Across its 87 counties, Minnesota is full of towns and cities both large and small. No matter which one you visit, you’re guaranteed a unique experience that you just can’t get anywhere else. We all know about Minnesota’s big cities, but what about the lesser known ones? These 11 underrated Minnesota towns definitely deserve a second look.
Mora is a small town in east-central Minnesota with a population of about 3,500. Their charming downtown boasts many shops and restaurants, including a few nice thrift store. A little further away, Mora's famous Dala horse looks out over the city.
2. Long Prairie
Here's a place worth a visit if you're looking for some small-town charm. The downtown is exactly what you'd expect from a town in central Minnesota. There are also several parks, a lake, and walking paths.
With a population of over 25,000, Owatonna is a much bigger town than many others on this list. But given its location in southern Minnesota, it is often overlooked. There's lots to do here, like strolling through the historic downtown, visiting the RAD Zoo, or checking out the nearby Rice Lake State Park.
4. Redwood Falls
Another southern Minnesota town, Redwood Falls is another spot that would make for a quaint day trip. It has a nice downtown, but don't forget the town's namesake. The rushing Redwood Falls are located at Alexander Ramsey Park. This expansive park is the largest municipal park in all of Minnesota, and it's definitely worth a visit.
About three hours southwest of the Twin Cities, Marshall is far from the hustle and bustle of big city life. But this town has a life all its own. You could pop into local stores and restaurants, play a round of golf, or take part in one of the many community events throughout the year.
Mantorville is an historic town in southern Minnesota with a population of about 1,200 people. The town has many historic buildings, museums, and festivities to help you learn about the town's past. When you're all done with that, grab a bite to eat at one of many delicious restaurants.
In northwestern Minnesota, Mahnomen offers a great break for weary travelers. An historic museum makes its home in this sleepy town, as does Shooting Star Casino, which offers many shows and other events throughout the year.
Aitkin is a great place for lovers of the outdoors. The many nearby lakes make it a perfect spot for casting a line, and many love hunting in the area as well. The town has many events throughout the year that bring the community together. Visit during one of them for a true taste of this small town's special flavor.
Despite its small size, Ada is a thriving community not far from the North Dakota border in northwestern Minnesota. For something fun and completely different, check out Prairie Village. It's a group of nine historic buildings that will give you an insider's view of the history of Norman County.
While it may not be as huge as the more famous Houston, this town is full of life. The population clocks in at less than 1,000 people, but its location in the beautiful Root River Valley of southern Minnesota makes it something truly special. Go for the gorgeous views, stay for the kind people and excellent school system.
As the Walleye Capital of the World, Baudette offers plenty of access to amazing fishing. In addition to fishing, several parks in town offer great access to the outdoors. The town also hosts several events through the year to allow visitors to get a glimpse of what life is like in this small northern town.
Have you ever been to any of these underrated towns? Let us know in the comments! If you’re looking for more great towns, check out this list of
13 small towns to visit in Minnesota in 2017.