Main St, Wabasha, Minnesota. Image credit McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

8 Friendliest Towns to Visit in Minnesota in 2024

Minnesota, a Midwestern state in the U.S., is known for having some of the friendliest towns worth exploring or taking a trip to for 2024. With many thriving commercial locales and natural or historical landmarks to appeal to newcomers, the state always expects welcoming vibes to be around for those coming from out of the state. These towns are the best options for any traveler needing to make new friends and enjoy scenic views this year!

New Ulm

Schells Hobo band in Bavarian Blast Parade in New Ulm, Minnesota
Schells Hobo band in Bavarian Blast Parade in New Ulm, Minnesota. Image credit Michele M Vogel via Shutterstock

A popular tourist town with 13,946 inhabitants, New Ulm is great for friendliness and welcoming vibes in 2024. Flandrau State Park is a good choice for those who want to strike up a conversation with others while taking in summer seasons and southwestern marsh sights. At the Hermann Monument Society, travelers can expect to find friendly historical tours related to German history and Roman rule. At Brown County Historical Society, visitors will always be greeted at the entrance by tour guides who love to talk about community engagement and the most interesting aspects of antique furniture and local history.

German Park has natural splendors near downtown New Ulm with lovely views of the Minnesota River Valley, fountain solitude, and family-friendly playground areas that are meant to bring locals and visitors together. For a laidback and friendly itinerary around wineries, the Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery offer local artisan wine tasting and European influence within a comfortable atmosphere surrounded by some of the happiest and most charming locals. It is also hosting "Open House" events during the summer and winter seasons for 2024!


Downtown Walker, Minnesota.
Downtown Walker, Minnesota. Image credit: Bjoertvedt via Wikimedia Commons.

A small town of 1,001 residents, Walker is known for its natural landmarks and friendly folks. Leech Lake is a hotspot for local fishing history, friendly hikers, and entertaining annual bike riding events, making this a wonderful option for 2024! Northern Light Casino makes everyone feel at home while enjoying nightlife vibrance and evening thrills for adult tourists who like lounging around and taking part in lakeside gatherings with friendly locals. The locale is hosting a few entertainment events for 2024, like "Larry the Cable Guy" showings and celebrity visits by country singer Gary Allan!

Over at Tianna Country Club, one can join fellow golfers in fun sports activities and golf lessons around emerald fairways and pleasant open plains. Hungry visitors can check out The Piggy BBQ, a top-notch locale for prime ribs with awesome patio hangout spots for newcomers who like to feel included around a cozy campfire! For those who prefer more casual eateries and warm smiles, Jimmy's Family Restaurant has comfort foods for both breakfast and lunch sessions.


Houseboats along the Mississppi River in Winona, Minnesota.
Houseboats along the Mississppi River in Winona, Minnesota.

Winona is a small town of 25,698 locals who love welcoming newcomers and are quite friendly overall. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum has both generous tours and artistic splendors packed into one estate right along the banks of the Mississippi River; the museum is also hosting events for 2024, such as cultural enrichment programs in early July, and oil painting workshops throughout the rest of the month! The Kashibian Cultural Institute & Polish Museum is also around for history buffs who want a mix of cultural Polish heritage and hospitable tours of immigration sites from the past.

St. Stanislaus Basilica is a historic church that doubles as a welcoming landmark for all who are new to town in 2024, with its Polish architecture and warming parish community that always loves to shake hands and talk about what is new in town! For fans of taproom conversations and social outings, Island City Brewing Company has the finest craft beers and the coolest locals around to satisfy everyone's extroverted side this year. For hikers needing fresh air, Sugar Loaf Bluff has limestone beauty and 19th-century walkways with friendly residents always happy to lend wisdom about the rocky landmark.


The Center Building at Minnetrista, with Catalyst outdoor sculpture.
The Center Building at Minnetrista, with Catalyst outdoor sculpture.

A quaint town of 9,007 residents, Minnetrista is no stranger to friendliness and is worth exploring in 2024. Minnetonka Orchards is usually a frequented stop with its special handmade donuts, charming apple farm exposure, and mini-tractor rides for children and adults alike; it is also the best spot in town for any traveling couples searching for a wedding venue this year! Gale Woods Farm is another rural option with its stunning pastures and friendly guided tours of Whaletail Lake gardens. The farm is hosting some events this year, like "Mini-Golf Lessons" for kids in late June, and watercolor painting and stand-up comedy sessions during July!

At Big Stone Mini Golf, locals love to show newcomers around with fun lessons about golfing, and is a great locale for sculpture enthusiasts and animal lovers as well! Park lovers may enjoy Lake Minnetonka Regional Park for its nautical theme parks, sandy swimming ponds, and happy locals who enjoy meeting new people. Those with a hungry stomach can enjoy Hash House, a nice eatery for the best egg breakfast meals and friendly brunch meets!

Grand Marais

The US Coast Guard Station on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
The US Coast Guard Station on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Grand Marais, located on Lake Superior's North Shore, is home to 1,360 locals and is a good destination for any itinerary in 2024. The Grand Marais Lighthouse is a popular breakwater shore stop with 19th-century architecture and treasured harbor viewpoints that can be toured with the help of friendly hosts. The Betsy Bowen Gallery is a wonderful option for rare studio findings and some of the most extravagant home decor ideas brought to life by friendly owners!

At North House Folk School, one can take on social northern craft lessons and summer programs to help bring out the best of traditional harbor heritage. The school is hosting welcoming events in 2024, like "Unplugged" Party tours in September and "Basket Week" gatherings in October! The Sisu and Loyly Nordic Sauna is an easy motivator for travelers who need to relax while enjoying downtown East Bay splendors and friendly locals around a serene bonfire pit! Even more friendliness can be found at Joy & Company, a local antique shop with unique handmade creations that are sold by joyful vendors.


View of downtown Lanesboro, Minnesota during the festive Chritmas season.
View of downtown Lanesboro, Minnesota during the festive Chritmas season. Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators /

A small town of 710 residents, Lanesboro is equal parts friendly and attractive for tourism. Sylvan Park Campground is known for its beautiful trout ponds and bluff viewpoints, as well as happy campers and hikers around who always say hello! Nature enthusiasts may also find some enjoyment at Big Springs Farm Pumpkins & Corn Maze, a social-oriented locale with the coolest pumpkin farms and thrilling maze games to satisfy travelers visiting this town in 2024.

At Commonweal Theatre Company, friendly and welcoming vibes are expected as newcomers experience local artistry events and live performances in a suburban theme. The theatre is hosting some entertainment shows during mid-July and later in the winter months, such as "Rumors" and "Miss Bennet" Christmas shows! Pedal Pushers Cafe is a great stop for those who like colorful murals, outgoing locals, and the best sandwiches and hamburgers around! For anyone with a sweet tooth, Another Time Ice Cream and Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe have the trendiest caramel espresso treats and pastry delights served by smiling baristas.


Downtown Wabasha, Minnesota.
Downtown Wabasha, Minnesota. Image credit Jon Platek, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wabasha is a town on the Mississippi River with 2,622 inhabitants. The Coffee Mill Ski Area may appeal to anyone in 2024 with its snowy skiing routes, conversational resort owners, and winter thrills. The National Eagle Center has amazing up-close views with eagles provided by friendly locals who enjoy sharing knowledge about the avian species. The landmark is hosting live marine life exhibits and workshops for tourists this year throughout the weekends between July and December! Wabasha Overlook creates a wonderful natural expedition with scenic hiking roads, solitary overlooks, and easygoing residents who always stroll along the landmark each day!

Wabasha Farmers Market is embracing and friendly with its healthy vegetables and heartwarming locals who like to befriend newcomers in town. The Silver Star Saloon and Grill may be a friendly treat for others who prefer saloon meals and vibrant crowds in a musical environment. The Chocolate Escape is yet another locale that could appeal to travelers this year with its laidback and friendly workers who love selling gourmet chocolate candies!


Historic buildings lining the Main street in Pipestone, Minnesota, on a summer afternoon.
Historic buildings lining the Main street in Pipestone, Minnesota, on a summer afternoon.

A friendly small town of 4,119 residents, Pipestone should not be left out on anyone's travel plans for 2024. The Pipestone National Monument is a wondrous stop with its rocky quarry architecture and Indigenous history that also doubles as a popular photography hangout spot for tourists and locals who enjoy Winnewissa Falls exposure! The Pipestone Country Museum offers a more historical perspective with its friendly guided tours of the town's downtown culture and genealogical upbringing since the 18th century. The museum is hosting gaming workshops for kids and a Lutheran cemetery tour during July of this year!

At Pipestone Country Club, residents love to shake hands with guests and treat them to some specially made burgers and custom wine-tasting activities. Bowling fans may get to experience happy locals and family-friendly events at Bole Mor Lanes, a frequented stop for talkative travelers! There is also Pipestone Performing Arts Center, where cultural entertainment and history fuse to create a memorable and lively experience for outsiders. One can find friendly chit-chat at Rico's Tacos, a popular Mexican diner with tasty tacos and family-oriented owners.

In Conclusion

All of these towns demonstrate the best parts of friendliness in Minnesota. With the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" being a key destination in 2024, travelers may find everything in the state to be embracing and fulfilling. This list not only guarantees a checklist of places to see and explore in person but also a fun-filled itinerary for meeting friendly locals and enjoying what makes the state so scenic and social in the Midwest!

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