12 Fun Facts Everyone Should Know About Minnesota

Written by Clemence-Maureen Feniou
Updated: October 20, 2023
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Nestled in the northern reaches of the United States, Minnesota, or the North Star State, it boasts a unique blend of stunning natural beauty and vibrant urban centers. From the skyscrapers of Minneapolis to the tranquil shores of its countless lakes, Minnesota offers everything residents and visitors might want! Let’s discover some fun facts about Minnesota!

1. Minnesota Is the Land of the 10,00 Lakes!

Minnesota, Lake Superior, Landscape - Scenery, USA, Cloud - Sky

Minnesota is the third state with the most lakes, behind Alaska and Wisconsin.

©iStock.com/Susan Rydberg

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota boasts 11,842 lakes. Its nickname, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is well-deserved.

Each of these lakes covers at least ten acres in size. They are prime areas for outdoor recreation and water-based activities. It is ideal for boating, canoeing, kayaking, and even paddle boarding! Locals and tourists can also enjoy a refreshing swim in the lakes and sunbathe on the shores. In the winter, Minnesota lakes are ideal for ice fishing and cold-weather sports.

Outside of their recreational purposes, they also play a crucial role in the state’s ecosystem, providing habitat for diverse wildlife. Plus, they support the local economy, especially in the summer!

2. It Is the Largest Sugar Beet Producer in the United States

Red Veined Leaves

Sugar beet production in Minnesota primarily increased in the 1990s and 2000s.

©taratata/iStock via Getty Images

The United States is one of the largest sugar beet producers in the world. Within the country, Minnesota is the state producing the most of it. Specifically, the Red River Valley in western Minnesota is particularly fertile for sugar beets.

On the western border of the state with North Dakota, Moorhead boasts a large sugar beet processing facility. Sugar beets are a crucial crop for sugar production and contribute to the state’s agricultural economy and support many local farmers.

When visiting western Minnesota, you can see vast fields of sugar beets stretching across the landscape, particularly during the growing season (in the summer months).

3. It Is Home to the “Twin Cities”

Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota at night time

According to the 2020 U.S. census, Minneapolis and St. Paul have together 741,481 inhabitants.

©AndreyKrav/iStock via Getty Images

The “Twin Cities” refer to the neighboring cities Minneapolis and St. Paul. Both are cultural, economic, and political hubs in Minnesota. Minneapolis is famous for its modern skyline and cultural institutions like the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

St. Paul, Minnesota’s capital, is more of a residential city. This historic city, with the Cathedral of Saint Paul, boasts charming neighborhoods.

The Mississippi River runs through both cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul residents can enjoy the river’s outdoor and recreational opportunities. In addition, the “Twin Cities” also provide diverse activities, from a Minnesota Wild hockey game in St. Paul to a Broadway show at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

4. The State of Minnesota Is Home to Legendary Musicians

Bob Dylan, Mick Taylor and Santana on a stage while performing music

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in 2016 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

©Heinrich Klaffs / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

The state has a rich musical heritage and produced some of the world’s most iconic and influential musicians. Prince, born in Minneapolis, left an indelible mark on the music industry. Bob Dylan, another Minnesota native born in Duluth, is one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters in history. In 2016, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Other artists like Judy Garland, The Replacements, and, more recently, Lizzo.

5. It Is the Birthplace of Rollerblading!

Wheels of roller skates

Rollerblading is an activity enjoyed by kids and adults.

©Azaliya/iStock via Getty Images

In the early 1980s, Minnesotan Scott Olson, an avid hockey player, developed the first rollerblades (or inline skates) by attaching wheels to a pair of hockey boots. This invention became one of the most iconic products in the 20th century, the rollerblade. The product soon became extremely popular in Minnesota and quickly throughout the country and the world. Rollerblading became a fun and unique way to do some recreational and outdoor activities!

Next time you are rollerblading, remember they come from Minnesota!

6. Minnesota Is Famous for Its Ice Cream

Colorful ice cream cones of different flavors. Melting scoops. Top view,  steel metal backgroun

Dairy Queens and Kemps are local favorites in Minnesota.

©Foxys_forest_manufacture/iStock via Getty Images

If Le Mars, IA, claims the title of “Ice Cream Capital of the World,” Minnesota is also famous for its ice cream. The company Dairy Queen was founded in 1940, with its current headquarters in Bloomington, MN. Renowned for its soft-serve ice cream and iconic Blizzard treats. It is now a beloved part of Minnesota’s food culture.

Kemps, based in St. Paul, MN, is beloved by ice cream enthusiasts for its ice cream, sweet treats, and dairy products.

7. Minnesota Has a Rich Scandinavian Heritage

Scandinavian flags

Approximately 1.5 million inhabitants in Minnesota (around 26% of the population) claim to have Scandinavian heritage.

©crispypictures/iStock via Getty Images

Minnesota is home to a sizeable Scandinavian heritage and boasts a significant population of people of Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish descent. This heritage is reflected in Minnesota’s culture, cuisine, crafts, and traditions.

Minnesota shares this Scandinavian heritage with its southern neighbor, Iowa. Yearly, the Nordic Fest in Decorah, IA, attracts thousands of visitors from both states.

8. Minnesota’s State Bird Is the Common Loon

Baby Common Loon (Gavia immer) riding on mother’s back

The common loon is native to Canada and the northern United States.

©BRIAN LASENBY/iStock via Getty Images

Minnesota’s state bird is the common loon, also called the northern great diver. It is famous for its striking black-and-white plumage and its eerie calls. These birds thrive in clean, freshwater environments and are often seen on the state’s lakes, particularly in the northern regions. The loon is frequently featured in the state’s culture.

Additionally, the loon is not an endangered species, but its population in Minnesota is closely monitored for conservation purposes.

9. It Is the Birthplace of the Mall of America

view of the theme park inside Mall of America

The Mall of America welcomes over 40 million visitors a year.

©Runner1928 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Opened in 1992, the Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States and the 11th largest worldwide. This massive complex in Bloomington covers over 5.6 million square feet of space. It features over 500 stores, an indoor Nickelodeon Universe theme park, a SEA LIFE aquarium, and even a mini golf course!

Even just a shopping center, millions of visitors come to the Mall of America every year. It welcomes almost five times more visitors than the Magic Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World! Even regular customers might never entirely visit the Mall of America. If you spend only ten minutes in each store, seeing them all will take 86 hours!

10. Minnesota Boasts Large Wilderness Areas

Red canoe on rocky shore of calm northern lake

The Boundary Waters Canoa Area Wilderness is a haven for any outdoor enthusiasts.

©Willard/iStock via Getty Images

In northern Minnesota, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a hidden and natural gem. This wilderness area, covering over a million acres and containing over a thousand lakes and streams, attracts outdoor enthusiasts from the entire state and beyond. It is a haven for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and camping.

Plus, it is also a sanctuary for wildlife with a large population of bald eagles, moose, and wolves. It is the perfect place to watch these stunning animals in their natural habitat.

The BWCAW has strict regulations, aiming to preserve its natural splendor and ensure that it remains a wilderness experience for future generations.

Rides at the Minneapolis state Fair

The Minnesota State Fair often welcomes over one million visitors.

©lavin photography/iStock via Getty Images

Minnesota is home to one of the most popular state fairs in the country. Happening in late August, it attracts millions of visitors. The state fair features agricultural displays, entertainment, live music, and a wide range of competitions, from butter sculpting to giant pumpkin growing. It is also famous for its food offerings, from deep-fried candy bars to cheese curds. It is a culinary adventure in itself.

12. Winters Are Harsh in Minnesota

stone arch bridge minneapolis minnesota landmark at blue hour

On February 2, 1996, the lowest temperature for Minnesota was recorded at -60 Fahrenheit in the city of Tower.

©lavin photography/iStock via Getty Images

In the winter, Minnesota often experiences freezing temperatures, heavy snowfalls, and icy conditions. The city of International Falls earned the nickname “Icebox of the Nation” due to its extremely cold temperatures during the winter months. International Falls boasts the lowest average winter temperature in the country, between 32 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit (0 and 2 degrees Celsius).

In 2002, International Falls took Fraser, CO, to court to settle who could claim the “Icebox of the Nation” title after decades of disagreements. International Falls won and now celebrates keeping its moniker with the annual four-day Icebox Days festival. It features events such as candlelit skiing, frozen turkey bowling, and snow sculpting.

Minnesotans embrace the harsh winters and have mastered the art of winter sports, including ice skating, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. They celebrate the season with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, featuring ice sculptures and other frozen delights. Minnesotans can also participate in the annual polar plunge and warm up with a hot dish, a local casserole specialty.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © CK Foto/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Clémence-Maureen is a writer at A-Z animals primarily covering geography, locations and travel. She holds a Master of Science in Journalism from the University of Southern California, which she earned in 2023. A resident of Hawai'i, Clémence-Maureen enjoys hiking, surfind and volunteering in taro farms.

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