Culture, Recreation, Outdoor Life

Tall buildings. Great nightlife. Tall trees. Great wildlife. And water, water everywhere. That's the great thing about Minnesota: You can have it all or get away from it all.

We love our arts and culture, sports and recreation and every corner of the great outdoors. And there's a whole lot of something for everybody.


Arts and Culture

Minnesota theatre and performing arts continue to explode with creativity. In the Twin Cities alone, the number, variety and quality of theatre has earned national acclaim.

Outside New York City, we have more theatre than anywhere in the nation. Perhaps the most well-known venue is the renowned Guthrie Theatre.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the new Guthrie was called “Minneapolis’ vanguard of American theater” by Travel and Leisure magazine. The building is a three-theater complex, featuring a 1,100-seat signature thrust stage and a 700-seat proscenium stage theater rising four stories above the ground.

Beyond the Twin Cities, outstanding community theatres in Lanesboro, Bemidji, Plainview and others continue to raise the thespian bar.

Arts organizations throughout the state have art centers and galleries that feature the work of regional artists. Several museums in the state continue to present cutting edge exhibitions, and concerts and music festivals regularly feature entertainment’s biggest draws.

Due to its vibrant cultural institutions, Minneapolis was named one of the “Top Five International Hot Spots” by Travel and Leisure. Of particular interest are the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Children’s Theater Company and the newly expanded Walker Art Center.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has extensive collections from around the world and throughout the ages, while the Walker Art Center focuses on contemporary works and features a sculpture garden.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to two major orchestras: the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Sports and Recreation

If it’s a game that involves an object you can throw, catch, hit with a stick, a bat or a club, shoot through a metal hoop or knock into a hole, we play it, watch it and obsess about it.

We love our sports and our professional teams. Fans root for Minnesota Twins and Northern League Saints baseball, Vikings football, Timberwolves and Lynx basketball, Minnesota Wild hockey, Thunder soccer and Swarm lacrosse.

The Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul is a first-class multi-purpose arena that seats 18,064 people. It is home to the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild and hosts more than 140 entertainment events every year.

The Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, home of the National Basketball Association's Minnesota Timberwolves, accommodates 18,467 spectators for major sport and musical events and has one of only two moveable floors in the country.

The Minnesota Twins will open Target Field, a new outdoor stadium in downtown Minneapolis, on time for the 2010 season.

The Minnesota Vikings, a fixture in the National Football League for 48 years, plays in downtown Minneapolis’ iconic Metrodome to sellout crowds of more than 64,000 per game.

Minnesota has more miles of paved bike trails than any other state, offering easygoing biking through scenic corridors.

The state has designated 22 Minnesota Scenic Byways with more than 2,000 miles of roadway.

Minneapolis ranks first among cities with high population density in golf courses per 100,000 residents.

The Great Outdoors

If you can hike it, climb it, swim it, fish it, ski it, snowshoe it, or get to it by boat, snowmobile, four-wheeler, or plane, we’re all over it.

Minnesota's 72 state parks preserve some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

With nearly 12,000 lakes and many miles of rivers, Minnesota is a popular fishing destination for anglers looking to catch walleye, northern pike, bass, muskellunge, trout, catfish and pan fish.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota offers a unique opportunity to explore nature, paddle and fish forest-rimmed lakes and camp along the lakeshores.

Voyageurs National Park, along Minnesota's northern border, is dominated by 30 lakes and breath-taking scenery.

Lake Superior, the granddaddy of them all, is one of Minnesota’s great fishing and outdoor experiences.

Grand Marais is one of the 50 locations in the country that has won an award from National Geographic as one of the “next great adventure towns.”

According to the magazine, Grand Marais is a great destination because of its great stores like the Minnesota Outpost that has “some of the best everything, in every season” and its proximity to the Gunflint Trail, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Major Attractions

For those who think shopping is a sport, Minnesota is just plain paradise, let's start with the big enchilada: The Mall of America.

We invented the nation’s very first shopping mall, so it’s only fitting that we’re home to Mall of America in Bloomington, the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the country.

The mall sports an indoor theme park, plus several other attractions such as Underwater World. More than 40 million visitors from around the world visit the mall each year.

The Minnesota Zoo and Como Zoo appeal to two different crowds, and theme parks and other Minnesota attractions such as Valleyfair Amusement Park, Science Museum of Minnesota, Mill City Museum, SPAM Museum and Paul Bunyan Waterpark cater to diverse interests.

All Kinds of Festivals

From recreated medieval villages to entire cities of fish houses on frozen lakes our festivals come in all shapes, sizes and focuses. Food festivals, music film festivals, theatre festivals, cultural gatherings of all kinds.

And then there are some of the nation’s greatest offbeat events, everything from mashed potato wrestling, frozen turkey bowling, golf on the snow and ice, to an annual fish house parade. Whatever your urge for fun, you can count on the Minnesota events.

Like roadside oddities? From giant renderings of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox to the world's largest ball of twine, we've got some of the nation's most curious and coveted roadside attractions.

And let’s not forget the grandest festival of them all: The Minnesota State Fair, featuring every delight your heart could possibly desire – on a stick.