19 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Minnesota

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Minnesota, nicknamed “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, “North Star State”, “The Gopher State”, “The State of Hockey”, offers some of the most beautiful and spectacular sights and places to visit! Just browse through these awesome pictures and be amazed by it’s beauty.

1. Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse, MinnesotaSource: kdotaylor / shutterstock
Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota

Split Rock Lighthouse is often described as one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States – and it is easy to see why. Just over 100 years old, the building, found south-west of Silver Bay, is a National Historic Landmark. After being retired in 1969, the lighthouse became the focal point for the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. It has featured on stamps and in the 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Guided tours of the lighthouse are also available.

2. Lake Itasca

Lake ItascaSource: JB Manning / shutterstock
Lake Itasca

Lake Itasca may be small, but as it is the headwaters of the Mississippi River, it is one of the most important natural locations in the state of Minnesota. The lake can be found in Clearwater County and it houses the University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories campus. The lake is popular with boaters and is stocked with game fish. Visitors to Lake Itasca will also find plenty to see and do across Itasca State Park, which is the oldest park in Minnesota.

3. Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MinnesotaSource: AMB-MD Photography / shutterstock
Minnehaha Falls In Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minnehaha Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Minnesota, as it can be found within the grounds of Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. The falls can be found close to Minnehaha Creek near the confluence of the creek with the Mississippi River, near Fort Snelling. Almost a million people visit the waterfall every year, while it is also one of the most photographed places in the state. The falls are just over 50 feet in height are the subject of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha”.

4. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MinnesotaSource: photo.ua / shutterstock

The biggest city in the state, Minneapolis is a must for anyone visiting Minnesota for the first time. Theater is particularly popular in Minneapolis, which has a huge range of shows to enjoy. Indeed, Minneapolis has a strong cultural history, with Prince, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements all hailing from the city.

Visitors should check out the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Basilica of St. Mary during their time in the city, while the Minneapolis Skyway System is extremely useful to get around the city in poor weather conditions. Minneapolis-Saint Paul was also declared the Best Local Food Scene by USA Today in 2015.

5. Minnehaha Falls Regional Park

Minnehaha Falls Regional ParkSource: jaimie tuchman / shutterstock
Minnehaha Falls Regional Park

Minnehaha Falls Regional Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the most beautiful sites in Minnesota. Home to Minnehaha Falls, the park also houses the John H. Stevens House and the Princess Depot. One of the most popular things to do at the park is to walk along the Minnehaha Creek and follow it to the Mississippi River. Minnehaha Falls Regional Park is also famous for being one of the first state parks in the United States.

6. St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul's CathedralSource: Photo Image / shutterstock
St. Paul’s Cathedral, Minnesota

The Cathedral of Saint Paul, National Shrine of the Apostle Paul, commonly known as St. Paul’s Cathedral, is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole state. The distinctive copper dome of the cathedral makes it one of the most recognizable cathedrals in the United States.

The building, which is one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture, is comparable to the great cathedrals of Europe. The cathedral, which is typically open seven days a week. is listed as a landmark on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

7. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como Park Conservatory, St Paul, MinnesotaSource: Ritu Manoj Jethani / shutterstock
Como Park Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is one of the most popular tourist attractions in St. Paul, attracting close to two million people every year. The free park, which is found at Lake Como, features a zoo, a conservatory and an amusement park, as well as a golf course and a pool. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory features a Japanese Garden, while the main attractions of the zoo are its twin Polar bear brothers. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a perfect family day out.

8. Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

Stone Arch Bridge, MinneapolisSource: f11photo / shutterstock
Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

The Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis is unique as it is the only bridge of its kind to cross the Mississippi River. Made of native granite and limestone, there are 23 arches spanning the river, making the bridge a superb photo opportunity. Recognized as a National Civil Engineering Landmark, the nearby Father Hennepin Bluff Park is perhaps the best place from which to view the bridge. The bridge itself is also considered to be one of the best ways to enjoy the view of the exceptionally beautiful St. Anthony Falls.

9. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Boundary Waters Canoe Area WildernessSource: Wildnerdpix / shutterstock
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

The most visited wilderness in the United States, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Minnesota. Fishing and canoeing are both extremely popular on the many lakes of the wilderness, which has a dozen hiking trails and more than 2,000 designated campsites. Black bears, bobcats, deer, wolves and Canada lynx all live in the park, which is over a million acres in size. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – or BWCAW for short – certainly provides the ultimate wilderness experience in Minnesota.

10. Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State ParkSource: nikitsin.smugmug.com / shutterstock
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park, found on the North Shore of Lake Superior, is a gorgeous place to visit during a trip to Minnesota. The park is worth exploring at any time of the year, as it has an excellent cross-country ski trail system for winter, beautiful colors during fall and loads of hiking trails for the summer. But it is perhaps spring when Gooseberry Falls State Park is at its most picturesque, as this is when its waterfalls are at their fullest and most powerful. The park is close to Duluth and within easy reach of Highway 61.

11. Mississippi River

Mississippi River, MinnesotaSource: Photo Image / shutterstock
Mississippi River, Minnesota

The Mississippi River is arguably America’s greatest natural sight, and the river is perhaps at its most stunning within the state of Minnesota. As the river flows through Minnesota it makes its way through woodlands, valleys and prairies, with certain sections having been designated as a Wild and Scenic river.

Indeed, the Mississippi River and the Great River Road start their journey in northern Minnesota, with the source at Lake Itasca a popular tourist attraction in its own right. St. Paul’s Mississippi River Visitor Center is a great place to go to learn more about the river’s history.

12. Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State ParkSource: nikitsin.smugmug.com / shutterstock
Gooseberry Falls State Park

The falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park are among the most beautiful of any in the state, if not in the whole United States. The Upper, Middle and Lower Falls of the Gooseberry River all plunge through a spectacular gorge to provide a stunning sight that has to be seen to be believed. Civilian Conservation Corps log and stone structures make the park look and feel particularly special, while there are five waterfalls in all to enjoy within the grounds of Gooseberry Falls State Park.

13. Lake Superior

Lake Superior, MinnesotaSource: nikitsin.smugmug.com / shutterstock
Lake Superior, Minnesota

Lake Superior is gigantic. In fact, the lake is so big that it could contain all the other Great Lakes, as well as three more lakes the size of Lake Erie. To say Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes does not come close to describing its majesty – it demands to be experienced. Tourists and adventurers alike flock to Lake Superior to see it for themselves.

The 256-mile Superior Hiking Trail is particularly popular, while others bike the Gitchi Gami paved trail. Fishing at Lake Superior is huge, with lake trout and a variety of salmon, as well as northern pike, perch and brook trout.

14. Itasca State Park

Itasca State Park, MinnesotaSource: Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock
Itasca State Park, Minnesota

The oldest state park in Minnesota, Itasca State Park is without a doubt one of the best in the state too. The historic Douglas Lodge or cabins offer the chance to sleep under the stars, with the 2,000-acre Wilderness Sanctuary, which is one of Minnesota’s seven National Natural Landmarks, one of the many must-see attractions within the grounds of the park.

Itasca State Park offers people the chance to walk across the Mississippi River at the start of its vast winding journey through America – truly a unique, unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

15. The Temperance river

Temperance River State ParkSource: Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock
Temperance River State Park

Temperance River State Park offers simply amazing views and it is no wonder many locals return every single year. The Temperance River itself drains into Lake Superior, flowing out of Brule Lake in Cook County. The Temperance River, located within the Superior National Forest, is certainly one of the most beautiful places to visit during a trip to Minnesota. Temperance River State Park offers a pair of camping grounds, with one situated on each side of the river.

16. The Gooseberry River

Gooseberry River, MinnesotaSource: Wildnerdpix / shutterstock
Gooseberry River

The Gooseberry River is known as the gateway to Lake Superior’s North Shore, but it is a destination well worth visiting in its own right. Famous mainly for its three spectacular waterfalls, the river is now now a thriving tourist destination. The river is at its heaviest flow during the spring due to melting snow, while it has been known to run almost dry during the height of the summer. Brook, brown, and rainbow trout are among the many fish that can be found in the river.

17. Minnesota 210

Minnesota 210Source: Lorie Shaull / Flickr | CC BY
Minnesota 210

Minnesota 210 is probably the main way people will experience what the state has to offer. The highway, which runs from west-central to north-east, takes in places such as Duluth, Fergus Falls and Brainerd. Minnesota State Highway 210 runs extremely close to Glendalough State Park, which describes itself as providing a true respite from civilization. Glendalough State Park’s highlight is arguably crystal clear Annie Battle Lake, which is well worth a stop-off when travelling along Minnesota State Highway 210.

18. Silver Bay

Silver Bay, MinnesotaSource: Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock
Silver Bay, Minnesota

Silver Bay is one of the most scenic spots in the state of Minnesota, with its Shovel Point offering truly breathtaking views. North Shore Scenic Cruises are among the most popular things to do during a trip to the city, while snowshoeing in George Crosby Manitou State Park should also be on the list of experiences to sample during a visit.

The Baptism River might just be the most beautiful place in Silver Bay, although it faces competition from hiking on the stunning Tettegouche Trail.

19. Port Of Duluth

Duluth, MinnesotaSource: Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock
Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, the second-largest city on Lake Superior’s shores, is well worth a visit for anyone going to Minnesota for the first time. The seaport city is the home to America’s only all-freshwater aquarium, while the world’s longest freshwater baymouth bar can also be found in Duluth. The Aerial Lift Bridge is a surprisingly compelling sight when visiting Duluth, while the city is a great starting point for Minnesota’s North Shore Scenic Drive. The city itself also hosts popular attractions such as the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Glensheen, The Historic Congdon Estate, as well as the Leif Erickson Park & Rose Garden.

19 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Minnesota:

  • Split Rock Lighthouse
  • Lake Itasca
  • Minnehaha Falls
  • Minneapolis
  • Minnehaha Falls Regional Park
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
  • Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • Mississippi River
  • Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • Lake Superior
  • Itasca State Park
  • The Temperance river
  • The Gooseberry River
  • Minnesota 210
  • Silver Bay
  • Port Of Duluth