of the Twin Cities' best bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Walker Art Center

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Walker Art Center: en.wikipedia.org

One of the leading art museums in the United States, Walker Art Center features changing exhibits of contemporary art and hosts traveling exhibitions in conjunction with other art institutions. It is considered one of the foremost arts institutions in the United States, with a free admission policy. The Walker Art Center is located in Minneapolis and welcomes a wide range of visitors, from college students to professional artists. The facilities are varied enough to accommodate all ages and interests, including a children's center, education programs, and the 725-seat Walker Opera House, which hosts performances by local dance and opera companies, among others. Exhibits include recent and current work from some of the world's leading artists such as Christo, Robert Smithson, Jasper Johns, Francis Bacon, Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, and Cy Twombly.

Minnesota History Center

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Minnesota History Center: en.wikipedia.org

Minnesota History Center is one of the most popular destinations in Minnesota. Located in St. Paul, just 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, the Center offers visitors the opportunity to learn about Minnesota's past. The complex is located on the site of the former Fort Snelling, which was established in 1836. Admire the exhibits, which focus on the many European ethnic communities of Minnesota, including: the Vikings, Masons, Lakota, Dakota, fur traders, and other ethnic groups.

Mississippi River

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Mississippi River: en.wikipedia.org

A trip down the Mississippi River from the town of Babbitt, Minnesota to St. Paul, Minnesota will not only take you through breathtaking scenery, it will offer you a fabulous opportunity to experience American history. During a float trip, passengers are seated in a 30-foot long, open-deck, barge which moves slowly down the river, stopping to let the passengers disembark. Many trips also include stopovers in cities such as Hannibal, Missouri, which is home to the Historic Hannibal Bridge, a beautiful steel arch bridge built in 1874, and Madison, Wisconsin, the home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Guthrie Theater

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Guthrie Theater: en.wikipedia.org

Originally founded in 1930 in Minneapolis, the Guthrie is the city's premier theater company. Built in 1926 by Laura and Donald Deskey, the house where the theater now stands began life as a playhouse for young audiences. It was converted to a children's theater in 1960 and gained its current name in 1968. In the 1970s, the Guthrie was added to the National Register of Historic Places, one of the first theater companies to be included on the list. Over the years, the Guthrie has been part of the world's artistic, social and political landscape. Today, with 3,400 seats and a $53 million state-of-the-art complex in the heart of Minneapolis' thriving theater district, the Guthrie performs more than 250 shows a year, running from classics to new American works. Key to its success is the company's celebrated Resident Chorus, the Guthrie Youth Chorus, a company of talented young people who rehearse for three days a week at the Guthrie before going on tour. The award-winning Guthrie Theater is also the nation's oldest, continually operating nonprofit regional theater and one of the world's most respected and influential theaters. Today, the theater continues to draw audiences from around the world for top-notch acting, innovative works, and exciting theatrical entertainment.

International Falls

Photo of International Falls, Minnesota
International Falls, Minnesota: en.wikipedia.org

Tucked away in the bottom of a great swath of glaciated prairie lies the 19th-century copper mining town of International Falls. Still today, this close-knit town of 20,000 people is a great place to relax and get a sense of the life of the past. A bronze of its namesake falls that regularly bears an alarming resemblance to Niagara Falls lends the town its nickname. The town also has more than 50 parks and museums, including the fascinating American Copper Museum, which contains the town's only intact dugout canoe. Nearby is the town's Visitor Center, which has exhibits on town history and the surrounding area. The International Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau runs guided walking tours that give an overview of the history and contemporary life of the town and offer a chance to explore some of the town's most popular sites. The museum has several exhibitions open in the summer. The Cataract Gallery is open daily in the summer and showcases collections from the International Falls Museum and Art Gallery.