Mall of America gets the biggest crowds of any place in Minnesota, but the state's parks, stadiums and cultural centers also get plenty of traffic.
That’s according to Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism agency, which released its list of the state’s top 40 attractions on Wednesday, ranked by 2017 attendance. Both local residents and tourists are included in the counts.
It’s no surprise that Mall of America tops the list, with 40 million in attendance in 2017. Several parks in the Twin Cities made the list, with a common theme being that people want to be around water. The Twin Cities' four major pro sports venues drew nearly 10 million people combined.
Explore Minnesota only sporadically surveys the state’s attractions. with the last coming in 2010.
A lot had changed in just eight years. The Metrodome, which drew 800,000 in attendance in 2010, is long gone. U.S. Bank Stadium didn’t exist and Target Field hadn’t finished its first season. The following year, Minnesota approved the Surly bill, which allowed breweries to open taprooms. Surly Brewing Co. has since opened a Prospect Park brewery that it called a destination, and that label has come true. According to Explore Minnesota, 561,000 people visited Surly in 2017, making it the 30th most popular attraction in the state.
The top 15 attractions by attendance are:
1. Mall of America, Bloomington (40,000,000)
2. Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Minneapolis (7,063,500)
3. Como Park, St. Paul (5,367,400)
4. National Sports Center, Blaine (4,100,000)
5. Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, Minneapolis (2,782,800)
6. Mississippi Gorge Regional Park, Minneapolis/St. Paul (2,734,300)
7. Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center & Park, Duluth (2,526,322)
8. Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul (2,200,000)
9. Target Field, Minneapolis (2,131,787)
10. Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis (2,051,000)
11. Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul (1,997,320)
12. Grand Casino Hinckley, Hinckley (1,810,550)
13. Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park, Minneapolis (1,800,400)
14. Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Onamia (1,406,904)
15. Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove (1,385,800)
See the full Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal article here.