What To Expect In A Grand Rapids Summer Vacation.

grand rapids summer vacation

Grand Rapids, MN Summer vacation

Summer Vacation Grand Rapids MN

A Grand Rapids, MN Summer Vacation is one where you can reconnect with loved ones, recharge your batteries, and relax in Minnesota’s nature. Going on vacation with your loved one’s is about the deeper connections you make, the memories you make, and the stories that you will always share. This up north vacation destination is a small and charming northern Minnesota town that boasts amenities of a much large community. You will find a wide variety of short-term lodging options, boutique style shops, fun places to eat & drink, public art & historic sites, events and festivals, and a lot of outdoor recreation opportunities!

Lots of cozy lodging

Summer Vacation Grand Rapids MN

You can do as much or as little as you would like on a Grand Rapids , MN Summer Vacation. You will find a wide variety of places to stay in Grand Rapids. There are conveniently located in town Hotels and Motels that offer a variety of on-site amenities like a pool, restaurants, continental breakfast, walkable shops and restaurants, and in town trails. You will also find in town Air B&B’s that are located above downtown shops that have room to spread out, kitchens, dining areas and living room spaces to gather together. Then there are vacation rentals in town and on area lakes, and Minnesota family resorts on area lakes; located on a lake, offer full kitchens, living room areas, screened in porches, firepits, dock slips, and sometimes . The choice is yours. 

Lakes & fishing

Summer Vacation Grand Rapids MN

Summer Vacations are best spent up north at the lake! In the greater Grand Rapids, MN area you will find over 1,400 lakes. These lakes range in size from less than a hundred acres to over 4,000 acres. On these lakes you can paddle, fish, swim, boat, ski, tube, and just float. “Going to the Lake” in the summer is the number one favorite summer vacation memory that kids share about their Grand Rapids, Minnesota vacation. “Fishing” is an activity that most resort guests say they enjoyed while on their Grand Rapids, MN Summer Vacation. From panfish to trophy fish like walleye, northern and musky; we have a lake to catch them on. All of our Minnesota Family Resorts offer boat rentals, but you can fish from the dock, shore or a fishing pier too. There is something special about watching a child catch their first fish. All you need is a fishing pole, a hook and some bait. The Grand Rapids Library lends out fishing poles and tackle where you can fish from their fishing pier on the Mississippi River. Fun for the entire family!

trails & outdoor recreation

Tioga Recreation Area

Grand Rapids, Minnesota is becoming to be known as the outdoor recreation mecca of the north. Whatever type of outdoor recreation that you enjoy, you will find a trail or lake to do it on. You will find over 2,000 miles of trails in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area. Many of these trails are in the Chippewa National Forest and George Washington State Forest. From ATVing, biking, hiking, mountain biking, paddling, fishing, and boating. Enjoy yourself in Minnesota’s nature. Take in the fresh air in our mixed forests of tall hardwood and pine trees, pristine clear lakes, or mighty Mississippi River. So many new outdoor recreation trails to make memories.


Grand Rapids Summer Vacation

Grand Rapids is home to three championship level golf courses known as the Grand Lakes of Golf Courses; Sugarbrooke Golf Course, Pokegama Golf Course, Eagle Ridge Golf Course. Each course is beautifully manicured with different degrees of difficulty. All have cart rentals and restaurants on site.  In addition to the three-championship courses, there is also several smaller 9-hole courses located in the greater Grand Rapids, Minnesota area.

Minnesota history & Art Attractions

Grand Rapids Summer Vacation

The Grand Rapids, MN area has several places to enjoy local art and learn about Minnesota history. Tour a historic museum, 1900’s logging camp, Children’s Museum, or an Art Gallery. Take a self-guided public art tour, walk across the Mississippi, or take in a live performance or concert. There is probably way more to do than you would think in a small northern town. Grand Rapids boosts historic and art attractions that draw people from across the country. Discover Things To Do.

Minnesota history & Art Attractions

Grand Rapids MN summer vacation

Going out to eat is a large part of being on vacation. A large selection of places to eat & drink from craft breweries, boat in options, a Minnesota wine bar, locally owned restaurants, places to get juicy bar burgers, fine dining, Mexican, Sushi, and more! This small town has locally owned restaurants that offer made from scratch and restaurants that work with local farmers for fresh and seasonal menu items. So, when you work up an appetite on the lakes and trails, sit down for a homemade meal from the places the locals like to eat and drink at.

Grand Rapids MN Summer Vacation

This Northern town offers BIG charm through its welcoming shops, restaurants, unique attractions, public art, live music, and cozy lodging. Grand Rapids is a going to the lake community that is an outdoor recreation mecca of the north. Enjoy time on our lakes and trails and take in the fresh air of the Minnesota forests. The official Visitor Guide has lots of information to help you plan your Grand Rapids, MN Summer Vacation. Read articles that highlight outdoor recreation, public art, historic places, fun places to eat. Review the lodging options based on the amenities they offer. Learn more about downtown, living here, and other seasonal trip ideas and itineraries.

Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the perfect road trip destination for any season vacation where there is something for everyone in the family.

What To Do On A Rainy Day In Grand Rapids, MN?

rainy day activity Grand Rapids MN

Grand Rapids, MN area attractions

This week’s blog highlights what to do on a rainy day in Grand Rapids, MN. We bet there is way more than you ever thought! 

Itasca County Historical Society & Escape Room

rainy day activity grand rapids mn

The Itasca County Historical Society Museum is a great place to tour on a rainy day in downtown Grand Rapids, MN. The museum is FREE to tour; they do request a free will donation. Historic and educational exhibits that they feature right now is the River Room that highlights actifacts that have been found along the Mississippi River, Native American jingle dress display and cultural pieces on display, and a beautiful hand painted river mural that showcases life along the river. Additional exhibits that you can discover are: Itasca area Veterans, Itasca Train Club Trains Villages, Itasca County History panels, and a gift shop.

Judy Garland & Children's Discovery Museums

childrens discovery museum grand rapids mn

The Judy Garland Museum is an eclectic Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz collection. The Museum hosts thoughtfully curated exhibits and artifacts, including the original carriage featured in the Wizard of Oz (once owned by President Lincoln), a Dorothy Gale test dress from the Wizard of Oz, and many personal Judy Garland items collected over 40 years. The Children’s Discovery Museum is located in the same building and is a great place for children to run off some steam by interacting at the kid friendly exhibits. It is the only Children’s Museums located in a MN rural towns (fewer than 10,000 population). The Children’s Discovery Museum is perfect for children age 1-12 years of age. Highlight of some of the exhibits: river water table, dino play, Teresa the talking tree, Lake life, Rivertown, Tot Park, Wind tunnel, and much more.

Forest History Center

forest history center grand rapids mn

A hidden gem of Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the Forest History Center. This is a perfect place to tour on a rainy day in Grand Rapids, MN. Tour the interactive forestry and science interpretive center, climb the fire tower, walk the river trails to the Mississippi, tour the wanagan, and step back in time to life in the early 1800’s at the logging camp.  The Forest History Center is open Wednesday-Saturday middle of June through Labor Day. A new feature is the kayak tours of the Mississippi River. There is an additional charge for this tour, but it is a bucket list for sure! A perfect Grand Rapids area attraction to enjoy the environmental learning center where all ages can connect and discover Minnesota’s history together.

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center

edge of wilderness discovery center

The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center is a great place to tour on a rainy day. The Discovery Center is located in Marcell, MN; and is worth  the 40 minute drive north from Grand Rapids. This environmental learning center offers over 20 native Minnesota wildlife mounts and exhibits that highlight native species that can be found in Minnesota’s nature. The Discovery Center is one of fourteen discovery sites along the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway that runs 47 miles from Grand Rapids to Effie, Minnesota. The Discovery Center also offers Naturalist Programs on several Saturdays in the summer. Their Facebook page highlights these program dates and subject themes. These are offered at no cost to everyone. For nicer days, you can rent a kayak or canoe to paddle at Lake Ranier (located right at the Discovery Center). You can also fish off of the floating pier. There are also walking trails that will take you around a portion of Lake Ranier. You can have a picnic lunch at one of the many picnic tables or under the covered pavilion that overlooks the lake. A wonderful place for all ages to learn about Minnesota’s wildlife and Edge of the Wilderness history.

Bowling, Movies and Live Music

live music grand rapids mn

Additional indoor things to do on a rainy day in Grand Rapids, Minnesota are, bowling, go to a matinee, and enjoy live music. Thunder Alley XL offers bowling, an kid/adult arcade area, limited bar/grille, and an outdoor batting case and mini golf center. Mann’s Grand Rapids Cinema 8 offers eight small theater recliner style seating that features the latest big screen movies. And then there is live music at the craft breweries, wine bar and local bars in the area. Check out the the greater Grand Rapids, MN Events Calendar for more details of who has nightly live music offerings.

Self-Guided Tours & Boutique Style Shops

Self Guided Historic Buildings & Public Art Tours

old central school grand rapids mn

Between the rain drops, while you are already downtown, you should take a self-guided historic building and public art tour. Grand Rapids is a very historic community with many existing buildings, being built in the late 1800’s. You can take a self-guided Grand Rapids History and Public Art Tour where you can walk around downtown Grand Rapids and discover all of the historic buildings and public art that features Native American culture and heritage, the Mississippi River, the forestry and papermaking industries, and wildlife in Minnesota’s nature. Old Central School is one of the historic buildings on the self-guided tour that was built in1895. The three story building is the tallest building in Grand Rapids. This Romanesque style architecture is prominent throughout the building. The center staircase has hosted many events like community gatherings, events and even a few weddings. Even if you visit on a rainy day, make sure that you step outside to view the yellow brick road and the beautiful flower beds the wrap along it. The other famous yellow brick road can be viewed at the Judy Garland Museum (located on Hwy 169 S in Grand Rapids). 

View More About: Itasca Area Attractions


boutique shops grand rapids mn

There are many places to shop in the Grand Rapids, MN area. Downtown by walking the boutique style shops along 1st Avenue N (Bender’s, Stained Glass, Briers Clothing, Stoke(s, MacRostie Art Center, and then the shops inside Old Central School), shops on 3rd Street Shaw Florists, Evergreen, Mississippi Diamond, Wings & Willows, Lake + Co), and the shops on 1st Avenue S (Frame Up and North in Bloom) are all great places to start. Then swing into the Central Square Mall and shop the many retail and vintage shops including Clara’s Cupboard & Closet. And then there are the home décor and vintage shops that are located all across the greater Grand Rapids, MN area. To name a few: 218 Style (located just a few blocks east of downtown on 4th Street), Red Willow Co. (located south of downtown east of Target), The Antique Company in Coleraine and Annabella’s in Bovey.

unique and fun places to eat & drink

Craft Breweries & Wine Bar

craft breweries Grand Rapids MN

Going out to eat is a wonderful part of being on vacation – not having to cook! On a rainy day there are great places to Eat & Drink. Grand Rapids, Minnesota is home to two craft breweries and one wine bar. Klockow Brewing Company was the first to open. They are a production brewery that distributes their craft beer throughout Minnesota liquor stores. They offer clean classics and complex experiments from the Northwoods of Minnesota! They also offer live music and events at the brewery. Each week they feature a variety of food trucks. You can bring food in or order food to be delivered to the brewery. They offer non-alcoholic beer and Northern Soda’s. Rapids Brewing Co. is located downtown in the historic Rialto Theater. They brew and sell only onsite. They specialize in locally sourced products for their beer and wood fired oven menu. Chef O’Brien and his team create a northern Minnesota curated menu that showcases the wood fired oven that pairs well with their craft beer and craft cocktails. They offer non-alcoholic Northern Soda options as well. You can enjoy live music and events every week. Then, Unwined Up North is a wine bar that features Minnesota craft beer (including Klockow Beer) and Minnesota wines. Their menu offers charcuterie boards, panini sandwiches, salads and other small plates. They offer live music and events each week as well. 

Other Local Favorite Places To Eat & Drink

Restaurants on the Lake

lakeside dining grand rapids mn

Despite Grand Rapids being a small town, there are many fun places to eat & drink. Zorbaz on Pokegama Lake is one of them. A franchised restaurant specializes in pizza, spaghetti, tacos and burritos. The eclectic environment showcases going to the lake themes of boats, motors, water skis and more hanging from the walls and ceiling. Kids enjoy the free popcorn, kiddie cocktails and kiddie arcade area. Pickled Loon Saloon offers views of Pokegama Lake from their harbor location. Their large menu offers everything from italian nachos, burgers, nightly chef specials, and steak tips and shrimp.  There is something special about boating to your restaurant. The Pokegama Grille is another great place to drive to or boat to restaurant in Grand Rapids. Pokegama Grill is located at the Pokegama Golf Course that offers a covered outdoor patio as well as indoor dining with stunning views of Pokegama Lake. Enjoy burger baskets, fresh handcrafted salads and more.

Places Where the Locals Eat & Drink

Family friendly dining grand rapids mn

Every town has the favorite places where locals like to eat & drink. Boulder Tap House is one of those places. They offer over 20 different beers on tap, and are known for their burger, cheese curds and handmade ice cream shakes. If you are looking for local favorites then you will want to go to Forest Lake Restaurant and get a burger and a cup of their chicken wild rice soup. Timberlake Restaurant offers an endless fresh salad bar, soup, wings and breadstick lunch that is a fantastic deal. And they also offer chef inspired dinners like cedar plank salmon, Walleye Ala Ritz, and walleye cakes. And then there is the Italian favorite Sammy’s Pizza. They specialize in thin crust hand-tossed pizza’s where all of the ingredients are from fresh vegetables, meats and cheeses. Additional cultural experiences are: Fuji Japanese sushi and hibachi grill and El Potro authentic Mexican restaurant that are both great places to eat & drink. 

Additional Places To Eat & Drink

mexican restaurant grand rapids mn

There are places that are located just a little bit outside of downtown Grand Rapids that are all worth the drive. Heading to the east of Grand Rapids you will find several places to get a great bar burger like The Locker Room in downtown Coleraine, Wizards in downtown Nashwauk. Then there is authentic Mexican at Mucho Si in downtown Nashwauk. Florio’s Grill & Tavern is located in downtown Cohasset right on Hwy 2 that is known for their burger, shrimp and fish baskets and Saturday night prime rib. Then there is Cedar Creek Grille that offers American cuisine made from scratch recipes and hand-cut steaks. Blueberry Bowl is located north of Deer River where you can bowl and get awesome thin crust pizza made to order. Drive a little further north along the Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway and you will find the Gosh Dam Place that will cook your freshly caught fish and include made from scratch tartar sauce and sides to make a meal. Fish Tales, Leino’s Pub, and Hoot N Holler Bar are located in Squaw Lake and Alvwood area. These are great options if you are interested in driving up for a hike at the Lost Forty (definitely a bucket list item). All of these establishments offer signature drinks and menu items.

There was probably way more than you thought there was to do on a rainy day in the Grand Rapids, MN area, right?! If you are still looking for MORE, check out the Visit Grand Rapids website that showcases all things to do and see in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area within 50 miles! www.visitgrandrapids.com. You can also view the interactive Grand Rapids Visitor Guide that will give you additional article features of our trails and lakes for bright sunny days.

Top 10 Spring Adventures in Grand Rapids, MN

The perfect spring road trip to seek spring adventure up north in Grand Rapids, MN. 

Let’s be honest, winter has been great this year, but we all have a little cabin fever. That feeling of being cooped up inside is leaving all of us seeking Spring Adventures in Minnesota. Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the perfect up north spring road trip where you can get outside, seek adventure, and also enjoy a little rest and relaxation as well. Below is a list of Top 10 Spring Adventure you can find in Grand Rapids, Minnesota…

Grand Rapids Hiking Legion Trail1. Hike

Everyone gets a little, or a lot, of cabin fever around the transition from winter to spring. Grand Rapids, Minnesota offers over 1 million acres of public forest land made up of the Chippewa National Forest, UPM Blandin Foundation, George Washington State Forest, and the Scenic State Park. These are all great places to hike on well-maintained trails. We suggest the following: Simpson Creek (Easiest) is located in the Chippewa National Forest 45 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Minnesota on the Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway. This trail is a nice entry-level that is perfect for families of young children. Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp. Legion Trail (Easy/Beginner to More Difficult Level) located north of town inside the City limits of Grand Rapids is a 7-mile hand-cut trail that is fun, flowy, and twisty in a mixed forest that wraps around Hale Lake. Suomi Hills (More Difficult Level) is a remotely located hiking and skiing trail located twenty-three miles north of Grand Rapids up the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. An interesting site is The Day Lake Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp remains, a prisoner of war camp during World War II is located on the north end of Suomi Hills. Learn more about places to Hike in the Grand Rapids, MN area.

Itasca Historical Museum Grand Rapids MN2. Explore Minnesota’s History

Grand Rapids, Minnesota was established in 1872 and has rich forestry, logging, and mining history to learn about. You will want to check out the Itasca County Historical Society Museum.  The Museum is FREE, houses a lot of interesting Minnesota artifacts, and houses a genealogy center, gift shop, and escape room. The Judy Garland Museum and Children’s Discovery Museum are two museums under one roof where you can learn about the life of Judy Garland, born as Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Find the largest Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz artifacts in the nation. Walkthrough the home Judy grew up in. The Children’s Discovery Museum offers hands-on educational exhibits, activities & programs for kids, plus a gift store. Learn more about Grand Rapids, MN area Historic Attractions.

Grand Rapids MN Off Road Adventures3. Four Wheel Forest Adventures

Grand Rapids, Minnesota has over 300 miles of ATV trails to ride in the Spring. ATV/OHV trails open April -middle of May. The ATV trails that are located on old railroad beds open first (Alborn-Pengilly (39 miles), Blue Ox (74 miles), and Thistledew (25 miles). With Alvwood/Squaw Lake (159) and Island Lake Connection Trail (2 miles) opening May 2nd. The rest of the Itasca County ATV/OHV trails open middle of May (UPM-Blandin (21 miles), Balsam to Bigfork (33 miles), Little Moose (18 miles), and Northwoods Regional Trail (19 miles). All of these trails are well maintained and offer a wide variety of easy to moderate riding levels. All of these trails will take you through mixed forest, tamarack bogs, across boardwalks, and around lakes, rivers and streams. This is a wonderful way to get deeper into Minnesota’s forest on designated trails. Download the Itasca County ATV Map.

DSC0914 HDR 14. Explore Grand Rapids Public Art & History Tour

Take a walking tour around Grand Rapids and visit different murals, sculptures, and historic buildings. The art and history around Grand Rapids represent what Grand Rapids was founded on and you can find different art pieces that represent the Ojibwa culture, forestry, logging, and mining history, and the splendor of surrounding Minnesota’s nature. Also on the tour is MacRostie Art Center and The Reif Center which have rotating art exhibits and galleries. The new walking bridge across the Mississippi River is a wonderful place to start this self-guided tour. Download the Grand Rapids Public Art & History Tour.


Grand Splash Water Slide Grand Rapids MN5. Indoor Water Fun

Many Grand Rapids lodging properties like Timberlake Lodge Hotel, AmericInn, Country Inn & Suites offer pools and hot tubs. This allows kids of all ages to enjoy pool time while the parents relax in the hot tub. Timberlake Lodge Hotel has a Grand Splash waterpark, which offers a 98-foot slide, 20-person hot tub, and kiddie pool. A wonderful way for the kids and adults alike to burn off some energy and the parents to relax in comfort. Find Grand Rapids, MN places to Stay with pools and hot tubs.

Mesabi Trail Grand Rapids MN6. Bike Mississippi to Boundry Waters

The Mesabi Trail is 145 miles of mostly paved bicycle trail that runs from the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids to the Boundry Waters in Ely. Cutting through the forests of northeast Minnesota, your adventure will take you past lakes, creeks, and ponds, by vast red pits of old iron ore mines now filled with emerald, green water.  Learn more about the Mesabi Trail and purchase a wheel pass. The Tioga Recreation Area is a 25-mile single-track trail that was created for mountain biking and fat-tire biking. Playground Pathfinder will also be officially opening sometime in the Spring of 2022. Learn more about the Tioga Recreation Area.


Reif Center Grand Rapids MN7. Be Entertained

Mother Nature sometimes brings showers so our spring flowers can bloom. If this is the case, don’t fret, we have several indoor locations that can keep everyone entertained. The Reif Center is our hidden gem of a theater that brings the stars to northern Minnesota. Another place to relax and be entertained indoors is Mann’s Cinema Theater. Take in an afternoon matinee or evening show. They offer comfortable theater-style seating and a full-service concession stand. Thunder Alley XL offers a bowling and indoor adult-style arcade game area, an onsite bar that serves great pizza and other concession snacks. Find Grand Rapids, MN Area Attractions.

Klockow Brewing Grand Rapids MN8. Eat, Drink & Shop Local

Check out the two craft breweries and Minnesota wine bar. At Klockow Brewing Company you can order or bring your own food in and enjoy live music every week. Rapids Brewing Company located in historic downtown offers wood-fired oven cuisine and live music and events occurring weekly. Unwined Up North is also located in historic downtown and serves Minnesota wine and craft beer, charcuterie boards, flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches. In Grand Rapids, you will find many locally-owned restaurants, bars, and grills that offer one-of-a-kind up north cuisine like hearty wild rice soup and juicy bar burgers. Find Places to Eat & Drink in Grand Rapids, MN. Downtown Grand Rapids is best known for boutique-style shops that offer one-of-a-kind gifts, home decor, clothing, shoes, jewelry, local art, and Northwood memorabilia to take home with you as a memento of your visit to Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids, Minnesota area has several other retail shops and vintage boutique-style shops where you can shop to your heart’s delight.

Pokegama Golf Course Grand Rapids MN 10 spring adventures9. Grand Lakes of Golf

Three 18-hole championship golf courses make up the Grand Lakes of Golf: Eagle Ridge Golf Course, Pokegama Golf Course, and Sugar Brooke Golf Course. Each course is beautifully manicured with different degrees of difficulty. All have cart rentals and restaurants on-site. Whether you want 18 or 9 holes, to take an extended vacation, long weekend, or just get in a few holes after work, Grand Rapids has many options, and won’t disappoint. There are four additional 9-hole courses located in the Grand Rapids, MN area as well that are perfect for entry-level golfers and families. Find more information and book a tee time for Grand Rapids, MN area Golf Courses.

Cozy Lodging Grand Rapids MN10. Seek Rest and Relaxation

Grand Rapids, Minnesota offers a wide variety of cozy lodging options where you can find rest and relaxation while up north. You will find conveniently located in town Hotels/Motels and Bed & Breakfast. You will also find Minnesota Resort cabins and Vacation Home Rentals where you will have the opportunity to make your own meals and gather together. And we also offer in-town Air B&B’s as well that are hosted in a mixed commercial and residential area that is close to being able to walk to shops, restaurants, and breweries downtown. Find Places to Stay in Grand Rapids, MN.




5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Achieve in Grand Rapids

Winter Recreation- Visit Grand Rapids, MN

Make 2022 you’re year to do things that make you happy. One of the best ways to check things off your bucket list is to get started on it right away. Below is a list of 5 New Year’s resolution ideas that can be achieved in Grand Rapids.

1. Relax for Some Self-Care Time

Enjoy a day at the spa getting a massage, facial. manicure, pedicure, and other treatments.  Self-care can also be spending time doing something you love.

2. Change of Scenery/ Travel

Get out of the busy city and work remotely from a Bed & Breakfast, a cozy hotel or try the resort life on the lake. Traveling to a new place can spark new ideas. Come see what a charming rural Minnesota town looks like and leave re-energized after relaxing up north.

3. Learn a New Skill or Hobby

The Grand Rapids area is home to a wide variety of outdoor recreation and art experiences. Try a class at Stained Glass with Class or MacRostie Art Center. If you’re looking to try something outdoors, head over to Mt. Itasca to try tubing, skiing, or snowboarding. Other hobbies to try include: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and fat-tire biking. All of these rentals can be found at Ardent Bicycles.

4. See Live Music

The Reif offers spectacular shows and music acts. Visit their website to see upcoming shows. Other local musicians play at Klockow Brewing Company, Rapids Brewing Company, and UnWined Up North.

5. Take Time to Learn Some History

In Grand Rapids, there are 3 must-see museums. The Itasca County Historical Society, Judy Garland Museum, and the Children’s Museum.  All of the museums offer interactive exhibits and the Itasca County, Historical Society offers the opportunity to book an hour to try out their escape room.

Come explore the greater Grand Rapids area and start fresh in 2022 by trying one of the above New Year’s Resolutions. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2022. For help with booking a trip, please call our office at (218) 326-9607, or to request a visitor guide, click HERE.

Top 10 Things To Do In Itasca County This Fall

Itasca County is vibrant with fall colors, and a warm fall breeze! Come explore and see what’s happening up north this fall. Here is a list of the top 10 things to do this fall!

1.Rasmussen’s Cowhorn Crossing Farm

Pumpkins, hayrides, animals and fall activities can all be experiences from September 25th- October 31st at Rasmussen’s Cowhorn Crossing Farm. Hours include: Thursday & Friday evenings 4-6pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm.

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2. Fish in Itasca

There are over 1,000 lakes to fish in Itasca County. Fish from a variety of fish and stay up to date on fishing conditions by checking out our weekly fishing report done by local fishing guides. To see a full list of lakes in Itasca County, click HERE.

Jim Lindner small mouth bass
Jim Linder caught this nice smallmouth bass on a Grand Rapids, MN area.

3. Fall Colors Tour Road Trip!

Fall colors have began to show on the trees up north in the greater Grand Rapids area. Take a fall colors tour on Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway. Stop along 4 communities and 14 discovery sites along 47 miles. On your way up, travel along the Great River Road. 

Couple Fall Leaves Tour Sign Resized 1

4. Live Music Downtown

There is always live music going on downtown at Klockow, Rapids Brewing Company and UnWined Up North! In addition, see music at The VFW, The Eagles Club and The Reif.

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5. Fall Hiking

Hike two beautiful State parks in Itasca. Scenic State Park is located in Bigfork and Schoolcraft State Park in Deer River. Both are great groomed trails, perfect to experience fall leaves.  For other great hiking spots in Itasca, click HERE.


6. See a show at The Reif or Edge Center for the Arts

The Reif is located in Grand Rapids and the Edge Center for the Arts is located in Big Fork. Both have a variety of shows in the upcoming fall season. To see the full list of show, Click the hyperlinks.

7. Lavaliers Berry Patch

Although Lavaliers doesn’t have any apples this fall, visit Saturdays and Sundays September 15th- October 24th to get pumpkins, squash, brussels sprouts, honey and sunflowers. Hours at 9am-2pm. Stop by to get get the perfect sunflower photos!

8. Fall ATV Ride

The Itasca County area offers thousands of acres of federal, state, county and industrial forest land that are open to off-highway vehicle riding, and several designated trails. Forest or logging roads are an excellent choice for ATV/OHV use as well. In Itasca County, there are over 200 miles of ATV trails to ride. To see the different trails to ride and learn more, click HERE.

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9.Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market is open until the end of October. Stop by Wednesday’s and Saturday’s from 9am-1pm. They now have online ordering and pick-up!

10. Fall Events Happening!

Fall is a great time to get out and explore beautiful Northern Minnesota. To see events happening, go to our calendar page. Some fun events coming up include Klockotober Fest, Fall Phenology at Forest History Center and First Friday Art Walk. 

Klkocktoberfest 18

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, see our lodging page for a list of Hotels, Motels, Vacation Rentals, Airbnb’s and Resorts.

To receive a physical Visitor Guide or see a interactive version, click HERE.

Top 5 Things To Do Downtown

Downtown Grand Rapids is a great place to explore no matter the season. But, in summer it is full of live music, blossoming art, events, shopping opportunities and a chance to experience the history under the sun on a warm day. Here are the top 5 things to do downtown from a local perspective.

1. Events

Every first Friday of the month is First Friday Art Walk. Businesses downtown host local artist and musicians. There is also food trucks and live music in the Old Central School grounds. Also, downtown August 6th-8th is Tall Timber Days. Come downtown for a weekend of vendors, a street dance, pet parade and of course lumberjack shows. New to downtown is Grand Rapids Riverfest!!!! September 10th-11th we have headliners Trampled by Turtles and Yonder Mountain String Band.  Get your tickets HERE.

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2. Visiting Art & Historic Sites

Grand Rapids is known for the art and history that the downtown has. Great historic spots to check out are Old Central School, Pokegama Hotel, and Pokegama Bridge. For art spots, head down to the Mississippi River to see the Angel of Hope, the metal canoe sculpture, and the Blandin Paper Company Grinderman Stature. To see the full list of art and historic sites click HERE.  Lastly, don’t forget to stop at heart of downtown and get a picture on the Big Red Chair.

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Downtown you will find locally owned stores with unique Up North souvenirs. Also, we have a wide variety of antique shops to explore and of course we have stores with new items. Find a new top, a Minnesota mug, or an antique record. When shopping downtown, there are so many treasures to find. Here is a list of great places to check out. Central Square Mall, Old Central School, Lake Lover Vintage, Wings and Willows, Lake & Co., Stained Glass with Class, Briers, Benders, Shaw Florists, North In Bloom, 218 Style and Plumer’s Fine Furniture .

Downtown Shopping

4.Live Music

There is live music most days in the downtown area. Check out our events calendar to see a full list. Places that typically host live music include Rapids Brewing Company, UnWined Up North, Klockow Brewing Company and The Reif . 

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5.Meet the Community

When you visit downtown, there is an instant sense of community. If you go into a store, a place to eat or drink, you get the Minnesota Nice and will more than likely meet the owners. Grand Rapids is home to many locally owned businesses. We welcome everyone with open arms to visit out community and hopefully for summers to come. There’s no place like Grand Rapids.


End of Summer Road Trip Ideas

Summer isn’t over yet. There is still time to take last minuet a road trip. Here are a few trip ideas!

Family Trip

There is nothing more classic than a family road trip. The excitement of packing up the car, packing bags, booking somewhere to stay, and exploring. Whether you are taking a 4 hour or 14-hour trip, make a few pit stops and re-find what adventure means to your family. Make memories on the lake, on the trails or seeing historic sights and then end the night next the campfire eating smores. These are the memories that last a lifetime.

Family Resort

Girls Trip

Shania Twain says it best…”Let’s go girls”! Grand Rapids is a great place for a girl’s trip. Here are a few ideas to make your girls trip one to remember. Spend a day brewery hopping from Rapids Brewing Company to Klockow Brewing Company and end at UnWined Up North. Another day spend the day on the lake. Pontoon rentals are available at R&R Rentals and Grand Rapids Marine. Lastly, spend a day shopping or exploring hiking trails in the Grand Rapids Area.

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Biking Trip

Are you an adventure seeker? Right in the town over from Grand Rapids, is Tioga Recreation in Cohasset, MN. Bring or rent a mountain bike and enjoy 25 miles of thrilling trails for all levels of bikers. Tioga is also used for paddling, fishing, hiking, diving and enjoy the beauty of being an old, reclaimed mine pit.

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History/ Art Trip

Grand Rapids is filled with Art and History. Make stops at Itasca Historical Society, Judy Garland Museums, Old Central School and MacRostie art center. As you drive into town you can see the charm and character of the old buildings. Around town there are murals and sculptures that tell the story of the history of Grand Rapids. Check out the Grand Rapids Art and History Tour by clicking here.

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Where to Stay

You will find a wide variety of lodging options to choose from, and there are still openings remaining for Memorial Weekend! Our area lodging properties are ready to serve you when you are ready to travel. Properties are taking extra precautions to keep you and your family safe while you are staying in the greater Grand Rapids, MN area. You will find Grand Rapids Hotels and Motels which are conveniently located in town and accessible to restaurants, shopping, and night life attractions. You will also find Grand Rapids Resorts that offer a cabin to rent for the weekend where you are your family can reconnect together in Minnesota’s nature. You will also find Grand Rapids Lake Home Rentals where you can rent the entire home for the weekend. And you will find one Grand Rapids Bed and Breakfast that is quaint and charming and located on Pokegama Lake. And maybe your family is into camping; check out Grand Rapids Camping options. Book Now!

History of Old Central School

In the heart of downtown Grand Rapids is Old Central School. The school which was once filled with elementary school kids and is now home to a few businesses and is filled with art and history.

History of The Old Central School

The school was built in 1895 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture. From 1895- 1972 the school was used as an elementary School. The school was then listed as a National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It was not until 1984 that the school was restored and turned into a location for commerce, culture and used for community events.

One day, a visitor stopped into the Visit Grand Rapids office to share their experience of going to school at Old Central School. They shared that on the 1st level, they attended 1st grade there and recalled a play about a hen. It is stories like this that are the true history of the impact this beautiful building holds. If you or someone you know when to Old Central School and want to share a story with us, email us at info@visitgrandrapids.com

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What It Is Like Today

As you walk in you can tell how well preserved the old central school is to its original design. All original wooden floors, chalk boards and in some of the rooms you can see where school kids used to hang their backpacks up on hooks. It is a picture this moment of what it was like to go to school in the last 1800 and in the 1900’s.

The school is also filled with art. In the center there are photos hanging that show what the greater grand rapids area is like. In the staircase, there are four paintings that depicting the history of what Grand Rapids was built from. One painting is of the early voyagers that came to Minnesota in the 1600’s. The second painting is of a riverboat on the Mississippi. The third one is of a wannigan on the river that shows the beginning of the lumber industry in our area. The last painting is of a pioneer that shows the growth of operations in lumber and mining in Itasca.

Although, it is no longer used as a school, there is still so much to see. Currently, Visit Grand Rapids, Janna Salmela Photography, True North Salon and Spa and a combination boutique of true north salon and spa and wildland fabrics all open. On the top floor is Artist in the attic. Lastly, we have a few pop-up shops. Currently, the clothing bar is here every few weekends a month. If you are interested in renting a space contact Rob Mattei, Director of Community Development, at: 218-326-7601.

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National Travel and Tourism Week 2021

Visit Grand Rapids Is the Power of Travel

National Travel and Tourism Week 2021 (May 2-8) spotlights the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry.

This National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), there is more reason than ever to celebrate the collective strength of the U.S. travel and tourism industry and its dynamic workforce.

The 38th annual NTTW, taking place May 2-8, recognizes the Power of Travel and the critical role our industry will play in bringing back our vibrant communities, restoring the economy, rebuilding our workforce and reconnecting America.

Prior to the pandemic, the travel industry was a powerful economic engine, supporting jobs and driving local economies in every pocket of America. The industry had experienced 107 straight months of growth, generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.

Unfortunately, that strong growth trend plummeted last year due to the pandemic. Travel spending in the U.S. declined 42%, costing the economy $1.1 trillion, while hardworking Americans supported by travel made up a staggering 65% of all U.S. unemployment. In Minnesota travel spending has decreased by 7.1 billion dollars in 2020 alone. It is also estimated that over 202,000 jobs in the hospitality industry have been lost due to covid-19.

However, Visit Grand Rapids—and the travel industry—is resilient.

While we faced extraordinary challenges in the past year, our industry united like never before, lifted each other up, aided one another, and devoted ourselves fully to the task of supporting and restoring all sectors of travel. This year’s NTTW is an opportunity to turn the page to a new chapter in our industry’s story and celebrate its collective power by spotlighting the innumerable ways travel will drive recovery, bring Americans together again and help define our country’s path forward.

Visit Grand Rapids is participating in NTTW by sponsoring The Grand Rapids Downtown Spring Celebration, a safe and family friendly orientated event to bring back our community and tourists together.

From The Itasca Historical Society to MacRosties Art Center, Visit Grand Rapids travel and tourism industry contributes so much to our local economy and our community’s unique character. From all of us at Visit Grand Rapids, we are so excited to share the full power of our industry—and the strength and spirit of Visit Grand Rapids—this NTTW.