Minnesota is full of incredible experiences. Around every corner, there’s a new and exciting activity to try no matter what interests you. But there are a few experiences that every Minnesotan should have at least once. Whether you love the outdoors or prefer a day inside, you’ll find activities will help you make the most of this great state. And these 22 things are a great place to start.
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. Walk across the Mississippi River.
Generations of Minnesotans have walked across the rocks at the Mississippi Headwaters in Lake Itasca. It's a classic trip that is a must for Minnesotans.
2. Take a selfie with Spoonbridge and Cherry.
The iconic sculpture at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a symbol not only of Minneapolis, but of Minnesota as a whole. And since it's free, it's a fantastic place to spend a summer afternoon.
3. Find your perfect lake.
With over 10,000 lakes, it might take a while. But they're not going anywhere. Whether you prefer a thriving city lake or something more remote, you're bound to find the perfect spot for you.
4. Eat a Juicy Lucy.
This molten cheeseburger started in Minnesota, so there are plenty of places to try one. Even if you're
not from Minnesota, these delicious delicacies are worth a try or ten.
5. Watch a ship come in.
There's nothing more exciting than being in Canal Park when the Lift Bridge starts to raise. Being part of the crowd that forms to watch a ship come in is about as Minnesotan as you can get.
6. Ride a roller coaster - inside.
Love it or hate it, there aren't many places besides the Mall of America that have an indoor theme park. If you haven't ridden at least one ride there, you're missing out on a true Minnesota experience.
7. Swim in Lake Superior.
So it's the coldest great lake. When has that stopped anyone in Minnesota? On a hot day, it feels great to cool down in Minnesota's greatest lake.
8. Go to a Twins game.
Now that we have Target Field, watching the Twins play is a fun experience even if they lose. And since tickets are generally affordable, it's the kind of activity that you can do again and again.
9. Stay in a lakeside cabin.
Sometimes it seems like Minnesotans are always going up north to stay at the cabin. And that may well be true. But if you've ever done it you'll know why. It's a must-do activity for anyone who lives in Minnesota.
10. Watch - or play - hockey.
Even if you're a little wobbly on skates, every Minnesotan should make it to at least one hockey game. The sport is fun already, but the fans make it even better.
11. Walk around in shorts in 50-degree weather.
After a seemingly endless winter, it always feels good when the snow finally begins to melt. Even when other states would still be wearing parkas, a true Minnesotan is usually to shed a few layers.
12. Take in Minnesota's most perfect season: fall.
Every season is great, but fall may just be the best season in Minnesota. The weather is perfect, and the trees turn the most spectacular shades of red and yellow.
13. Meet Paul Bunyan.
There are more than a few statues of the famous lumberjack all over Minnesota. Or maybe you want him to greet you by name at Paul Bunyan Land. However you do it, you can't be a Minnesotan and
not see Paul Bunyan in person.
14. Eat way too much at the state fair.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together is one of the highlights of the summer. With new foods to try every year - plus the old favorites - most of us end up eating way too much. But all that walking almost makes up for it.
15. Cheer on the Vikings.
Even when they lose, the Vikings are our hometown team. The constant disappointment is outweighed by the hope that someday, maybe, they'll be a winning team.
16. Take part in a winter festival.
There are so many. St. Paul's Winter Carnival may be the best, with sculptures, parades, and occasional ice castles. But there are many others throughout the rest of the state. Whichever you attend, it's a great way to get outside in the dead of winter to enjoy the state in it's most famous season.
17. Help someone having car trouble.
Pushing a car stuck in the snow or jumping a dead battery are pretty much rites of passage in this state. And so is accepting help when you inevitably need it. That's what Minnesota Nice is all about, right?
18. Hike the St. Croix River bluffs.
The area along the St. Croix River is full of beautiful cities, towns, and nature areas. Bluffs rise over the river from Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls to Great River Bluffs State Park in Winona. Guaranteed, this is a beautiful thing that you have to experience while you live in Minnesota.
19. Go ice fishing.
Driving a car out to the icehouse for a little fishing is a truly Minnesotan activity. Why? Well, there's something about drilling a hole into a frozen lake that makes fishing a little more fun.
20. Cross the border for alcohol or cheese.
Ah, the classic Sunday beer run. This is another rite of passage that most Minnesotans don't exactly
love, but it's part of what makes our state unique. All you can do is enjoy the ride - and maybe pick up some cheese, too.
21. Shovel out from a massive snowfall.
Love it or hate it, the snow isn't going anywhere. At least once - but probably many, many more times - all Minnesotans will have to pick up a shovel. It's not glamorous, but it sure is good exercise.
22. Welcome spring.
The biggest clue that spring has arrived? Not the sun or the melting snow, but the people who suddenly start coming outside. It's one of the greatest feelings, being outside with your fellow Minnesotans and knowing that you've all made it through another winter.
How many have you done? Is there anything you’d add to the list? If you love to experience everything that makes Minnesota unique, check out this list of
8 only-in-Minnesota day trips.