Minnesota Hidden Treasures, Part I

After nearly a decade of writing about Minnesota for the visitor or new resident, I’ve had the opportunity to interview a number of locals about what they love about living here. I’ve interviewed actors, athletes, mayors, teachers, musicians, dancers, style experts, radio and TV personalities, non-profit champions, Fortune 500 CEOs, families big and small, and more. We ask these folks a number of different questions, but there’s one question we tend to ask frequently. I looked back over several years of notes and found plenty of answers to this question: What’s your favorite local hidden treasure?

There are so many hidden gems around the state, but you don’t have to take our word for it! Here are just a few of the responses I’ve received over the years.

Lyndale Park Rose Garden

Lyndale Park Rose Garden Photo by Todd Buchanan

Lyndale Park Rose Garden: The second oldest public rose garden in the country, this gem on Lake Harriet features 100 different varieties of 3,000 plants.

Key’s Café: An affordable diner with several metro locations, including one in the W Minneapolis in the Foshay Tower, downtown Minneapolis. Never had a better caramel roll.

The Artists’ Quarter: This musician owned and operated venture is located in downtown St. Paul and is a local favorite for live jazz.

Purcell-Cutts House: An entity of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, this Minneapolis home is one of the most significant examples of Prairie School style in the country.

Lake Harriet bandshell

Lake Harriet Bandshell Photo by Jeremy Nelson

Sibley House: The home of our first governor, Henry Sibley, who was also instrumental in the region’s fur trade.

Stillwater: Another favorite escape of locals (and just less than hour from the Twin Cities), this riverside town offers great views, attractions, tours, restaurants, and local boutiques.

Lake Harriet Bandshell: Located on the shores of Lake Harriet, the bandshell is a great place to catch live music and movies all summer long.

Midtown Global Market: People visit and move here in part for our diversity, which can’t be felt more than walking through MGM, a public market devoted to helping local residents in their ventures—great food, shopping, and arts to peruse.

Do you have any of your own favorite hidden gems not found on this list? Share in the comments! Part II coming soon.