1. Franconia Sculpture Park - Shafer
Franconia Sculpture Mark in Shafer is a fantastic way to spend a weekend afternoon. It’s free to get in, so once you’re there you’ll have unhindered access to unique sculpture art spread across 43 acres. One favorite is the suspended house, but there are over 74 sculptures for you to gawk at and climb over. Kids especially love the huge, colorful playground.
Address: 29836 St. Croix Trail, Shafer.
2. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory - St. Paul
Sure, the animals at Como Park are always a big hit, but it's the conservatory that is truly magical. From the colorful Sunken Gardens to the lush Palm Dome, a trip through the conservatory almost feels like a trip to another country. For that reason, it's a truly magical place to visit.
Address: 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul.
3. Minnesota-Shaped Forest - Williams
How did this get here? When the forest was first discovered, that was a mystery no one knew the answer to. But eventually, the truth came out. The forest was created way back in the 1990s by a DNR forest technician and has remained ever since. Because of its remote location in northern Minnesota, the forest doesn't have an exact address. But you can find the GPS coordinates
4. Paul Bunyan Land - Brainerd
If you visited Paul Bunyan Land as a child, you almost definitely wondered just how Paul knew your name. The mystery may have worn off by now, but Paul Bunyan Land continues to enchant visitors. Call it nostalgia, or call it appreciation for lumberjack lore, but Paul Bunyan Land is still magical to this day.
Address: 17553 MN-18, Brainerd.
5. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden - Minneapolis
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is an 11-acre park in the heart of the city. It has been a cherished place to spend long summer afternoons since its opening in 1988. The most well-known sculpture, of course, is
Spoonbridge and Cherry, an iconic symbol of Minneapolis. This and more offer a dose of whimsy to all who visit. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis.
6. Elf Door - Minneapolis
In the trunk of an ash tree on the south shore of Lake Harriet is a little door. As the story goes, the door belongs to a friendly elf who loves receiving letters. Children and adults alike deliver letters to the door. And sometimes, the elf answers them. This whimsical activity is the perfect way to add a dose of magic to your life.
Address: South shore of Lake Harriet, Minneapolis.
7. St. Paul Winter Carnival - St. Paul
With ice sculptures, snow sculpting contests, art shows, and a big parade, the St. Paul Winter Carnival is a truly Minnesotan tradition. It gets especially magical during years when an ice castle is built, but the entire carnival is enchanting every year.
Address: Various locations around St. Paul.
8. Big Stone Mini Golf - Minnetrista
You wouldn't think a mini golf course would be a particularly magical place, but Big Stone Mini Golf defies expectations. This place is also a sculpture garden featuring many unique pieces for you to admire as you putt your way from hole to hole. Visitors will have as much fun checking out the mystifying sculptures as they will actually golfing.
Address: 7110 County Road 110 West, Minnetrista.
9. Lark Toys - Kellogg
Lark Toys is an enormous store with over 20,000 square feet of toys and other amusements. Lark's handmade wooden pull toys are just one exciting attraction. There is also a display of vintage toys from yesteryear, mini golf, and even a working carousel. All of this combined makes Lark toys a fantastically magical place.
Address: 63604 170th Avenue, Kellogg.
10. Runestone Museum - Alexandria
Is it a hoax? Is it real? That's what you'll be asking yourself as you tour the museum dedicated to one of Minnesota's greatest mysteries. The stone was found in a field in 1898, but no one understands how it got there. In fact, many question its authenticity. No matter what you believe, it's hard to doubt that there's something strange - maybe even magical - about this artifact.
Address: 206 Broadway Street, Alexandria.
11. Bentleyville - Duluth
One of Duluth's most popular attractions is also one of Minnesota's most magical. Millions of lights arranged into impressive shapes light up the center of Duluth for an enormous light show that truly inspires awe. Visitors can warm up around the fire or drink a cup of hot chocolate as they watch the lights flash in tune with music.
Address: 700 Railroad Street, Duluth.
Do you have any favorite magical places that didn’t make the list? Let us know where they are!