Most people, myself included, would think nothing exciting is going on in a small town in northern Minnesota. Thankfully, they are wrong. Every town usually has something exciting and fun to offer and if you dig deep enough you might discover something new.
Northwest of Duluth, between the towns Grand Rapids and Virginia, Hibbing is known as the town that moved the Grand Canyon of the North, and was once called the “Iron Capital of the World”. It should also be noted that it was home to several famous residents, including popular musician Bob Dylan.
Understanding this means it’s almost impossible to not be able to find something to do on your visit. There are many things to do in Hibbing MN. From going to historical museums to visiting beautiful landmarks and taking a stroll through the peaceful nature & wildlife areas.
The community is on the Mesabi bike trail, close enough to bike, one of my favorite outdoor activities. It boasts 32 parks, two golf courses, skateparks, sports fields, indoor and outdoor ice rinks, the Hibbing Raceway, and the marksmanship center.
With so many articles and recommendations available, it can become a hard choice to settle on just a few. Hibbing is a unique place with a variety of activities and places that will be sure to leave lasting memories to any visitor.
First, we will explore why Hull Rust Mine is a popular destination. Then we will learn about some fascinating museums, top attractions, and historic sites. All of this will allow you to make a fun activity plan and enhance your visit!
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List of the Best Things To Do in Hibbing MN
The city of Hibbing is located in St Louis County and built on top of rich iron ore. At the edge of town sits the largest open-pit iron mine in the USA. It’s a national historic landmark and an actual working mine.
The Hibbing area is rich in mining history, and various other historic sites. This group of open pits alongside the Mesabi Range stands as a monument to the hard work and mankind’s ingenuity.
The town expanded quickly during its infancy thanks to the supply of mineable raw materials at the time of the industrial revolution. Miners soon discovered that a part of the ore body went under the old town, and after negotiations took place, they decided that the town would be relocated to the south 2 miles away.
The mining company covered most of the expenses through loans that could be paid off over the years by the community and retailers of the town. The relocation was quite an undertaking. Only one structure did not survive the journey. A hotel tipped off the rollers and fell to the ground leaving a pile of rubble behind. A project that began in 1919 and lasted until 1968.
This massive undertaking is the equivalent of digging a small tunnel through the center of the earth from Minnesota and then out the other side. More than 30 individual mines encompass a breathtaking 2,291 acres. Most are no longer in operation, however.
With a range of 6 miles long and up to two miles wide, 600 feet deep, there is sure to be something that catches your eye here. Visit the Hull Rust Mine View and Hibbing Tourist Visitor Center to join a group tour and view the working mine from the observation area.
A fascinating National Historic Landmark with an equally fascinating founding history. 360-degree view of about 3 miles from a high point. An activity that I (and many young kids – no shame) would enjoy is witnessing the massive trucks and equipment in action!
The center provides free admission and handicap accessibility. Group tours accommodate up to 45 people and more. This year-round facility has a shop and accepts “special arrangement” visits when not in season.
The first feature of the Greyhound Bus Museum that is sure to catch your eye is the Roses and Iron Garden. A unique garden made up of hardy garden and shrub roses – a total of eighty different roses branch off 35 varieties.
Excellent growth potential and resilience are hallmarks of the greyhound bus company; an Iron theme to tie into industrial history to start your journey through the museum. Carl Wickman and Andrew “Bus Andy” Anderson began a bus line between Hibbing and Alice in 1914.
Originally started to help iron miners get around. Eventually, it would become known as The Greyhound Lines, the largest bus company worldwide.
The museum dedicates itself to the history and origin of the Greyhound Bus Company. Video presentations inside a theater made to look like the inside of a greyhound bus will explain the company’s history. Upon finishing and exiting the theater you can take a stroll and see the various greyhound buses displayed outside.
At the museum, visitors will get to learn more about the famous Greyhound story through all sorts of fun activities that include 18 new historical buses, lines using pictorial displays, exhibits, artifacts, memorabilia, audiovisual presentations, and the video The Greyhound Story.
An immersive experience will take you through a tunnel that will make you feel immersed in the auto sounds of 1914. A detailed visual will illustrate how the Greyhound bus lines contributed to the WW2 war effort.
Other displays and artifacts will help visitors understand how a two-mile route and a car (the failed Hupmobile they could not sell for love nor money) grew into the largest bus company worldwide. Now the largest provider of intercity bus transportation, serving over 2,300 destinations and 13,000 daily departures.
Providing safe, cheap travel to over 25 million, it has become an American icon serving most of North America and branching off to other services.
There is no shortage of achievements for this most-recognized brand. A true quality feature that inspires me to think big. Visiting the museum will leave you proud of the marvels and wonders of the past.
Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out. The shop has a variety of brand items such as caps, t-shirts, spoons, bus prints, model buses, and much more to choose from!
See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota
Hibbing Historical Society Museum is where you can learn about the town’s origins as a hardy, viable mining industry. Various interesting displays will help you understand more about the subsequent move and the people who helped form the town.
Hibbing Historical Society Museum is a treasure trove of history from the region. From permanent to temporary exhibits that explain the architecture, to the business interests of the community and the people who’ve resided there throughout the years.
There are remains of the foundations of the old homes where they once stood in place and signs with informative descriptions telling the history of the relocated buildings. The old historic site of Hibbing is now home to a model airplane field and the Hull Rust Mine.
Situated inside the memorial building the museum exhibits tell the story of the town. Its logging and mining pictorials demonstrate the operations and functions of the tools and how they were used in mining and logging.
For more reference, you can take a look at their 5 feet by 8-foot scale models of the town of historical Hibbing as it looked in 1893 when it was incorporated. There is also another 8 feet by 16-foot model from 1913 accompanied by a 10-minute audiovisual narration.
The narrative depicts the growth of the town. It will help you understand why Hibbing was forced to move to adjust to the demands set forth by the discovery of rich iron ore deposits that were abundant just below the town.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast like me and love the lakes, running, fishing, hunting, then Hibbing is a great place to consider. Depending on the season and date, you could even be lucky enough to enjoy street dances and sidewalk sales that bring the community together in these fun family-centered activities.
If your trip happens to fall on the first Wednesday of every month, head on over to the Mesabi Range and watch the mine blasts around noon and walk the Mesabi Trail. Head on over to Carey Lake afterward and take a stroll through a beautiful nature reserve close to Voyageurs National Park.
Carey Lake Park has many different options that include fishing piers, natural conservation sightseeing, ornamental plantings, picnic tables, and trails for biking, hiking, and lit ski trails. Ice Fishing is also a common activity during the season.
The Lake beach is a great location for swimming during the summer months. And cross-country ski trails during the winter. The beach and park are usually pretty well maintained. There is plenty of free parking throughout the park.
Trails start at the parking area by the beach and branch off in many different directions to cover about 25 sq km worth of gorgeous scenery. They primarily run through the woods and lowlands, and only a third are located on highlands.
You’ll witness ducks and swans swimming in the lakes and ponds and local rare bird species. Some consider it the perfect bird-watching area in town as it is never very crowded.
If you are in town, it would be a great opportunity to visit Bob Dylan’s hometown childhood house.
The Hibbing Public Library started an assemblage and named it respectively the “Bob Dylan Collection” in honor of the legendary Minnesotan musician.
Several residents and visitors have purchased and donated many items over the years. But one of the main attractions is the house Bob Dylan lived in for around 12 years of his young life. The house is not currently open to the public and is privately owned by a super fan!
That doesn’t mean you can’t take some guided tours and follow the path the great musician himself walked as well as other famous Minnesotans like Prince, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Judy Garland, all famous household names around the world.
Start your day at Dylan’s Childhood home. The tour will take you to a building that used to be Zimmerman Electric, all around the Hibbing High School, Hibbing Public Library, and the Lybba Theater. Along the way, you’ll get to visit a street named after Dylan and see where he took guitar lessons, at Braman Music, and ends at the site of Bob’s Bar Mitzvah celebration.
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