I realize that Minnesota isn’t exactly a premiere travel destination for many. That being said, there are many great sites in the state that visitors and long-time resident should checkout. Like any list my particular one is slanted towards those activities that I find the most meaningful. I have a preference for all things history, art and natural wonders.
And I need to fully disclose that there are likely some very awesome Minnesota sites on this list that are not included, the sheer reason for this is that I limited myself to those places that I’ve actually visited. I didn’t want to promote some place I’ve heard is great, but that I actually haven’t seen myself. I guess I need to pull together my own personal list of must-see destinations that I still need to checkout.
Here is the ultimate Minnesota bucket list, in no particular order.
1. STATE CAPITOL
Our impressive state capitol building went through an impressive touchup. I haven’t had a chance to visit since it’s been reopened, but even before the fixes it was worth a visit!
2. FORT SNELLING
Plan a visit to historic Fort Snelling!
3. MILL CITY MUSEUM
The Mill City Museum area includes some iconic site of Minneapolis. Checkout the area.
4. GOOSEBERRY FALLS
Gooseberry State Park is definitely one of the most beloved places in the state and without a doubt is a must-see.
5. SPLIT ROCK LIGHTHOUSE
Split Rock Lighthouse has such an amazing story. Take a drive up the North Shore and learn more about this unique lighthouse.
6. JAMES J. HILL HOUSE
Peering at the immense homes on Summit Avenue is an event within itself, but step inside the largest on the street by checking out the James J. Hill house.
7. MINNEAPOLIS ART INSTITUTE
Plan a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts and see Lucretia by Rembrandt!
8. MINNESOTA HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Learn more about the Minnesota Historical Museum in St. Paul!
9. MINNEAPOLIS SCULPTURE GARDEN
The Minneapolis Sculpture is definitely one of the most iconic spots in Minneapolis.
10. SWEDISH AMERICAN INSTITUTE
Get the details on the American Swedish Institute!
11. AERIAL LIFT BRIDGE
The Aerial Lift Bridge is synonymous with Duluth. Watching a ship travel underneath this bridge is fascinating.
12. BETTY’S PIES
Any visit to the North Shore of Lake Superior isn’t complete unless you’ve visited Betty’s Pies. I actually prefer the pasties over the pie, but regardless this has become something of an iconic restaurant in the area.
13. CANAL PARK
Canal Park is a perfect way to spend a beautiful summer day. Checkout the stores nearby or completely embrace the lake and walk on the boardwalk instead!
14. ITASCA STATE PARK
I haven’t visited Itasca State Park since before the advent of the modern day cell phone, yikes! But seeing the meager start of the mighty Mississippi River is a must-see.
15. ENGER TOWER
Enger Tower is the best place to view the Duluth Harbor. Stately rising over the area this tower has a beautiful park and stunning views.
Seeped in history Glensheen is one of the most beautiful estates on Minnesota. Take a tour and learn more!
17. MYSTERY CAVE
Minnesota doesn’t have a lot of impressive caves, but the Mystery Cave at the Forestville State Park is arguably the best in the state.
18. MALL OF AMERICA
I cringe to place this on this list, but since I’ve had out of town guests I’ve come to understand the Mall of America is a site to behold, at least once. There is fun to be had within it’s mighty walls, don’t forget about Flyover America.
19. LITTLE LOG HOUSE PIONEER VILLAGE
Antique cars and really antique everything galore! Learn more about when the Little Log House Pioneer Village is open.
20. JAY COOKE STATE PARK
One of the best places to camp in Minnesota. Learn more about Jay Cooke State Park.
21. BASILICA OF ST. MARY
Learn more about the beauty of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
Northfield is a distinct historic town in the Minnesota and not just because of Jesse James. Learn more about Northfield.
23. THE DEPOT IN DULUTH
The Depot in Duluth is a hodgepodge of various historical artifacts and art. This distinct building and it’s contents make for a nice Sunday stroll.
24. MINNEHAHA FALLS
Minnehaha Falls can be spectacular frozen in the winter, but it’s also a site in the summer sun.
25. NORMANDALE JAPANESE GARDEN
Normandale Japanese Garden is a hidden gem in the Cities and well worth a quick visit.
26. MINNESOTA MARINE ART MUSEUM
The Minnesota Marine Art Museum is another hidden gem in the state. Full of well-known artists, including Monet, the plethora of stunning art tucked away here is astounding.
27. COMO CONSERVATORY
There is nothing better than in the midst of winter than to visit the gorgeous flowers and orchid show at the Como Conservatory. Learn more!
28. LANDMARK CENTER
Checkout the beautiful Landmark Center and learn about the history of this stately St. Paul building!
29. CATHEDRAL OF ST. PAUL
Sitting ever so stately over St. Paul this cathedral is hard to miss. Learn more!
30. ST. ANTHONY FALLS & THE STONE ARCH BRIDGE