Minnesota, the second northernmost state in the United States after Alaska, is one of the top spots in the country when it comes to outdoor tourism. Minnesota has 68 nature reserves, 55 state forests and more than 12,000 lakes and borders Canada, the upper states of the Midwest and Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake. Minnesota’s largest cities are Minneapolis and St. Paul, located in the north of the state on the Mississippi River. They were originally border towns settled by German, Irish and Scandinavian immigrants and are now real melting pots. Minneapolis is cosmopolitan and modern, while St. Paul is smaller and quieter. Both have a lot to offer culturally, including the largest number of theaters outside of New York.
- Travelationary: Covers basic information about Minnesota geography and economy.
Minneapolis/St. Paul – London: 12 hrs 45 (including stopovers); Minneapolis/St. Paul – New York: 2 hrs 50; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Salt Lake City: 2 hrs 40; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Frankfurt: 12 hrs 30 (with 1 stop); Minneapolis/St. Paul – Zurich: 10 hours 15 minutes (pure flight time, with a stopover); Minneapolis/St. Paul – Vienna: 13 hours (with 1 stopover).
Note on arrival by car
Average car travel times: Minneapolis/St. Paul – Duluth: 3 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Madison: 5 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Fargo: 5 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Sioux Falls: 5 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Omaha: 7 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Chicago: 8 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Winnipeg: 8 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – St Louis: 11 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Rapid City: 11 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Denver: 17 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Dallas: 19 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – New York: 25 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Seattle: 34 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Miami: 35 hrs; Minneapolis/St. Paul – Los Angeles: 41 hrs Average bus travel times: Minneapolis – Duluth: 3 hrs; Minneapolis – Fargo: 5 hrs 30; Minneapolis – Milwaukee: 8 hours
Arrival by train
Minneapolis/St. Paul is on Amtrak’s Empire Builder line from Chicago to Seattle (see Illinois for approximate travel times). Additional information from Amtrak (website: www.amtrak.com).
Passport and visa regulations
Entry with children
Since June 27, 2012, children need their own travel document (passport / children’s passport) for trips abroad (also within the EU). Entries of children in the parental passport are no longer possible.
St. Paul River Center Convention & Visitors Authority
175 West Kellogg Boulevard, Suite 502
US-55102 St. Paul, Minnesota
(651) 265 49 00, (800) 627 61 01 (toll free within the US).
http://www.visitsaintpaul.com Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association
250 Marquette Avenue South
US-55401 Minneapolis, Minnesota
(612) 767.80.00, (888) 676.67.57 (toll free within the US).
http://www.minneapolis.org Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau
7900 International Drive, Suite 990
US-55425 Bloomington, Minnesota
(952) 858.85.00 or (800) 346.42.89 (toll free within the US).
http://www.bloomingtonmn.org Explore Minnesota Tourism
121 7th Place East, Metro Square, Suite 100
US-55101 St. Paul, Minnesota
(651) 296 50 29, (888) 868 74 76 (toll free within the US).
http://www.exploreminnesota.com Great Lakes USA
c/o TravelMarketing Romberg
(02104) 79 74 51.
Mon-Fri 09.00-17.30 (by phone).
St. Paul is perhaps a little more dignified, Minneapolis is deliberately progressive. It’s a modern city with good theaters, nightclubs, shops, a year-round sports program, an excellent symphony orchestra and the great University of Minnesota. As in most major American cities, the typical skyscrapers characterize the cityscape. The IDS Tower in the center is the tallest building in the city. Downtown is dominated by Nicollet Mall with its variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment centers to suit all tastes and budgets. Nearby is the Public Library with the Minneapolis Planetarium. Located in the suburb of Bloomington, the Mall of America is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in the United States. Over 520 department stores, shops, boutiques, cinemas and restaurants offer an abundance of culinary and other temptations and ensure that it is all too easy to lose money. Children are well catered for at the fun Camp Snoopy amusement park.
Art lovers will get their money’s worth at the Institute of Arts, where works of art from Europe, the Orient and America are on display, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Matisse. The Walker Art Center is the place to be for modern art (closed on Mondays). You can also attend concerts and lectures here. Opposite is the interesting oneMinneapolis Sculpture Garden. On the campus of the great University of Minnesota is the natural history Bell Museum of Natural History. The Minnesota Transportation Museum is also worth a visit. The Minneapolis Orchestra Hall is considered one of the best in the United States. Every concert here becomes a feast for the ears. The Guthrie Theater is known for its productions of classics, drawing audiences from hundreds of miles. The Northup Auditorium on campus, as well as the beautifully restored State Theater Downtown offers Broadway shows, ballet and concerts. The English Middle Ages come to Minneapolis at the annual Renaissance Festival. On the weekends in August and September you can attend tournaments or stroll through one of the many arts and crafts markets and exhibitions. Paintings, pottery, jewellery, handmade household items and all sorts of tempting treats are for sale. Just outside of town is the magnificent Minnesota Zoological Garden with spacious outdoor enclosures. Over 2000 plant species and 375 different animal species make it a popular destination. In the Valleyfair amusement park, many families come to relax, especially on weekends. It’s nice to visitEloise Butter Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary in Wirth Park. The falls in Minnehaha Park were made famous by American poet Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha.” The attractive forest area of the North Woods also serves local recreation. As everywhere in the USA, sports also play a major role in Minneapolis. The games of the baseball team of the “Twins” and the teams of the “Vikings” and “Golden Gophers” (American football) usually take place to a full house in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
Founded in 1840, St. Paul has been the capital of Minnesota since 1849. The connection to the railway network had helped the settlement, which was first called Pig’s Eye, to prosper. Summit Avenue, with its pretty town houses, bears witness to this heyday, in which St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is modeled on the Roman St. Peter’s Basilica, was built. The library also dates from this period. Don’t miss the nearby Alexander Ramsey House, an imposing 15-room French Renaissance residence built in 1872. The interior consists mostly of original pieces of furniture. In the 1950s the city center was given a facelift,Downtown St. Paul today is a successful mix of old and new. The Capitol, the seat of the state government, was built around the turn of the century. Guided tours are offered daily. The Landmark Center, formerly the Federal Court of Justice building, has art galleries, a restaurant and exhibits on the city’s history. The St. Paul Art Center for the Performing Arts offers theater, concerts, and art exhibitions. Across the street is the hyper -modern Science Museum with the fascinating Omnitheater, where film screenings give visitors the experience of space travel. The Ordway Music Theater in the city center has two event halls in which opera, concerts, song recitals, dance performances, theater and pop shows are equally at home. The Winter Carnival, which takes place every year at the beginning of February, offers variety in the cold winter months. Another big event on the city’s calendar of events is the Minnesota State Fair in mid-August through early September. The State Fair offers the opportunity to admire the award-winning breeding bulls, cows and pigs of the local farmers and to experience a variety of concerts and shows. Roller coasters, merry-go-rounds and other amusements provide further amusement. St. Paul is a green city with many parks and lakes. In the summer months you can take old paddle steamers to historic Fort Snelling, where you can get a glimpse of pioneer life. The fort is closed during the winter months. Fort Snelling State Park is 6 miles southwest of town and was originally established as a military post in 1819. Soldiers, laundresses, blacksmiths and cooks in original costume tell visitors how people lived in these latitudes around 1820.
- Usaers: Provides a full list of major rivers and mountains in Minnesota.
There are numerous theaters in the cities (90 theater groups). The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis offers innovative performances of classic drama. The well-known Minnesota Orchestra performs regularly at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall. The St Paul Chamber Orchestra performs at the Ordway Music Theatre. The twin cities’ nightclubs feature rock groups, jazz combos and musical comedies. Popular hangouts include the Loon and Monte Carlo in Minneapolis and the Turf Club in St. Paul.
Fresh seafood is the state’s specialty. The Twin Cities also have excellent steakhouses.
Best travel time
Extremely cold winters, especially on the Great Lakes. Warm in summer, often there are heat waves and dry spells.
Area (sq km)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year