Minnesotans may be known for being a mild-mannered, but we can certainly get weird. Just look at our list of
the weirdest things only Minnesotans do if you don’t believe us! One favorite activity of many Minnesotans is visiting strange and offbeat attractions across the state. There are many to choose from, but these 11 are some of our favorites:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Ax-Man Surplus — St. Paul
This weird St. Paul store is sure to become a fast favorite of anyone who loves garage sales. That's what it feels like when you visit, with its weird assortments of science beakers, electrical components, and much more. Ax-Man specializes in surplus merchandise that — often not surprisingly — was never sold by its original manufacturer. They always have something new, and it's always worth a visit.
Address: 1639 University Ave. W., St. Paul, MN 55104.
2. Lost 40 — Northome
The Lost 40 is one of Minnesota's greatest treasures. It's an old-growth pine forest in northern Minnesota that, completely by accident, was never touched by logging companies. Today, it's a protected Scientific and Natural Area and a lovely place for a hike. Visit, and you'll feel like you've stepped into Minnesota centuries ago.
Address: Itasca County, Minnesota.
3. Minnesota Forest — Williams
Here's another unique Minnesota forest that is one of the oddest places in the country. Years ago, a DNR technician cut a Minnesota-shaped patch into a northern Minnesota forest. Since then, the DNR has preserved the shape of the forest as the trees have grown back. It's a quirky part of Minnesota history that was nearly forgotten until satellite mapping came around.
Address: Williams, Minnesota.
3. Devil's Kettle — Grand Marais
Within the beautiful borders of Judge C.R. Magney State Park, one of Minnesota's biggest mysteries flows over the rough cliffs that call the park home. A waterfall on the Brule River disappears into a hole, and scientists have only recently begun to figure out where it leads. This fascinating geological wonder is one of the coolest natural areas in all of Minnesota.
Address: 4051 MN-61, Grand Marais, MN 55604.
5. Runestone Museum — Alexandria
At this point, the mystery of Minnesota's runestone has been debunked by most scientists. But still, some believe that the Kensington Runestone, found in 1898 by Olof Ohman, is a genuine Viking artifact. Though it's most likely a hoax, the runestone is still on display at a museum in Alexandria. This quirky attraction is well worth a visit for anyone who loves offbeat history.
Address: 206 Broadway St., Alexandria, MN 56308.
6. Franconia Sculpture Park — Shafer
Franconia Sculpture Park is a favorite of adults and children alike! This 43-acre park is filled with large-scale sculptures created by artists-in-residence from all over the world. It's a fun and interactive outdoor activity that will delight anyone with a creative side. From the wall of boomboxes to the floating house to the enormous, whimsical playground, you will love your visit.
Address: 29836 St. Croix Trail N., Shafer, MN 55074.
7. Extreme Sandbox — Hastings
Have you ever wondered what it's like to drive a bulldozer or an excavator? Now's your chance to find out! In Hastings, Minnesota, Extreme Sandbox is one of the most unique outings in Minnesota. Whether you want to have a relaxing dig or go head-to-head in a heavy equipment competition, you'll have a blast at this quirky spot.
Address: 1901 Glendale Rd., Hastings, MN 55033.
8. Northwest Angle — Northern Minnesota
Did you know the northernmost point in the Lower 48 is in Minnesota? The Northwest Angle is only accessible by boating across Lake of the Woods or crossing an international border into Canada. This makes it one of the most remote spots in the United States. If you can make it up there, we recommend it!
Address: Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota.
9. Wabasha Street Caves — St. Paul
Did you know that St. Paul, Minnesota, is home to a man-made cave with a fascinating history? The Wabasha Street Caves were cut out of local sandstone over a century ago. The caves were used for everything from mobster hideouts to speakeasies, and they’re open today as a unique event space. Many believe the caves are haunted, making it a great spot to take a spooky tour!
Address: 215 Wabasha St. S., St. Paul, MN 55107.
10. SPAM Museum — Austin
Austin, Minnesota, may be home to the weirdest museum in the state. Whether or not you love Spam, you’ll enjoy a trip to Austin to learn about the history and production of this world-famous product that was invented in Minnesota. The museum was recently revamped, so it’s even better than ever!
Address: 101 3rd Ave. NE., Austin, MN 55912.
11. Naniboujou Lodge — Grand Marais
Naniboujou Lodge may be odd, but it’s also completely beautiful. It’s located about 15 miles east of Grand Marais, and it has amazing views of Lake Superior. The lodge was built as a private club in 1928, but it soon became a popular place to eat and stay for North Shore travelers. The unique architecture, comfortable rooms, and
incredible dining room make this odd little spot a Minnesota treasure. Address: 20 Naniboujou Trail, Grand Marais, MN 55604.
Have you ever been to any of Minnesota’s oddest spots? Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comments below!