Lindstrom, Minnesota and the Iconic Teapot Water Tower. Editorial credit: Sam Wagner /

10 Coziest Small Towns in Minnesota

There are plenty of small towns in the midwestern U.S., each with its own unique attractions and locales that are noteworthy for tourism. Travelers visiting the Great Lakes region may enjoy all there is to offer, especially in states like Minnesota. For anyone curious to see what is vibrant and welcoming in Minnesota with lots of comfort zones, here are ten of the coziest small towns worth visiting or residing in.


The Lanesboro Dam on the Root River.
The Lanesboro Dam on the Root River, a major tourist attraction in Lanesboro.

A small town with just 711 residents, Lanesboro is home to native Amish communities that thrive on friendly hospitality. The town, catering to suburban lifestyle and newfound visitors, appeals to casual and modern tourists seeking a taste of the outdoors. Lanesboro Sylvan Park offers famous signature events and artwork presentations, while younger guests can enjoy sports and recreation. For nature lovers, the Church Hill Scenic Overlook provides a breathtaking view of Lanesboro Dam, a critical part of sightseeing in this town. Pedestrians can also check out the Coffee Street Walking Bridge, a cozy natural locale with guided tours of downtown habitats and Bass Pond. Travelers with a penchant for the fall season may find Big Springs Farm Pumpkins & Corn Mazes to be a lovely local for seeing pumpkins and taking on maze adventures, while families can get to know fellow residents on the sideline.


Biwabik, Minnesota park featuring a gazebo and a life-sized statue of a moose.
Biwabik, Minnesota, park featuring a gazebo and a life-sized statue of a moose. Image credit: Skvader via Wikimedia Commons.

Biwabik is a small winter town with 962 inhabitants that is ideal for tourists who want a cozy getaway coupled with a Bavarian lifestyle. Those visiting this town may be welcomed by locals while seeing the Giants Ridge Resort, home to award-winning golf courses and ski areas, as well as comfortable and fashionable dining locales. The city is also famous for the Mesabi Trail, a natural landmark connection to campgrounds that allow for gorgeous elevation views of forestry and woodlands. For travelers who like seeing larger bodies of water filled with scenery of exotic fish, Wynne Lake captures that very essence. Vi's Pizza and TNT Bar are excellent options while residing in the city, mainly due to their welcoming vibes and delicious pizza that residents often drive for hours to see and enjoy in person. Biwabik is perfect for both strangers and familiar faces.

Grand Marais

U.S. Coast Guard Station of North Superior at Grand Marais, Minnesota
The marina at the picturesque town of Grand Marais, Minnesota.

A small town hosting 1,334 residents, Grand Marais, is the North Shore harbor village filled with vibrance and friendly creative talent. This town is worth the visit alone for arts and entertainment, as the Sivertson Gallery and Betsy Bowen Gallery are artistic homes for comfortable and extravagant painters seeking to impart knowledge about their world. Travelers with an interest in nature will likely take in the sights at Grand Marais Lighthouse, a historic landmark that carries the importance of being a breakwater harbor locale for tourists who want to witness pyramidal architecture in Cook County. Hungry stomachs may enjoy a snug pastry experience at the World's Best Donuts locale. The village town is also a testament to Minnesota's charming educational aspects through its North House folk school, an institution built on the foundations of lifelong learning for both tourists and settlers, resulting in a welcoming Scandinavian atmosphere.


Main Street, Nisswa, in winter.
Main Street, Nisswa, in winter. Editorial credit: Edgar Lee Espe /

With a population of 2,123 residents, Nisswa is a summer town famous for its turtle races and watersports. The Nisswa Area Historical Society is notable for its history lessons related to the town and how much it has evolved over the years. Roundhouse Brewery also provides historical glamor as a featured locale full of brew tasting and exquisite dining next to friendly locals at an ambient spot. There is the Nisswa Family Fun Waterpark for outdoor group excursions, as well as the Glacial Waters Spa within Grand View Lodge for soothing waters known to have healing properties. Adventurous skiers may enjoy the Mount Ski Gull resort in the town, creating a wonderful experience for tourists who want to trek through snowy alpines. Overall, Nisswa delivers on its promise of high-end comfort mixed with welcoming ecosystems.


Aerial view of Excelsior, Minnesota.
Aerial view of Excelsior, Minnesota.

Home to 2,229 residents, this city is frequented for its commercial locales and Victorian-era architecture. At the Excelsior Commons, guests and settlers can lounge about while enjoying cute picnics and bathhouses near the Public Beach. Nearby, travelers can take in live music and Cuban cuisine at the 318 Cafe, offering just the right amount of coziness and laidback culture. This small town is also able to capitalize on literary comfort at Excelsior Bay Books, a locally owned and independent bookstore that is commonly visited by tourists for its quality merchandise. Not too far from there, Tommy's Tonka Trolley is a pivotal stop for signature ice cream consumption. For anyone with a keen eye for automobiles, the Minnesota Streetcar Museum showcases the largest collection of electric streetcars right in the heart of town.


Minnesota State Fair water tower and trademark logo in Lauderdale.
Minnesota State Fair water tower and trademark logo in Lauderdale. Editorial credit: Ken Wolter /

A small town with 2,104 residents, Lauderdale is a commercial highlight in Minnesota because of its shopping avenues and flight company presence. Station 280 is a historic casual landmark for tourists wanting to try the best pizzas, while Zakia Deli appeals more to the Mediterranean culture. Europeans visiting this small town may also enjoy Finnish Bistro Coffee & Cafe for a variety of Eastern splendors. Milton Square is a popular locale for any traveler wanting to see vintage memorabilia and breweries, while Gibbs Farm presents another form of history through seasonal guided tours of pioneers from the old days; tourists regularly visit the farm due to its lavish wedding portfolio. Nature enthusiasts wanting to stay around peaceful and quiet surroundings may find plenty of resting spots at the Falcon Heights Community Park.


Panola Valley Gardens in Lindstrom, Minnesota.
Panola Valley Gardens in Lindstrom, Minnesota.

Lindstrom is "America's Little Sweden" due to its Swedish cultural heritage. With a population of 5,087 residents, this town is full of wisdom and beauty. Chisago Lakes Water Trail provides over ten miles of lakeside fun for canoers, kayakers, paddle boarders, and campers. If sandy beaches are more of a priority, Beach Park is on the west end of the town with its family-friendly activities. The 130-acre Allemansrätt Wilderness Park is able to please cozy travelers with relaxing walks and ski areas, while those who admire Scandinavian history may find comfort on the Swedish Immigrant Trail. The Karl Oskar House is an additional historic element of Lindstrom that lends to its credibility on Nordic research and education. This small town brings out the true charm of European livelihood in Minnesota.


The skyline of Buffalo along Buffalo Lake.
The skyline of Buffalo along Buffalo Lake.

A small town with a population of 16,678, Buffalo is a mainstay for all things seasonal and lively. With Buffalo Lake and Lake Pulaski, tourists will have plenty to see and talk about when it comes to the outdoor pleasures of walking trails and beautiful parks. Historic admirers can absorb the importance of the Wright County Historical Society, which is a treasure trove containing the town's Scandinavian influence and ancestral roots. For refreshments, Buffalo Rock Winery is a locale filled with indoor and outdoor seating to test over 20 flavors of wine. Wild Marsh Golf Club is another landmark that is frequented for its championship golf courses and friendly instructors, while Evelyn's Wine Bar welcomes newcomers to the town with happy smiles.


Leech Lake in Walker, Minnesota.
Leech Lake in Walker, Minnesota.

This small town of 964 inhabitants is a destination worth visiting because of its Leech Lake thematic elegance. Trendsetting travelers may find that Tiger Lily's Boutique is the ideal getaway spot for fashion, while Walker Bay Theater offers musical and dramatic entertainment for audiences of all ages. Another cozy locale in Walker is the Paul Bunyan and Heartland Loop, a natural landmark seen by tourists as a popular trail for birdwatching, road biking, and dog walks. Shoppers and plaza bypassers with an old-fashioned taste may take in the vibrant atmosphere at the Walker General Store that sells something for everyone. Walker is a town that one does not think of leaving behind when it comes to easygoing travel in Minnesota.

Fergus Falls

Otter Tail County Fair, Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
Otter Tail County Fair, Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Editorial credit: Barbarajo /

This Central Minnesota town, inhabited by 14,005 residents, is known for its museums and nature-driven locales. The Otter Tail County Historical Museum is an interesting destination for the dioramic agricultural history of the town and provides unique biking tours. The Kaddatz Art Gallery is visually enticing and has novice art lovers taking part in gallery crawls. Stunning fall colors await travelers who take in the scenery at Maplewood State Park, while Glendalough State Park brings out the best of fishers. For scenic routes, the Otter Trail Scenic Byway is a major tourism spot in this town, as the 150-mile loop goes around the countryside and hones in on sights like the Old Phelps Mill, a historic World War II locale that is dedicated to late 19th century and early 20th-century restoration. In Fergus Falls, there is so much to experience without sacrificing enjoyment.

Minnesota's small towns are clear examples of some of the best sights and locales worth every trip or return excursion. With welcoming communities and graceful charm, there is enough proof of how vital these towns are for the travel industry. Having this list in hand means that there is always something worthwhile in the Great Lakes region to see and cherish for years.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 10 Coziest Small Towns in Minnesota

More in Places