16 Apr 7 Amazing Small Towns in Minnesota
Are you looking to explore quaint, small towns in the North Star state for a weekend getaway? Or, perhaps, you’re considering making the move to the country! Whatever your reason, our state has some of the most incredible small towns where “Minnesota Nice” isn’t just a saying for their residents – it’s a lifestyle!
7. New Ulm
Due to its German heritage, New Ulm was named after Neu-Ulm on the Bavarian side of the Danube in Germany. This small town of just over 13,000 hosts a number of spectacular annual festivals celebrating German culture, including Oktoberfest, Bock Fest, and Bavarian Blast – and, it’s also home to the August Schell Brewing Company! No matter the season, this town offers a lot to experience!
6. Cannon Falls
Nestled on the Cannon River, this charming town is set against a backdrop of natural beauty and offers great recreational opportunities like hiking or biking the Cannon Valley Trail. Make sure to go to historic downtown, where there’s no shortage of quaint shops and antique stores. It’s also home to the amazing Cannon River Winery (hello, Gogo Red or Sogn Blush, anyone?).
5. Red Wing
From its stunning bluffs to its world-famous boots, Red Wing offers an abundance of outdoor recreational activities and quaint boutique shopping downtown. Historic buildings are in abundance, including the St. James Hotel and the Sheldon Theatre. In addition, it’s also home to the Red Wing Arts Gallery. Hike the trail up to Barn Bluff and take in the incredible views of the city and river from its summit!
Welcome to bluff country! Offering one of the most scenic drives south of the Twin Cities, Winona is home to Sugar Loaf, a bluff on the Mississippi River topped by a rock pinnacle that overlooks the city that is absolutely beautiful. Even though a part of it broke off a number of years ago, Sugar Loaf has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1990, for having local significance in regards to recreation. Over 27,000 call this town home, and there’s always some celebration going on: Mid West Music Fest, Steamboat Days, Dixieland Jazz Festival, Great Dakota Gathering, Boats & Bluegrass Festival, and so much more.
Surrounded by beautiful lakes, Nisswa is the place to go if you’re looking for a small town with lots to do! The Paul Bunyon State Trail runs through downtown, which is perfect for biking, walking, or inline skating. There’s also a number of fun festivals to partake in: Lakes Jam Music Festival, Freedom Days Celebration, Nisswa Fall Festival, Smokin’ Hot BBQ, and more!
2. Pequot Lakes
About 2.5 hours north of the Twin Cities, Pequot Lakes is a little town that draws in the crowds! Its charming, friendly “Minnesota Nice” vibe is their way of life and delivers a carefree and inviting ambiance. Not only is Pequot Lakes surrounded by stunning lakes, it also offers world-class golf and biking, walking, or inline skating the Paul Bunyon State Trail.
1. Grand Marais
There’s a reason it’s been named “America’s Coolest Small Town!” Grand Marais resides along on the shores of Lake Superior and is a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). It’s also known for its bed and breakfasts, it’s “beach town” vibe, the arts community, and the annual Fisherman’s Picnic – pretty impressive for a town of 1,350!