We all know Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes. That superlative is well earned, and Minnesotans are justly proud of it. But there are also many towns throughout our great state that have their own claims to fame. From gnome towns to fish capitals, each of these Minnesota small towns is famous for the truly special thing they bring to the world.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Dawson - Gnometown
A small town in western Minnesota, Dawson has a population of just 1,500 people. But what it lacks in humans, it makes up for in gnomes. Though they are concentrated in the town's Gnome Park, the town is riddled with these quirky statues. Do yourself a favor and pay a visit this whimsical town with its famous gnomes.
2. International Falls - Icebox of the Nation
Though the title has been disputed over the years, International Falls is officially the Icebox of the Nation. On average, this town in northern Minnesota has over 100 days below freezing each year. If cold is your thing, visit during the winter months to get a real feel for why this town got its nickname.
3. Braham - Homemade Pie Capital of Minnesota
Each year, people come out in droves to this small town in east-central Minnesota. Why? To take part in Pie Day festivities, which happens in early August each year. Eating homemade pies is the big draw, but you can also see live entertainment, browse and buy local crafts, and even take part in a pie-eating contest.
4. Madison - Lutefisk Capital USA
If the thought of lye-soaked fish makes you queasy, you might want to skip out on this one. In western Minnesota, Madison rises up as the Lutefisk Capital of the USA. But don't worry if you aren't into fish. This cute town has plenty of other great things to offer as well.
5. Warroad - Hockeytown, USA
There are several towns that have called themselves Hockeytown, but did you know Warroad was the first? And it is no wonder, when you consider the number of hockey greats who have come out of this little town. Warroad boasts two indoor ice rinks, both of which offer free ice time. It's all to encourage anyone who shows an interest to take up the sport, which is known for being a bit spendy. If that sounds like your dream come true, maybe it's time to pay Hockeytown a visit.
6. Baudette - Walleye Capital of the World
In addition to Baudette, Garrison, Minnesota, also claims to be the Walleye Capital of the World. And they aren't the only towns with a giant walleye statue. Rush City has the World's Largest Walleye - caught by Paul Bunyan, of course - and Clarks Grove, Isle, and Kabetogama each have a big walleye as well. But Baudette, with its Willie Walleye Day Festival, may be the true capital after all.
7. Austin - SPAM Town USA
Okay, so maybe Austin isn't exactly a "small town" with nearly 25,000 people living in its borders. But its claim to fame is so great that we had to include it. Home to Hormel's corporate headquarters, this town is known for its SPAM. The factory in town makes most of the SPAM sold in North America, and the SPAM Museum offers an interesting history of the tinned meat. And even without the meat, Austin actually a pretty cool community worth visiting.
8. Anoka - Halloween Capital of the World
Did you know Minnesota could be considered a birthplace of Halloween? The town of Anoka held one of the first Halloween parades all the way back in 1920. And in what is now known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the tradition lives on. The town holds several Halloween parades in October. But that's not the only spooky part about Anoka. Did you know
many of its buildings are known to be haunted
9. La Crescent - Apple Capital of Minnesota
The Apple Capital of Minnesota is a charming town of just under 5,000 people. It's located in southern Minnesota along the Mississippi River, so any visit is sure to be filled with breathtaking scenery. But you'll want to visit during Applefest in particular. This September festival is filled with apple-related festivities and is sure to be full of small-town charm.
10. Lanesboro - Bed & Breakfast Capital of Minnesota
Lanesboro is one of the cutest towns in southern Minnesota. Located right in the Root River Valley, it's full of scenic beauty. The town is especially known for its many historic bed & breakfasts, which allow visitors to take in the quaint town in total relaxation. As an added bonus, Lanesboro is also known as the Rhubarb Capital of Minnesota. Visit during the annual Rhubarb Fest to get a taste.
11. Karlstad - Moose Capital of the North
Have you ever heard of Karlstad? Not many people have. This small town in northern Minnesota has a population of just 760. But it's a charming town, and its northern location means it is full of natural beauty. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of an elusive Moose.