Mankato, MN is located in Blue Earth County, in the southern part of the state. It is situated along the Minnesota River Valley, approximately 80 miles southwest of the state capital, St. Paul, and about 85 miles south of Minneapolis.
Mankato has a rich history that dates back to its Indigenous inhabitants, including the Dakota Sioux people. The city was settled by European-American settlers in the mid-19th century.
One of the most significant events in Mankato’s history is the US-Dakota War of 1862, which had a profound impact on the city and the region.
Mankato is home to Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU), which is a key contributor to the local economy and cultural landscape.
The city has a diverse economy, including industries such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Mankato is the fourth-largest city in Minnesota and serves as a regional center for commerce, education, and entertainment in the region.
Its location offers convenient access to the Twin Cities metropolitan area while providing a smaller, more relaxed community atmosphere.
Let’s explore together the best 8 things to do in Mankato, MN if you plan a visit here.
Things to Do in Mankato, MN
1. Visit the Mankato City Center
Start your journey in the heart of the city at the Mankato City Center, a bustling hub that showcases the rich history and cultural heritage of the area.
Take a leisurely stroll along the streets adorned with public art installations, boutique shops, and local restaurants.
Don’t miss the weekly farmer’s market, where you can sample fresh produce and handcrafted goods from local vendors.
2. Explore the Minnesota State University, Mankato
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus. As one of the largest universities in the state, it offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy.
Take a guided tour of the campus to appreciate its beautiful architecture and lush green spaces.
Catch a performance at the university’s state-of-the-art theaters or cheer on the Mavericks at a thrilling college sports event.
3. Delve into History at the Blue Earth County Historical Society
Visit the History Center and Museum to discover fascinating exhibits that highlight the area’s Native American heritage, pioneer settlement, and industrial development!
The museum also hosts educational programs and events throughout the year, offering a deeper understanding of the city’s past.
4. Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Minneopa State Park
Take a hike along picturesque trails that wind through lush forests and prairies and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the park’s two stunning waterfalls, which cascade into the Minnesota River.
Wildlife enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to spot bison and other native animals at the park’s bison range.
5. Discover Arts and Culture at the Twin Rivers Center for the Arts
This cultural hub showcases local artists, hosts exhibitions and offers art classes for all ages and skill levels.
From painting and ceramics to theater and music performances, there’s always something inspiring happening at this creative hub.
6. Unwind at Sibley Park and Mankato Zoo
Explore the meticulously manicured gardens, stroll along scenic walking paths, and have a picnic in the shade of towering trees.
While you’re there, make a stop at the Mankato Zoo, home to a variety of animals from around the world.
Get up close and personal with fascinating creatures and learn about conservation efforts.
7. Attend Festivals and Events
Mankato is renowned for its vibrant festivals and events that bring the community together throughout the year.
From the Mankato RibFest, where you can savor mouthwatering barbecue, to the lively Mankato Marathon, there’s always a reason to celebrate in this city.
8. Discover Local Breweries and Dining Experiences
Indulge in the flavors of Mankato by exploring its local breweries and dining establishments. Sample craft beers made with care and passion at one of the city’s breweries, where you can engage with the brewers and learn about the brewing process.
I recommend the Mankato Brewery. This is located at 1119 Center Street. Mankato Brewery is a well-known craft brewery that offers a variety of handcrafted beers.
Their taproom provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere where you can sample their flagship beers, seasonal brews, and limited releases.