| Minnesota is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it technically has well over 15,000. The northern tip of Minnesota that juts into Lake of the Woods is the most northern point in the lower 48 states of the USA. |
Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. While the state's residents are primarily white and Northern European, substantial influxes of African, Asian, and Hispanic immigrants have joined the descendants of European immigrants and of the original Native American inhabitants.
The name Minnesota comes from the word for the Minnesota River in the Dakota language, mnisota. The Dakota word Mni (sometimes spelled mini, or minne) can be translated as "water". Mnisota is then translated as sky-tinted water or somewhat clouded water. Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota. The names of many locations in the state contain the Dakota word for water, such as Minnehaha Falls ("waterfall", not "laughing waters" as is commonly thought), Minneiska ("white water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, which is a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city".
Nearly 60% of Minnesota's residents live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area known as the Twin Cities, the center of transportation, business, and industry, and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state, often referred to as Greater Minnesota, consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; eastern deciduous forests, also heavily farmed and settled; and the less-populated northern boreal forest.
The thousands of lakes and the other waters for which the state is named, together with state and national forests and parks, offer residents and tourists a vigorous outdoor lifestyle. Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity, and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits. In the warmer months these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports such as water skiing, which originated in the state, boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36% of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska. Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants. Minnesotans have learned to embrace their long, harsh winters in activities such as ice skating, curling, broomball, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
The extremes of the climate contrast with the moderation of Minnesotas people. The state is known for its moderate-to-progressive politics and social policies, its civic involvement, and high voter turnout. It ranks among the healthiest states by a number of measures, and has one of the most highly educated and literate populations.
Three Interstate Highways travel through Minnesota. I-90 and I-94 travel East-West, while I-35 travels North-South. Several other national and state highways also travel through the state.
The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) a major hub for Northwest Airlines, while regional airports exist in Duluth (DLH), Rochester (RST), Saint Cloud (STC), Brainerd (BRD), Bemidji (BJI), Thief River Falls (TRF), Hibbing (HIB), and International Falls (INL).
For rail travel, there are Amtrak stations in La Crosse (Wisconsin), Winona, Red Wing, Saint Paul, Saint Cloud, Staples, Detroit Lakes, Fargo (North Dakota), and Grand Forks (North Dakota). These are served by the Empire Builder daily, which runs from Chicago to Seattle/Portland.
For bus travel, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are served by Greyhound.
State and national forests and the 71 state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails statewide. Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state, and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast. Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.
Voyageurs National Park
Tour the gardens at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Mall of America located in Bloomington is the most visited shopping mall in the world with more than 40 million visitors a year. It's the size of 78 football fields - 9.5 million square feet.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Minnesota Zoo located in Apple Valley is home to over 2300 animals on 500 acres.
Pipestone National Monument
The Twin Cities area is considered the artistic capital of the Upper Midwest. Its major fine art museums include the Weisman Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Walker Art Center. Adjacent to the Walker Art Center is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
The Guthrie Theater boasts three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. In the U.S, the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City; in 2000, 2.3 million theater tickets were sold. The Guthrie Theater is the largest regional playhouse in the U.S.
Go see the Minnesota Twins play in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, located at 900 S. 5th Street in Minneapolis. This is easily accessed by one of numerous bus lines, on foot, or on the Hiawatha light rail line. Tickets cost anything from $7 or so on family night to $50+ for better seats.
Eat Street Minneapolis - 17 blocks of ethnic restaurants in Minneapolis on Nicollet from Grant to 29th Street. Also skyway system in Minneapolis connects 52 blocks of downtown making it possible to shop and eat without even going outside.
The Science Museum of Minnesota is located in downtown Saint Paul.
Visit Duluth where you can see the locally famous "haunted" Glensheen Mansion, experience different species of fish at the Great Lakes Aquarium or take a stroll through Canal Park.
Grand Marais, a small town on the upper tip of the Arrow Head of Minnesota, Grand Marais is about 2.4 hours northeast of Duluth by car. Not only is the lake-front drive beautiful, but many refurbished portions of highway 61 make the drive a breeze. Grand Marais is located on Lake Superior and is a port for tourist boats and those interested in open water kayaking. While visiting, make sure to stop in at World's Famous Donuts for a snack, Sivertson's Gallery for a peek at local artists, shop for gifts and outdoors gear at the Trading Post and eat dinner at the Angry Trout, a great place for a fresh caught meal and even a shot of maple syrup for dessert. During the day tourists enjoy walking around town and experiencing the north wood's culture as well as walking out on the old rock formations that create the semi-natural harbor, skip a few of the perfect gray stones and live the true north life.
Itasca State Park, home to the Mississippi River headwaters.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), part of the Superior National Forest.
Pipestone National Monument, home to Native American petroglyphs.
Visit Tenney, the smallest incorporated city in America, with a population of 6.
St. Paul Winter Carnival
Minnesota Irish Fair
Svenskarnas Dag, one of the biggest Swedish festivals in the US, Svenskarnas Dag is held on the 4th Sunday in June at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. The day includes many traditional Swedish events such as the raising of the Midsommer Pole, singing and dancing, a morning church service and the crowning of Queen Midsommer. Authentic Scandinavian gifts and food are available for purchase.
State Fair, probably the biggest and best attraction is the annual state fair. Twelve days ending Labor Day includes such notable moments as the crowning of Princess Kay of the Milky Way (who, along with her court of runners up, will become busts carved out of a life size block of butter), farm animals of all kinds, any kind of food on a stick (make sure to try a Pronto Pub corn dog) as well as evening concerts from well known bands. Tickets cost about $7 and the fair opens around 7 am or earlier.
The Minneapolis Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation, puppetry, kids' shows, visual art, and musicals. The summer festival consists of over 800 performances in 11 days, and is the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the United States.
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Common Minnesota rock bed stream
The Metro Transit offers bus and light rail services to the Twin Cities and their surrounding suburbs. Average fare for either service is typically $1.50. The fare buys the rider a pass that can be used to ride on or transfer to any Metro Transit bus or train for 150 minutes.
The relatively new light rail service offers a visitor-friendly line that connects the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), the Mall of America, the Warehouse District, and downtown Minneapolis among other places.
Minnesota endures temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate; with cold winters and hot summers, the record high and low span 174 degrees (96.6 °C). Meteorological events include rain, snow, hail, blizzards, polar fronts, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days per year in the Iron Range to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and mean average temperatures range from 36 °F (2 °C) to 49 °F (9 °C). Depending on location, average annual precipitation ranges from 19 in (48.3 cm) to 35 in (88.9 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.
Lodging options across the state are numerous with dozens of hotel choices in each city, and sufficient selection in just about every area. Bloomington, Minneapolis and Duluth have the largest selection of hotels in the state.
Bed & Breakfast accommodations are also prevalent, but the majority are found in Duluth. The state also offers several resort options to choose from with the highest concentration being in Nevis, a popular fishing and outdoor destination.
Minnesota also has many campground options located across the state. Perfect for those on a budget or looking to experience the natural beauty the state has to offer.
The Old Log Theater located in Excelsior is the oldest continuously running theater in the U.S. The Chanhassan Dinner Theater located in Chanhassan is the largest dinner theater in the country.
Minnesota is the home of many inventions including Wheaties cereal, Green Giant vegetables, Masking and Scotch tape, and Bisquick.
The state has more shoreline (90,000 miles) than Florida, Hawaii and California combined.