Attractions

Mankato is a center for entertainment, shopping and nightlife. After a day on the trails, take in a show or a local band and brew in the City Center. Be relaxed at a local winery and just enjoy the scenery. What ever your choice may be you can find it all here in Mankato Minnesota.

Verizon Center Events

The Verizon Center has a packed annual events calendar with an exciting schedule of events, concerts and shows. You can expect concerts with internationally-known artists like Elton John and Florida Georgia Line. The venue also hosts the Division I Minnesota State University, Mankato hockey team. Each summer expect a full line-up of events and concerts including its outdoor concert series and the annual Ribfest located at Riverfront Park in Mankato.

Wine and Dine

You can call us the Napa Valley of the North. Greater Mankato offers four wineries all within 20 miles of Mankato. Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery, Indian Island Winery, Morgan Creek Vineyards and Javens Family Vineyard & Winery all offer award winning wines, a packed events calendar, delicious food and exceptional scenery, each with its own unique atmosphere. Sip your way to relaxation.

Keep it Local

City Center Mankato offers a taste of the local life in Mankato. Sip on a local brew from Mankato Brewery or from Schell's Brewery in New Ulm at one of our local pubs. Eat a local favorite like the Pub 500 sloppy joe or the classic deep dish from Pagliai's Pizza . While you're out, kick back and enjoy music from a local band like Fish Frye. There is no better way to experience a city.

Night Life

Mankato's entertainment district, located in the heart of the City Center, is home to the Verizon Center and numerous bars and grills, all within walking distance of each other. Dance the night away to a DJ or find a local live band. Over 700 shows are held in Mankato annually. You can easily find a variety of live music shows somewhere in Mankato every week.

Tours

Tours

Mankato On the Move Audio Tour

Enhance your experience of the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour and the Poetry Walk and Ride with the use of OnCell Audio Tours. Just look for the QR codes on plaques and signs along the various tours. There are also phone numbers you can call to hear the tours. You can use your cell phone, smartphone or tablet to listen to information about each specific portion of the tour.

Step B ack in time with Betsy-Tacy Discover Deep Valley

Sitting quietly on top of Center Street Hill in Mankato you'll find the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, beloved author of the Betsy-Tacy series of children's books. As you visit the many significant Betsy-Tacy sites on this tour, try to erase the view of modern advances and imagine a simpler time of the early 1900s when horses and buggies filled the streets. According to Maud Hart Lovelace, many of the characters in her books are based on real people. Their homes are located throughout the neighborhood. The Discover Deep Valley brochure lets you take a walking tour of the most significant landmarks mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books. The Betsy-Tacy houses are open for tours as well. Please contact the Betsy-Tacy Society for that schedule. www.betsy-tacysociety.org or 507.345.9777.

Bent River Outfitter Guided Tours

Bent River is an outdoor adventure outfitter located in Old Town Mankato, specializing in guided trips throughout the Blue Earth County river valley. It also rents kayaks, canoes, snowshoes and stand-up paddle boards (SUP). Join tour guides on a prescheduled event or set up your own personalized tour. Make sure to ask them about Big Moe and Triple Falls. This is a tour of Mankato you cannot get unless you are floating down one of our beautiful rivers.

CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour

See and enjoy art out in the open at CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour. In this annual, year-long tour, you'll find thirty-four sculptures by artists from around the world in mediums ranging from painted steel to marble throughout City Center Mankato. Take a self-guided sculpture walk by downloading the CityArt audio tour from the CityArt website, www.cityartmankato.com or from the QR code located on each sculpture nameplate. Tour maps/brochures and Kids Scavenger Hunt maps are located in the voting boxes along the tour or also on the website.

Veterans Memorial Tour

Hikers and bikers can honor the service of all veterans any day of the year by visiting the Greater Mankato area's 14 memorial sites on the Trail for Heroes. This 12-mile scenic route winds through the two historic city centers and beautiful natural landscapes as it leads visitors to monuments that commemorate the sacrifices of veterans from the 1800s to the present day. The route uses public roads and trails that are easily accessible on foot and bike, and parking is available at most locations if you prefer to reach the sites by vehicle. Amenities along the way include parks with varieties of recreational opportunities and businesses with shopping, dining and other services.

The US-Dakota Conflict of 1862 Self-Guided Tour

It has been more than 150 years since the US – Dakota War. At least 450 white settlers and soldiers lost their lives along with many unrecorded Dakota casualties and forced removals. In the present day we try to understand the events leading up to the conflict along with the grim outcome – the simultaneous hanging of 38 Dakota on December 26, 1862. It was the largest mass execution in US History. The US – Dakota War also was the largest attack on settlers in the history of the US. This Self-Guided tour brings you to 33 sites of the US-Dakota War. Each site offers a brief description of its significance.

Poetry Walk and Ride Tour

Enjoy Mankato's newest public art project – the Poetry Walk and Ride. The Poetry Walk and Ride will take you through several beautiful parks and along recreational trails in search of 34 poems by local poets. You can read the poems or listen to the poems read by the authors in an audio tour format.

Self Guided Tours

Step Back in time with Betsy-Tacy – Discover Deep Valley

Sitting quietly on top of Center Street Hill in Mankato you'll find the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, beloved author of the Betsy-Tacy series of children's books. As you are visiting the many significant Betsy-Tacy sites on this tour try to erase the view of modern advances and imagine a simpler time of the early 1900s when horses and buggies filled the streets. According to Maud Hart Lovelace, many of the characters in her books are based on real people. Their homes are located throughout the neighborhood. The Discover Deep Valley brochure lets you take a walking tour of the most significant landmarks mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books. The Betsy-Tacy houses are open for tours as well. Please contact the Betsy-Tacy Society for that schedule at 507.345.9777.

Honor Mankato's Veterans – Veterans Memorial Tour

Hikers and bikers can honor the service of all veterans any day of the year by visiting the greater Mankato area's 14 memorial sites on the Trail for Heroes. This 12-mile scenic route winds through the two historic city centers and beautiful natural landscapes as it leads visitors to monuments that commemorate the sacrifices of veterans from the 1800s to the present day. The route uses public roads and trails that are easily accessible on foot and bike, and parking is available at most locations if you prefer to reach the sites by vehicle. Amenities along the way include parks with varieties of recreational opportunities, and businesses with shopping, dining and other services.

Take Time to Heal from a Troubled Past – The US-Dakota Conflict of 1862 Self-Guided Tour

It has been more than 150 years since the US-Dakota War. At least 450 white settlers and soldiers lost their lives along with many unrecorded Dakota casualties and forced removals. In the present day we try to understand the events leading up to the conflict along with the grim outcome – the simultaneous hanging of 38 Dakota on December 26, 1862. It was the largest mass execution in US History. The US-Dakota War also was the largest attack on settlers in the history of the US. This self-guided tour brings you to 33 sites of the US-Dakota War.

Each site offers a brief description of its significance.

Twenty-Five Insights into Mankato's History – City Center History Walking Tour

The History Walking Tour includes 25 historical sites in Mankato. The tour offers photos and brief descriptions of each site and a detailed map to help you find your way through Mankato's fascinating history.

Take a Drive – Minnesota Scenic Byway

Explore the Minnesota River Valley in your own vehicle. This scenic byway takes you on a journey down the roads and highways that follow the Minnesota River. Take in stunning views of the river and bluffs, see wildlife and stop to explore the river towns and cities. The Minnesota Scenic Byway has many suggestions for historical places to visit in the greater Mankato area.

Top Annual Events and Festivals in Mankato

The city of Mankato keeps its visitors and residents entertained year-round with plenty of exciting events and festivals. Almost all events are focused on celebrating the unique character of the Mankato area—including its history, climate, location and friendly atmosphere. Here are 12 of the top annual events and festivals in Mankato, Minnesota, throughout the year.

Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic, February
Every February, Spring Lake Park is a hot spot for both young and adult hockey players for the Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Classic event. Several local hockey teams compete on the frozen Anthony Ford Pond during a two-day event that also has additional options for family fun including a sledding hill and 12 separate professional rinks. There's also a warming house to take a break from the cold. Games are categorized by youth and adult teams, and all entrance fees go toward the Pediatric Cancer Research and United Way's Connecting Kids charities.

Greater Mankato Bike & Walk Week, May
May is officially bicycle month in the Mankato area, and locals celebrate by hosting Greater Mankato Bike & Walk Week. Each day during this weeklong event has its own exciting theme and programs like Bike and Walk to School Day, Bicycle Safety Rally and the Mayor's Ride. Other scheduled events throughout Bike Week include Cyclofemme (a celebration of women), Valley Crawl Bike Polo (a pub crawl on bikes) and Ride of Silence (paying respect to cyclists who lost their lives on the road). The event's goal is to promote a healthier lifestyle and raise awareness about bike safety.

Solstice, June
On Father's Day weekend, Solstice at Riverfront Park is a popular annual outdoor festival loaded with live country music from dozens of bands, artisans and local food vendors. For three days, participants can see and take part in a variety of events, including a kids talent contest, try craft beer tastings and fundraising activities for charities. Families are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for a more comfortable concert experience.

Deep Valley Homecoming, June
Once home to the famous children's book author, Maud Hart Lovelace, Mankato celebrates the Betsy-Tacy book series annually at the Deep Valley Homecoming festival. Deep Valley is the fictional town from the book series, and the event includes guided tours of the Betsy-Tacy houses, book festivals, children's games, and arts and crafts. Families can join a horse-drawn trolley, have a Victorian tea experience, browse through a vintage car show, watch a live reenactment of Victorian times and much more. Come hungry; families can register to join a feast at the historic Kato Ballroom and watch guest speaker authors like Melissa Wiley and Nancy McCabe.

North Mankato Fun Days, June
North Mankato Fun Days in Wheeler Park is a five-day event catered to both children and adults with fun activities like the Kids Pedal Tractor Pull, Fire Department Water Fights, Special Needs Carnival and a live petting zoo. Other attractions at Fun Days are the vintage cars and motorcycle shows, horseshoe tournament, bingo games and more. Fun Days is a longstanding event, surpassing 50 years and becoming an important tradition to the city of Mankato.

Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, July/August
Not much different than Norwegian warriors, the Minnesota Vikings football team hosts its training camp every year at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato. During special times during the Vikings Training Camp, families can join in on the fun. They can take to the field to play football and meet the Vikings cheerleaders, and meet many of the players for autographs. Kids also can join a junior training camp (early registration required) for some one-on-one learning time with Vikings coaches and players. This is one of the most popular annual traditions in Mankato, and easily one of the coolest. It's a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with professional NFL players—a chance that doesn't come along often.

Ribfest, August
Indulge in one of America's favorite meaty dishes at Ribfest, held annually every August at Riverfront Park in Mankato. Attendees can sample multiple rib recipes along with other barbecue meat while enjoying live bands during the event. Several designated kids' activities are on-hand each year with games, crafts and more.

Mahkato Annual Traditional Pow-Wow, September
Once predominately occupied by the Mahkato natives, the city of Mankato goes back to its roots at the Mahkato Annual Traditional Pow-Wow. Both natives and non-natives are invited to camp overnight at the Land of Memories Park for a full Pow Wow experience. Visitors receive history lessons on the Mahkato tribe, watch performances and dances and join drum circles. The event is hosted by the Mahkato Mdewakanton Association with goals to connect people to its rich history.

History Fest, October
Travel back in time at History Fest, held annually at Darby Village on McGowans Farm, where adults and kids can see firsthand what living the farm lifestyle in the 17th century was like. Guests get to see performances by bellydancers, fire-eaters, storytellers, cannon shooters and cider makers. The farm focuses on Irish and Scottish traditions and activities. Families also have a chance to sample centuries-old recipes to get a taste of early farm life.

Mankato River Ramble, October
Check out the glorious fall colors of Minnesota by joining a scenic bike ride at Mankato River Ramble. Hosted by both Mankato Bike Alliance and Minnesota Bicycle Alliance, River Ramble is a celebration of its award-winning bike trails and community. Cyclists can choose several routes from 12 miles to 50 miles to bike through fall foliage and past local rivers and lakes. All of the bike trails have rest stops for food and drinks, live music and more.

Mankato Marathon, October
Mankato Marathon is the area's biggest race of the year and features a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon and KidsK races. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Health Systems, the event is held to raise funds for local charities. Visitors can participate in one of the races (early registration required) or cheering on runners. Mankato Marathon is USATF certified, ranking as professional as Boston Marathon.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights, November/December
The biggest Christmas event in Mankato is the Kiwanis Holiday Lights celebration in Sibley Park that attracts thousands of visitors annually. Families are invited to drive through the route of holiday lights. Other on-site activities include ice skating (rentals available), reindeer encounters, an illusion show with LED lights, Santa visits and more.

 

 

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