The Great Minnesota Bucket List: Thrifty Travels

No need to break the bank to plan an outing that is fun, fresh, and fabulous.

Find the Perfect Pint

Being a beer drinker in Minnesota has never been so easy. Craft breweries have been popping up all over the state, and we think it’s time you sample the best and pick your preference.


No Minnesota beer tour would be complete without a detour to New Ulm and a tasting of brews from one of America’s oldest breweries. Schell’s was founded in 1860 and has been going strong ever since. 1860 Schells Rd., New Ulm, 507-354-5528


Don’t miss the two-hour tours that include a taste of five favorites. 4811 Dushrame Dr., Brooklyn Center, 763-535-3330


The bastion of Twin Cities brewing. Owner Mark Stutrud has been producing beer for Minnesotans for more than 25 years—and you can taste his expertise in every swig. 910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul, 651-265-7800


Round out your tasting tour with a sampling of Minnesota charm at this family-owned stop in the teeny town of Lucan. 1st St., Lucan, 507-747-2337

Battle the Beacon

Satiate your yearning for historical intrigue with a trip to Split Rock Lighthouse along the shores of Lake Superior. Costumed guides lead you through life as a lighthouse keeper in the 1920s, and you can test your strength with a one-third-mile hike to the bottom of the 130-foot cliff on which the lighthouse sits. Nearby fun is of the outdoorsy variety—picnics, camping, kayaking, and trails available for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd., 218-226-6372

Get Your Feet Wet

There’s something to be said for sticking with the classics—and it doesn’t get any more Minnesota than fishing at Lake Mille Lacs, the Walleye Capital of the World. The vastness of the lake, along with the varied landscape of sandy beaches, rocky coasts, and wooded shorelines, offers an escape to any city dweller looking for a respite in nature—with or without the tackle box.


Lay your head at the modern yet rustic Eddy’s Resort. Its flagship boat is said to be the largest walleye boat in the world. 41334 Shakopee Lake Rd., Onamia, 320-532-3657

Roam the Prairie Lands

The scenery at Pipestone National Monument is only one part of what makes the prairie land and its stone quarries so enticing. The other part is its history. Native Americans carved and traded ceremonial pipes from the red rock, so archaeologists often have discovered pipes thousands of miles away. Luckily, we only need to travel to the border.


Following your hike through every kind of geographical feature within the Monument, reward yourself with a slice of pie from Lange’s Café. The Pipestone staple has been perfecting the art of meringue and cobbler for more than 40 years. 110 8th Ave. SE, Pipestone, 507-825-4488

Do Duluth in a Day

GlensheenGlensheen Fitger’s Brewery ComplexFitger’s Brewery ComplexGreat Lakes AquariumGreat Lakes Aquarium Aerial Lift BridgeAerial Lift Bridge Minnesota PointMinnesota Point

Located less than three hours from the Twin Cities, Duluth is packed with everything you need to plan the perfect day.


Chef Scott Graden’s ever-changing fresh menu packs quite a punch. 5461 North Shore Dr., Duluth, 218-525-6274


In 1977 at this 39-room castle, the owner’s daughter and nurse were murdered. Tour the grounds and channel your inner detective. 3300 London Rd., Duluth, 218-726-8910


If you stop at Fitger’s Brewery, plan to stay for a while. What started as a small brewery a block down the road in 1857 has morphed into a multistory complex that boasts a hotel, restaurants, a retail center, and, of course, more than 100 styles—and 2,500 barrels—of handcrafted beer. Talk about one-stop shopping. 600 E. Superior St., Duluth, 218-722-8826


It’s not every day you can watch seahorses swim, pet freshwater stingrays, or pilot a virtual ore boat under a bridge. 353 Harbor Dr., Duluth, 218-740-3474


With a permanent spot on the National Register of Historic Places, the 386-foot elevator bridge was originally built in 1905 as a transporter bridge—the first of two ever constructed in the United States. See if you can catch it in action—it takes three minutes to reach to the top.


Hit the beach on this long, narrow sandbar that separates Lake Superior from Superior Bay and the Duluth Harbor Basin. If you stop for directions, locals may point you toward Park Point—fear not, it’s one and the same.


Spend the afternoon enjoying the lake views from this well-known mountain. 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl., Duluth, 800-642-6377

Photo of Great Lakes Aquarium courtesy Great Lakes Aquarium; Photo of Glensheen courtesy Glensheen Historic Congdon Estate

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