Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota at sunset. Image credig f11photo via Shutterstock.

7 Most Beautiful Cities in Minnesota

Minnesota is known by many clever names: The North Star State, Land of 10,000 Lakes, The Gopher State. Yet for anyone who has ever had the privilege to visit and for those proud to live in this northern Midwest location, only one word can really capture all that Minnesota is: majestic. From bodies of water formed by icebergs, to scenic mountain vistas, beauty and outdoor adventure are around every corner.

It is a tragedy that Minnesota is often overlooked as a tourist destination. When folks consider this lovely state, they typically only think of the Mall of America as its biggest draw. That is, unless visitors are fans of nature and have a spirit for exploring! In that respect, Minnesota has more to offer than even the most populated thrill-capital. Take a drive and revel in the wonder of the most beautiful cities in Minnesota.


Downtown Minneapolis skyline, Minnesota at night time as seen from the famous stone arch bridge
Minneapolis skyline at dusk. Image credit photo.ua via Shutterstock.

How can such a huge city be beautiful? Simple—it is all in the city’s design. Built surrounded by lakes on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, the city of Minneapolis shines like a beacon of beauty, all due to the hard work and collaborations of architects, artists, and dreamers who had a vision and made it a reality. From the recently restored capital building to the Stone Arch Bridge, artistic flair is all around, waiting for guests to admire.

Bob Dylan fans will delight in the attractive and catchy mural painted by Eduardo Kobra, which became a city icon due to the singer/songwriter’s lineage in the state. The Minneapolis Institute of Art houses art pieces that have fascinated and inspired art appreciators for centuries. Furthermore, for lovers of classical music, put on a snazzy outfit and enjoy an evening at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall.


Tettegouche State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota
Tettegouche State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior, Duluth. Image credit Alisha Bube via Shutterstock.

Find coastal beauty no matter the season in this lovely city just off Lake Superior. A seaport city, much of Duluth’s attractive quality is drawn from nautical themes, easily seen in its arts and culture scene. From lakefront trails to world-class trout streams, from mountain biking to snowmobiling, there is always something to do. With such a dramatic climate, this is an impressive feat!

Get a bird’s eye view of the city and lakefront from the Skyline Parkway, where visitors can see the St. Louis River and Lake Superior at the same time. Appreciate the beauty of the city’s past at the historic Glensheen house, a former home and current museum comprising 39 rooms with period furnishings. Let us not forget to visit Leif Erikson Park and see a replica of his Viking ship, followed by a stop in the Duluth Rose Garden.

Brooklyn Park

Aerial View of the Twin Cities Suburb of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Aerial View of the Twin Cities Suburb of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Image credit Jacob Boomsma via Shutterstock.

Set on the west bank of the Mighty Mississippi and just a little northeast of Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park is less a city and more of a large suburb. With lush parks, sprawling tree lines, and homes that remind us of the simple life in a small-town environment where everyone knows everyone. Never feel like a tourist as the comfort and amenities of this scenic burg capture all the senses.

With 60 parks spanning over 2,000 acres of beautiful land use areas and nature preserves, two incredible public golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones II, and even a historic farm ready to delight visitors, tourists might forget how close they are to the twin cities. Brooklyn Park is a haven ready for families and anyone who appreciates the glory of nature.


Split in path, snowy forest and trail in Quarry Hill Nature Center, Rochester, Minnesota on a snowy day
Quarry Hill Nature Center, Rochester, Minnesota on a snowy day. Image credit Ventu Photo via Shutterstock.

Rated as one of the best cities in the United States to live, Rochester offers lots to see and do. For the active visitor, get ready to stretch and get the heart pumping while trekking through any of the 100 local parks or the 85 miles of paved trail. This includes those cold, snowy winter months when many don skis or snowshoes and explore Quarry Hill Nature Center and its paths.

Citizens spend plenty of their summer months at Silver Lake Park, one of the most popular and scenic spots in Rochester. Paddle boats and bike rentals are available for those who wish to explore the waters from a different vantage point. Then, take a stroll through Sekapp Orchard, Rochester’s number one fresh fruit grower, offering U-pick opportunities during certain growing seasons!

Saint Cloud

Aerial view of downtown Saint Cloud, Minnesota.
Aerial view of downtown Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Image credit Anh Luu via Shutterstock.

Another Minnesotan city on the banks of the Mississippi, this historic river plays a huge role in the attractive style and active atmosphere tourists will feel in every corner of this innovative city. Boating, fishing, swimming, and picnics on the numerous beaches scattered along the river are popular summer activities.

If visitors desire something a little different, how about a romantic stroll through Munsinger Clemens Gardens and sharing a kiss under one of the flowery arches? If feeling adventurous, pack a water bottle and wear comfy shoes and take a hike through Quarry Park and Nature Preserve. Finish the day off at one of the many local eateries that are bound to have taste buds dancing for joy.

Maple Grove

Historic Pierre Bottineau House in Elm Creek Park Reserve, part of the Three Rivers Park District in Maple Grove
Historic Pierre Bottineau House in Elm Creek Park Reserve. Image credit melissamn via Shutterstock.

It might not seem like a visitor can truly immerse themselves in the beauty of nature when situated between two major cities, and in many cases, individuals would be correct. Maple Grove is a grand exception. With more wonders than a person can enjoy in a single afternoon, visitors might want to book a long weekend trip to be able to take it all in.

Begin at the Maple Grove Arboretum, a 15-acre park that connects hikers to Rice Lake and the Medicine Lake Regional Trail, as well as the Angel of Hope Memorial. If traveling with family, especially family involving children, all will love Central Park of Maple Grove, where 44 sprawling acres feature an interactive fountain, an ice-skating loop, and a labyrinth. Maybe after, try some fun cultural experiences at the Maple Grove Arts Center.

St. Paul

Exterior of the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul. Image credit Nagel Photography via Shutterstock.
Exterior of the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul. Image credit Nagel Photography via Shutterstock.

Beauty in cityscapes can be just as entrancing as beauty in nature; it is all in the eye of the beholder. Anyone who has ever taken in the Chicago or New York City skyline might agree that there is something transcendent, like an organized chaos in that steel and stone, that gives a person a newfound perspective. The skyline of St. Paul has such an effect on those who have yet to witness it from the right vantage.

St. Paul is not all just buildings and bustle. It is a city of vast diversity, all easily understood in the array of food, art, and entertainment found throughout. Can Can Wonderland is where all adventures into St. Paul must begin, a fun and whimsical play place that families will love. Then, check out the art installation beloved by locals known as “Everyday Poems for City Walks”.


Minnesota is not often on travelers’ destination bucket-lists, however, it is certainly worth taking a trip and spending time to explore. It does not matter which city visitors choose or the time of year, as Minnesota has attractions for all. Be sure to plan a road trip, a summer getaway, or a romantic weekend for an awesome adventure!

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