MN Travel Guide: January

A meat vending machine, reopened Nicollet Mall, new mercantile market and more highlight what’s new around the state

An illustration of Minnesota with its different regions outlined in different colors.

illustration by darren booth




The wistful sounds of a “bibigwan,” a Native American flute, now serve the congregation of First Lutheran Church, along with more than 1,300 pipes making up the church’s new Casavant Frères Pipe Organ. After three weeks of installation—plus countless hours spent tuning—the organ, built by one of Canada’s biggest, longest-running organ producers, has greatly improved on the acoustics of the church’s original 1941 instrument, which was only half finished amid the chaos of World War II.



A family roasting marshmallows around a campfire at a campsite.

photo courtesy of prairie woods environmental learning center


Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center purchased Geer Island, a five-acre peninsula embraced by ironwood trees and cattails, to engage young people with the outdoors. Although it is technically a peninsula, this spit of land surrounded by water maintains an island atmosphere, ideal for future low-impact improvements, including a potential canoe launch site, campgrounds, and a walking and ski trail.





To satisfy carnivorous cravings at all hours of the day, the family-owned Steve’s Meat Market unveiled the state’s first Meat Vending Machine—only the second in the country, with the first (unsurprisingly) bringing sealed-air savoriness to Hudson, Wisconsin. Shipped in from Germany, this machine peddles several types of cured sausages, plus cheddar sticks, cheese curds, and more 24/7. 



The storefront of the Duluth Maker's Mercantile.

photo by kiley marissa photography


A once-upon-a-time gas station has transformed into the Duluth Maker’s Mercantile, featuring 30 local crafters’ unique, ever-changing work—from prints and soaps to jewelry and pillows to wool coasters and hand warmers.





Pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and business owners can heave a sigh of relief, as frustration over the $50 million renovation on Nicollet Mall, which has been closed off to vehicles since July 2015, comes to an end, and the downtown stretch finally reopens. The newly realized boulevard boasts 250 new trees and the metro’s second largest public art display after the Sculpture Garden.