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Minnesota is home to more than 5.4 million people, making it the 21st most populous state in the country. Known as the Gopher State, the North Star State and the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota offers you a variety of things to do, places to visit and sights to see. From a vibrant arts and culture scene to the great outdoors to thriving metropolises, you can find it all here. So get on a bus rental in Minnesota and explore the state in style!
Be sure to get a bus rental in Minnesota when you visit the state's biggest cities.
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To say that Minnesota offers you everything you could possibly want is an understatement. No matter what your interests are, the state can accommodate you. Art lovers would love its vibrant arts and culture scene with its bevy of theater groups, musicians, art galleries, art museums and sculpture parks. Minnesota offers you an all encompassing ticket to the outdoors with its many resorts, lakes, rivers, and state parks, but it also gives you the convenience of having one of the biggest shopping malls in the country. So be sure to charter a bus rental in Minnesota to ensure that you do not have to rely on public transport to tour the state. What’s more, it is a good way to see more, do more and visit more places here in the state. Where should you go?
Entertainment in Minnesota takes you to a wide variety of casinos, amusement parks, water parks, and theme parks.
For amusement parks, some of the best that you should not miss include Mall of America's indoor amusement park, the Valleyfair Family Amusement Park, and Como Town. Como Town Amusement Park (St Paul, MN 55103) is a great place to take young children to. You can enjoy around 20 attractions and rides here, some of them are interactive rides that are exclusive to the amusement park.
As for water parks, you have a choice between outdoor and indoor water parks. Indoor water parks are great destinations for any season. You have Rapid River Lodge & Water Park, Safari Island Community Center Indoor Waterpark and Fitness Center, Water Park of America, Paul Bunyan Water Park, Arrowwood Resort & the Big Splash Indoor Waterpark, The Depot WaterPark, Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center, Seven Clans Casino & Water Park at Thief River Falls, Edgewater Waterpark, Northern Hideaway Indoor Waterpark, Great River Water Park (St Paul, MN 55104), Wild Woods Waterpark at Holiday Inn Elk River, and Holiday Inn Express Baxter Waterpark.
Then there are the outdoor waterparks that allow you to soak up the sun while still beating the heat. The state has more than a dozen outdoor waterparks that you can go to, the biggest are Bunker Beach Waterpark, Valleyfair Soak City, Waseca Waterpark, Kamp Dels, and Wild Mountain Waterpark. You could also go to some city and state parks for some outdoor water fun.
Casinos. As for casinos, Minnesota has several gaming options that are owned by Native Americans, including the top casinos such as Treasure Island Resort Casino, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Grand Casino Hinckley, grand Casino Mille Lacs, Shooting Star Casino Hotel, Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel and Black Bear Casino Resort. Aside from these casinos, there are also racing tracks and card rooms in Minnesota where you can gamble, including Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, Minnesota, and Canterbury Park, which features 69 races from May through Labor Day and has been the host of most of the yearly Claiming Crown races.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are the center of quality theater shows in the state. In the Twin Cities, you can find a variety of top notch theater groups and venues. Catch a touring Broadway production at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, along with opera, cultural performances and musicals. The Ordway Center is home to several arts organizations in the city, such as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Schubert Club, and the Minnesota Opera. In Minneapolis, you have the State Theatre, which accommodates close to 2,200 people. The State Theatre has hosted Avenue Q, Sweeney Todd, Joseph, and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and other touring Broadway musicals and plays. You could also catch concerts and movies here. You could also go to the Orpheum Theatre (Minneapolis, MN 55403), where some of the world's best known musicals premiered, including The Lion King and The 101 Dalmatians Musical.
But there are other great theaters in other cities here as well, including Lanesboro's Commonweal Theatre Company, which produces at least 180 productions a year consisiting of five plays including the works of Henrik Ibsen, and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse (Bemidji, MN 56601), which is the oldest summer stock group in the state. And then there is the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN.
Dance companies also abound in Minnesota, with close to 30 notable companies offering a variety of dance forms from ballet, to cultural to experimental and modern. Leading the pack is the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, Minnesota's dance flagship. Here you will find the Hennepin Center for the Arts, which hosts 20 premiere performing arts and dance organizations. Also the Northrop Dance Team features world-class talents. You should also check out the Minnesota Ballet (Duluth, MN 55802), Ethnic Dance Theatre, A Center for the Arts (Fergus Falls, MN 56537), Continental Ballet Company, the Rochester Dance Company and Ballet Minnesota.
Music venues and groups are also top-notch here in Minnesota. You can check out the performances at Guthrie Theater. Or catch performances by the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. You would also love the Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, Encore Wind Ensemble (Roseville, MN 55113), Minnesota Boychoir, Svenskarnas Dag Girls Choir, The Rose Ensemble, Minnesota Centennial Showboat, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, and Skylark Opera. The Twin Cities also has a vibrant music scene, with venues such as Pantages Theatres, State, Fine Line, Varsity Theater, First Avenue and Turf Club often headlining both a mix of indie bands and those with record label contracts.
You should also consider attending the state's notable music festivals, which includes the WE Fest, Bayfront Blues Fest, and Minnesota Beethoven Festival.
Visual arts. From intimate galleries to expansive sculpture gardens to art museums, the state has a lot to offer in terms of visual arts. There is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the biggest urban sculpture parks in the United States. The free park is where you could view more than 40 sculptures. You could also visit the Cowles Conservatory here while you are here. You could also go to the Walker Art Center where you can view close to a dozen galleries filled with contemporary and modern art, or you could check out the McGuire Theater and the Walker Cinema on the premises. Also in Minneapolis, you can head on to the Museum of Russian Art, the only one of its kind in the entire United States. Here, you can find an astounding array of rotating exhibits that help you understand Russia's culture, heritage and history. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts feature fine arts including those of Henri Matisse, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Hendrick ter Brugghen, El Greco, Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin, among others.
You should also visit the Rochester Art Center (Rochester, MN 55904) where you can view contemporary art exhibits with artworks from the best local and international artists. Or the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, which has more than 400 paintings from such notable artists as Renoir, Homer and Monet, along with other maritime artifacts. Then there is the Rourke Art Museum and Gallery (Moorhead, MN 56560) with permanent collections containing Japanese, West African, American indian, regionalist and pop art among others. Here, you would find works by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg, Luis Jimenez, James Rosenquist, David Gilhooly, Marc Chagall, Roy Lichtenstein, Leonard Baskin, and Joan Miró.
Other notable art museums and galleries you can find here include:
Minnesota has some great shopping malls and shopping centers that you can go to. Undoubtedly, you will be drawn to Mall of America (Bloomington, MN 55425) where you can visit 520 retailers, more than four dozen restaurants and other attractions, while enjoying tax-free shopping. With close to 8 million sq. ft. of space, the mall attracts more than 40 million visitors a year. Meanwhile, Galleria (Edina, MN 55435) has a mix of local shops, specialty stores and luxury brands all in one roof. And the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes is as much a shopping destination with its 60 upscale shops as it is a great place to stroll around in.
A sampling of other malls and shopping centers you can find in the state are Southdale Shopping Center, Paul Bunyan Mall, Calhoun Square Shopping Center, Gaviidae Common, Knollwood Mall (St Louis Park, MN 55426), Eden Prairie Center, Maplewood Mall, North Branch Outlets, and Rosedale Center, among others.
Another unique shopping experience in the state may be found in the Amish Country. The state has at least 3,000 Amish residents and there are several communities all over the state. Check out Canton and Harmony, where you can find the state's biggest Amish settlements. There are also Amish products available in Lanesboro, Wadena, and Todd County. Or you could head out to the Amish Country Co-Op Farmers Market (Bertha, MN 56437) for some of the best rugs, quilts, wood craft and other Amish specialties.
You should also visit two of the state's best shopping towns: Excelsior and Wayzata.
Restaurants. There are a lot of exciting things that are happening in Minnesota's dining scene.
Minnesota has an impressive array of authentic Italian restaurants that can rival those in Italy. So if you want a taste of Italy while you are here, go to Sorrento Cucina, Yarusso Bros. Italian Restaurant, I Nonni, Rinata Restaurant, and Pazzaluna.
If you want to sample the best restaurants in the Twin Cities area, then you should check out:
Then there are the notable restaurants that dot the state, including 5-8 Club, the Kenwood, Union Fish Market, Borough, Marin, Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar, Sandcastle, the Buttered Tin Bakery, Terzo, Copper Pot, the Gray House, Louis Ristorante, One Two Three Sushi, Rincón 38, and Glam Doll Donuts.
And then there are the food stuff that Minnesotans are proud of such as the German Sausages in New Ulm, wild rice, smoked fish in Lake Superior, lefse, and pasties.
Minnesota is heaven for professional sports fans.
The National Football League's Minnesota Vikings play there home games at the TCF Bank Stadium, although there are plans to move to the currently being constructed Vikings Stadium when it is completed in 2016. Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins trains at the Target Field, while the National Basketball Association's Minnesota Timberwolves, the Legends Football League's Minnesota Valkyrie, and the Women's National Basketball Association's Minnesota Lynx all play their home games at the Target Center. You should also check out the Xcel Energy Center to catch the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League or the National Lacrosse League's Minnesota Swarm play. The Independent Women's Football League's the Minnesota Vixen, on the other hand, play at the Tiger Stadium. The National Women's Hockey League's Minnesota Whitecaps play at different ice rinks in the Twin Cities area.
Apart from these teams, Minnesota also has several minor-league teams, including the Minnesota United FC, which plays at Blaine's National Sports Center in Blaine. While the St. Paul Saints play their games at the Midway Stadium.
Other sports venues in the state include:
Golf.Golf courses in the state welcome everyone. Indeed, Minnesota is a top golf destination where the courses are set against beautiful backdrops, great weather and at prices that are attractive to the pocket. From beginners to pros, there is a golf course that is perfect for you. Check out the many championship courses here. Minnesota is the first state to every host all the championships in the usGA, as well as being home to the 3M Championship. Minnesota will also host the Ryder Cup.
Check out the Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, MN 55318), probably the best golf course in the state with a course rating of 78.0. Designed by Robert Jones, Jr., you can enjoy the practice facilities, restaurant and bar here as well. You could also play at another Jones course, Edinburgh USA, where you can play for as low as $39 per 18 hole round. Another course designed by Robert Jones Jr. is Cragun's Legacy Courses, Dutch Legacy in Brainerd, where you have a marina, cabin, boat rentals, and other facilities to enhance your game. Then there is the Bridges, co-designed by Robert Jones and Ben Knight.
Speaking of legendary golf course designers, Arnold Palmer designed the TPC Twin Cities, which has a course rating of 75.7 and the Deacon's Lodge at Grand View Lodge with a course rating of 74.1. While Rees Jones has the Dacotah Ridge Golf Club (Morton, MN 56270) which gives you a premiere golfing experience coupled with a casino hotel stay.
Joel Goldstrand has four of the top 25 golf courses in the state, each one having a course rating of at least 73.3.
Meanwhile former golfer and noted golf course designed John Fought designed or co-designed the Rush Creek Golf Club, the Windsong Farm Golf Club, and the Somerby Golf Club.
If you like old school golf courses then you should go to the Minikahda Club designed by Donald Ross, and the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club designed by A.W. Tillighast. The Minneapolis Golf Club is another Donald Ross course, co-designed with Willie Parks.
In terms of location with the most number of top golf courses, then you should go to Prior Lake, where you could find the Wilds Golf Club, the Meadows at Mystic Lake, and the Legends Golf Club. Meanwhile, Northfield has Willingers Golf Club and Northfield Golf Club.
Other top golf courses in Minnesota include the Spring Hill Golf Club (Wayzata, MN 55391), the Olympic Hills Golf Club, Black Brook Golf Course at Izatys Resort, and the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.
Minnesota has a rich and long history. You can still visit sites here that tell you about the culture of the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians. You can also find out more about the fur trade, the life of the pioneers and even the ethnic cultures and history of the many immigrants who first settled here.
One of the most unique places to go to for history buffs is the Jeffers Petroglyphs where you can see etchings created by Native Americans, some of these are thought to be around 9,000 years old. Some examples of petroglyphs here include shamans, turtles and birds. If you are going to visit, check out the Starry Night, Prairie Night, which is held here every year. Other Native American related sites include the bois forte Heritage Center, the Fort Ridgeley Historic Site, Grand Portage State Park, Lower Sioux Agency Historic Site, Mille Lacs Indian Museum, North West Company fur Post, Pipestone National Monument and Treaty Site History Center.
There are hundreds of historic sites and museums that you can visit in the entire state. You can go to historic Forestville where you can visit a farm, home and a store that features original artefacts. You can even participate in doing chores if you want a hands-on experience of life in the 19th century. You can also get on a Carnegie Bridge, cook with a wood burning stove, play the pump organ and tend to the chickens and crops that they have here. Can't get enough of the experience? Head out to the Oliver H. Kelley Farm, a restored farmstead where you can find working fields and vegetable gardens, farm animals, and a hiking trail. You can also help in the fields and the barn if you like.
You can also tour the state capitol, which is used by the governor, the Senate, the House of Representative and the Supreme Court. Or you can learn about the fur business when you visit the reconstructed North West Company Fur Post and see the museum exhibits on the fur trade and its attendant cultures, as well as demonstrations on how to prepare birch bark, hide, wild rice and cattails. The Forest History Center is reconstructed 1900s logging camp where you can learn more about loggers, cooks, draft horses and blacksmiths. There are several activities and exhibits here including a timber harvester simulator, a fire tower and trails.
Fort Snelling is where you go if you like to learn more about the state's military heritage and contributions. It was used for military training from the time of the Civil War up to the time of the Second World War. You can see restored buildings here such as the hospital, store and barracks, as well as living quarters and activities such as cannon firings and military drills. Then you can check out the Mill City Museum, which is housed in a National Historic Landmark building and has great views of surrounding areas as well as exhibits on industries that helped Minneapolis grow and develop as a city, such as flour milling. While the James Hill House remains to be the biggest home on St. Paul's equally historic Summit Avenue. You can tour the home and see the mechanical systems that were state-of-the-art at the time the house was built. It is also open for art exhibits and other special events.
Further, there is the Minnesota History Center, which holds more than a million artefacts, books, photographs, periodicals, paintings and other memorabilia related to the state. Major exhibits include those on the Depression, the War and the growth of the state, and other temporary exhibits on the state.
You could also tour the Split Rock Lighthouse, with its faithfully restored lighthouse, keeper's home and oil house and sweeping views of Lake Superior. Or how about touring Charles Lindbergh's boyhood house where you can find exhibits such as a flight simulator detailing the flight of Spirit of St. Louis, trails, exhibits on aviation and environmentalism, and footage of Lindbergh's flights.
Other notable historic places and museums you can go to include the Alexander Ramsey House, Fort Ridgely State Historic Site, Wells Fargo History Museum, Finn Creek Open Air Museum, Greyhound Bus Museum, and W. W. Mayo House (Le Sueur, MN 56058), as well as local history societies and museums.
The state offers visitors and residents a multitude of outdoor activities!
Biking. Biking enthusiasts would fall in love with Minnesota where you can get on the Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System for some 25 miles of mountain biking fun. State parks also have their own mountain bike trails, including the Superior National Forest and the Chippewa National Forest. You can also check out the downhill ski facilities during the summer for more mountain biking trails. If you are staying in Minneapolis, then you are in luck as the city is known to be the most bike friendly city in the country. In fact, because of the city's Nice Ride biking program, you can rent a bike from one of the many kiosks in the Twin Cities areas and return it at another kiosk at your destination. Other biking trails you can get on includes the
Fishing. There are also a lot of fishing spots that you can go to in Minnesota. You have 10,000 lakes to choose from for some great lake fishing, camping and resorts. You can go trout stream fishing along Lake Superior's beautiful North Shore, or river fishing at the St. Croix, the Mississippi, St. Louis and Rainy Rivers where you can hope to catch a large catfish. You can also go ice fishing here as well.
Bird watching. The state has four bird watching trails for those who are serious about birding: Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail, Great River Birding Trail, and North Shore Birding Trail. Be sure to bring your binoculars as get a very good chance to see trumpeter swans, hawks, eagles and loons.
Kayaking and canoeing. Minnesota has designated 30 rivers as canoe routes, each one offering a different kind of adventure. Kayak and canoe rentals are available at a majority of these rivers. You can also enjoy kayaking, boating and canoeing on Lake Superior, the biggest freshwater lake in the globe. The lake features a renowned water trail that takes you from Duluth to the Canadian border.
Ice fun. In the winter, Minnesota also offers a lot of fun in the ice. You can go snowboarding or skiing at key destination ski areas, all over the state. Or you can ride a snowmobile and check out the many trails that criss-cross the state. You can also enjoy the beauty of forests and woodlands when you go cross-country skiing at any one of the state's national forests, parks and ski resorts. And when the snow is heavy, you can go snowshoeing at the state parks, regional parks and resorts, as well. Minnesota also offers you the chance to go dog sledding.
Apart from these activities, you can enjoy the outdoors at one of the state's 76 recreation areas and state parks, and close to five dozen state forests. What these means is that you will never run out of outdoorsy stuff to do and of course, you can enjoy doing them with a variety of beautiful scenery. Minnesota's outdoors attractions take you to lakes, forests, rivers, valleys, waterfalls, prairies and bluffs. You can go geocaching at any state park, and you can rent everything you need here, including camping gear, kayaks, snowshoes, paddleboards, binoculars and books.
Check out the Superior Hiking Trail and the North Country Trail. Or perhaps visit local parks, as well as these regional and community parks: Three Rivers Park District, Quarry Park, and Alexander Ramsey Park, among others.
Minnesota offers you a chance to get up close to animals at these zoos and aquariums:
1. Lake Superior Zoo (Duluth, MN 55807) has 16 acres of space that houses more than 400 animals belonging to more than 200 species. See Kermit and Kaya and the zoo's latest additions: Angoland colobos monkeys. Or perhaps you can visit Trouble, the zoo's best known bear. Other animals here include snow leopards, lions, Amur tigers, brown bears, gray wolves and kangaroos.
2. Hemker Park & Zoo is a family owned zoo that houses animals from more than 50 species, including mammals such as red kangaroos, big horn sheep, llamas, white tail deer, silver fox and raccoon; reptiles such as tortoises, geckos and corn snakes; birds such as macaws, penguins, flamingos and swans; and other animals.
3. Minnesota Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium and more than 2,350 animals belonging to close to 450 species. Its takes together hold 1.1 million gallons of water. The animals are categorized in six different themed sections, including the
4. The Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul welcomes close to 2 million people every year and has several attractions along with the zoo such as an amusement park, the conservatory, a golf course, a pool and a carousel, among others. The entire area has a number of art structures, historic structures and sculptures on the premises. Admission is free.
5. Great Lakes Aquarium (Duluth, MN 55802) holds more than 200 species of marine life, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. All in all, its tanks hold around 120,000 gallons of water.
6. SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium is located inside the Mall of America. It houses at least 10,000 marine animals including sea turtles, sharks, freshwater fishes and stingrays. It uses 1.2 million gallons of water for all of its tanks.
7. Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo (Owatonna, MN 55060) is where you can experience getting up close to a different variety of reptiles, including a 12 foot alligator, snakes, lizards, turtles and amphibians, among others.
Minnesota has several locally crafted spirits that you should try. The state is one of the top craft beer destinations in the United States, and a visit to Schells Brewing Company, along with other craft breweries here, will make it painfully obviously why that is. There are also more than three dozen wineries in the state that you can go to.
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