Granite Falls, Minnesota may be a small town with a population of just over 2000. Still, it is filled to the brim with top attractions, fascinating history, and overflowing with local Native American culture and other hidden gems.
Located in the southwest corner of Minnesota, this prairie river community boasts access to the Minnesota River and the Yellow Medicine River within city limits.
The Yellow Medicine River is a tributary of the Minnesota River, and the two converge here in Granite Falls.
With all Granite Falls has to offer, you can enjoy nature and the outdoors, take in the local history, immerse yourself in the arts, experience an entirely different culture, and so, so much more.
Table of Contents
- Fun & Best Things To Do in Granite Falls, Minnesota
- 1. Roebling Footbridge
- 2. Andrew J. Volstead House Museum
- 3. Kiwanis Popcorn Stand
- 4. Fagen Fighters WWII Museum
- 5. Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort
- 6. Red Baron Arena & Exposition Center
- 7. Granite Falls Memorial Park
- 8. Upper Sioux Agency State Park
- 9. Yellow Medicine County Fair
- 10. Fishing
- 11. Bird Watching
Fun & Best Things To Do in Granite Falls, Minnesota
There is plenty for you to do on a visit to Granite Falls. These are just some of the top sights, stops, and activities available to you:
1. Roebling Footbridge
A quiet stroll across the Minnesota River via the historic Roebling walking bridge is a great place to start your stay in Granite Falls. In 1935, the Minnesota Bridge Company built this historic suspension bridge for pedestrians.
While the Minnesota Bridge Company may have built it, it was designed by the historic Roebling & Sons Company, known for its design of the Brooklyn Bridge.
This bridge connects the two sides of Granite Falls and allows you to continue your walking tour of downtown with a stroll along the Minnesota River.
The Andrew J. Volstead House Museum is one of 25 National Historic Landmarks located in the state of Minnesota. Managed by the Granite Falls Historical Society (GFHS), this place was once home to Minnesota Congressman Andrew John Volstead.
Volstead served as Congressman from 1903 to 1923 and was best known for the Copper-Volstead Act and the Volstead Act, better known as the National Prohibition Act. Prior to his stint in the national government, Volstead was involved in local government. He even served in city hall as mayor of Granite Falls just before being elected to the House of Representatives.
The museum is only open from Memorial Day through October, so make sure to plan your trips accordingly.
See Related: Best Weekend Vacations in Minnesota
3. Kiwanis Popcorn Stand
This small (though colorful) shack is located on Main Street in downtown Granite Falls.
It may not look like much, but size doesn’t matter here. This popcorn stand may only be open from May to October, but it is quite the popular stop in Granite Falls, especially with kids. People travel from all around the area to get a taste of this delicious popcorn. A wonderful food place to check out.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Granite Falls when the stand is open, pop on over and try some. Bring the family!
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to enjoy some history in Granite Falls, the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum is one of the best places to visit. This museum is home to a collection of military vehicles and aircraft, many of which are fully operational, an ever-expanding library, and some fantastic art exhibits.
Open Thursday to Saturday, it is suggested you put aside about 2–3 hours to enjoy the self-guided museum experience fully. There is so much to see and learn; the museum has even provided a list of study references to help you get the most of your experience.
Whether you’re a history buff or just interested in the subject, this museum is a fantastic way to spend a day in Granite Falls, MN.
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in Minnesota
5. Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort
The Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort is owned and operated by the Upper Sioux Community of Minnesota. Voted one of the Best of the Best and #1 Best Casino for nine years, Prarie’s Edge Casino Resort is home to the most extensive collection of coin slot machines in the Midwest!
In addition to their collection of slot machines, patrons can also enjoy the live and virtual table games the casino has available. With smoking and non-smoking areas available, they do their best to accommodate everyone.
While most states have set a minimum legal gambling age of 21, Minnesota is one of the few that went against the grain. To gamble at this casino, you need only be 18 years old or older.
Did you ever imagine that you could have access to hockey, figure skating, weddings, expos, and meetings all in one building? The Red Baron Arena & Exposition Center is home to all.
If you’re in town for a conference or expo, then you already know this is the place to go. However, if you’re simply visiting the area, you may still want to stop in. With Open Skate and Open Hockey sessions available throughout the year, it is the perfect opportunity to get out on the ice.
This isn’t quite in Granite Falls, though it is not far. Found in Marshall, Minnesota, this arena is still an excellent stop for any trip to Granite Falls, MN you shouldn’t miss.
South of Granite Falls lies Granite Falls Memorial Park, home to 141 acres of beautiful land. This is the largest and second oldest park in Granite Falls. It is a lush Rustic Style park. Rustic Style is a style of “Parkitecture” that ensures manmade structures do not take away from the natural beauty of the landscape.
This park provides both a great place to stay and a great place to unwind on a good hike. It boasts access to campgrounds and RV sites in addition to the picnic areas and playgrounds.
8. Upper Sioux Agency State Park
This park was established in 1963 and served to preserve the remains of the old Agency site. With over 1200 acres, there is a little bit of everything in Upper Sioux Agency State Park. There are woods, miles upon miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for camping, horseback riding, snowmobiling, even cross country skiing.
You can also find a fishing spot or break out your binoculars and search for birds. There is even something here for lovers of geology. Glaciers once covered this area of Minnesota. Upper Sioux Agency State Park sits on a plateau of the glacial drift!
Found in Canby, Minnesota, not too far outside Granite Falls MN, the Yellow Medicine County Fair is an extravaganza of fun. Held annually in warm mid-summer, the fair consists of 4 days of grandstand events, rides, activities, and delicious fair foods.
You can experience everything from demolition derbies to animal photography contests to polka music. There is a little bit of everything for everyone.
While it may be a once-a-year experience, it is a worthwhile one. If you find yourself in the Granite Falls area during the fair, it should definitely make your list of activities.
See Related: Minnesota vs Wisconsin: What’s the Difference?
Granite Falls is home to two of Minnesota’s great rivers, not to mention the nearby lakes, creeks, and ponds that surround the region. So, it should come as no surprise that fishing is a favorite local pastime.
In addition to the Minnesota River and the Yellow Medicine River, there are nearby parks (like Upper Sioux Agency and Granite Falls Memorial Parks above) and creeks (like Stony Run Creek or Palmer Creek) with plenty of walleyes, catfish, carp, bullheads, and more available to catch.
So, rent yourself a little boat and get casting! Just make sure that you note the local laws and regulations when you are fishing in the region. No one wants to get in trouble over something small when they’re on vacation.
See Related: Best Things to do in Owatonna, Minnesota
11. Bird Watching
If you’re an avid birder, or even someone just getting into the art of bird watching, Granite Falls is a perfect birding destination.
So, grab your binoculars and take a gander at the local avian population. It is diverse and plentiful. You can thank the variety of geological areas and habitats for the diversity of the wildlife.
Granite Falls is home to 18 species of warblers, 10 species of flycatchers, 17 species of sparrows, and plenty more. There are even bald eagles nesting in the area, especially during the winter months.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park is an excellent place for birding within the Granite Falls city limits. In fact, there are so many birding opportunities here that they put together a birding checklist for those interested.
There are also several other areas nearby that make for some excellent bird watching: Blue Devil Valley SNA (Audubon Important Bird Area), Gneiss Outcrops SNA, Lac qui Parle State Park, Camden State Park, Glacial Lakes State Park, Monsoon Lake State Park, and more.