9 Top-Rated Minnesota Tourist Attractions
1 Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Superior National Forest, with pristine lakes and rivers, covers large areas of northeast Minnesota. The town of Ely, home to the International Wolf Center, is an excellent base from which to explore the unspoiled landscape. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which lies within the forest, is well known among paddlers in the United States and Canada. It is located along the boundary between the two countries and is a great area for backcountry canoe and kayaking trips, as well as fishing. This area is remote and supports a great deal of wildlife, including bears, moose, and wolves. Superior National Forest covers more than 3 million acres, of which 445,000 acres or almost 700 square miles are made up of water.
2 North Shore Drive
The scenic North Shore Drive near Duluth follows the north shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Along this route are many attractions, including Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, waterfalls, and great views of Lake Superior.
3 Cathedral of St Paul
The imposing St Paul Cathedral in St Paul was built in the early 1900s and is today the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul and a pilgrimage site. The design is Classical Renaissance and the large interior can hold up to 3000 people.
4 Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is a pristine wilderness area that combines natural beauty with history. This mainly backcountry park, accessed primarily by water or air, is a wonderful place for canoeing, boating, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits. The park is remote and offers great opportunities to see wildlife, such as bears, moose, loons, and much more. Historically this area was important during the fur trade, when the French-Canadian Voyageurs traveled these waters in huge birch bark canoes.
5 International Wolf Center
The International Wolf Center near Ely is an educational center that supports and promotes the survival of wolves. Hands-on exhibits, demonstrations of wolf tracking methods, and all kinds of information on wolves is presented. Visitors learn about the natural history of wolves by observing the resident wolf pack.
6 Mall of America
Located on the outskirts of St Paul in the suburb of Bloomington is the Mall of America. When it opened in 1992 it was one of the largest malls in the United States. In addition to the hundreds of shops and dozens of restaurants, the facility includes theaters, hotel accommodation, and other amusements.
7 Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is located 20 miles northeast of Two Harbors. It is home to Split Rock Lighthouse which was built in 1910 to protect Lake Superior shipping. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, foghorn building, keeper's house, tower, and light.
8 St Cloud Clemens Gardens
The Munsinger Clemens Gardens in St Cloud are some of the summertime delights of the city. The Munsinger Gardens feature approximately 80,000 annual plants within a setting of trees, benches, swings, fountains and ponds. The Clemens Gardens are known for having more than 1,100 rose bushes, and an all white garden devoted to white flowers and flowering shrubs.
9 Aerial Lift Bridge
The Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth began as an aerial transfer bridge. Built in 1905, it has a huge gondola that carries more than 60 tons of traffic, from pedestrians and horse-drawn wagons to automobiles. The bridge allows residents of Minnesota Point to reach the mainland. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.