• Population- 5,167,100
  • Capital- St. Paul
  • Largest cities– Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester
  • Time zone- Central
  • Date of Admission to the Union- May 11, 1858
  • Slogan- The star of the north
  • State website URL- www.state.mn.us

One of Minnesota’s nicknames is “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” meant to indicate the sheer wealth of lakes, measuring in size from large to very small. But there are another 1,000 lakes on top of that number. The majority of the state’s residents collect themselves close to one of the larger cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul—the Twin Cities—are surprisingly sophisticated and cosmopolitan, particularly among their arts and culture sectors. This propensity for the population to huddle close by, may be why Minnesota is proud to be one of the most successful states when it comes to having a literate population.

Geologically the layers of rock that lie beneath the surface of Minnesota are ancient: limestone, basalt, gneiss, and granite. The southeastern corner of Minnesota may be ripe for the development of sink-holes. In fact the small town of Fountain, Minnesota is nicknamed “Sinkhole Capital of the World” for its large number of sinkholes. Groves of trees out in the middle of fields look to be standing up to the middle of their trunks in deep, circular depressions. Geologists explain that sinkholes occur when the underground rock strata—typically limestone—that has been formed into cave-like honeycombs, crumbles under the weight of the earth. Some sinkholes are small and others are very large.

Large retail giants that got their start in Minnesota: Target, Best Buy, and 3M. Target, an upscale department store, continues to cut into deeper markets in all kinds of communities. Part tourist spectacle and part mall, the Twin Cities’ Mall of America still holds the award for world’s largest mall. It has a small amusement park inside it, complete with roller coaster.

National Public Radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, comes live each week from its home venue, The Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. This show has garnered a cult following unusual for radio. Populated by a predominantly Nordic ancestry a large number of Minnesotans eat lutefisk, a whitefish preserved in lye. From October to November each year small towns around the state sponsor Lutefisk dinners. Locals may gorge themselves at community style sit-down dinners where featured Norwegian delicacies include lutefisk and lefse, a thin tortilla-like sweet bread that is often spread with butter and brown sugar.