20 Unique & Fun Things To Do In Mankato (Minnesota) | Travel Around (2024)

Mankato is the fifth-largest city in Minnesota, and its beauty lies within Blue Earth County.

This fact makes the city an abundance of attractions and historical grounds.

Apart from the fact that it lies within the blue earth, some places in the city equally lie within Le Sueur County.

As a result, makes the city appears as a Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Arguably, Mankato has earned many livability awards because of the low energy and office cost, economic growth, and conducive housing plan, among others.

This proves that visitors don’t have to blow their accounts in order to visit. There are several other free attractions in the city as well.

The city houses beautiful exhibits ranging from wonderful trails and parks, natural prairies, historical museums, art centers, and fun educational centers for all age groups.

Nationally touring ice shows, experiencing live music concerts and theatre productions, as well as funded local events, are part of the activities to enjoy in Mankato.

Additionally, Mankato has a wide range of high-level educational opportunities that are well-equipped.

Institutions like Minnesota State University, Bethany Lutheran College, and South Central College are some of the top institutions you can enroll in at a low cost.

Therefore, if you are looking for the best and most fun things to do in Mankato, the comprehensive list below will be of great use.

Things To Do In Mankato

1. Kato Escape

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Mankato Kato Escape

To enjoy the best indoor experiences in Mankato, head to the famous environment called the Kato Escape.

Historically, Kato Escape Room was founded in 2016 by Escape lovers Elizabeth Hanke and her husband. From their experience of their frequent tours of different other Escape Rooms around the area.

The facility features awesome exhibits, such as a magical glass entrance that welcomes visitors into the building.

Also, the lobby has nice walls with brand names, comfortable chairs placed in front of the wall as well as a seat to relax as you wait for the game to commence.

This location offers fun adventures in different challenging room environments.

Each room consists of tasking puzzles and some clues so that the player will have a hint of how to unlock the mystery and escape.

Of course, while enjoying your adventure, visitors must keep to time, so ensure to finish the challenge before the set time expires.

Address: 619 S Front St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

2. Minneopa Golf Course

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Minneopa Golf Course

Visiting Minneopa Golf Course is one of the best activities to do in Mankato for golfers, and for those that wish to improve their skills because of this environment is worth adding to your itinerary.

Even though is over 70 years, it’s still serving this particular area in Mankato with its lavish course and equipment.

Designed in 1928 by John McRae and M. J. Donndelinger, who were members of the club professionals during that period.

But later sold to the Books family, which was in charge of the course till 2015 and later became an investment company located in Mankato.

Golfers that visit the area will be opportune to play at the 18-hole course here.

Additional features that include pull carts, rental carts, rental clubs, and an annual range pass are some of the few things you can get at a very low cost.

If you desire to join an organization, it is advisable you join the Minneopa Ladies Golf League.

Address: 410 Pintail St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

3. Civic Center

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Randomeditor1000 / Wikimedia Commons

Tourists visit the beautiful Mankato Civic Center for several special meetings, outdoor events, and entertainment shows.

It will definitely be a nice choice to add to your list of places and things to do in Mankato.

The Civic Center is situated in the heart of the City and has made itself to be one of the best event centers in the Midwest’s environment.

Notably, it features the prestigious Mankato Mavericks division of men’s and women’s hockey teams. With well-equipped equipment from Minnesota State University for students and visitors.

Likewise boasts of its design developed exhibit with an estimate of over 5,000 seats for hockey, a 6,400-seat arena for concerts.

Also, there is a large banquet hall, a state-of-the-art conference center, and many more interesting places to visit.

A variety of parties and meetings have been hosted here, with more than 320,000 people and students attending events in the Center every year.

Above all, Mankato Civic Center is one of the most hospitable attractions in the city.

They open for business from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, respectively.

Address: Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN 56001, USA

4. Carnegie Art Center

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Ammodramus / Wikimedia common

For those whom fine art inspires, add a visit to Carnegie Art Center to your list of things to do in Mankato.

The Carnegie Art Center has been a center of attention for decades and has been showing and documenting different types of art pieces since its establishment.

Currently, it is the biggest gallery space in Mankato, with permanent galleries.

Every time you visit this art center in Mankato, visitors will certainly come across different artwork, as the gallery also contains some regional artists’ works.

The center attracts many visitors every season who desire to experience the artistic talent of artists in the community.

Regardless of whether the art will be ceramics, sculptures, paintings, street art, digital artworks, or photographs, among several others.

Another additional feature of the Carnegie Art Center is the availability of a gift shop with many exclusive items that can be presented as gifts to a loved one.

Some of the gift items include framed prints, glassware, hand-turned bowls, paintings, ceramic origami gift boxes, photographs, and lots more.

Address: 120 S Broad St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

5. Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail

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The Singing Hills

Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail is a well-reconstructed rail trail that is now maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The trail is now reopened, providing over 42 miles of asphalted enjoyable trails that visitors can explore anytime.

It is wheelchair accessible and for individuals of all ages to explore easily.

Visitors are always glad to begin their journey from Lime Valley Road to the Minnesota River Trail in Mankato, then move across the three miles to Sakatah Lake State Park, and then end at Faribault.

This route is actually an excellent and peaceful place to explore as well as explore other possible attractions with no additional cost.

Visitors can equally ride horses on the trail.

But, they will have to require authorization for horses. In addition to that, snowmobiling is allowed. However, the Snowmobiles have to be registered.

That is not all the fun activities to enjoy here if all the above do not interest you.

You can visit Sakatah Lake State Park, which is situated on the same trail.

This place offers separate picnic grounds, campgrounds, as well as hiking and biking trails that are easily accessible for all ages

Address: Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail + Mankato + Minnesota

6. Sibley Farm

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The Sibley Farm

Visitors have been flocking to Sibley Farm since 1893 to enjoy the family-friendly activities available, which are suitable for adults and children.

Sibley Farm is very popular in Mankato due to the fact that it is not just a farm but alsoa barn-style red building with lots of farm animals.

There are several activities to explore on the farm; Besides, the animals are gentle and welcoming. Visitors can feed and also play with them.

This unique attraction shelters different size calves, sheep, horses, peaco*cks, goats, alpacas, chicks, and koi fish in a pond outside the building for visitors to get a better view.

In fact, there is a big children’s playground and pavilions available for renting and picnic areas for families.

I recommend you visit this environment whenever the weather is warm and make sure you bring your grill along with you to enjoy lunch in the Sibley courtyard.

Address: 1080 Mound Ave, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

7. LocAle Brewing Company

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The Brewing Company

LocAle Brewing Company is one of the best environments to visit in Mankato, mostly for adults.

In this place, visitors feel the awesome taste of fresh wine, craft beer, and lots more.

The Company has many years of experience in the particular industry, with the idea of the business created by Lauren and Jim Parejko, the famous Midwesterners.

The LocAle company offers diverse services in styles such as roasty porters & stouts crisp lagers, tart & fruity barrel-aged sours, hefty barrel-aged strong ales, juicy pale ales, and more.

It also presents a unique combination of Midwest ingredients that actually give its drink a special and delicious taste, making it one of the city’s best and outstanding brewing.

Additionally, the place is always open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

Therefore, you can visit anytime to relax and enjoy your free time at the famous LocAle Brewing Company in Mankato.

Address: 228 Poplar St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

8. Mount Kato Ski Area

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Don Lipps / Mount Kato Ski Area

Mount Kato Ski Area is a pleasant environment for visitors.

Brimming with different activities, which makes it a fun place for all ages group.

Some of the excitement it offers are in the main area of seating known as the Kato Cafe, the Lift Bar, and the Grill.

In this area, visitors get to enjoy delicious a meal at a decent price.

However, if you are set for outdoor adventure, you can participate in activities like snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, and snow tubing, among several others.

Amazingly, there is availability for rental of equipment.

Visitors can attend different lessons for groups of either adults or kids are available at an additional low cost.

Above all, a variety of pleasant events take place in the area all through the year.

Therefore, you can visit during this period to utilize your fun time.

Events like Mogul Mash Spring Fling and The Duct Tape Derby are a few of the events you can participate in.

Address: 20461 State Hwy 66, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

9. Seven-Mile Creek Park

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Tom Bartel / Seven-Mile Creek Park

Seven-Mile Creek Park is a beautiful area comprising over 600 acres of grasslands, forest, and valleys; Seven-Mile Creek Bluffs the Minnesota River.

On this site, there are eight different miles of trails in the park with multi-use, which either ideal for walking, biking, or hiking, depending on your choice.

Visitors will also come across bridges that provide breathtaking and exciting views of the surrounding area.

Equally, there are several places for shelters, picnics, as well as a public boat launch along the River.

Other interesting features of the park include a baseball field, an outdoor playground, and countless volleyball courts for all ages to enjoy during their visit.

Visitors will also enjoy the fascinating fauna like turkeys, wild deer, and nesting birds, as well as a wide variety of migratory animals.

Address: 47454 US-169, St Peter, MN 56082, United States

10. Children’s Museum Of South Minnesota

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Children’s Museum Of South Minnesota

Are you looking for things to do in Mankato with kids?

If yes, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is the safest and most fun place to visit with kids of all ages.

This particular location is not just fun; it is equally affordable.

Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is the result of the efforts of teachers, business executives, and community members.

They want to create a safe and nice space for children to explore, grow, play, as well as learn at the same time.

Open in 2006, but was not a permanent museum.

In 2015 the Children’s Museum was able to find its permanent home in the former mass transit facility in Mankato.

Families and children of all ages can take part in all the special programs.

However, the program changes throughout the year.

In some of the programs, children get to learn displays such as learning about the inner workings of dairy barns, digging for archaeologists to learn more about the earth, learning how sun-sensitive papers work, and many more.

Address: 224 Lamm St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

11. Kiwanis Holiday Lights

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The Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Kiwanis Holiday Lights is a magnificent and one of the most enjoyable holiday events in the city of Mankato.

Visiting this lovely event is a great addition to the places you wish to visit in Mankato, Minnesota.

Famous for all the amazing activities visitors do.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights annual celebration came into existence in 2012 and has had a positive response from visitors all around the globe.

However, there is no hell for this celebration. It takes place in Sibley Park. This, as a result, has made it more fun because children get to use some equipment in the park at no extra cost.

Obviously, it is a safe and fun place for families and interested individuals.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights is actually all about light, so citizens and visitors who come to drive along with over 1.5 million holiday lights available.

The Holiday Lights hosts events such as choreographed lights, Non-Profit Trees, live reindeer, and animated lights. As well as sleigh rides, opening night parades, Tribute to the Troops, ice sculptures, and many more.

But the mission of the event is to create a beautiful colorful celebration of the Holiday.

Also, to create Lights for the Greater Mankato Area and raise food donations for those in need around the community.

Opens from Sunday to Thursday, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and Friday & Saturday, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm, respectively.

Christmas events do occur each night, starting from November to the first week of January.

Address: Kiwanis Holiday Lights + Mankato +Minnesota

12. Bent River Outfitter

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Bent River Outfitter

It is said that one of the amazing things to do in Mankato is to spend some time in some of its popular attractions, like Bent River Outfitter.

Here is the exact location to enjoy the best outdoor adventures around Mankato.

Owned and managed by the local city men with good records.

They offer boat rentals and guided trips for individuals, groups, and families of all sizes. Also, eco-tours, shuttle services, corporate outings, yoga, paddling lessons, and many more.

Visitors will also enjoy activities such as snowshoes, Tandem Kayaks, Kayaks, Canoes, and Stand-Up Paddleboards for rental and a discount price.

Furthermore, the Bent River Outfitter features a tie-downs strap for purchase at their famous shop.

Helping hand from their trained staff for your loading as well as unloading off the rented boats is an additional advantage.

Address: 530 N Riverfront Dr, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

Planning a trip outside of Mankato? Why not check out our list of things to do in Rochesterand Stillwater?

13. Rounders Sports Bar and Grill

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Behind the Lens / Rounders Sports Bar and Grill

After exploring some of the fun places above, you will definitely need a place to relax and refresh your energy.

Therefore, this amazing location is the perfect place to visit after a long fun.

This excellent spot is nonother than Rounders Sports Bar and Grill.

It is an American pub beer and fare on tap that offers an energetic spot with games on TV and a spacious patio.

Opened in 2009, and since then, it has been a very famous bar serving customers the best and most tasty beers. You will certainly enjoy yourself relaxing or grabbing a cold drink from the patio.

Equally, getting the belly to fill up in the bar is not a problem.

The Bar also boasts special exhibits with over 18 high definitions 50″ TVs that come along with lots of fun sports packages such as NBA, NHL, UFC, NFL, and MLB.

While watching this game, you can as well enjoy their special menu of appetizers, burgers, and more.

With this, it is evident that visitors will have a fantastic experience whenever they visit Rounders Sports Bar and Grill in Mankato.

Address: 414 S Front St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

14. Mankato Betsy-Tacy Society

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Mankato Betsy-Tacy Society

Betsy-Tacy Society is a children’s book and history of the life of author Maud Hart Lovelace.

The Home is two different buildings that are opposite to each other with different features.

One of the buildings was once the residences of Frances “Bick” Kenney and Maud Palmer Hart, who are best friends.

Visitors get to listen to the interesting history of these two best friends whenever they visit.

However, their stories are later narrated through the popular children’s Betsy-Tacy series books.

The house of Betsy is actually the museum, which is exactly what it looked like since the 1800s.

Visitors will travel back to the past whenever they visit due to the fact that the decorations and furniture are from the 1800s.

But the house of Tacy is an excellent center and gift shop.

It has several exhibits for manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographs, and much more.

Address: 332 Center St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

15. Blue Earth County Historical Society Of Mankato

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Alexia / Wikimedia Commons

Blue Earth County Historical Society is another historical environment researchers or tourists can explore.

Began in the year 1901 with just a small group of individuals who desired to put together some exhibitions relating to early pioneers, the lives of locals for the Semi-centennial celebration, and industries.

Also, for an event in Mankato that clocked 50 years since the region’s settlement.

Over the years, the historical society has become an ongoing display of different works to make visitors see the different collections.

This enables visitors to gain more knowledge of the area’s history and how the society was built.

Of note, the Center and Museum highlight different amazing features of locations, people’s lifestyles, and events that have improved the development of the town.

Visitors are always eager to visit because, in recent times, they are able to view a diorama of Mankato downtown from the 1800s.

The area equally boasts of Native American artifacts and equipment and also has an interactive area for children to enjoy their stay; this interactive area comes with a cabin that was built by the Pioneers as well.

Address: 424 Warren St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

16. Mankato Hubbard House

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The Hubbard House

History lovers are not also left out in Mankato, despite the fact that it is a very small town. There are tons of historical places that visitors can explore.

Hubbard House is one of the historic environments in Mankato.

This property is owned by R. D. Hubbard, an entrepreneur and member of the founders of one of the largest flour mills in southern Minnesota named Hubbard Milling Company.

Visitors are opportune to tour this business house. However, the property no longer belongs to Hubbard.

The site is now a Historical Society immediately after the Hubbard family moved out of the property in 1938.

Of note, whenever you are visiting, you will come across a lot of the decorations and furnishings in the building, which are original items owned and used by the Hubbard family.

However, if all these things do not entertain or delight you, the lifestyle that lives will certainly do.

Above all, this Hubbard House is one of the best for Architecture enthusiasts.

There are several traditional Victorian designs in and out of the building.

Address: 606 S Broad St, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

17. Red Jacket Trail, Mankato

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Jet Park Trail

For hike lovers, Red Jacket Trail is the best spot in Mankato.

Its trail runs 7 to 13 miles from the former railroad track alongside the route MN-66.

This said area is the best area for hikers and bikers, either professional or amateur.

In this hiking spot, visitors will see the famous 75-foot-high Red Jacket Trestle.

Additionally, the trail’s surface is made up of a combination of small stone and asphalt. This, as a result, makes it easily accessible for amateurs and those in wheelchairs.

Of course, tourists who love to explore the trail are mostly speechless by its peacefulness, stunning scenery, and clean environment.

The beautiful scenery can be easily viewed along the walkable trail. This makes it one of the perfect places for a moonlight photoshoot.

Most interesting of all about this place is that some parts of the Red Jacket Trail connect to Mankato River Trail, the Sakatah Trail, and the Minneopa State Park.

With this, it is evident that visitors will have a blast of fun visiting.

Address: Red Jacket Trail, Minnesota 56001, USA

18. Mankato Brewery

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The Mankato Brewery

Mankato Brewery has something tasty and amazing to offer visitors.

Definitely, an attraction to be on your list of things to do in Mankato, Minnesota.

The Brewery was in 1967, which makes it the first brewery that has been operating in the city since and has brought back the popular tradition in Mankato.

Mankato Brewery Taproom is now a well-known environment in the town, the most popular place suitable for relaxation, local gathering, or socializing.

Visitors will enjoy the amazing places of the brewery and can also purchase some items from the merchandise shop.

Not only that, but there is also an opportunity to listen to live entertainment performing on the stage in the Brewery.

Guided tours of the brewery are usually on a Saturday for those visitors that love an intimate view.

A taste of the beer will make you remember the region’s rich history. Also, the lifestyle of people living there if you are familiar with the environment.

Be sure to stop by whenever you are in Mankato.

Address: 1119 Center St, North Mankato, MN 56003, United States

19. Mankato Wow Zone

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Wow Zone

To give your family a beautiful and one-in-a-lifetime fun experience in Mankato.

WOW Zone is a great place to help fulfill that desire.

I recommend this attraction should stand as a major position in your list of best things to do in Mankato.

The Special Zone was opened in the year 2008 to be the first southern Minnesota entertainment center.

This, as a result, makes it the top attraction of the city, mostly among families with kids.

Features a two-level laser tag arena, blacklight mini-golf, and 24 state-of-the-art bowling lanes.

Plus, a full arcade game center, sports bar, restaurant, snack bar, and among others.

Apparently, there is a lot of entertainment to enjoy here as you walk around the magnificent courses.

Golf lovers will also be opportune to view live golf championship events, league bowling, explore casual, and many more.

Additionally, there is a Brunswick Pro Lanes feature exhibit.

Exhibit that has equipment such as 120″ projection TVs to add to the excitement With the already installed 42 LCD TV and 42 LCD.

Address: Wow Zone + Mankato + Minnesota

20. Minneopa State Park, Mankato

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The State Park

Minneopa State Park is a vast 58-acre park located in the heart of Mankato.

The park was opened in 1905 and has since been a center of attraction among tourists.

Filled with lots of sites and trails also serves as home to several waterfalls, which include one of the most well-known Minneopa Falls.

In this park, visitors can hike around the picturesque Minnesota River Valley to the native prairie grasslands.

Equally, when exploring here, you will get to see the geology that underlies the region.

Visitors can also visit the Seppmann Mill, which is powered by the wind and made from native stone to resemble that of the German style and lumber.

Above all, there are other facilities in the park.

Which include the bike trail, cross-country ski trails, walking trails, and boat ramps for access to the lake or river.

Address: 54497 Gadwall Rd, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

Final Remark

What is more interesting than visiting a wonderful city to enjoy?

A place that provides visitors with different attractions and activities to choose from and ensures their safety.

From restaurants to historic houses, museums, and parks, obviously, there is a lot to explore in Mankato.

This city is definitely a hidden gem that guarantees you a taste of the adventure and fun memories you deserve.

Happy Travel!

20 Unique & Fun Things To Do In Mankato (Minnesota) | Travel Around (2024)


What is Mankato, Minnesota famous for? ›

Today, Mankato, Minnesota is soybean crushing capitol of the world. Minnesota Stone is native to the area and used around the world.

Is Mankato worth visiting? ›

Greater Mankato is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. The region is home to the unique Blue Earth River tributary, endless trails, parks, ski hills, Minneopa State Park, which is known for its waterfalls and bison herd, and so much more.

What does Mankato translate to? ›

The name Blue Earth is a translation of the Dakota Indian word “Mahkato,” meaning “Greenish blue earth.” The name of the city of Mankato would be “Mahkato” if a spelling mistake made when the name was chosen had not changed the “h” to “n”. The name has remained Mankato ever since.

Is Mankato a nice place to live? ›

Mankato is in Blue Earth County and is one of the best places to live in Minnesota. Living in Mankato offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes. In Mankato there are a lot of coffee shops and parks. Many young professionals live in Mankato and residents tend to lean conservative.

Is Mankato expensive to live in? ›

The cost of living in Mankato, MN is 3% lower than the state average and 8% lower than the national average. Mankato, MN housing is 22% cheaper than the U.S average, while utilities are about 8% less pricey.

What is the ethnicity of Mankato? ›

Mankato Demographics

White: 84.37% Black or African American: 7% Asian: 3.67% Two or more races: 3.04%

Why is Mankato MN called the Key city? ›

Davis reiterated its significance, as the connotations of the word “key” could stand for the industrial and trade connections Mankato provided throughout the state and greater national markets, as well as its geographic placement and symbolic relation to southern Minnesota within the borders of Minnesota, when viewed ...

What majors is Mankato known for? ›

The most popular majors at Minnesota State University--Mankato include: Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; Psychology, General; Business Administration and Management, General; Marketing/Marketing Management, General; Finance, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Accounting; Elementary Education and ...

What is special about Minnesota State University, Mankato? ›

Cutting-edge Research. A growing international reputation for breakthrough research distinguishes the University, as does the unique quality of life that marks the proud community of greater Mankato.

Is Minnesota State University, Mankato prestigious? ›

Minnesota State University--Mankato

Minnesota State University—Mankato's ranking in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities Midwest, #67.


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