There is a lot to do in northern Minnesota, especially in the Grand Rapids area. Whether you’re in the area for summer vacation, to take in the fall colors, enjoy the fishing opener, or to relax during the peaceful winter snowfall - it’s a great place to be! To help our guests who want to take a short trip into Grand Rapids during their time up north, we put together a fantastic list of things to do while in Grand Rapids below. Please note that some of these things are only available during certain seasons.
If you’re in the area during the summer months, the farmers market is a fantastic place to be. Everyone in the family is sure to find something they like. They have locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, honey and jam, fresh baked goods, and something else that will surprise you. The farmers market typically opens up in May - you don’t want to miss it! Check their site for hours and dates.
With a spacious interior, great beer, and frequent live music, Klockow is a local favorite. Like any great taproom, they have great food as well. Their selection of beers is a spectacle, and the whole vibe is fun. Check them out!
The Pokegama Dam is located on the Mississippi River, three miles upstream of Grand Rapids. Construction began at this damsite in the late 1800s. Pokegama is considered the distributing reservoir for the two upper reservoirs at Winnibigoshish and Leech, the water from which passes through this dam. Besides being a cool historical site, there is camping, hiking, fishing, and boating to be done here!
There are quite a few solid golf courses in the area if you’re visiting in the summer months. But there are two that are sure to please:
Pokegama Golf Course: One of the best municipal golf courses in Minnesota. It’s situated right on Pokegama Lake with incredible views. 18 hole par 71 course - fantastic spot for a nice day.
Eagle Ridge Golf Course: This course looks over Trout Lake and has received great reviews for being very “playable”. Enjoy being in the middle of the northwoods at this beautiful course.
Itasca County has some of the best snowmobiling in Minnesota. You’ll find miles of well-groomed trails right on the doorstep of Big Timber Resort. There are so many places you could go, we won’t even start. Snowmobiling in a cold northwoods winter and then cozying up in a warm Big Timber cabin is a fantastic way to spend a long weekend.
Jump back in time as you tour the historic Gilbert Mansion, once home to one of the most prominent families in northern Minnesota. Learn about the Gilbert family and early Grand Rapids history as you see all 17 rooms of the mansion! This has been called the “Jewel of Itasca County” and it is definitely worth the visit.
MacRostie is perfect for a rainy day while you’re up north. MacRostie Art Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to community growth through the arts in northern Minnesota. The MAC presents classes, workshops, exhibitions, lectures and other activities to engage the community in the arts. It’s located in downtown Grand Rapids, and there are always local artists that are being featured.
Rainy day or not, “The Reif” is a great choice if you’re in the mood for entertainment. It features live music, theater and dance as well as an art gallery.
Each year, the Reif hosts more than 50 national and international touring performances, representing a diverse range of artistic disciplines, including musicians, classical and contemporary dancers, musical theater, children’s theater, comedy. We recommend The Reif while you’re up north!
Don’t forget how important curling is to northern Minnesota! This is a hidden gem. The facility is dedicated to the sport of curling, and the Club offers open houses and curling classes where anybody and everybody can learn the basics of the sport. This is great fun for everyone, but you’re not going to want to miss this if you have kids!
The Mesabi Trail starts in Grand Rapids and passes through 25 communities on its 132 mile journey to Ely. The Mesabi Trail is one of the best bike trails in Minnesota with its rugged landscape and iron ore colors. You can stop at each community on the way to Ely to find great restaurants and historical and natural landmarks. What a treat it is to have this bike trail so close!
Whether you’re staying at Big Timber Resort or not, there are so many ways to enjoy the Grand Rapids area. There are so many lakes to admire, and so much fun to be had. Get out there and explore! And please do come back.
New owners, Craig & Lisa Knutson are carrying on Big Timber's legacy of family fun and outdoor adventure. Their vision is to love and serve each and every guest.
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