The Mississippi and Minnesota rivers run across Southern Minnesota, as do smaller streams that meander through the region’s picturesque valleys and towering wooded bluffs. Discover a variety of landscapes, from expansive grasslands to picturesque river valleys to secret waterfalls. Check out the list of the 14 best things to do in Southern Minnesota below!
The landscape of southern Minnesota is characterized by scenic valleys, wooded bluffs, and flowing rivers and streams. Lakes for fishing, trout streams for fly fishing, mountain biking paths, underground caverns, and historic buildings are all here.
Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is home to stunning natural landscapes, including countless lakes, opulent resorts, lush forests, and a distinct local way of life.
Southeastern Minnesota is a popular vacation spot because of its abundance of museums, restaurants, breweries, professional sports teams, theatres, music venues, outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and canoeing, and natural attractions like caves, limestone cliffs, rivers, and scenic nature trails.
Check out the sights of southern Minnesota.
TOP 14 BEST THINGS THAT YOU MUST DO IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA
Visit monumental landmarks like Pipestone National Monument and learn about the culture and history of the Dakota Indians and early settlers. Explore Rochester, Mankato, and Winona, three of the state’s largest cities, and enjoy the local culture, including historic buildings, antique shops, and festivals.
VISIT NIAGRA CAVE
Dive deep into Niagara Cave and explore its many delights. See a waterfall and stream flowing underground, as well as fossils dating back 450 million years! An exciting journey beneath the surface is awaiting you!
If you’re a fan of the outdoors and trekking in general, a visit to Niagra Cave in southern Minnesota is a must. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country due to its status as one of the largest natural caverns in the USA.
A ticket for entry will get you in. Shows and tours are only available with advance reservations. You are free to take as many photographs as you wish.
If you’d prefer to spend the night someplace before continuing on your journey, there are options available in the region surrounding Niagra Cave.
TREK THROUGH PIPESTONE NATIONAL MONUMENT
Native Americans have been mining this area’s red pipestone for centuries. Many people consider this area holy because it is the source of the pipestone utilized in religious rituals. A lot of people think that when you pray while smoking a pipe, the smoke rises up to the heavens and delivers your message to a higher power. Quarrying and pipe making are two of the area’s oldest industries, and they are still going strong today.
Several national monuments dot the American Midwest, including Pipestone. This National Monument is one of the top vacation places in Southern Minnesota, despite not being the first site that comes to mind when planning a trip.
The attractions at Pipestone National Monument include a visitor’s center, museum, orientation film, exhibits, gift shop, pipestone carving demonstrations (May–October) by American Indians, and a walking trail that spans.75 miles and passes by Pipestone Creek, Winnewissa Falls, and the tall grass prairie. Pipestone, Minnesota is a fantastic location for those interested in American Indian heritage, the outdoors, photography, and bird watching.
Pipestone National Monument is one of the most tranquil excursions available and provides visitors with a closer view of the monument for a price. It’s not a strenuous hike, but it could be the best weekend activity in Southeastern Minnesota.
If you would prefer to remain nearby Pipestone National Monument before continuing your journey, there is low-cost lodging available.
HIKE ACROSS FORESTVILLE MYSTERY CAVE STATE PARK
The state’s largest cave is located a three-hour drive south of Minneapolis. Over 13 miles of charted passages make Mystery Cave in Forestville suitable for cavers of all skill levels.
The folks down at the Department of Natural Resources love showing off the hidden gems they find when they take people underground. The Minnesota Historical Society maintains Historic Forestville, a 19th-century village, not far away.
Located in the middle of Southern Minnesota, Forestville is one of the nicest of Minnesota’s state parks: Mystery Cave State Park.
If you’re looking for a spot to get close to nature, whether by hiking, a guided tour, or just taking in the amazing ambiance, this should be one of your first stops.
There are discounts for children that bring the price down to under $20. One to two hours should be allotted for this. You won’t want to hang out here for even five more minutes!
STOP BY COMO PARK ZOO & CONSERVATORY
The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is an oasis in the middle of the urban sprawl that is Southeast Minnesota. More than 500 different types of wildlife are represented right here at one of the most beautifully manicured and popular parks in Saint Paul Minnesota.
All animals in the care of Como Park are guaranteed to be treated humanely as the park’s primary mission is conservation and education.
Even if you’re not a child, you can get a deeper understanding of the creatures you’ll encounter through the various educational talks, treks, and seminars that are available.
To kill some time, go to the gift shop or one of the many nearby cafes.
CHECK OUT QUARRY HILL NATURE CENTER
Located in a park that spans 329 acres, the Quarry Hill Nature Center welcomes guests all year long with a variety of educational and recreational offerings.
Southeastern Minnesota is home to 329 acres of land with 8 miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing through the area’s meadows, flood plain, and upland forests. There is a 3-acre pond, the cemetery for Rochester State Hospital, and a former operating quarry in Parkland. The Nature Center features an aquarium with 1,700 native fish that visitors may interact with and learn about the local ecosystem.
On Sundays at 1:30 pm, the public is invited to participate in a variety of activities such as cave tours, live animal programs, and bird banding. During the winter months, guests can hire cross-country skis and snowshoes.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE NATIONAL EAGLE CENTER
The National Eagle Center is a microcosm of a world where eagles and the symbolic force and presence they represent are widely recognized, appreciated, and safeguarded.
Several Bald Eagles that cannot be released permanently call this area of Wabasha, Minnesota, home, and hundreds more use it as a winter nesting spot.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about these majestic birds, taking pictures of them, using their research in the classroom, or making a financial contribution, the National Eagle Center can accommodate your interests.
An excursion to the National Eagle Center is a must if you ever find yourself in Southern Minnesota.
TAKE SOME PICTURES AT THE MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ART
The city of Minneapolis is an absolute paradise for art lovers, what with the Weisman Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The Minneapolis Institute of Art, which is located in the city’s South Side at 2400 Third Avenue, is one such behemoth.
The Institute is a must-see if you are an art fan of any stripe, or even if you aren’t; it is a truly remarkable art museum that encompasses a vast range of styles and topics.
Due to its attractiveness and proximity to a park with views of the Minneapolis skyline, it is one of the city’s top photo ops. This beautiful historic structure is home to a collection of more than 80,000 rare and unusual items. There is a tiny gift shop inside the attraction where you may purchase souvenirs to remind you of your time there.
If you find a collection particularly interesting and wish to learn more about it, you can buy books on it.
WANDER AROUND THE MALL OF AMERICA
When measured by square footage, the Mall of America is among the world’s largest shopping centers.
It is one of the most frequented destinations in Southeast Minnesota for both out-of-towners and locals who want to take their penchant for retail therapy on the road, thanks to its convenient location in Bloomington, just adjacent to MSP International Airport.
Within the walls of the largest shopping center in the country, you’ll find more than 500 stores to peruse. Everything from footwear to meals to gadgets to artwork to furnishings to video games is available here.
It’s the equivalent of a physical Amazon with seemingly endless aisles stocked with every imaginable product. It’s likely that you’ll be walking a lot while you explore the various stores and their aisles. Walking back and forth down this path for an hour might make you feel like you’re on a real trail, despite the fact that you’re not.
A large food court and a variety of excellent eateries are available for your fueling convenience.
In addition, there are hotels nearby for overnight stays, a water park, an aquarium, the Crayola Experience, and a Nickelodeon Universe indoor theme park for children to enjoy.
RELIVE WEIRD HISTORY AT THE MUSEUM OF QUACKERY & MEDICAL FRAUD
There is a museum within the museum that is dedicated to the most controversial medical equipment in history.
Sometimes it’s best to leave medicine to the professionals, as seen by this assortment of questionable medical devices. At this fair, you may check out weight-loss spectacles and soap, as well as a phrenological machine that analyzes a person’s character based on the size of their cranial bumps.
When it comes to “what the human mind has developed to cure itself without the benefit of either scientific technique or common reason,” the museum boasts the greatest collection in the world.
We have to agree with Atlas Obscura that this is a fantastic place to visit. You can learn about strange medical practices throughout time, from pseudoscience to snake oil, at the Museum of Quackery & Medical Fraud.
TASTE-TESTING AT THE SPAM MUSEUM
A visit to the Museum of Medical Quackery & Fraud might not be the craziest thing to do in town. Austin, Minnesota, in southern Minnesota, is home to the world-famous Spam Museum.
There is nowhere else on Earth where Spam enjoys quite the level of adoration as it does in this state. Not the annoying inbox clutter that needs to be cleared out periodically, but rather the pink, mushy meal that usually comes in a can.
The brand-new, 14,000-square-foot museum houses nine SPAMtastic exhibits full of fun activities including interactive games and picture ops. Visitor entry is completely free of charge.
The history of Spam, from its inception to current-day consumption, is chronicled here, alongside relevant references and a few tasty recipes.
HAVE A LOVELY MEAL AT FOUR DAUGHTERS VINEYARD, WINERY & RESTAURANT
Outside of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Spring Valley, at 78757 MN-16, you’ll find Four Daughters Vineyard, Winery, and Restaurant. We don’t open until 11 am, so plan accordingly.
Make a reservation and enjoy a really unique wine tasting experience in their tasting room, or extend your visit and dine in their award-winning restaurant.
If you’re not into wine, you may still enjoy a variety of other drinks at this restaurant. There are options for those who have dietary restrictions, such as those who are gluten intolerant or vegan. It may be on the smaller side, but sometimes that’s an asset when it comes to capturing that elusive “small town” vibe.
Visit NERSTRAND BIG WOODS STATE PARK
Located at 9700 170th Street (East), Nerstrand Big Woods State Park started welcoming visitors in 1945. It’s home to some of the region’s most beautiful trees and some of the best hiking in the Midwest.
Park paths are aligned with There are even more woods to explore beyond those 11 kilometres. There are a variety of camping alternatives to suit your budget if you’d like to extend your time in the woods.
If you’re curious about the history and ecology of the area, or just want to learn more about the stunning scenery, stop by Forest’s visitor center.
STAY SILENT AT ORFIELD LABS QUIET CHAMBER
Orfield Labs’ quiet room is at 2709 East 25th Street if you happen to be in Minneapolis. The Guinness Book of World Records once recognized it as the world’s quietest location, but it has since been surpassed.
One of the numerous rigorous scientific grounds for the existence of the Quiet Chamber is the conduct of research. Having said that, a room free of all ambient noise is also a lot of fun.
The Quiet Chamber might be quite pricey, costing up to $125 per person, but the experience is well worth it. Just don’t spend too much time in there—some say that prolonged silence in these rooms can drive even the sanest person crazy.
INSPECT FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT GAS STATION
The Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station is a significant monument because it is an integral part of American history and because it is unlike any other gas station you will find in the United States.
One of the most prolific American architects, R.W. Lindholm, was responsible for this gas station in Southern Minnesota, which is also known as the R.W. Lindholm Service Station.
Not to mention, it’s totally costless.
These are the things to do in Southern Minnesota that Hyannis Holiday recommends you stop by once you have the chance to come here. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Have a nice Holiday!