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Minnesota Roadside Attractions

Little Known Tourist Destinations

There are Minnesota roadside attractions you will miss if you stick to our best known vacation spots. Add some adventure with side trips to a few of these little known attractions.

As you drive the highways and roads be on the lookout for unique Minnesota roadside attractions.

These are often wonderful monuments to the legends that are part of Minnesota history.

Sometimes they are representations of an animal or fish that is identified with Minnesota.

Others are museums, objects, statues or art that is unique to a town or region.

The statue of the Jolly Green Giant, at 55-feet tall, is one of the largest Minnesota roadside attractions.

The giant can be found in Blue Earth, MN and is a reminder of Minnesota's agricultural resources.

Minnesota Roadside Attractions
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 "Minnesotans have in the past century honored heroes and public figures, created mythic and heroic town symbols, funded abstracts on public streets and walkways, and now find themselves surrounded by a growing forest of sculpture carved by the chainsaw. Minnesota has more than 620 different pieces of outdoor sculpture, located in 150 different communities."

From the back cover of the book, Monumental Minnesota: A Guide to Outdoor Sculpture

These Road Trip ideas will help you plan your next excursion around the state.

The Great River Road can take you from Itasca State Park to the Iowa border or all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hermann The German

Minnesota Maps > available for every region of the state and for specific activities like fishing, hiking, biking and finding the best roadside attractions.

These monuments commemorate Minnesota's real, and imagined, heroes from a statue of the Finnish hero, St. Urho, located in Menagha, MN to the legendary Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe commemorated in Bemidji, Brainerd and other Minnesota towns.

Chief Kandiyohi stands near the Kandiyohi, MN courthouse, Big Ole, the Viking graces downtown Alexandria, Hermann the German overlooks New Ulm, and a 26-foot tall Smoky the Bear "lives" in International Falls.

Read reviews about what to see and do, and where to stay, in the most popular Minnesota vacation spots.

There are quite a few books about the roadside attractions in our state. My personal favorite is Minnesota Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff

Vining Minnesota Sculptires

Vining, Mn is one of the smallest towns in the state...only 84 residents at last count...yet it boasts the largest collection of outdoor sculptures per resident of any city in the world!. Artist Ken Nyberg is a modest man who makes no attempt to promote his creations and you have to know where to go to find them. Ken's other claim to fame is as the father of NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg. Vining is located on Highway 210 near Battle Lake. It is a great side trip if you are camping at Glendalough State Park.  

It not only lists the statues and monuments along the road but also "not-to-be-missed" places like the Frank Lloyd Wright gas station in Cloquet. Find out where there is an art gallery of underground graffiti, an eight-story-tall Iron Man sculpture, and some beautifully designed, architectural oddities.Pack this for day trips to lots of memorable Minnesota attractions.

Lark Toys - In the tiny town of Kellogg, MN (population 439) you will find the World's Largest Toy Store. This family owned store was opened by Donn and Sarah Kreofsky in 1983. The Kreofsys began by making wooden toys in their garage. As word spread, they were soon selling their creations to FAO Schwartz and up to 2,500 other retailers. Opening the store allowed them to add to their inventory. They now sell everything from board games, wind-up toys, Russian nesting dolls and, of course, their original wooden toys.


Minnesota's Largest Candy Store is located near Jordan, MN. 

Jim's Apple Farm, AKA Minnesota's Largest Candy Store, is a family business. If you are a person "of a certain age" as we are, you will be delighted to find many of the candies that you remember as a child....and some you have never seen before. 

Their wares include popcorn, soda, cotton candy,  jam, fresh apples, and yummy pies.  You can also buy some novelty toys and puzzles.

A fan referred to the owner as "Willie Wonka at his finest.


Red Wing Boot

If you are a resident of Minnesota, you will be laughing out loud as the authors introduce you to the neighbors you never knew you had and take you to places you never knew existed—right in your own backyard! If you are in Minnesota on vacation, be sure to visit some of the most wild and wacky places and things the North Star State has to offer including The World's Largest Boot in Red Wing

Visit Harmony Minnesota for amazing shopping, a cave visit and Amish tours.

Big Fish Supper Club

Fishing, and fish, are obvious symbols of life in Minnesota and you will find them represented across the state. Several areas claim to be the "Walleye Capital" of the world and have the Minnesota State Fish roadside art to prove it. An entire restaurant in Bena, Mn is in the shape of a Muskie. Detroit Lakes claims the title of "Sunfish Capital" and Aitken, Mn holds a Fish House Parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Bass Henge International Falls

Bass Henge....Minnesota's answer to Stonehenge! This sculpture is the creation of Joe Gaustefeste and his wife Yvette Jorneau. Joe has been the principle bassist for the Chicago Symphony for more than 40 years. The 21 steel basses are ensconced on 14 foot tall pedestals. They are set along a clef-shaped walkway along the Rainy River about 40 miles west of International Falls.

This photo below is of the "world's largest prairie chicken" and is located in the small Northern Minnesota town of Rothsay. 

MN roadside attraction

Many of the roadside attractions in Minnesota are "the world's largest" of some type of animal, fish or bird. The Swedish "Dala Horse" can be found several places in Minnesota including Mora and Cloquet.

 

Minnesota Roadside Attractions

We have collected a few more stories and photos of unusual Minnesota attractions on the Little Known Minnesota page.

Plan your road trip with our road trip planning guide and more of our road trip vacation ideas.

There is so much more to share.

Roadside Attractions

Does your town or community have a roadside attraction people should know about? Have you spotted an unusual Minnesota attraction? Tell others about it.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

World's Smallest Gas Station in Detroit Lakes Not rated yet
The city of Detroit Lakes is known world-wide for the “smallest gas station in the world.” The tiny, 3 ½-foot-by-4-foot Standard station was right …

Faribault Tilt-A-Whirl Not rated yet
Herbert Sellner invented the Tilt-A-Whirl in 1926, at his Faribault, Minnesota, home.  Family legend states that Herbert experimented with a chair placed …

Click here to write your own.



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