The 10 Best Guided Tours in Minnesota!

Much of what’s cool about Minnesota can be taken at face value. Some sites or attractions, however, benefit from the insight or connected storyline that a knowledgeable tour guide can offer. We think these are some of the best guided tours in the North Star State. 

1. Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors, MN

After a series of shipwrecks in the early 1900s, Split Rock Lighthouse was  constructed to protect mariners against the hazards of the local shoreline. Now operated by the Minnesota Historical Society, the lighthouse is one of Minnesota’s most recognizable landmarks and one of the best-preserved examples of a Great Lakes light station in the United States. Tours of Split Rock—the most photographed lighthouse in the country—are available year-round.

2. Paisley Park, Chanhassen, MN

Once the home and studio of Prince, Paisley Park is now also infamous as the site of the star’s death. The company that operates Graceland now operates the facility and has opened it for public tours. You’ll see studio space, the intimate concert hall, a considerable amount of memorabilia. Although the residential area is largely—reverently—off-limits, you won’t be disappointed as you delve into the life of Minnesota’s most famous and reclusive pop star.

3. Soudan Underground Mine, Soudan, MN

The first iron ore mine in Minnesota is now located within one of newest state parks. The Soudan Underground Mine operated for nearly 80 years, helping to lend the Iron Range its name and bringing Duluth to shipping prominence. Visitors will travel half a mile down into the mine by cage and three-quarters of a mile by rail to the last level that was mined before its 1962 closure. Tours are available from spring to fall. 

4. James J. Hill House, St. Paul, MN

James J. Hill, once the state’s wealthiest man, was a lumber baron and railroad magnate. His Summit Ave. sits regally on a bluff, overlooking downtown St. Paul and the Mississippi River. Taking a Minnesota Historical Society tour of this historic, Gilded Age stone home will send you back to the turn of the 20th Century and offer you a taste of the “good life” from that time period.

5. Mystery Cave, Preston, MN

Although tours of Mystery Cave—the longest in Minnesota—don’t take in the entire 13-mile length of the system, you’ll accomplish a good amount of spelunking on any of the several tours offered by DNR guides. While most folks settle for the “Scenic Tour,” serious spelunkers can take a four-hour “Wild Caving” tour.

6. Flooded Forest Tour, Wabasha, MN

Hop in a kayak and leave the main channel of the mighty Mississippi for a guided tour of the serene, haunting flooded forest of the river’s backwaters. Learn about the biodiverse ecosystem of the Upper Mississippi as you paddle in silence beneath the hardwoood canopy, espying the occasional eagle or sliding by sunbathing turtles.

7. Glensheen Historic Estate, Duluth, MN

Built by on the shore of Lake Superior by the philanthropic Congdon family in the early 1900s, Glensheen mansion is an icon of 20th century opulence. It was owned by the family until heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her night nurse were murdered in the mansion. The University of Minnesota now operates the mansion and offer tours of the estate. Tour guides downplay the murders and discourage questions about it, focusing instead on its period décor and architecture.

8. Segway Magical History Tour, Minneapolis, MN

The Segway Magical History Tour takes you on a five-mile stand-up scooter ride around the birthplace of Minneapolis: St. Anthony Falls. Guides will describe the history and geology of the area as you visit sites like Mill Ruins Park, Nicollet Island, and St. Anthony Main, crossing both the Hennepin Ave. and historic Stone Arch bridges.

9. Niagara Cave, Harmony, MN

Niagara Cave is Minnesota’s most popular commercial cave. Located in the same part of the limestone-bluffed “Driftless Region” as Mystery Cave, Niagara Cave tours take you on a mile-long, underground hike, down and back up 275 stairs. The payoff? An underground waterfall that gives the cave its name.

10. F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tour, St. Paul, MN

In his early years, St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald made the city’s posh Summit Hill neighborhood his stomping grounds. Starting from the newly-restored Commodore Hotel, the Minnesota Historical Society offers a walking tour of the area, visiting some of the residences in which Fitzgerald lived and wrote. Most are in private hands, and many of these stately homes are now on the National Register of Historic Places. Strolling past the neighborhood’s historic mansions may offer some insight into the young writer’s motives for penning “The Great Gatsby.”

Minnesota Search
Best Things To Do Near You
Best Things To Do Near You
Dec
09

Performance - The Nutcracker Ballet

7:00 PM
Paramount Center for the Arts Saint Cloud, MN
Learn More
Dec
10

Performance - The Nutcracker Ballet

7:00 PM
Paramount Center for the Arts Saint Cloud, MN
Learn More
Dec
10

Hitchville's Christmas Show

7:30 PM
Pioneer Place on Fifth Saint Cloud, MN
Learn More
Dec
11

Craft Fair and Bake Sale

9:00 AM
Athlos Academy of St. Cloud Saint Cloud, MN
Learn More
Dec
11

Performance - The Nutcracker Ballet

2:00 PM
Paramount Center for the Arts Saint Cloud, MN
Learn More
Show More
Best Places To Go Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
5904 Lee Valley Road, Edina, MN
The Border Route Trail is a 65-mile long hiking trail that crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in the far northeast corner of... Read More
314 Beltrami Avenue, Bemidji, MN
History:Step over the threshold of this landmark art deco building, the last of its kind in Bemidji and into a bygone era of entertainment. In 1933... Read More
100 First Street, Hanley Falls, MN
Minnesota's Machinery Museum opened in 1980 for the purpose of sharing the agricultural heritage of Yellow Medicine County. It currently houses the... Read More
501 West 78th Street, Chanhassen, MN
History Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' founders, Herb and Carol Bloomberg, designed and constructed their 90,000 square foot entertainment complex wh... Read More
1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Mission & HistoryThe Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on... Read More
333 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN
Our Mission The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota creates art experiences that spark discovery, critical thinking, and transformat... Read More
345 Washington Street, Saint Paul, MN
Mission: Ordway Center is a catalyst for the artistic vitality of our community by hosting, presenting, and creating performing arts and education... Read More
75 West Fifth Street, Saint Paul, MN
History: St. Paul’s historic Landmark Center began in 1892 was completed in 1902, originally served as the Federal Court House and Post Offi... Read More
55 Victoria Street North, Saint Paul, MN
About Us: SteppingStone Theatre focuses on developing the whole child through educational theater programs and fully staged productions. Our suppo... Read More
20950 Rogers Drive, Rogers, MN
About Us: A stroll through the museum will take you on a nostalgic trip through the automotive past. Enjoy seeing 100 vehicles, including cars, tru... Read More
120 West Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, MN
Mission: To invite learners of all ages to experience their changing world through science. About The Museum: The Science Museum of Minnesota, ... Read More
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
Mission: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts enriches the community by collecting, preserving, and making accessible outstanding works of art from t... Read More
15788 Kelley Farm Road, Elk River, MN
In 1849, Minnesota Territory was established with a population of fewer than 6,000 settlers. With few towns and a widely scattered population, farm... Read More
109th Avenue Northeast and County Road 52, Minneapolis, MN
304 West Broadway, Little Falls, MN
Our Mission : To collect, preserve and display artifacts of freshwater fishing of Minnesota. To provide classrooms and educational curriculum fo... Read More
Show More
Select a Minnesota town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Kanabec County