Minnesota (/ˌmɪnɪˈstə/ (listen)) is a state in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and northern regions of the United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The state has many lakes, and is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North).

State of Minnesota


Land of 10,000 Lakes;
North Star State; The Gopher State; Agate State; True North; State of Hockey.
L'Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)
Anthem: "Hail! Minnesota"
Map of the United States with Minnesota highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodMinnesota Territory
Admitted to the UnionMay 11, 1858 (32nd)
CapitalSaint Paul
Largest cityMinneapolis
Largest metroMinneapolis–Saint Paul
  GovernorTim Walz (DFL)
  Lieutenant GovernorPeggy Flanagan (DFL)
LegislatureMinnesota Legislature
  Upper houseSenate
  Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. senatorsAmy Klobuchar (DFL)
Tina Smith (DFL)
U.S. House delegation5 Democrats
3 Republicans (list)
  Total86,950 sq mi (225,163 km2)
  Land79,610 sq mi (206,375 km2)
  Water7,329 sq mi (18,990 km2)  8.40%
Area rank12th
  Lengthc. 400 mi (c. 640 km)
  Widthc. 200–350 mi (c. 320–560 km)
1,200 ft (370 m)
Highest elevation
(Eagle Mountain[1][2])
2,301 ft (701 m)
Lowest elevation602[3] ft (183 m)
  Density68.9/sq mi (26.6/km2)
  Density rank30th (2015 est.)
  Median household income
$68,388 [5]
  Income rank
  Official languageNone
  Spoken language
Time zoneUTC−06:00 (Central)
  Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-MN
Trad. abbreviationMinn.
Latitude43° 30′ N to 49° 23′ N
Longitude89° 29′ W to 97° 14′ W
Minnesota state symbols
The Flag of Minnesota
The Seal of Minnesota
Living insignia
BirdCommon loon
FlowerPink-and-white lady's slipper
TreeNorway pine[7]
Inanimate insignia
  • Fruit: Honeycrisp apple
  • Muffin: Blueberry
  • Mushroom: Morel
GemstoneLake Superior agate
OtherPhotograph: Grace
State route marker
State quarter
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 22nd most populous of the U.S. states; nearly 55% of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area (known as the "Twin Cities").[8] This area has the largest concentration of transportation, business, industry, education, and government in the state. Urban centers in "Greater Minnesota" include Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester and St. Cloud.[9]

The geography of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed, and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.

Thousands of years before Europeans arrived, Minnesota was inhabited by various indigenous peoples. French explorers, missionaries, and fur traders began exploring the region in the 17th century, encountering the Dakota and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe tribes. Much of what is now Minnesota was part of the vast French holding of Louisiana, which was purchased by the United States in 1803. Following several territorial reorganizations, Minnesota in its current form was admitted as the country's 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Like many Midwestern states, it remained sparsely populated and centered on lumber and agriculture. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, many European immigrants, mainly from Scandinavia and Germany, began to settle the state, which remains a center of Scandinavian American and German American culture.

Minnesota's standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, behind only Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the state is also among the best-educated and wealthiest in the nation.[10] In recent years, its economy has greatly diversified, shifting from traditional activities such as agriculture and resource extraction to services and finance. While Minnesota's population is still largely dominated by Scandinavian- and German-Americans, domestic migration and immigration from Asia, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America have broadened the demographics of the state.


The word Minnesota comes from the Lakota[11] name for the Minnesota River, which got its name from one of two words in Lakota: "mní sóta", which means "clear blue water",[12][13] or "Mníssota", which means "cloudy water".[14][15][16] Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mní sóta.[16] Many places in the state have similar names, such as Minnehaha Falls ("curling water" or waterfall), Minneiska ("white water"), Minneota ("much water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), and Minneapolis, a hybrid word combining Lakota mní ("water") and -polis (Greek for "city").[17]


Scalable map of Minnesota, showing roads and major bodies of water

Minnesota is the second northernmost U.S. state (after Alaska) and northernmost contiguous state. The isolated Northwest Angle in Lake of the Woods county is the only part of the 48 contiguous states north of the 49th parallel. The state is part of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest and part of North America's Great Lakes Region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,180 km2),[18] or approximately 2.25% of the United States,[19] Minnesota is the 12th-largest state.[20]


Tilted beds of the Middle Precambrian Thomson Formation in Jay Cooke State Park[21]

Minnesota has some of the earth's oldest rocks, gneisses that are about 3.6 billion years old (80% as old as the planet).[21][22] About 2.7 billion years ago basaltic lava poured out of cracks in the floor of the primordial ocean; the remains of this volcanic rock formed the Canadian Shield in northeast Minnesota.[21][23] The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Since a period of volcanism 1.1 billion years ago, Minnesota's geological activity has been more subdued, with no volcanism or mountain formation, but with repeated incursions of the sea, which left behind multiple strata of sedimentary rock.[21]

In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the state's landscape and sculpted its terrain.[21] The Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago.[21] These glaciers covered all of Minnesota except the far southeast, an area characterized by steep hills and streams that cut into the bedrock. This area is known as the Driftless Zone for its absence of glacial drift.[24] Much of the remainder of the state has 50 feet (15 m) or more of glacial till left behind as the last glaciers retreated. Gigantic Lake Agassiz formed in the northwest 13,000 years ago. Its bed created the fertile Red River valley, and its outflow, glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River and the Upper Mississippi downstream from Fort Snelling.[21] Minnesota is geologically quiet today; it experiences earthquakes infrequently, most of them minor.[25]

Palisade Head on Lake Superior was formed from a Precambrian rhyolitic lava flow.[21]

The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet (701 m), which is only 13 miles (21 km) away from the low point of 601 feet (183 m) at the shore of Lake Superior.[23][26] Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a gently rolling peneplain.[21]

Two major drainage divides meet in Minnesota's northeast in rural Hibbing, forming a triple watershed. Precipitation can follow the Mississippi River south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Saint Lawrence Seaway east to the Atlantic Ocean, or the Hudson Bay watershed to the Arctic Ocean.[27]

The state's nickname "Land of 10,000 Lakes" is apt, as there are 11,842 Minnesota lakes over 10 acres (4 ha) in size.[28] Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres (389,600 ha; 3,896 km2) and deepest (at 1,290 ft (390 m)) body of water in the state.[28] Minnesota has 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles (111,000 km).[28] The Mississippi River begins its journey from its headwaters at Lake Itasca and crosses the Iowa border 680 miles (1,090 km) downstream.[28] It is joined by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling, by the St. Croix River near Hastings, by the Chippewa River at Wabasha, and by many smaller streams. The Red River, in the bed of glacial Lake Agassiz, drains the northwest part of the state northward toward Canada's Hudson Bay. Approximately 10.6 million acres (4,300,000 ha; 43,000 km2) of wetlands are within Minnesota's borders, the most of any state except Alaska.[29]

Eagle Mountain, the highest natural point in Minnesota at 2,301 feet (701 m), is in the state's northeast.

Flora and fauna

Minnesota has four ecological provinces: prairie parkland, in the southwestern and western parts of the state; the eastern broadleaf forest (Big Woods) in the southeast, extending in a narrowing strip to the state's northwestern part, where it transitions into tallgrass aspen parkland; and the northern Laurentian mixed forest, a transitional forest between the northern boreal forest and the broadleaf forests to the south.[30] These northern forests are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce trees mixed with patchy stands of birch and poplar.

Much of Minnesota's northern forest has undergone logging, leaving only a few patches of old growth forest today in areas such as in the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest, where the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has some 400,000 acres (162,000 ha) of unlogged land.[31] Although logging continues, regrowth and replanting keep about a third of the state forested.[32] Nearly all Minnesota's prairies and oak savannas have been fragmented by farming, grazing, logging, and suburban development.[33]

While loss of habitat has affected native animals such as the pine marten, elk, woodland caribou, and bison,[34] others like whitetail deer and bobcat thrive. Minnesota has the nation's largest population of timber wolves outside Alaska,[35] and supports healthy populations of black bears, moose, and gophers. Located on the Mississippi Flyway, Minnesota hosts migratory waterfowl such as geese and ducks, and game birds such as grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. It is home to birds of prey, including the largest number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states as of 2007,[36] red-tailed hawks, and snowy owls. Hawk Ridge is one of the premier bird watching sites in North America. The lakes teem with sport fish such as walleye, bass, muskellunge, and northern pike, and brook, brown, and rainbow trout populate streams in the southeast and northeast.


Minnesota experiences temperature extremes characteristic of its continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The lowest temperature recorded was −60 °F (−51 °C) at Tower on February 2, 1996, and the highest was 114 °F (46 °C) at Moorhead on July 6, 1936.[37] Meteorological events include rain, snow, blizzards, thunderstorms, hail, derechos, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds. The growing season varies from 90 days in the Iron Range to 160 days in southeast Minnesota near the Mississippi River, and average temperatures range from 37 to 49 °F (3 to 9 °C).[38] Average summer dewpoints range from about 58 °F (14 °C) in the south to about 48 °F (9 °C) in the north.[38][39] Average annual precipitation ranges from 19 to 35 inches (48 to 89 cm), and droughts occur every 10 to 50 years.[38]

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Minnesota[40]
Location July (°F) July (°C) January (°F) January (°C)
Saint Paul83/6328/1723/6−5/−14
St. Cloud81/5827/1418/−1−7/−18
International Falls77/5225/1115/−6−9/−21

Protected lands

Pose Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Minnesota's first state park, Itasca State Park, was established in 1891, and is the source of the Mississippi River.[41] Today Minnesota has 72 state parks and recreation areas, 58 state forests covering about four million acres (16,000 km2), and numerous state wildlife preserves, all managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Chippewa and Superior national forests comprise 5.5 million acres (22,000 km2). The Superior National Forest in the northeast contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which encompasses over a million acres (4,000 km2) and a thousand lakes. To its west is Voyageurs National Park. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) is a 72-mile-long (116 km) corridor along the Mississippi River through the Minneapolis–St. Paul Metropolitan Area connecting a variety of sites of historic, cultural, and geologic interest.[42]


Map of Minnesota Territory 1849–1858

Before European settlement of North America, a subculture of Sioux called the Dakota people lived in Minnesota. As Europeans settled the east coast, Native Americans moved away from them, causing migration of the Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe) and other Native Americans into the Minnesota area. The first Europeans in the area were French voyageur fur traders who arrived in the 17th century and began using the Grand Portage to access trapping and trading areas further inland. Late that century, Anishinaabe migrated westward to Minnesota, causing tensions with the Dakota people.[43] Explorers such as Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, Father Louis Hennepin, Jonathan Carver, Henry Schoolcraft, and Joseph Nicollet mapped the state.

The region was part of Spanish Louisiana from 1762 to 1802.[44][45] The portion of the state east of the Mississippi River became part of the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War, when the Second Treaty of Paris was signed. Land west of the Mississippi was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase, though part of the Red River Valley was disputed until the Treaty of 1818.[46] By the late 1700s, the North West Company had established the post of Fort Charlotte at the Lake Superior end of the Grand Portage. It moved 50 miles northeast to Fort William in 1803.[47] In 1805 Zebulon Pike bargained with Native Americans to acquire land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The construction of Fort Snelling followed between 1819 and 1825.[48] Its soldiers built a grist mill and a sawmill at Saint Anthony Falls, the first of the water-powered industries around which the city of Minneapolis later grew. Meanwhile, squatters, government officials, and sight-seers had settled near the fort. In 1839 the army forced them to move downriver and they settled in the area that became St. Paul.[49] Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3, 1849. The first territorial legislature (held September 2, 1849)[50] was dominated by men from New England or of New England ancestry.[51] Thousands of people had come to build farms and cut timber, and Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858. The founding population was so overwhelmingly of New England origins that the state was dubbed "the New England of the West".[52][53][54][55]

Settlers escaping the Dakota War of 1862

Treaties between European settlers and the Dakota and Ojibwe gradually forced the natives off their lands and onto smaller reservations. In 1861 residents of Mankato formed the Knights of the Forest, with a goal of eliminating all Native Americans from Minnesota. As conditions deteriorated for the Dakota, tensions rose, leading to the Dakota War of 1862.[56] The six-week war ended with the execution of 38 Dakota and the exile of most of the rest to the Crow Creek Reservation in Dakota Territory.[46] As many as 800 white settlers died during the war.[57]

Logging and farming were mainstays of Minnesota's early economy. The sawmills at Saint Anthony Falls and logging centers like Pine City, Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, and Winona processed high volumes of lumber. These cities were on rivers that were ideal for transportation.[46] Saint Anthony Falls was later tapped to provide power for flour mills. Innovations by Minneapolis millers led to the production of Minnesota "patent" flour, which commanded almost double the price of "bakers'" or "clear" flour, which it replaced.[58] By 1900 Minnesota mills, led by Pillsbury, Northwestern and the Washburn-Crosby Company (a forerunner of General Mills), were grinding 14.1 percent of the nation's grain.[59]

Phelps Mill in Otter Tail County

The state's iron-mining industry was established with the discovery of iron in the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range in the 1880s, and in the Cuyuna Range in the early 20th century. The ore was shipped by rail to Duluth and Two Harbors, then loaded onto ships and transported eastward over the Great Lakes.[46]

Industrial development and the rise of manufacturing caused the population to shift gradually from rural areas to cities during the early 20th century. Nevertheless, farming remained prevalent. Minnesota's economy was hit hard by the Great Depression, resulting in lower prices for farmers, layoffs among iron miners, and labor unrest. Compounding the adversity, western Minnesota and the Dakotas were hit by drought from 1931 to 1935. New Deal programs provided some economic turnaround. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs around the state established some jobs for Indians on their reservations, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 provided the tribes with a mechanism of self-government. This gave Natives a greater voice within the state, and promoted more respect for tribal customs because religious ceremonies and native languages were no longer suppressed.[48]

After World War II, industrial development quickened. New technology increased farm productivity through automation of feedlots for hogs and cattle, machine milking at dairy farms, and raising chickens in large buildings. Planting became more specialized with hybridization of corn and wheat, and farm machinery such as tractors and combines became the norm. University of Minnesota professor Norman Borlaug contributed to these developments as part of the Green Revolution.[48] Suburban development accelerated due to increased postwar housing demand and convenient transportation. Increased mobility in turn enabled more specialized jobs.[48]

Minnesota became a center of technology after World War II. Engineering Research Associates was formed in 1946 to develop computers for the United States Navy. It later merged with Remington Rand, and then became Sperry Rand. William Norris left Sperry in 1957 to form Control Data Corporation (CDC).[60] Cray Research was formed when Seymour Cray left CDC to form his own company. Medical device maker Medtronic also started business in the Twin Cities in 1949.

Cities and towns

National Farmers Bank in Owatonna by Louis Sullivan

Saint Paul, in east-central Minnesota along the banks of the Mississippi River, has been Minnesota's capital city since 1849, first as capital of the Territory of Minnesota, and then as the state capital since 1858.

Saint Paul is adjacent to Minnesota's most populous city, Minneapolis; they and their suburbs are collectively known as the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the country's 16th-largest metropolitan area and home to about 55 percent of the state's population.[61] The remainder of the state is known as "Greater Minnesota" or "Outstate Minnesota".[62]

The state has 17 cities with populations above 50,000 as of the 2010 census. In descending order of population, they are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Saint Cloud, Woodbury, Eagan, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Blaine, and Lakeville.[63] Of these only Rochester, Duluth, and Saint Cloud are outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Minnesota's population continues to grow, primarily in the urban centers. The populations of metropolitan Sherburne and Scott counties doubled between 1980 and 2000, while 40 of the state's 87 counties lost residents over the same period.[64]



Minnesota's population distribution

From fewer than 6,120 white settlers in 1850, Minnesota's official population grew to over 1.7 million by 1900. Each of the next six decades saw a 15 percent increase in population, reaching 3.4 million in 1960. Growth then slowed, rising 11 percent to 3.8 million in 1970, and an average of 9 percent over the next three decades to 4.9 million in the 2000 Census.[64]

The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of Minnesota was 5,639,632 on July 1, 2019, a 6.33 percent increase since the 2010 United States Census.[4] The rate of population change, and age and gender distributions, approximate the national average. Minnesota's center of population is in Hennepin County.[65]

As of the 2010 Census Minnesota's population was 5,303,925. The gender makeup of the state was 49.6% male and 50.4% female. 24.2% of the population was under the age of 18; 9.5% between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% from 25 to 44; 27.1% from 45 to 64; and 12.9% 65 or older.[66]

The table below shows the racial composition of Minnesota's population as of 2017.

Racial composition of the population of Minnesota[67]
RacePopulation (2017 est.)Percentage
Total population5,576,606100%
Black or African American365,2255.7%
American Indian and Alaska Native75,4021.0%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander3,9700.0%
Some other race88,2961.6%
Two or more races139,1512.7%

According to the 2017 American Community Survey, 5.1% of Minnesota's population were of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican (3.5%), Puerto Rican (0.2%), Cuban (0.1%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (1.2%).[68] The ancestry groups claimed by more than five percent of the population were: German (33.8%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.5%), Swedish (8.1%), and English (5.4%).[69]

In 2011 non-Hispanic whites were involved in 72.3 percent of all the births.[70] Minnesota's growing minority groups, however, still form a smaller percentage of the population than in the nation as a whole.[71]

Minnesota has the country's largest Somali population,[72] with an estimated 57,000 people, the largest concentration outside of the Horn of Africa.[73]

The French Renaissance style Cathedral of St. Paul in the city of St. Paul


The majority of Minnesotans are Protestants, including a large Lutheran contingent, owing to the state's largely Northern European ethnic makeup. Roman Catholics (of largely German, Irish, French and Slavic descent) make up the largest single Christian denomination. A 2010 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 32 percent of Minnesotans were affiliated with Mainline Protestant traditions, 21 percent were Evangelical Protestants, 28 percent Roman Catholic, 1 percent each Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Black Protestant, and smaller amounts of other faiths, with 13 percent unaffiliated.[74] According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the denominations with the most adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 1,150,367; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 737,537; and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 182,439.[75] This is broadly consistent with the results of the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, which also gives detailed percentages for many individual denominations.[76] The international Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference is headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota.[77] Although Christianity is dominant, Minnesota has a long history with non-Christian faiths. Ashkenazi Jewish pioneers set up Saint Paul's first synagogue in 1856.[78] Minnesota is home to more than 30 mosques, mostly in the Twin Cities metro area.[79] The Temple of ECK, the spiritual home of Eckankar, is based in Minnesota.[80]

Religion in Minnesota (2014)[81]
religion percent
No religion
Other faith
Don't know


Once primarily a producer of raw materials, Minnesota's economy has transformed to emphasize finished products and services. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the economy is its diversity; the relative outputs of its business sectors closely match the United States as a whole.[82] Minnesota's economy had a gross domestic product of $262 billion in 2008,[83] with 33 of the United States' top 1,000 publicly traded companies by revenue headquartered in Minnesota,[84] including Target, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, General Mills, U.S. Bancorp, Ameriprise, Hormel, Land O' Lakes, SuperValu, Best Buy, and Valspar. Private companies based in Minnesota include Cargill, the largest privately owned company in the United States,[85] and Carlson Companies, the parent company of Radisson Hotels.[86]

Minnesota's per capita personal income in 2008 was $42,772, the tenth-highest in the nation.[87] Its three-year median household income from 2002 to 2004 was $55,914, ranking fifth in the U.S. and first among the 36 states not on the Atlantic coast.[88]

As of December 2018 the state's unemployment rate was 2.8 percent.[89]

Industry and commerce

The IDS Tower, designed by Philip Johnson, is the state's tallest building,[90] reflecting César Pelli's Art Deco-style Wells Fargo Center.

Minnesota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture. Minneapolis grew around the flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Although less than one percent of the population is now employed in the agricultural sector,[91] it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking sixth in the nation in the value of products sold.[92] The state is the nation's largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys. Minnesota is also a large producer of corn and soybeans,[93] and has the most food cooperatives per capita in the United States.[94] Forestry remains strong, including logging, pulpwood processing and paper production, and forest products manufacturing. Minnesota was famous for its soft-ore mines, which produced a significant portion of the world's iron ore for more than a century. Although the high-grade ore is now depleted, taconite mining continues, using processes developed locally to save the industry. In 2004 the state produced 75 percent of the country's usable iron ore.[93] The mining boom created the port of Duluth, which continues to be important for shipping ore, coal, and agricultural products. The manufacturing sector now includes technology and biomedical firms, in addition to the older food processors and heavy industry. The nation's first indoor shopping mall was Edina's Southdale Center, and its largest is Bloomington's Mall of America.

Minnesota is one of 42 U.S. states with its own lottery; its games include Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto America (all three multi-state), Northstar Cash, and Gopher 5.

Energy use and production

Minnesota produces ethanol fuel and is the first to mandate its use, a ten percent mix (E10).[95] In 2019 there were more than 411 service stations supplying E85 fuel, comprising 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.[96] A two percent biodiesel blend has been required in diesel fuel since 2005. Minnesota is ranked in the top ten for wind energy production. The state gets nearly one fifth of all its electrical energy from wind.[97]

State taxes

Minnesota has a progressive income tax structure; the four brackets of state income tax rates are 5.35, 7.05, 7.85 and 9.85 percent.[98] As of 2008 Minnesota was ranked 12th in the nation in per capita total state and local taxes.[99] In 2008 Minnesotans paid 10.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes; the U.S. average was 9.7 percent.[99] The state sales tax in Minnesota is 6.875 percent, but clothing, prescription drug medications and food items for home consumption are exempt.[100] The state legislature may allow municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5 percent supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis.[101] Excise taxes are levied on alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota.[100] Owners of real property in Minnesota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.


Fine and performing arts

The Minneapolis Institute of Art's Neoclassical north facade, designed by McKim, Mead, and White

Minnesota's leading fine art museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA). All are in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are prominent full-time professional musical ensembles who perform concerts and offer educational programs to the Twin Cities' community. The world-renowned Guthrie Theater moved into a new Minneapolis facility in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong. In the United States, the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind only New York City;[102] with some 2.3 million theater tickets sold annually.[103] The Minnesota Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation, puppetry, kids' shows, visual art, and musicals. The summer festival consists of more than 800 performances over 11 days in Minneapolis, and is the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the United States.[104]


The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie are the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life is portrayed grimly by Sinclair Lewis in the novel Main Street, and more gently and affectionately by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald writes of the social insecurities and aspirations of the young city in stories such as Winter Dreams and The Ice Palace (published in Flappers and Philosophers). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha was inspired by Minnesota and names many of the state's places and bodies of water. Minnesota native Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Science fiction writer Marissa Lingen lives here.


First Avenue nightclub, the heart of Minnesota's music community[23]

Minnesota musicians include Bob Dylan, Eddie Cochran, The Andrews Sisters, The Castaways, The Trashmen, Prince, Soul Asylum, David Ellefson, Chad Smith, John Wozniak, Hüsker Dü, Owl City, The Replacements, and Dessa. Minnesotans helped shape the history of music through popular American culture: the Andrews Sisters' "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was an iconic tune of World War II, while the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" and Bob Dylan epitomize two sides of the 1960s. In the 1980s, influential hit radio groups and musicians included Prince, The Original 7ven, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, The Jets, Lipps Inc., and Information Society.

Minnesotans have also made significant contributions to comedy, theater, media, and film. The comic strip Peanuts was created by St. Paul native Charles M. Schulz. A Prairie Home Companion which first aired in 1974, became a long-running comedy radio show on National Public Radio. A cult scifi cable TV show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, was created by Joel Hodgson in Hopkins, and Minneapolis, MN. Another popular comedy staple developed in the 1990s, The Daily Show, was originated through Lizz Winstead and Madeleine Smithberg.

Joel and Ethan Coen, Terry Gilliam, Bill Pohlad, and Mike Todd contributed to the art of filmmaking as writers, directors, and producers. Notable actors from Minnesota include Loni Anderson, Richard Dean Anderson, James Arness, Jessica Biel, Rachael Leigh Cook, Julia Duffy, Mike Farrell, Judy Garland, Peter Graves, Josh Hartnett, Garrett Hedlund, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Lange, Kelly Lynch, E.G. Marshall, Laura Osnes, Melissa Peterman, Chris Pratt, Marion Ross, Jane Russell, Winona Ryder, Seann William Scott, Kevin Sorbo, Lea Thompson, Vince Vaughn, Jesse Ventura, and Steve Zahn.

A youth fiddle performance at the Minnesota State Fair

Stereotypical traits of Minnesotans include "Minnesota nice", Lutheranism, a strong sense of community and shared culture, and a distinctive brand of North Central American English sprinkled with Scandinavian expressions. Potlucks, usually with a variety of hotdishes, are popular small-town church activities. A small segment of the Scandinavian population attend a traditional lutefisk dinner to celebrate Christmas. Life in Minnesota has also been depicted or used as a backdrop, in movies such as Fargo, Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men, Juno, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Young Adult, A Serious Man, New in Town, Rio, and in famous television series like Little House on the Prairie, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls, Coach, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, How I Met Your Mother and Fargo. Major movies shot on location in Minnesota include That Was Then... This Is Now, Purple Rain, Airport, Beautiful Girls, North Country, Untamed Heart, Feeling Minnesota, Jingle All The Way, A Simple Plan, and The Mighty Ducks films.

The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.5 million people, there were more than 1.8 million visitors to the fair in 2014, setting a new attendance record.[105] The fair covers the variety of Minnesota life, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4-H displays, music, the midway, and corporate merchandising. It is known for its displays of seed art, butter sculptures of dairy princesses, the birthing barn, and the "fattest pig" competition. One can also find dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups, cheese curds, and deep-fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, many of these attractions are offered at numerous county fairs.

Other large annual festivals include the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Minneapolis' Aquatennial and Mill City Music Festival, Moondance Jam in Walker, Sonshine Christian music festival in Willmar, the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake, and the WE Fest in Detroit Lakes.


Minnesotans have low rates of premature death, infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, and occupational fatalities.[106][107] They have long life expectancies,[108] and high rates of health insurance and regular exercise.[106][109][110] These and other measures have led two groups to rank Minnesota as the healthiest state in the nation; however, in one of these rankings, Minnesota descended from first to sixth in the nation between 2005 and 2009 because of low levels of public health funding and the prevalence of binge drinking.[106][111] While overall health indicators are strong, Minnesota does have significant health disparities in minority populations.[112]

On October 1, 2007, Minnesota became the 17th state to enact the Freedom to Breathe Act, a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars.[113]

The Minnesota Department of Health is the primary state health agency responsible for public policy and regulation. Medical care in the state is provided by a comprehensive network of hospitals and clinics operated by a number of large providers including Allina Hospitals & Clinics, CentraCare Health System, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, HealthPartners, and the Mayo Clinic Health System. There are two teaching hospitals and medical schools in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota Medical School is a high-rated teaching institution that has made a number of breakthroughs in treatment, and its research activities contribute significantly to the state's growing biotechnology industry.[114] The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned hospital based in Rochester, was founded by William Worrall Mayo, an immigrant from England.[115][116]

U.S. News & World Report's 2014–2015 survey ranked 4,743 hospitals in the United States in 16 specialized fields of care, and placed the Mayo Clinic in the top four in all fields except psychiatry, where it ranked seventh. The hospital ranked #1 in eight fields and #2 in three others.[117] The Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are partners in the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a state-funded program that conducts research into cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart health, obesity, and other areas.[118]


Richardsonian Romanesque Pillsbury Hall is one of the oldest (1889) buildings on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus.

One of the Minnesota Legislature's first acts when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a normal school in Winona. Minnesota's commitment to education has contributed to a literate and well-educated populace. In 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota had the second-highest proportion of high school graduates, with 91.5% of people 25 and older holding a diploma, and the tenth-highest proportion of people with bachelor's degrees.[119] In 2015, Minneapolis was named the nation's "Most Literate City", while St. Paul placed fourth, according to a major annual survey.[120] In a 2013 study conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics comparing the performance of eighth-grade students internationally in math and science, Minnesota ranked eighth in the world and third in the United States, behind Massachusetts and Vermont.[121] In 2014, Minnesota students earned the tenth-highest average composite score in the nation on the ACT exam.[122] In 2013, nationwide in per-student public education spending, Minnesota ranked 21st.[123] While Minnesota has chosen not to implement school vouchers,[124] it is home to the first charter school.[125]

The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, including 37 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and five major campuses of the University of Minnesota system. It is also home to more than 20 private colleges and universities, six of which rank among the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.[126]


The Aerial Lift Bridge at Duluth

Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) at the state level and by regional and local governments at the local level. Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Twin Cities metropolitan area and along interstate corridors in Greater Minnesota. The major Interstate highways are Interstate 35 (I-35), I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 connecting the Minneapolis–St. Paul area, and I-90 traveling east-west along the southern edge of the state.[127] In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least 40 percent dedicated to public transit.[128] There are nearly two dozen rail corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis–St. Paul or Duluth.[129] There is water transportation along the Mississippi River system and from the ports of Lake Superior.[130]

A Metro Blue Line vehicle in Minneapolis

Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP), a major passenger and freight hub for Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines. Most other domestic carriers serve the airport. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to four smaller cities via Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines, Compass Airlines, and Endeavor Air.[131]

Public transit services are available in the regional urban centers in Minnesota including Metro Transit in the Twin Cities, opt out suburban operators Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, SouthWest Transit, Plymouth Metrolink, Maple Grove Transit and others. In Greater Minnesota transit services are provided by city systems such as Duluth Transit Authority, Mankato Transit System, MATBUS (Fargo-Moorhead), Rochester Public Transit, Saint Cloud Metro Bus, Winona Public Transit and others. Dial-a-Ride service is available for persons with disabilities in a majority of Minnesota Counties.[132]

In addition to bus services, Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago–Seattle/Portland) train runs through Minnesota, calling at the Saint Paul Union Depot and five other stations.[133] Intercity bus providers include Jefferson Lines, Greyhound, and Megabus. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by two rail services. The Northstar Line commuter rail service runs from Big Lake to the Target Field station in downtown Minneapolis. From there, light rail runs to Saint Paul Union Depot on the Green Line, and to the MSP airport and the Mall of America via the Blue Line.

Law and government

The historical coat of arms of Minnesota in 1876

As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.[134]


Governor Tim Walz

The executive branch is headed by the governor. Governor Tim Walz, DFL (Democratic–Farmer–Labor), took office on January 7, 2019. The governor has a cabinet consisting of the leaders of various state government agencies, called commissioners. The other elected constitutional offices are secretary of state, attorney general, and state auditor.

Constitutional officeholders:

  • Governor Tim Walz (DFL)
  • Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (DFL)
  • Secretary of State Steve Simon (DFL)
  • Attorney General Keith Ellison (DFL)
  • State Auditor Julie Blaha (DFL)


The Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, designed by Cass Gilbert

The Minnesota Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has 67 districts, each with about 60,000 people. Each district has one senator and two representatives, each senatorial district being divided into A and B sections for members of the House. Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years. In the November 2010 election, the Minnesota Republican Party gained 25 house seats, giving them control of the House of Representatives by a 72–62 margin.[135] The 2010 election also saw Minnesota voters elect a Republican majority in the Senate for the first time since 1972. In 2012, the Democrats regained the House of Representatives by a margin of 73–61, picking up 11 seats; the Democrats also regained the Minnesota Senate. Control of the houses shifted back to Republicans in the 2016 election.

House Leadership[136]

  • Speaker: Melissa Hortman (DFL-36B)
  • Majority Leader: Ryan Winkler (DFL-46A)
  • Majority Whip: Liz Olson (DFL-7B)
  • Assistant Majority Leaders: Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-42B), Hodan Hassan (DFL-62A), Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL-41B), Fue Lee (DFL-49A), Jamie Long (DFL-61B), Julie Sandstede (DFL-6A)
  • Minority Leader: Kurt Daudt (R-31A)
  • Deputy Minority Leader: Anne Neu (R-32B)
  • Assistant Minority Leaders: Tony Albright (R-55B), Peggy Bennett (R-27A), Josh Heintzeman (R-10A), Jon Koznick (R-58A), Jim Nash (R-47A), Peggy Scott (R-35B)
  • Minority Whip: Dan Fabian (R-10A)

Senate Leadership[137]

  • President: Jeremy Miller (R-28)
  • President Pro Tempore: Mary Kiffmeyer (R-30)
  • Majority Leader: Paul Gazelka (R-9)
  • Deputy Majority Leader: Michelle Benson (R-31)
  • Assistant Majority Leaders: Gary Dahms (R-16), Karin Housley (R-39), John Jasinski (R-24), Warren Limmer (R-34), Eric Pratt (R-55)
  • Minority Leader: Thomas Bakk (DFL-3)
  • Assistant Minority Leader: Susan Kent (DFL-53), Carolyn Laine (DFL-41)
  • Minority Whip: (DFL-4), John Hoffman (DFL-36), Ann Rest (DFL-45)


Minnesota's court system has three levels. Most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 279 district court judgeships in ten judicial districts. Appeals from the trial courts and challenges to certain governmental decisions are heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, consisting of 19 judges who typically sit in three-judge panels. The seven-justice Minnesota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the tax court, the workers' compensation court of appeals, first-degree murder convictions, and discretionary appeals from the court of appeals; it also has original jurisdiction over election disputes.[138]

Two specialized courts within administrative agencies have been established: the workers' compensation court of appeals, and the tax court, which deals with non-criminal tax cases.

Supreme Court Justices[139]

  • Chief Justice Lorie Gildea

Associate Justices

  • Barry Anderson
  • David Lillehaug
  • Natalie Hudson
  • Margret Chutich
  • Anne McKeig
  • Paul Thissen


In addition to the city and county levels of government found in the United States, Minnesota has other entities that provide governmental oversight and planning. Regional development commissions (RDCs) provide technical assistance to local governments in broad multi-county area of the state. Along with this Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), such as the Metropolitan Council, provide planning and oversight of land use actions in metropolitan areas. Many lakes and rivers are overseen by watershed districts and soil and water conservation districts.


Minnesota's United States senators are Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Democrat Tina Smith. The outcome of the 2008 U.S. Senate election in Minnesota was contested until June 30, 2009; when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Franken, Republican Norm Coleman conceded defeat.[140] Franken resigned on January 2, 2018, and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to Franken's seat until a special election in November 2018. The state has eight congressional districts; they are represented by Jim Hagedorn (1st district; R), Angie Craig (2nd; DFL), Dean Phillips (3rd; DFL), Betty McCollum (4th; DFL), Ilhan Omar (5th; DFL), Tom Emmer (6th; R), Collin Peterson (7th; DFL), and Pete Stauber (8th; R).

Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, which holds court in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in St. Louis, Missouri and routinely also hears cases in St. Paul.


The State of Minnesota was created by the United States federal government in the traditional and cultural range of lands occupied by the Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples as well as other Native American groups. After many years of unequal treaties and forced resettlement by the state and federal government, the tribes re-organized into sovereign tribal governments. Today, the tribal governments are divided into 11 semi-autonomous reservations that negotiate with the U.S. and the state on a bilateral basis:

Four Dakota Mdewakanton communities:

  • Prairie Island Indian Community
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
  • Lower Sioux Indian Reservation
  • Upper Sioux Community—Pejuhutazizi Oyate

Seven Anishinaabe reservations:

  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
  • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • White Earth Band of Ojibwe
  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa

The first six of the Anishinaabe bands compose the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the collective federally recognized tribal government of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations.


Election results from statewide races[141]
Year Office GOP DFL Others
2018 Governor 42.4% 53.9% 3.7%
Senator 36.2% 60.3% 3.4%
Senator 42.4% 53.0% 4.6%
2016 President 44.9% 46.4% 8.6%
2014 Governor 44.5% 50.1% 5.4%
Senator 42.9% 53.2% 3.9%
2012 President 45.1% 52.8% 2.1%
Senator 30.6% 65.3% 4.1%
2010 Governor 43.2% 43.7% 13.1%
2008 President 43.8% 54.1% 2.1%
Senator 42.0% 42.0% 16.0%
2006 Governor 46.7% 45.7% 7.6%
Senator 37.9% 58.1% 4.0%
2004 President 47.6% 51.1% 1.3%
2002 Governor 44.4% 33.5% 22.1%
Senator 49.5% 47.3% 1.0%
2000 President 45.5% 47.9% 6.6%
Senator 43.3% 48.8% 7.9%
1998 Governor 34.3% 28.1% 37.6%
1996 President 35.0% 51.1% 13.9%
Senator 41.3% 50.3% 8.4%
1994 Governor 63.3% 34.1% 2.6%
Senator 49.1% 44.1% 6.8%
1992 President 31.9% 43.5% 24.6%

Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, and populism has been a long-standing force among the state's political parties.[142][143] Minnesota has a consistently high voter turnout. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 78.2% of eligible Minnesotans voted—the highest percentage of any U.S. state—versus the national average of 61.2%.[144] Voters can register on election day at their polling places with evidence of residency.[145]

Hubert Humphrey brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Minnesotans have consistently cast their Electoral College votes for Democratic presidential candidates since 1976, longer than any other state. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that did not vote for Ronald Reagan in either of his presidential runs. Minnesota has gone for the Democratic Party in every presidential election since 1960, with the exception of 1972, when it was carried by Republican Richard Nixon.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major-party status in Minnesota, but its state-level "Democratic" party is actually a separate party, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). It was formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties.

The state has had active third-party movements. The Reform Party, now the Independence Party, was able to elect former mayor of Brooklyn Park and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura to the governorship in 1998. The Independence Party has received enough support to keep major-party status. The Green Party, while no longer having major-party status, has a large presence in municipal government,[146] notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Major-party status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties whose candidates receive five percent or more of the vote in any statewide election (e.g., governor, secretary of state, U.S. president).

The state's U.S. Senate seats have generally been split since the early 1990s, and in the 108th and 109th Congresses, Minnesota's congressional delegation was split, with four representatives and one senator from each party. In the 2006 mid-term election, Democrats were elected to all state offices, except governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Carol Molnau narrowly won re-election. The DFL posted double-digit gains in both houses of the legislature, elected Amy Klobuchar to the U.S. Senate, and increased the party's U.S. House caucus by one. Keith Ellison (DFL) was elected as the first African American U.S. Representative from Minnesota, as well as the first Muslim elected to Congress nationwide.[147] In 2008, DFLer and former comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken defeated incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate race by 312 votes out of three million cast.

In the 2010 election, Republicans took control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature for the first time in 38 years and, with Mark Dayton's election, the DFL party took the governor's office for the first time in 20 years. Two years later, the DFL regained control of both houses, and with Dayton in office, the party had same-party control of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 1990. Two years later, the Republicans regained control of the Minnesota House,[148] and in 2016, the GOP also regained control of the State Senate.[149]

In 2018, the DFL retook control of the Minnesota House, while electing DFLer Tim Walz as Governor.


KSTP studios

The Twin Cities area is the fifteenth-largest media market in the United States, as ranked by Nielsen Media Research. The state's other top markets are Fargo–Moorhead (118th nationally), Duluth–Superior (137th), Rochester–Mason City–Austin (152nd), and Mankato (200th).[150]

Broadcast television in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest started on April 27, 1948, when KSTP-TV began broadcasting.[151] Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP, is now the only locally owned television company in Minnesota. Twin Cities CBS station WCCO-TV and FOX station KMSP-TV are owned-and-operated by their respective networks. There are 39 analog broadcast stations and 23 digital channels broadcast over Minnesota.

The four largest daily newspapers are the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press in Saint Paul, the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, and the Post-Bulletin in Rochester. The Minnesota Daily is the largest student-run newspaper in the U.S.[152] Sites offering daily news on the Web include The UpTake, MinnPost, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, business news site Finance and Commerce and Washington D.C.-based Minnesota Independent. Weeklies including City Pages and monthly publications such as Minnesota Monthly are available.

Two of the largest public radio networks, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and Public Radio International (PRI), are based in the state. MPR has the largest audience of any regional public radio network in the nation, broadcasting on 46 radio stations as of 2019.[153][154] PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates.[155] The state's oldest radio station, KUOM-AM, was launched in 1922 and is among the 10-oldest radio stations in the United States. The University of Minnesota-owned station is still on the air, and since 1993 broadcasts a college rock format.

Sports, recreation and tourism

Minnesota has an active program of organized amateur and professional sports. Tourism has become an important industry, especially in the Lake region. In the North Country, what had been an industrial area focused on mining and timber has largely been transformed into a vacation destination. Popular interest in the environment and environmentalism, added to traditional interests in hunting and fishing, has attracted a large urban audience within driving range.[156]

Organized sports

The University of North Dakota and St. Cloud State University during the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have played in the National Football League since their admission as an expansion franchise in 1961. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 through 1981 and in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982 until its demolition after the 2013 season for the construction of the team's new home, U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings' current stadium hosted Super Bowl LII in February, 2018. Super Bowl XXVI was played in the Metrodome. The Vikings have advanced to the Super Bowl Super Bowl IV, Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl IX, and Super Bowl XI, losing all four games to their AFC/AFL opponent

The Minnesota Twins have played in the Major League Baseball in the Twin Cities since 1961. The Twins began play as the original Washington Senators, a founding member of the American League in 1901, relocating to Minnesota in 1961. The Twins won the 1987 and 1991 World Series in seven game matches where the home team was victorious in all games. The Twins also advanced to the 1965 World Series, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. The team has played at Target Field since 2010.

The Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association played in the Minneapolis Auditorium from 1947 to 1960, after which they relocated to Los Angeles. The Minnesota Timberwolves joined the NBA in 1989, and have played in Target Center since 1990.

The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, and reached 300 consecutive sold-out games on January 16, 2008.[157] Previously, the Minnesota North Stars competed in NHL from 1967 to 1993, which played in and lost the 1981 and 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.

Minnesota United FC joined Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2017, having played in the lower-division North American Soccer League from 2010 to 2016. The team plays at Allianz Field in St. Paul.[158] Previous professional soccer teams have included the Minnesota Kicks, which played at Metropolitan Stadium from 1976 to 1981, and the Minnesota Strikers from 1984 to 1988.

Minnesota also has minor-league professional sports teams. The Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League played at the Xcel Energy Center until the team moved to Georgia in 2015. Minor league baseball is represented by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the St. Paul Saints, who play at CHS Field in St. Paul.

Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, winners of the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 WNBA Championships, the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the Minnesota Vixen of the Independent Women's Football League, the Minnesota Valkyrie of the Legends Football League, and the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women's Hockey League.

The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school competing in the Big Ten Conference. Four additional schools in the state compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey: the University of Minnesota Duluth; Minnesota State University, Mankato; St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University. There are nine NCAA Division II colleges in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, and twenty NCAA Division III colleges in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.[159][160]

Minneapolis has hosted the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 1951, 1992, 2001, and 2019.

The Hazeltine National Golf Club has hosted the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and PGA Championship. The course also hosted the Ryder Cup in the fall of 2016, when it became one of two courses in the U.S. to host all major golf competitions. The Ryder Cup is scheduled to return in 2028.[161]

Interlachen Country Club has hosted the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, and Solheim Cup.

Winter Olympic Games medalists from the state include twelve of the twenty members of the gold medal 1980 ice hockey team (coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks) and the bronze medalist U.S. men's curling team in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Swimmer Tom Malchow won an Olympic gold medal in the 2000 Summer games and a silver medal in 1996.

Grandma's Marathon is run every summer along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Twin Cities Marathon winds around lakes and the Mississippi River during the peak of the fall color season. Farther north, Eveleth is the location of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.


As the state's tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota pursues an entrepreneurial approach, leveraging the state's tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of representatives from the state's tourism industry strongly connects Explore Minnesota with tourism businesses and organizations. Explore Minnesota's mission is to inspire and facilitate travel to and within the state of Minnesota.

Tourism is a $15.3 billion industry in Minnesota, and a key sector of the state's economy. The leisure and hospitality industry—a major provider of tourism services—employs more than 270,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota's private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 18 percent of the state's sales tax revenues. Minnesota welcomes more than 73 million domestic and international travelers annually.

In 2014, Explore Minnesota launched an all-new travel marketing campaign, themed "Only in Minnesota", to increase awareness about Minnesota as a one-of-a-kind Midwest travel destination. The strategic effort, which includes a new and improved website and market reach to audiences in 14 states and provinces, is the largest travel marketing campaign in the state's history. A new series of advertisements and a strong, user-driven #OnlyinMN social media movement has been well-received and has engaged travelers, residents, businesses and visitors bureaus across the state. In the latest evolution of the popular #OnlyinMN campaign, Explore Minnesota generated 3.5 million trips to Minnesota, and more than $388 million in traveler spending. Explore Minnesota engaged with hundreds of thousands of people through social media, surpassing half a million uses of the campaign hashtag as of May 2017. The newly branded slogan represents the diversity of Minnesota, from its bustling downtowns to untouched wilderness, pine forests to bluff country and historic landmarks to modern-day attractions. #OnlyinMN celebrates the inspiring and sometimes unexpected experiences that await travelers on a Minnesota vacation.

In 2019, Explore Minnesota launched the "Find Your True North" marketing campaign that supports and strengthens the award-winning #OnlyinMN positioning. The "True North" campaign was designed to tell specific stories that make Minnesota stand apart as a unique travel destination, and invite people to have real and meaningful experiences around the state. Campaign elements will be integrated on the agency's website, Explore Minnesota social channels, statewide publications and more.

Outdoor recreation

Fishing on Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis

Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity,[162] and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.[163]

In the warmer months, these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports such as water skiing, which originated in the state,[164] boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36 percent of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.[165]

Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants.[166] Minnesotans have learned to embrace their long, harsh winters in ice sports such as skating, hockey, curling, and broomball, and snow sports such as cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, luge, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.[167] Minnesota is the only U.S. state where bandy is played.[168]

State and national forests and the seventy-two state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of snowmobile trails statewide.[169] Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state,[170] and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast.[171] Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.

See also

  • Outline of Minnesota
  • Index of Minnesota-related articles


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Culture and history



Maps and demographics

Tourism and recreation

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on May 11, 1858 (32nd)
Succeeded by

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