MN: Explore Beyond the Ordinary

Minnesota’s diverse landscape delivers scenery and outdoor recreation for the entire family. Here’s a sampling of Minnesota treats:

Scenic Byways

Enjoying the views is one of the top reasons for taking a road trip. Minnesota has designated more than 2,500 miles of roads as scenic byways to help you find those great views along the way. The byways meander through a wide variety of landscapes: countryside dappled with lakes, the north woods, tumbling waterfalls, ribbons of prairie, rolling bluffs, city parks and winding rivers and streams.

In addition to the great views, you’ll find plenty of reasons to stop along the way and visit historic sites, art galleries and antique shops, hiking and biking trails, and much more.

Fascinating History

The stories of Minnesota’s past come to life at intriguing historic sites throughout the state. The oldest pictures of this past are the ancient Jeffers Petroglyphs carved into stone on the southwestern prairie. Tales from more recent centuries are told at the Minnesota History Museum in St. Paul. The Grand Portage National Monument and Split Rock Lighthouse on the north shore of Lake Superior, the 1820s frontier Fort Snelling and aviator Charles Lindbergh’s boyhood home and many other sites tell the stories of Minnesota.

The Art & Theater Scene

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is “one of the nation’s great fine arts museums” (L.A. Times) and the Walker Art Center is the “leading American venue for cutting edge artists” (Newsweek). The Twin Cities area is also known for its world class theater companies. The Guthrie and Children’s Theater Company have both won Tony Awards. Touring Broadway productions keep busy calendars at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul and the Historic Orpheum and State Theaters in Minneapolis. Beyond the Twin Cities, the Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro, the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji and the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona are but three examples of the number and quality of community theater in the state.

Big City Family Fun

The Minneapolis St. Paul metro area has a ton of fun for families: roller coaster thrills, hands-on science and nature exhibits, time travel and historic sites.

Kids’ faves include the Children’s and Science Museums in St. Paul, the natural habitat Minnesota Zoo and more intimate Como Zoo plus Valleyfair Amusement Park, with wild rides for the older kids and tamer treats for the youngans.

The Mall of America packs a lot of fun under one roof, with the Nickolodeon Universe amusement park and Underwater Adventures, plus the new and very charming American Girl store and café, overlooking the amusement park.

For more ideas about family travel to Minnesota, go to

Five Minnesota Events

Sommerfest, Minneapolis
July-August, 2009

This annual music festival is offered by the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Osmo Vanska. Sommerfest concerts are held over a four-week period in midsummer at Orchestra Hall; concerts range from light to classical. Outside the Hall, Peavey Plaza becomes a Marktplatz offering food stands and music. The orchestra performs free live music on the plaza before and after each show, ranging from folk to jazz to polka band.

WE Fest, Detroit Lakes
Aug. 6-8

This event increases in popularity every year and 2009 will not be an exception. Taylor Swift returns, joined by major artists such as Toby Keith, Big & Rich, Clint Black, Tim McGraw and many more.

Bayfront Blues Festival, Duluth
Aug. 7-9, 2009

One of the largest annual outdoor music festivals in the Midwest showcases nearly 30 national performances on two concert stages. Additional weekend events include a Moonlight Mardi Gras Cruise and live Blues at nearly 20 Duluth nightclubs. The event takes place in Canal Park on Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.

PGA Championship, Minneapolis
Aug. 10-16, 2009

Witness history unfold in person when the 91st PGA Championship is played at acclaimed Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, MN. The PGA Championship features the strongest field in golf and is considered one of the largest sporting events in the world. Visitors to the event can play on more than 500 excellent public golf courses throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul
Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 2009

The Great Minnesota Get-together features world class entertainment, agricultural exhibits, horse shows, a rodeo, arts and craft displays, amusement park rides, a daily parade and food of every variety. This is one of America’s largest state fairs and attracts almost 2 million visitors each year.

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