8 Fascinating Things To Do In Southern Minnesota

From its beautiful rocky valley to wooded bluffs, making it a picture-perfect landscape site of Southern Minnesota. This US state is a heaven for fisher’s as this state is known to have 10,000 lakes and is also called the mall of America, due to having the largest mall in the entire US. This cornered US state is a part of a multi-state area acknowledged as the driftless area. In addition to caverns and biking routes, this state has fishing lakes, trout streams, antique stores, and historic buildings, making it a perfect vacation site.

Fascinating Things to Do in Southern Minnesota

When traveling across the American Midwest, Southern Minnesota is among the scenic places you’ll pass. Southeastern Minnesota is among the most well-liked vacation spots in the United States because of the artwork, food, beer, professional athletic teams, free concerts, hiking, bicycling, camping, canoeing, caverns, limestone cliffs, rivers, and lovely nature trails.

Shopping and Entertainment at the Mall of America

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PERFECT FOR: Enjoying America's biggest mall
Mall of America from outside minnesota
Mall of America

Mall of America (MOA) is known to be the largest mall in America located in southern Minnesota, Bloomington. Within the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan region to the south of the Minnesota River, north of Minnesota State Highway 77, or across Interstate 494 from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, you can easily find it.

Opened in 1992, known to be the eleventh-largest mall in the world, and is managed by the triple five groups (a Canadian business with headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta, that manages 3 indoor amusement parks along with shopping malls, entertainment hubs, hotels, and banks). It is recorded that about 40 million people visit it annually and 80 percent of them are from Minnesota.

MOA consists of up to 520 stores, 60 restaurants, and counting. We can’t forget the nickelodeon universe (7-acre indoor amusement park), SEA LIFE Aquarium, a comedy club, top-notch gaming and entertainment facilities, the LEGO Store, mini-golf, and a tonne of other family-friendly activities are available.

Though being the largest mall in America (MOA) walking in its first section can easily take upto 1 mile which can work up you’re hungry, and replenish that appetite you might need to vist their two big food courts with many sit-down eateries ( Shake shack, Wahlburgers, Benihana, Cedar + stone, Cantina Laredo, Burger Burger, Firelake Grill House, CRAVE, Piada Italian food, and many more.

Explore the Rich History of Minnesota at Mili City Museum

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PERFECT FOR: Exploring the historical site (ruins Washburn A Mill)
Mili City Museum
Mili City Museum

Started in 2003 on the ruins of Washburn “A” Mill, right next to Mill Ruins, near the bank of the Mississippi river. The museum’s primary subject matter is the establishment and development of Minneapolis, particularly the flour mills and other businesses that benefited from Saint Anthony Falls’ electricity.

This 1870s-era mill facility is a Federal Register of Historical Sites listing. It is a portion of the St. Anthony Falls Historic Centre and is located in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area of the National Park Service.

Exhibiting the history of Minneapolis, flour miners, water and baking lab, and much more. The multistory Flour Tower serves as the focal point of the exhibition. Visitors ride in the freight elevator to get to various floors of the structure, each of which is created to resemble a floor in a functioning flour mill.

Throughout the whole presentation, the voices of those who worked in the Washburn A Mill can be overheard. Visitors are directed to the ninth-story observation deck to see St. Anthony Falls after leaving the building on the eighth floor, where employees translate any existing equipment.

Enjoy Some Peaceful Time with Some Amazing Art at Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)

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PERFECT FOR: Enjoying world-class artwork
paintings at Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)
Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia). Andrew Mifsud

Southern Minnesota also has the largest art museum in America and the largest art educators, with 60,000 and counting artwork that portrays about 5,000 years of history. Situated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this art museum has one of the finest and most elegant artworks, these art pieces represent the different cultures of the six continents.

On average half, a million people visit this museum every year, and through their art adventure initiative, 100,000 and more visit the museum (elementary school children). That is not it the museum also has a free general admission scheme, public activities, and classes for children and adults, and their award-winning media initiatives have helped this museum to grow and serve the community.

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The museum has established “affinity groups” that are in line with its seven curatorial sections in an effort to promote private collecting and aid in the purchase of significant pieces of art. The groups organize members to travel, talks, and symposia.

The museum has a regular schedule of exhibits that feature traveling exhibits from other institutions. Many of these shows are supported by local corporate partners, and in some cases, the artists give guided tours of the exhibition to the public.

The museum is home to the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program, an artist-run initiative for the display of works by Minnesotan artists.

Hiking and Outdoor Activities at Gooseberry Falls State Park

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PERFECT FOR: Enjoying scenic waterfall and a beautiful overlook
Gooseberry Falls State Park waterfall
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park is the state park of Minnesota US on the North side of Lake Superior. On picturesque Minnesota Highway 61, the park is situated in Silver Creek Township, approximately 13 miles (21 km) northeast of Two Harbors, Minnesota. Upper, Middle, and Lower Gooseberry Falls are located in the park that encircles the source of the Gooseberry River.

This well-known park on the North Shore is home to magnificent waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, a glorious visitor center, and excellent trout fishing. Make sure you attend an informative session to understand more about the North Shore’s history, geology, and animals. In addition to a campsite, the park features 2 miles of snowmobile routes and 20 miles of hiking trails.

Along the Gooseberry River, amid aspen, cedar, spruce, and pine forests, there are trails. Most advanced trails. Only a few winter tenting sites have been plowed. Be informed that although there are still vault restrooms accessible for campers to use in the winter, flush toilets and showers are not.

Head Over to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

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PERFECT FOR: Enjoying a nice day in the zoo with exotic animals and stunning flowers at the conservatory
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Wikimedia Commons

In Saint Paul, Minnesota, at 1225 Estabrook Drive, is Como Park, home of the Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (sometimes referred to as Como Zoo and Conservatory). A branch of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, the park, zoo, and conservatory are controlled by the City of Saint Paul.

The zoo, the conservatory, a theme park, a circus, Lake Como, a golf resort, a pool, and other attractions are among its draws. Every year, the park welcomes around 1.9 million people. The zoo and conservatory are free to enter, however optional donations of $4 for adults and $2 for children are encouraged. Como Park is a public park.

Your senses will be overloaded with unforgettable encounters at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Gorillas, giraffes, polar bears, sea lions, tigers, and orangutans are just a handful of the exotic species on display at the zoo. You may experience the sights, sounds, and fragrances of a South American jungle with the Tropical Encounters exhibit.

Seasonal flower displays, tropical gardens, orchids, ferns, bonsai, and a renowned Japanese Garden are just a few of the breathtaking conservatory gardens’ highlights. Como is a distinguished wedding site and provides special workshops and events for all ages.

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is accessible every day of the year from 10 am to 6 pm from April 1 to September 30 and from 10 am to 4 pm from October 1 to March 31. It’s always free to visit the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, while donations are always welcome.

Curious about Eagles? Visit National Eagle Center

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PERFECT FOR: Learning about eagles and up-close experience with eagles
National Eagle Center
National Eagle Center

The National Eagle Center is a non-profit educational and interpretive facility that is dedicated to educating people regarding eagles and the Upper Mississippi River basin. It is situated on the banks of the Mississippi River near Wabasha, Minnesota, in the United States.

The facility also features non-releasable bald eagles and falcons on display, as well as hands-on displays about the science and history of eagles, plus the opportunities to observe wild eagles all year long from observation decks.

The National Eagle Center refers to its resident bald and golden eagles as “ambassadors” since they are both chronically damaged and unreleasable. The eagles are kept in a heated inside aviary with glass walls so that guests may observe them from a distance. When allowed, visitors can also enter the aviary.

The National Eagle Center received the Trip Advisor Award of Excellence in 2020 and was chosen by River Travel Magazine readers as the Best of the River in 2021. It was also named a Top Minnesota Destination in 2017. It is a prominent stop on the well-known Great River Road.

Connect With Nature at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

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PERFECT FOR: Exploring the village lifestyle of Forestville
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

Minnesota has a state park called Forestville Mystery Cave State Park. It includes the Forestville village, which has been given a 19th-century makeover. It is managed as a historical site by the Minnesota Historical Society.

The longest cave in the state, Mystery Cave, is located below ground at the park and is accessible to the general public. Between the Minnesotan towns of Preston and Spring Valley sits the park.

The park offers a rocky, forested setting with streams that are recognized as having world-class trout, 17 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of horseback trails, campsites, picnic areas, and an abundance of plant and animal life. During the summer, Mystery Cave at the State Park provides daily guided tours.

The longest-known cave in Minnesota features a labyrinth of interconnecting tunnels, stunning subterranean ponds, stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone.

Haven't Seen an Underground Waterfall? Visit Niagara Cave

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PERFECT FOR: Exploring underground caves, overlooking the magnificent 60 feet waterfall, and more
Niagra Cave
Niagra Cave

A limestone cave called Niagara Cave can be found in Harmony, Minnesota. A 60-foot waterfall, an underground stream, fossils, stalactites, and stalagmites are among the highlights of the 200-foot-deep (61-meter-deep) cave. Tours are offered sporadically, and the cave is privately run.

A trio of spelunkers, Al Cremer, Leo Tekippe, and Joe Flynn, investigated the cave in 1932 and gave it the name Niagara Cave. The cave was originally founded in 1924 and was first explored in 1932.

Geologist J Harlen Bretz first wrote about Niagara Cave in 1938, after which it became a display cave in June 1934. The Niagara Cave features a superb sample of an underground river, and a whole waterfall, according to the Minnesota Geological Assessment’s 1995 survey.

One of the “Top Ten” ranked caves in the United States, including a 60-foot waterfall, wedding chapel, stalactites, stalagmites, and numerous fossils, offers an hour-long guided tour. furthermore features a gift store and a 10-acre picnic area with cover. A gemstone mining chute where you may mine for actual gemstones and fossils is an added attraction.

The “Best Family Attraction in Bluff Country” is Niagara Cave. You cannot afford to miss our trip, an instructive outdoor adventure! Our new 18-hole mini golf course is great for family entertainment.

Things to Consider Before visiting Southern Minnesota

  • Transportation — Southern Minnesota is easily reachable through different means of transportation whether you’re driving, taking a flight, or taking a bus, Southern Minnesota is easily accessible. If you’re driving there you must carefully plan the trip. You might run out of fuel or you’re just too tired to drive and won’t stop for the night then always be on the lookout for motels and gas stations on the side of the roads.
  • Dine-in — Dining in an igloo is a thing. Particularly in Minnesota, where we don’t allow the cold to stop us from having fun. Not when the state is home to a broad variety of imaginative bed and breakfasts, heated patios, swanky coffee shops, and sculpture-filled ice bars. Our numerous varieties of steaming hot pizza, the artisan breweries, distilleries, and vineyards that appear to be in each town and city, and such idyllic stretches of sheer comfort as southern Minnesota, Duluth, and the rest of the North Shore, actually, are other ways to stay warm on the food and drink front.
  • Landmarks — Southern Minnesota’s gorgeous scenery is made up of scenic valleys, forested bluffs, and flowing rivers and streams. In addition to caverns and biking routes, this area has fishing lakes, trout streams, antique stores, and historic buildings. Take advantage of everything southern Minnesota has to provide.
  • Lodging — For tourists Southern, Minnesota has a lot of options when finding a nice hotel. They even have a historic inn, but they might be expensive for some of the visitors, fortunately, southern Minnesota also has some budget accommodations. If you are planning on staying for the long term then there are some rental options.

How Do We Pick Our Recommendations?

We have listed the best fascinating spots in Southern Minnesota, full of historical sites with the rich history of Sothern Minnesota, Museums with elegant artwork, and don’t forget the most famous landmark of Southern Minnesota Mall of America. All of these spots are narrowed down with the help of our team and the feedback of previous customers.

Read Next: Mesmerising Waterfalls in Minnesota You Must Visit

Fascinating Things to Do in Southern MN Minnesota - FAQs

What is Minnesota’s top tourist destination?

The top destination spot in Minnesota is Mall of America is the largest mall in the entire US.

What is Southern Minnesota famous for?

Southern Minnesota’s gorgeous scenery is made up of scenic valleys, forested bluffs, and flowing rivers and streams.

What do you call southern Minnesota?

Southeast Minnesota is the portion of the United States’ state of Minnesota that lies south of and to the east of the Twin Cities urban region and is referred to as the Driftless Area.

Sara Anwar
Sara Anwar is hopdes' US director and a globetrotter. She joined the Hopdes team in July 2022. She has done more than 300,000 miles back and forth. She's been to more than 80% of the world, and her passion for understanding different cultures has only grown stronger with time. A traveler at heart, she loves to experience new cultures and learn new languages. Sara's wealth of travel experience makes her the perfect person to oversee a travel website – after all, who knows better what travelers want and need than she does?

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