culture history up north

Your appreciation for history, culture and arts can transform any vacation into a trip back in time or a newfound admiration for different parts of the world.

Your vacation in Minnesota Northwoods should be no exception. From our rich Native American cultural influence and vibrant arts scene to the history of the Great Northern Railway portal and logging industry, we’ve got you covered!

History and Architecture

Bemidji is considered the cultural hub of northern Minnesota. The city’s most historical buildings include the Carnegie Library built in 1910 (funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie) and the neoclassical architecture of the Great Northern Depot (the last train depot commissioned by railroad executive James J. Hill). The depot has been restored and is now home to the Beltrami County Historical Society. Visit the website for hours, location and exhibit information.

Statues and Sculptures

Bemidji is famous for its Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox statues which stand watch along the downtown waterfront of Lake Bemidji. You might not know that just few yards up the hill stands the beautiful bronze-cast statue of Shaynowishkung or “Chief Bemidji.” The monument, which stands 9 feet tall, was dedicated in 2015 and proudly overlooks the downtown area. Treat your crew to a self-guided tour of the various smaller sculptures crafted by local artists you’ll find displayed along the street corners throughout town.

Arts and Entertainment

Bemidji boasts a vibrant arts and entertainment community. Visit the new downtown location of the Watermark Art Center with exhibits from local artists. While you’re there, pick up a brochure for the First Friday Art Walk where you can enjoy art, literary and musical entertainment. Bemidji is also home to Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, the Bemidji Chorale and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, providing entertainment for all age groups. Check the Bemidji Events Calendar for other performances, festivals and cultural events.

Download The Minnesota Northwoods Vacation Guide