More than 11,000 lakes, majestic forests, romantic cities, and arctic winters define the US state of Minnesota. The "North Star State" invites you on a journey you won't forget. Let’s go!

Minnesota: A variety of lakes

Minnesota is nicknamed "The Land of 10,000 Lakes" for a reason. With its 18,981 km² of water surface, the cool northern state has made it into the top 10 most water-rich US states. Even the legendary Mississippi River has its source here. City life is also really impressive in Minnesota, for example, in the vibrant metropolis of Minneapolis or the Victorian-style Saint Paul.

Minnesota facts

Capital Saint Paul
Area 225,171 km²
Population about 5.6 million
Location North of the USA
Nickname The North Star State, The Gopher State
State animal Common loon
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)

Minnesota: location & population

Minnesota is located on the Canadian border and is, after Alaska, the northernmost state in the USA. Besides the long "North Shore" coastline on the large Lake Superior, which forms the border with Michigan, Minnesota neighbors Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

More than any other US state, Minnesota is known for educated, polite, and politically engaged citizens. Approximately 96% of Minnesota residents are American citizens, and about 9% were born outside the United States.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are home to the largest Hmong and Somali groups in the United States. In addition, a large percentage of "Minnesotans" are of Scandinavian, German, and Mexican descent.

The biggest cities in Minnesota

Although Minnesota is best known for lakes and forests, it is also home to the legendary "Twin Cities," one of the most economically developed areas in the United States. The largest cities in Minnesota include:

City Population
Minneapolis 430,000
Saint Paul 308,000
Rochester 119,000
Duluth 86,000
Bloomington 83,000

Climate and nature in Minnesota

The US state of Minnesota has a continental climate. The northeast is sheltered from excessive heat and cold, thanks to Lake Superior. However, in the rest of the state, you can expect hot summers and polar winters with blizzards and severe subzero temperatures.

There is often a spectacular 60-degree temperature difference between winter and summer. In winter, all lakes are usually frozen over. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota was -51 °C.

March through November is tornado season in Minnesota, as the southern part of the "North Star State" is part of the Tornado Alley area. As a result, more than 300 shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Lake Superior.

Much of the state consists of stretched plains with lots of farmland, but there are rocky ridges, deep rivers, and dense forests in the north and southeast. Here you'll encounter wolves, black bears, and moose, among others. You can also observe the bald eagle in Minnesota.

Best time to visit Minnesota

The best time to travel to the US state of Minnesota is in the summer because the warm months are lovely here. Thanks to the northern location, the summers are hot but not as unbearable as in the southern states.

Minnesota in summer

Hiking, camping, boating, and horseback riding are magical in mid-summer Minnesota. Plus, the Minnesota State Fair attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year from late August to early September. Good to know: Southern Minnesota, in particular, has an increased risk of tornadoes between June and July. However, residents are very well prepared for the annual tornado season.

Minnesota in winter

Minnesota winters are a magical sight, but they're also terrifyingly cold. If you love snow and ice, you might glide through the icy landscape on a dog sled or snowmobile, marvel at frozen waterfalls, or join the locals and their pick-up trucks on a lake for some ice fishing.

How to get to Minnesota

On the way to Minnesota, you have to expect at least one stopover. From Europe, you will travel between 11 and 18 hours and usually pay between €500 and €700 for your flight. Travelers from Africa, Asia, and Australia need between 15 and 30 hours for their journey.

The main airports in Minnesota are:

  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
  • Rochester International Airport
  • Duluth International Airport

The cheapest flights usually land in Minneapolis, and are operated by airlines such as American Airlines, Air France, Aer Lingus, Delta, KLM, and United.

Minnesota entry permit

Are you coming to Minnesota without a Green Card? Then you need an ESTA travel authorization or a US visa for your trip - unless you are a US citizen.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Minnesota airport transfer

Once you land in Minneapolis, you will need a transfer to your first accommodation in Minnesota. Here are your options:


It is best to calculate the price of your cab ride in advance using a cab calculator (e.g., a smartphone app). If the route is too far and therefore too expensive, you can also use the cab alternatives of Lyft and Uber at the airport in Minneapolis.

Shuttle bus

At the Transit Center in terminal 1, you can get tickets for the offered airport shuttles, which will take you in all directions in shared buses or also as charters. Buses depart from the silver ramp on level 1 of the Transit Center.

Public Transportation

In Minneapolis, you can take MetroTransit's Blue Line (light rail) streetcars into town. The Blue Line starts at terminal 1, and a ticket costs between $2.50 and $3.50 (depending on travel time).

Other options

Are you getting picked up by someone at the airport? There is a free parking lot for this with 39 spaces on Post Road, about halfway between the terminals. Just ask your pick-up to wait there for your call and then drive up.

National parks und State Parks in Minnesota

The "North Star State" has one national park, 66 state parks, 57 state forests and numerous nature reserves and monuments. Here are the most beautiful places in Minnesota:

Voyageurs National Park

Be it a canoe paddle tour or a historical guided tour through the Ojibwa Camp and the Ethno-Botanical Garden: Voyageurs National Park offers you pure excitement and real relaxation on water and on land. Lush forests, fabulous hiking trails and plenty of wildlife await your discovery. Tip: Take a cruise on Rainy Lake and stay in a lakeside cabin. Also, don't forget the bug spray, because the beasts bite like crazy!

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore is home to several impressive waterfalls. The recreation area in the town of Two Harbors invites you to hike on great loop trails that also take you to the shores of the great Lake Superior. If you're here in the summer, bring a swimsuit! In winter you can admire the frozen waterfalls.

Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park is located on Route 61 directly on the north shore of Lake Superior. The drive alone is breathtakingly beautiful. In the park, you'll find great hiking trails with viewpoints as well as camping and swimming areas. Don't miss the climb to Shovel Point and a side trip to the rushing High Falls. When it rains, the trails can get slippery, so bring sturdy shoes.

Jay Cooke State Park

For extensive wilderness camping and hiking, Jay Cooke State Park is just perfect with its forests, rocks, and whitewater. It's also easy to get around by bike. A highlight for visitors with a head for heights is the swinging suspension bridge. In this wilderness, you can meet black bears, beavers, and porcupines.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Breathtaking views await you at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on Route 61 along the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior. Take an extensive walk along Pebble Beach and discover the mysterious lighthouse on its jagged rock. The park is also a wonderful place to camp and has beautiful hiking trails.

Top 10 sightseeing highlights in Minnesota

The following places in Minnesota are must-sees and should be on your travel list:

  • North Shore Scenic Drive
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • Minnehaha Park und Minnehaha Falls
  • Superior National Forest
  • North Shore Scenic Drive
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Walker Art Center
  • Voyageurs National Park
  • Tettegouche State Park
  • Mall of America

Minnesota city trips

In urban Minnesota, almost everything revolves around the Twin Cities, whose metropolitan region includes surrounding communities and townships.

City highlights Minneapolis

Minneapolis is often referred to as a small version of New York City. This is because of the skyscrapers and the abundance of art, culture, and special architecture. For example, you can explore the city by walking on the 11-kilometer-long Skywalk - a completely glassed-in bridge. In the summer, activities shift outdoors. Minneapolis is also known as the "City of Lakes" because there are 22 of them within the city limits.

These are the places you should see in Minneapolis:

  • Minnehaha Park + Minnehaha Falls
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
  • Mall of America
  • Walker Art Center

City highlights Saint Paul

The capital city of Saint Paul is a popular photo motif, mainly because of its many Victorian houses. As part of the Twin Cities, this romantic beauty is also an important economic center for the Midwest. Visitors especially enjoy walks along the banks of the Mississippi River and the vast array of shopping and museums. These are the things you shouldn't miss in Saint Paul:

  • Minnesota State Fair
  • Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Cathedral of Saint Paul
  • Minnesota History Center
  • Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Road trip in Minnesota

The road is calling! Especially Route 61 along Minnesota's North Shore. Sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views along the shores of Lake Superior.

In the “North Star State”, though, it doesn't matter where you go because chances for boating, swimming, sailing, fishing, and hiking through forests and grasslands or along marshes, rivers, and lakes are almost everywhere.

If you venture into the southern backcountry, head to Forestville State Park and visit Mystery Cave with its bizarre stalactite formations and underground pools.

In the north, you'll find the Chippewa National Forest, Superior National Forest, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with its thousand lakes over an area of 4,000 km².

Instagram hotspots in Minnesota

You have to show this beautiful state to your friends!

Here are our top 5 Instagram hotspots in Minnesota:

  • Minnehaha Falls
  • Bob Dylan Mural, Minneapols
  • Split Rock Lighthouse
  • Saint Paul
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Food highlights in Minnesota

Unlike many other US states, you're dealing with a bit of culinary blandness in Minnesota. There are lots of casseroles, often potatoes, and lots of meat.

Try the following dishes when in Minnesota:

  • Tater tot hotdish - Casserole with croquettes, minced meat, and (canned) vegetables
  • Lefse - Norwegian flatbread made from potatoes and flour
  • Venison - Elk or deer meat
  • Booya - Stew of meat broth and vegetables
  • Wild rice soup - Wild rice soup with meat broth, onions, carrots, and celery
  • Jell-O Salad - Salad of flavored gelatin and fruit or vegetables
  • Iron Range Porketta - Sandwich of roast pork and fennel

Minnesota fun facts

Want to entertain your travel companion with useless knowledge? Then remember these fun facts about Minnesota:

  • The giant Mall of America in Minneapolis is home to an entire amusement park.
  • Minnesota is home to more than three million cows.
  • Thanks to the sea, lakes, and rivers, Minnesota has more coastline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined.
  • Austin in southern Minnesota is home to the Spam Museum, which calls itself "the world's most comprehensive collection of seasoned pork artifacts."
  • The Devil's Kettle is a hole in a rock near Route 61 that swallows vast amounts of water from the Brule River every day. To this day, no one has figured out where the water goes.
  • The nickname "The Gopher State" came from the gopher, which is common in Minnesota. The hungry rodents lie in wait for you in many US states and want you to feed them (which you really shouldn't do).

Moving nach Minnesota

It's just so beautiful here in Minnesota! You might not even want to go back home. No problem, grab your Green Card and get ready for your new life in the USA:

Working in Minnesota

There is always a demand for managers, nurses, drivers, and salespeople. Compared to other states, however, Minnesota also has an unusually high number of employees in the biomedical sector and the manufacturing of transportation equipment, paper and pulp products, and pet food.

The most substantial economic region around the "Twin Cities" of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is home to many large companies such as Best Buy, General Mills, Target, and Land 'o Lakes.

Major industries throughout the state include health care, technology, finance and insurance, printing and publishing, food production, and iron oxide mining (where very good money can be made).

Living in Minnesota

Minnesota is considered one of the healthiest and most peaceful states in the USA, with an outstanding education.

About 60% of the people here live in the "Twin Cities," which is why the cost of living in both cities is also relatively high. However, Minnesota is still significantly cheaper than, for example, New York or California.

Since one of the most significant advantages to living in Minnesota is the great outdoors, many workers commute to the cities from their green and affordable homes, which takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

Sales tax is relatively high in Minnesota at 6.87%. However, no taxes are paid on shoes and clothing.

Minnesotans make the best of harsh winters - they are extremely well prepared for all weather conditions.

Coming to Minnesota with a Green Card

If you want to stay in the USA for a longer time, you need to get a Green Card. As a Permanent Resident, you can stay in the US as often and as long as you want.

The fastest way to get a Green Card is through the Green Card Lottery, in which the US government draws 55,000 immigrant visas every year.

Green Card CheckAre you eligible?