50 Interesting & Fun Facts About Minnesota State to Know

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An arched bridge over water, leading to a downtown skyline of modern buildings
Minnesota is full of fun facts and has many amazing places to see, like Minneapolis

If you were asked to create a list of facts about Minnesota state, how many do you think you could come up with? More than 20? Less?

Minnesota is a gem of a state in the Midwest, but most people don't know much about it. Whether you're a native of the state or are planning a visit here for the first time, there are hundreds of facts that are well worth learning about.

Keep reading for 50 interesting and fun facts about Minnesota state that you probably don't know!

  • 50 Minnesota facts

50 Minnesota State Facts

  1. Minnesota Fun Facts
    1. It was the 32nd state
    2. It's also called the "The Land of 10,000 Lakes"
    3. It's the start of the Mississippi River
    4. Bob Dylan was born here
    5. Historic Fort Snelling was a symbol of sovereignty
    6. It was the site of the Dakota War
    7. It's home of the Mall of America
    8. Scotch tape was invented here
    9. You can have events at the Wabasha Street Caves
    10. It's also called the "Gopher State"
    11. Pierre Esprit Radisson was one of the first Europeans
    12. It's also called the "North Star State"
    13. It has part of the Red River Valley
    14. There's one recreational boat per three households
    15. Lake Superior reaches the state
  2. Interesting Facts About Minnesota
    1. You can find white-tailed deer
    2. The Minnesota state fair is the largest in the US
    3. French explorer Daniel Greysolon settled Duluth
    4. It was the Minnesota Territory for nearly 10 years
    5. The Minnesota River is almost 12,000 years old
    6. First Avenue is one of the oldest venues
    7. The Palmer House Hotel was the first with electricity
    8. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a remote forest
    9. Minneapolis isn't the capital
    10. Don't mix up the Twin Cities
  3. Scary Facts About Minnesota
    1. Joseph Forepaugh's restaurant is haunted
    2. The Mounds Theatre has ghost tours
    3. It held the country's largest mass execution
    4. It's full of haunted places
    5. There's a haunted brewery
  4. Minnesota History Facts
    1. The mottos is "L'Étoile du Nord"
    2. Sauk Centre was home to a Nobel Prize winner
    3. The Minnesota Historical Society has thousands of documents
    4. The flag dates back to the 1890s
    5. Minnesota state parks go back centuries
  5. Cool Facts About Minnesota
    1. The common loon is the Minnesota state bird
    2. The Minnesota state flower was picked in 1923
    3. The red pine is the Minnesota state tree
    4. No water flows into the state
    5. It's one of the best states for education
  6. Random Facts About Minnesota
    1. It's one of the healthiest states
    2. It has the largest network of skyways
    3. Eagle Mountain is the highest point
    4. It has the largest indoor theme park
    5. It has the world's largest pelican
  7. Crazy Facts About Minnesota
    1. Some items don't have sales tax
    2. Mystery Cave is the longest in the state
    3. It has some of the oldest rocks in the world
    4. It has a large wolf population
    5. The Metrodome has held multiple big sports events

Show all

Minnesota Fun Facts

paulbradyphoto/Depositphotos.com
A downtown skyline of concrete buildings overlooking a river under a clear sky
Minnesota is one of the northernmost states, hence its called the "North Star State"

It was the 32nd state

You can't start any list of interesting facts of Minnesota without mentioning that it was the 32nd state in the Union. May 11, 1858 marks the day this great state earned its star on the United States flag.

People had been living in Minnesota earlier than that. However, the state's cold temperatures and large stretches of landscape slowed immigration until the second half of the 19th century.

It's also called the "The Land of 10,000 Lakes"

The official Minnesota state nickname you'll find on license plates and tourist information might surprise you. Minnesota is also called the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

That number isn't exact, it's just to show that there are a lot of water bodies in the territory. The real number of registered lakes in the state is almost 12,000.

A river meandering across a green hill with a curving road
Mississippi River serves as the border between USA and the western territories

It's the start of the Mississippi River

The mighty Mississippi River is one of the longest in the country. It served as the border between the USA and the western territories before the Louisiana Purchase.

However, some people forget that the river begins in Minnesota. The Mississippi's path starts as a run-off from Lake Itasca in the state's north.

Bob Dylan was born here

Bob Dylan's music has inspired generations of people. His work has been so impactful that he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Bob Dylan called much of the USA home, but his original hometown can be found in Minnesota. He was born in Duluth in May of 1941.

Looking at three vernacular houses on green grass under a partly cloudy sky
Historic Fort Snelling helped to keep invasions at bay due to its sheltered location

Historic Fort Snelling was a symbol of sovereignty

Historic Fort Snelling is now a landmark in the Saint Paul area, but it wasn't always. Initially, the fort served as a way to protect the territory.

As the population in Minnesota began to boom, the fort showed there was a military presence ready to defend the territory. Thanks to its strategic and sheltered location, invasions were kept at bay.

It was the site of the Dakota War

Just a few years after it was granted statehood, Minnesota was the site of one of the worst conflicts between US settlers and Native American tribes. The Dakota War, also known as the Sioux Uprising, broke out in 1862.

The war broke out as Sioux tribes resisted further restrictions on their freedom as settlers encroached on their land. Unfortunately, the US victory led to a rapid decline in the native population.

yanmingzhang/Depositphotos.com
A concrete and red brick building with white doors, and a sign of "Mall of America"
Mall of America has more than 500 stores, a wide variety of restaurants, and more

It's home of the Mall of America

One of the most fun facts for Minnesota travelers is that it's the home of the Mall of America. Since it first opened in 1992, it's remained the largest mall in the US and the entire western hemisphere.

The mall has over 500 stores, a plethora of restaurants, and other activities. It may not be the main reason why people visit Minneapolis, but it's certainly one of the city's most popular attractions.

Scotch tape was invented here

It's hard to believe there was a time before Scotch tape. The clear adhesive has become an essential part of daily life.

In 1930, 3M's engineer Richard Drew used cellophane to create the first prototype of Scotch tape. The invention underwent a few minor modifications over the years, but it's remained largely similar to Drew's original version.

You can have events at the Wabasha Street Caves

St. Paul is home to one of the most unique event halls in the nation. The Wabasha Street Caves are built into the limestone caves within the city's limits.

The caves used to be a hot spot for gangsters in the early 20th century. Today, you can regularly host events for up to 200 guests.

It's also called the "Gopher State"

Minnesota isn't just known for its lakes. It's also unofficially called the "Gopher State." However, this moniker doesn't come from a large population of the rodent.

The nickname goes back to a cartoon from 1857. The drawing was political and portrayed railway moguls dragging the government westward after the westward expansion.

Pierre Esprit Radisson was one of the first Europeans

In the 1600s, not many settlers made it all the way to Minnesota. That began to change after 1659 with Pierre Esprit Radisson's exploration of the Lake Superior area.

Radisson's explorations were prompted by his fur trading in an attempt to expand his market. Though his voyage to modern-day Minnesota was selfish and economic in nature, it helped make the state what it is today.

It's also called the "North Star State"

Minnesota has no shortage of nicknames. It's also known as the "North Star State." It's been a moniker since the late 1800s when it first joined the Union.

The nickname is obvious when you look at a map. Minnesota is one of the northernmost states in the country. Washington is further north now, but at the time it was made a state, it was the furthest north in the country's western territory.

It has part of the Red River Valley

If you're on the hunt for cool Minnesota facts, you should look into the Red River Valley. The valley gets its name from the red hue of the earth in the area.

However, the truly impressive part of the valley is its size. It stretches over 40 thousand miles and covers territory in both the Dakotas, Minnesota, and even Canada.

There's one recreational boat per three households

Since Minnesota has thousands of lakes, it's no surprise it's a popular place for recreational boating. It might be in the midwest, but it has more boats than many coastal states.

In Minnesota, you can find one recreational boat for every 2.8-3 households. That comes out to over 800 thousand total boats, 7% of the national amount.

Autumn trees against a lighthouse on the edge of a cliff overlooking blue waters
Lake Superior holds 10% of total water supply of the world

Lake Superior reaches the state

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world and the 2nd largest lake in general. It even holds 10% of the world's total water supply.

As the largest of the USA's Great Lakes, it's bordered by multiple states. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota all have borders on the lake. Even Canada reaches this body of water.

Interesting Facts About Minnesota

mkopka/Depositphotos.com
Looking up at a multi-color Ferris wheel with a red sign of "Giant Wheel"
The largest fair in the US is the Minnesota State Fair

You can find white-tailed deer

The white-tailed deer is one of the most common mammals in the United States, but that doesn't mean seeing one isn't special. With all its forests and bodies of water, Minnesota has a particularly large deer population.

You might assume the white-tailed deer is a state symbol, but that's not the case. As of now, Minnesota doesn't yet have a state mammal.

Looking up at a multi-color Ferris wheel against a clear blue sky
Minnesota State Fair accommodates around 150,000 daily visitors

The Minnesota state fair is the largest in the US

Every summer, you can find hundreds of fairs around the USA. Typically, the largest fairs are state fairs.

While each state fair is impressive, Minnesota gets the honor of being the largest in the country. While the Texas state fair has more total visitors, Minnesota gets more average daily visitors at 150 thousand.

A skyline of different concrete buildings against a hilly area with green trees
Duluth was thoroughly explored by the earlier European explorer, Daniel Greysolon

French explorer Daniel Greysolon settled Duluth

Daniel Greysolon was a French explorer and trader and one of the first Europeans to visit Minnesota. While he didn't explore the entire Minnesota territory, he is known for thoroughly exploring the Duluth area.

The city actually gets its name from the explorer. Greysolon's full name was Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut. He is also known for exploring other areas of the upper Midwest, particularly parts of Wisconsin.

It was the Minnesota Territory for nearly 10 years

Historical facts about Minnesota can't forget about the state's earliest history as part of the USA. Before becoming a state in 1858, Minnesota was a Union territory.

Ownership of Minnesota was transferred to the US in 1803 as part of the Louisiana purchase. However, it wasn't officially deemed an official federal territory until 1849.

The Minnesota River is almost 12,000 years old

The Minnesota River may not be as well known as some of the country's other rivers, but it's an important Mississippi tributary. According to archaeological studies, it's one of the oldest bodies of water in the states.

The Minnesota River's portion of the Mississippi can date back 12,000 years. During that time, native tribes likely began to settle in the territory due to the consistent and reliable water supply.

First Avenue is one of the oldest venues

The Minnesota River may not be as well known as some of the country's other rivers, but it's an important Mississippi tributary. According to archaeological studies, it's one of the oldest bodies of water in the states.

The Minnesota River's portion of the Mississippi can date back 12,000 years. During that time, native tribes likely began to settle in the territory due to the consistent and reliable water supply.

The Palmer House Hotel was the first with electricity

The Palmer House Hotel is an important landmark in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Built in 1901, it was considered a modern hotel by historic standards.

Since the hotel was popular among traveling salesmen who came to the area, it needed to innovate to keep attracting guests. That's why it was the first building in the city to have electricity in the early 1900s.

A canoe on the shore of a water body surrounded by green trees, against a sunset
Boundary Waters Canoe Area stretches over 1 million acres along the Canadian Border

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a remote forest

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a massive and remote section of the Superior National Forest. The area stretches over 1 million acres along the state's Canadian border.

Due to its rich forest and protected status, it's home to one of Minnesota's most important wildlife specimens, the wolf. There are around 1,500 wolves in the forest.

A fountain with water streaming downwards against modern tall buildings
Minneapolis is one of the biggest cities in Minnesota but it is not the capital

Minneapolis isn't the capital

Many people flock to Minneapolis to get a glimpse of the Minnesota State Capitol. However, they'd be wrong in heading there. Though Minneapolis is one of the biggest cities in the state, it's not the capital.

That honor would go to its neighbor St. Paul. The decision was a logistic one. To keep all the state's major institutions from being concentrated in one place, the capitol was built in St. Paul and the state university was built in Minneapolis.

Don't mix up the Twin Cities

Lists of fun facts of Minnesota have to mention the state's Twin Cities. Saint Paul (also spelled St. Paul) and Minneapolis today are two major cities that share a metropolitan area.

However, though they melt into each other, Minnesotans hate it when you confuse the cities. The cities get their shared identity because they share major institutions due to their extremely close proximity.

Scary Facts About Minnesota

A road with street lights leading to lit-up tall modern buildings at night
Minnesota held the country's largest mass execution in the December of 1962

Joseph Forepaugh's restaurant is haunted

Joseph Forepaugh's restaurant is now an upscale French restaurant with a little twist. It's supposedly one of the most haunted places in Saint Paul!

Supposedly, the building is haunted by the founder's, Forepaugh himself, mistress after she died on the premises. Some people even say he also roams the restaurant's halls since he also passed away in the forest nearby.

The Mounds Theatre has ghost tours

The Mounds Theatre used to be the entertainment hub in Minnesota's capital. It was once one of the most popular silent movie cinemas in the state.

Today the theatre has reopened for live entertainment. It regularly hosts shows for all ages, but also hosts ghost tours. The theatre's history has drawn the attention of paranormal investigation shows that have been filmed on the premises.

It held the country's largest mass execution

The Dakota War marked a definitive shift in the United States' sovereignty over the Native American tribes that inhabited the country. After a long and bloody war, the Sioux uprising was quelled.

Unfortunately, to deter further wars, the US made an example of some of the warriors that were taken prisoner. In December of 1962, 38 Sioux men were hanged in the country's largest mass execution.

It's full of haunted places

Minnesota has been the site of many important historic events. From the first people to cross the Bering Strait and settle in the territory to the westward expansion.

Places with that much history tend to promote the spread of ghost stories. Minnesota is full of haunted places. Many of them are found in St. Paul and Minneapolis, however, with some spread all over the state.

wolterke/Depositphotos.com
An old brick building with a white sign having red text of "Schmidt"
When Schmidt Brewery was active, workers had a habit of dying in strange ways

There's a haunted brewery

Did you know you can find a haunted brewery in Minnesota's capital? Schmidt Brewery was once a booming factory that was then converted into lofts.

The Schmidt family had a colorful history full of involvement with crime, which would already be enough to cause rumors of ghosts to swirl around the building. However, when it was still an active factory, workers had a habit of dying in strange and unusual ways.

Minnesota History Facts

Minnesota's flag dates back to the 1890s, & is one of the facts about Minnesota state
One of the facts about Minnesota state is that its flag dates back to the 1890s

The mottos is "L'Étoile du Nord"

If you ever see the official seal, you'll likely run into the Minnesota state motto. One of the most fun facts on Minnesota is that the motto isn't in Latin like many states.

"L'Étoile du Nord" means "star of the north", and it's been the Minnesota motto since 1861. It's also the only state motto in the French language.

Sauk Centre was home to a Nobel Prize winner

Sauk Centre is an often underrated Minnesota city. However, though many people today don't even know the city exists, it's still made major contributions to American culture.

Sauk Centre was the birthplace of Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Lewis used his town and experiences growing up in Sauk Centre as inspiration for the book that gained him international recognition.

The Minnesota Historical Society has thousands of documents

The Minnesota Historical Society has aimed to preserve the state's history. One of the biggest ways it's managed to do so is by collecting and maintaining an archive of thousands of documents.

Photos, newspaper articles, audio recordings, and videos are just some of the documentation in the organization's care. In total, they are responsible for hundreds of thousands of documents that date back over 100 years.

The flag dates back to the 1890s

In 1898, the state government approved the first design of what would become the Minnesota state flag. Though the design originated in the 1850s. Through the years, the flag has undergone some modifications, and the current version has been in use since 1983.

The flag has the state's seal and its motto in the center of a blue background. The flag incorporates blue to represent the state's lakes and white to represent the snowfall the state sees every winter.

A forest of autumn trees overlooking a reflective lake
Minnesota's state park system is the second oldest state park system in the country

Minnesota state parks go back centuries

Minnesota's state park system dates back to the 1800s. Itasca Park was the first area in the system and was designated a state park in 1891. Today Minnesota has 66 parks registered as state parks.

It's also the 2nd oldest state park system in the country. It's only beaten by California, which designated its first state park in 1861.

Cool Facts About Minnesota

Three common looms swimming together on the water
Since 1961, The common loom has been a Minnesota symbol and its state bird

The common loon is the Minnesota state bird

Minnesota might not have a state mammal, but it does have a state bird. The common loon has been a Minnesota symbol since 1961.

However, if you ask Minnesotans what the state bird is, you'll likely hear a more unofficial answer. Locals joke that the state bird should be the mosquito. Since there are so many lakes, you'll find many of these types of insects flying around.

The Minnesota state flower was picked in 1923

If you're looking for Minnesota facts and information, don't forget about the state flower. The showy lady's slipper is a unique white and pink flower that is native to the state.

The flower is just 1 of the 43 types of orchids that grow in the Land of 10,000 lakes. It was declared a state symbol in 1923 and has been under state protection since 1925.

Cones of a red pine tree
Red Pine Tree's population is on the rise all over the United States

The red pine is the Minnesota state tree

If you look at a list of Minnesota state symbols, you'll notice that it doesn't just have a designated state flower, it also has a state tree as well. The red pine has had that title since 1953.

Though the tree is also called the Norway pine, it's native to North America. These trees can reach impressive heights of 150 feet. Their population is also on the rise all over the country.

No water flows into the state

Since Minnesota is known for its lakes, you might be surprised to learn that no water flows into the state from other parts of the US. Typically, water flows downstream. Since Minnesota is a northern border state, it's upstream of every US river.

Of course, with as many lakes as there are in the state, some water may flow in from Canada. However, in general, much more water flows out of Minnesota than in.

It's one of the best states for education

Minnesota might not be home to any famous Ivy League schools, but it's still one of the best states for education. It ranks 6th in the country for its public school system.

According to statistics, the state has a high school graduation rate of nearly 85%. It also has one of the biggest universities in the Midwest which accepts hundreds of new students every year.

Random Facts About Minnesota

fiskness/Depositphotos.com
Looking at an indoor amusement park with colorful rides
The largest indoor amusement park in the country is the Nickelodeon park in Minnesota

It's one of the healthiest states

Often, when people think of Minnesota, they think of cold weather and expect people who live there to stay inside all the time. However, that's not the case!

Minnesotans are generally quite active! The state ranks 30th as far as obesity is concerned, and its other health statistics are even better! Overall, it's a pretty healthy state!

inese.online/Depositphotos.com
A road with cars with a skyway pedestrian footbridge above connecting two buildings
You can walk 9.5 miles in the Minneapolis downtown without using the street

It has the largest network of skyways

If you were unaware, skyways are elevated footbridges that connect different buildings. They get their name from the fact that you don't have to walk on the ground to get from one place to another.

Minneapolis has so many skyways it's formed a network. You can walk 80 blocks, or 9.5 miles in the city's downtown area without using the street.

Eagle Mountain is the highest point

A list of fun Minnesota facts needs to include Eagle Mountain. At 2,301 feet of elevation, it's the highest point in the state.

While the name might be impressive, don't let it fool you. Eagle Mountain is actually a hill in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of the Superior National Forest.

sainaniritu/Depositphotos.com
A cyan roller coaster inside an indoor amusement park
Mall of America has 7 acres of indoor spaces for amazing activities, rides and games

It has the largest indoor theme park

The Mall of America is big, you already know that. Did you know it's big enough to hold an amusement park? Not only that, but it has the largest indoor amusement park in the country.

Currently themed as a Nickelodeon park, the Mall of America has 7 acres of indoor space for rides, games, and other activities. It has so much space that the theme park is divided into 2 amusement areas!

It has the world's largest pelican

Pelican Rapids, Minnesota may not be the most commonly known city in the state, but it has something nowhere else does. It's the home of the world's largest pelican.

The pelican isn't alive, it's a sculpture named Pelican Pete that you can find in the city's downtown area. It stands over 15 feet tall and has been affectionately dubbed the "mother of all pelicans."

Crazy Facts About Minnesota

A white wolf wandering through a snowy area with trees
Minnesota has one of the largest wolf populations in the country

Some items don't have sales tax

Sales tax is a normal part of everyday life all over the world. Minnesota has some exemptions to this particular tax.

If you buy grocery items, general clothing items, or medication, you don't have to pay sales tax. These items are considered a necessity and the state law removed tax to help ensure people who need them can afford them.

Mystery Cave is the longest in the state

Mystery cave is the focal point of the Mystery Cave State Park which opened in 1973. The cave itself was discovered almost 40 years earlier in 1937. The cave is the longest in the state, stretching 13 miles underground.

Unfortunately, the name comes from a snide comment made by one of the young men who leveled the ground to make the cave accessible. He claimed, "It's a mystery why anyone would want to work here."

It has some of the oldest rocks in the world

Would you have guessed that some of the earth's oldest rocks are naturally found in Minnesota? Granite Falls is home to the oldest known rock in the world.

The rock is part of the landscape, though it's protected now, and dates back 3.8 billion years. It's also common to find rocks in Minnesota that vary between 1.7 and 2.6 billion years of age.

A white arctic wolf sitting on a gray rock
There is a population of around 2,700 wild wolves in Minnesota

It has a large wolf population

An interesting fact about Minnesota is that it has one of the largest wolf populations in the country. As of 2019, there are an estimated 2,700 wild wolves in the state.

In much of the continental US, wolves were driven to near-extinction. Thanks to Minnesota's remote wilderness and proximity to Canada, they were able to survive in the state. Today, there are also various sanctuaries to promote their population.

The Metrodome has held multiple big sports events

The Metrodome is Minneapolis' largest sports stadium. Unlike many stadiums, it was built to serve multiple types of sporting events.

It was the location for Super Bowl XXVI, and multiple baseball, basketball, and other football games. Thanks to its large capacity, it's also regularly used for concerts and other large events.

In Summary

That's our list! How many of the facts on this list did you already know? I bet a few of them were surprises!

Minnesota has something for everyone. From art and culture to spooky thrills, there's a fact about this great state that will make you want to plan a trip ASAP.

Even if you think it'll be a while before you make it to Minnesota, you can put your new knowledge to good use. Impress your family and friends with all the trivia you've just learned about the land of 10,000 lakes!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Hi! I'm a lover of all things travel and culture. I'm originally from the USA, but I've lived in Italy for over a decade! I'm always ready to pack my bags, get my passport, and head out on an adventure!


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