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Top Ten Destination Spots in Minnesota

Updated on August 13, 2015

Niagara Cave

10. Niagara Cave

Located in Harmony Minnesota, Niagara Cave has been rated one of the top ten caves in the United States.While visiting Niagara Cave you will experience an hour long tour which will take you through a mile of the caves with a tour guide.

Inside this unique cave you will see stalactites and calcite along with a stream which leads to an underground waterfall that is 60 feet tall and quite the sight to see!

You will also see fossils dating back 400 million years ago and some of these fossils are older than some dinosaurs.

Niagara Cave has become a popular spot for weddings and have hosted around 400 weddings so far.

There is a gift shop to stop into and you even have the option to pan for gems while you are there. While visiting the gift shop you will see fossils as well as different kinds of minerals.

There are also t shirts, books and other informative items available for sale, Pack a lunch and head on over to the picnic areas for a nice lunch.

It is worth the 250 stair climb to see the cave.

Calumet Hotel

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9. Pipestone

Founded in 1876 by Charles Bennett and Daniel Sweet, Pipestone is a city in Minnesota and is named after a red stone, also known as catlinite. This stone is used by Native Americans to make ceremonial pipes.

Located in Pipestone Minnesota is Pipestone National Monument where you will find pipestone quarries that were used by Native Americans for centuries and are still used today.

There are walking trails in the area to explore as well as a visitor center which is home to Pipestone Creek and Wannewissa Falls.

Wannewissa Falls is not a big falls but it is absolutely gorgeous and with each visit, it is never the same. The falls are easily accessible with a nice paved trail and a short walk.

This trail takes you to both the top and the bottom of the falls which offers different views of these wonderful, historical falls.

Pipestone is a great place to explore some of the Native American Culture and you can even buy your own pipestone!

Stay at the Calumet Hotel which was built in 1888 and is still used as a hotel today.

Pipestone Quarry

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St. Anthony Falls

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Mill Ruins Park, a flour mill used in the 19th and early 20th century

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8. Minneapolis Queen Riverboat Cruise

The Minneapolis Queen Riverboat Cruise will take you on a narrated cruise on the Mississippi River where you will see views of the Minneapolis Skyline as well as other points of interest.

The cruise departs from Bloom Island Park in the Minneapolis Riverfront District.

There are a number of different types of cruises available which include; the sightseeing and lock cruise, the specialty and cocktail cruise, the pizza and lock cruise, the Friday night dinner cruise and the Sunday brunch cruise.

While on this cruise you will see a number of sites such as Nicollet Island and St. Anthony Falls where you will go through the locks.

A popular attraction you will see is Stone Arch Bridge which is made from granite and limestone and twenty three arches will be seen while visiting this bridge. The Stone Arch Bridge is 2,100 feet long and 28 feet wide.

Another attraction you will see on this cruise is Mill Ruins Park and Father Hennipen Bluff Park.

The Minneapolis Queen Riverboat Cruise is available for special events such as weddings and birthdays.

Stone Arch Bridge

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Alexander Ramsey

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7. The Alexander Ramsey House

Located in St. Paul, The Alexander Ramsey House was built by Alexander Ramsey in 1872.

Alexander Ramsey was the first Governor of Minnesota and the house is on the National Register of Historical Places. St. Paul is in Ramsey County which was named after Alexander Ramsey.

The details in the house are remarkable with marble fireplaces, chandeliers and the walnut detailed design throughout the house. There are fifteen rooms and the furniture’s style in the house is of the original Renaissance Revival.

The house remained in the Ramsey family until 1964.

The Alexander Ramsey House is now a museum and hosts a number of events. One of the most popular events is, Christmas with the Ramsey’s. Christmas dinner is served and the dining room is set with the family’s original china and crystal.

The Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments that belonged to the Ramsey family.

This historical home is worth a visit while visiting the Twin Cities and gives you a taste of the life of Alexander Ramsey. You wont be disappointed.

The Alexander Ramsey House

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Sea LIFE Minnesota Aquarium

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6. Mall of America

Located in Bloomington Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, The Mall of America opened in 1992 and is owned by Triple Five Group.

This mall is the most visited mall in the world with over 40 million visitors a year and it is one of the largest malls in the world as well.

The Mall of America has four levels which offer all kinds of shopping, entertainment, food courts and more. The food courts have over twenty eateries making it easy to find a place to grab a bite to eat.

There are a number of theme based shops including sports shops and the LEGO store, plus much, much more.

Probably the biggest attraction in the mall is Nickelodeon Universe which is an indoor theme park operating roller coasters, rides and attractions. There is even a mini golf course!

The SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium is an interesting place to visit while at Mall of America. The thirty foot long tunnel, offers views of sharks, stingrays and more.

The events offered at the aquarium include; scuba diving and snorkeling and there are also sleepover opportunities which are great for birthday parties.

Rides at Mall of America

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The Basilica of St. Mary

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St. Anthony Falls

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5. Minneapolis

Part of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis was occupied by the Dakota Sioux until 1680 and it became a city in 1867 after French explorers arrived.

Minneapolis is a great place to go shopping, grab a bite to eat or explore the different sites to see around the city. '

Visit the Mississippi waterfront along with St Anthony Falls which is the highest waterfall on the Mississippi River.

The Basilica of St. Mary is another point of interest and was built with granite which was completed in 1906. This structure is absolutely breathtaking and picturesque.

The Round Ground Byway is the perfect place to explore some quaint areas in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis has seven lakes within it and is called, Chain of Lakes. There is a bike and walking path which will guide you through park-like areas which are all linked.

Today Minneapolis is the third largest market in theater in the United States and due to this there are several different theaters and venues to attend involving dance and other performing arts.

As a matter of fact, Prince grew up in Minneapolis and attended a performing arts college in the area.

Don’t forget about the sporting venues such as the Timberwolves, Vikings and Twins.

Minneapolis

4. St. Paul

The other half of the Twin Cities is St. Paul. Named the capital in 1849, St. Paul is located on the east banks of the Mississippi River and Minnesota River.

An interesting place to visit is Indian Mounds Park which are burial mounds used by the Hopewell Indians approximately 2,000 years ago.

Fort Snelling is another place to stop by and see. Fort Snelling was founded in 1819 and was built for protection against Britain and Canada. During the Dakota War in 1862 this fort was used as a concentration camp where women, children and the elderly were held and is a National Historic Landmark.

St. Paul houses approximately ten museums worth visiting depending on what you are interesting. Whether it is art, history or culture, St. Paul has no shortage of museums.

Another attraction in St. Paul is the Urban Forest of St. Paul. The Urban Forest of St. Paul is where you will find over 500,000 trees.

Also located in St. Paul is the Landmark Center which is a gorgeous building built in 1902. This historical building was used as a post office and a courthouse and was where a girlfriend of bank robber, John Dillinger, was charged for hiding him in her St. Paul apartment.

Another beautiful building is the Cathedral of St. Paul which is located on Cathedral Hill and overlooks the city. Opened in 1915, the Cathedral of St. Paul is the third largest completed church in the United States.

A fun fact about St. Paul is that Charles M. Shultz, the creator of the comic strip, Peanuts, was born there and lived there until 1960 and there are several small statues in St. Paul dedicated to his creativity and peanuts characters.

Fort Snelling

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St. Paul Cathedral

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The Landmark Center

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Minnehaha Falls

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The John H. Stevens House

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3. Minnehaha Park

Located in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Park is home to Minnehaha Falls and Minnehaha Creek. While visiting Minnehaha Park you will see great views of Minnehaha Falls, which are fifty three feet high, gorgeous limestone bluffs and overlooks of the river.

Minnehaha Park has a variety of different pavilions and picnic areas to barbecue at or just a place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

This park offers seating for three hundred and has 12 grills and some pavilions. Certain times of the year you will find concerts which can be seen at one of the pavilions.

There is also wildlife and nature. Many of species of trees can be found here as well as gardens such as; The Minnehaha Falls Pergola Gardens and Longfellow Gardens which are both full of native wildflowers and grasses.

Also located in Minnehaha Park is the Longfellow House which was built in 1907 and is now an information center. This building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Another historical house is the John H. Stevens house which was built in 1840 and is the first wood framed house on the Mississippi. Tours are available through reservation.

Before Minnehaha Park was a park, it was a train station and Princess Depot is still there today which was built in 1875.

Aside from the historical structures at the park, there is a wading pool, bike rentals and a dog park. Weddings and events are often held here due to the gorgeous views overlooking the area.

The Longfellow House

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The Fergus Falls State Hospital

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Otter Tail River

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2. Fergus Falls

Discovered in 1856, Fergus Falls is full of nature and historical buildings. The Northern Divide runs through Fergus Falls, which is one of five continental divides in the United States.

There are a number of parks located in Fergus Falls, one of which is a river walk that offers a walking trail along the Otter Tail River. The Otter River is a popular place for tubing and canoeing.

Another point of interest for water sports in Fergus Falls is Lake Alice. Fishing, swimming and more are easy to do in Fergus Falls due to its five lakes, which are all within city limits and the Otter Tail River.

Pebble Lake Golf Course is another point of interest in Fergus Falls. There are plenty of places to stay and vary from campgrounds and bed and breakfasts to lodges and hotels.

Some of the historical buildings in Fergus Falls are; The C.C. Clement House which is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1852 and the Park Region Luther College, built in 1901 and now occupied by the HIllcrest Lutheran Academy.

Another building on the National Register of Historic Places is the Fergus Falls State Hospital

. The Fergus Falls State Hospital was built in 1888. Now known as the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, and was Minnesota’s third state hospital.

Shopping, dining and museums are all available in Fergus Falls as well as a nature learning center and a performing arts center. Who knows, you may even be able to catch an event while visiting.

Park Region Luther College

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Rainy Lake

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Lost Bay on Kobetogama Lake

1. Voyageurs National Park

Established in 1975, Voyageurs National Park is near the town of International Falls and full of wildlife and nature.

Rainy Lake is a great place to visit and is home to a historical hotel.Kettle Falls Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is accessible by boat only. While visiting Rainy Lake you will also see Anderson Bay and Little American Island

. Little American Island is where gold was discovered in 1893 which started the Rainy Lake Gold Rush.

Another great place to visit in Voyageurs National Park is Kabetogama Lake and Gold Portage. Gold Portage is a trail which leads the Rainy Lake and Kabetogama Lake connection.

A popular spot to visit on Kabetogama Lake is Lost Bay. Canoeing and kayaking are a popular pastime here. Kabetogama Lake is home to the Ellsworth Rock Gardens which are full of flowers and rock sculptures.

Voyageurs National Park is where you will find Namakan Lake, a recreational resort near Hoist Bay. This area is set up for day use which will give you plenty of time to explore the Moose River Indian Village which dates back to the 1760’s and was occupied until the 1930’s.

While visiting any part of Voyageurs National Park, you will have many options to keep you entertained. Some of the popular pastimes at this gorgeous state park are; canoeing, kayaking, boating and snowmobiling in the winter. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Voyageurs National Park

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A road map to help you get around Minnesota

show route and directions
A markerNiagara Cave -
Niagara Cave, 29842 County Road 30, Harmony, MN 55939, USA
get directions

B markerPipestone -
Pipestone, MN 56164, USA
get directions

C markerAlexander Ramsey House -
Alexander Ramsey House, 265 Exchange Street South, Saint Paul, MN 55102, USA
get directions

D markerThe Mall of America -
The Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55408, USA
get directions

E markerMinneapolis -
Minneapolis, MN, USA
get directions

F markerSt. Paul -
Saint Paul, MN, USA
get directions

G markerMinneahaha Park -
Minnehaha Park, 4801 South Minnehaha Park Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA
get directions

H markerFergus Falls -
Fergus Falls, MN 56537, USA
get directions

I markerVoyageurs National Park -
Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, MN 56649, USA
get directions

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    • Michaela Osiecki profile image

      Michaela 20 months ago from USA

      Mall of America is such an overpriced tourist trap and for a mall, it's really not that impressive looking. It's just...big.

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 2 years ago

      I appreciate that Voyageurs ranks so high on the list. You did a great job providing a thumbnail sketch of each of these places. I have not been to all, but to many. I will tray to get to them all now.

    • April Dawn Meyer profile image
      Author

      April Dawn Meyer 4 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      Depending on the time of year, make sure you bring a jacket, it can get cold there :) Thanks for reading.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Wow. All of these places look magnificent. Definitely good points of interest when visiting the area!