October's MN Tourism Guide

Poetry readings, theater and a triple crown—brewery, winery and distillery—tour await travelers this month

An outline of Minnesota where different regions are different colors.

illustration by darren booth




Spoken word, a type of performance art based on word play, comes to unexpected venues in Bemidji as part of the First City Poetry Reads, featuring poetry and other readings from local authors. The Watermark Art Center began organizing the gatherings—with themes including “flight and adventure” and “our physical selves”—this summer at locations ranging from a fire department to Anytime Fitness. On October 7, Home, Hearth, Slam, & Cheese will spotlight area slam poet Julia Oxenreider.





While many indie bookshops are dying out, Bob Dobrow, previously a math and statistics professor at Carleton College (and currently a karate teacher), and his wife, Angel, want to share their longtime love of books at their new shop, Zenith Bookstore, in West Duluth. Patrons can exchange old reads for store credit, and local authors are invited to stock their books free of charge until sold—meaning it has never been easier to cozy up by the fire with a good read when the North Shore’s autumn chill hits.





The county claims it’s the only place in Minnesota with the triple crown of drinking—a winery, brewery, and distillery—so Alexandria businesses, Carlos Creek Winery, Panther Distillery, and Copper Trail Brewery are teaming up to bring visitors a taste of each on the Skål Crawl. The crawl itself is self-guided and self-driven, offering promotions and discounts at each business. Skål, Old Norse for “cheers,” ties into the Viking vibes present at Alexandria’s other main attractions, including the Big Ole Viking Statue and the Runestone Museum.





For the first time in 15 years, a major art installation showcasing local artists and state pride has been unveiled at MSP Airport. (Recent installations have skewed smaller, including floor and bathroom mosaics.) With themes such as L’Etoile du Nord (“the star of the North”), migration, and classic Minnesota scenes, the new sculptures and holographic displays in Terminal 2 plan to give Minnesotans a sense of identity and travelers a sense of who we are.





After controversy over its former executive director’s conduct, some good news for the Rochester Civic Theatre: Absolute Theatre’s productions will fill the RCT’s recently built black box space, which was constructed as part of the Mayo Civic Center expansion. The fall shows feature comedies, dramas, and “a murder mystery with a little booty in it,” so theater-goers can expect more humor and edge at the 200-seat venue this season.