Visit Mankato

Why not plan your next vacation in Mankato?

Visit Mankato

There’s the adage that goes something like this: So much to do and so little time. It seems so true in today’s demanding culture to be in multiple places at once and to do a million other things. When can we expect a break from this constant bombardment of obligations? During a vacation, that’s when! The problem is designating time to plan to use it.

According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off Coalition, Americans say vacation is important. Yet 54 percent of them aren’t using their hard-earned time off.*  Imagine the R&R benefits to be had during one of these so-called vacations. In fact, vacations are vital to “promoting better health, strengthening relationships, thinking creatively, and improving workplace performance”. All that’s needed is proper planning. However, only 51 percent of households set aside time each year to map the use of vacation days.* It’s been proven that people who plan are more likely to use all their days off.

That’s why, in 2017, Project: Time Off started National Plan for Vacation Day, a day to help encourage Americans to plan vacation days for the upcoming year. This year, January 30 was that day. To help make your planning process easier, we’ve compiled Mankato’s top 12 area features you should consider adding to your vacation bucket list!

Red Jacket Trail in Mankato1. Bicycling and mountain biking
Greater Mankato has more than 50 miles of paved trails, making it a perfect destination to get out on two wheels. Whether it’s riding on a scenic trail like Red Jacket or venturing out at Kiwanis Mountain Bike Trail & Skills Park, Mankato offers all biking enthusiasts a great ride. Fat tire biking is another one of Mankato’s growing-in-popularity activities. There are just too many biking opportunities to mention. Learn more about biking. Go>


Mankato River Systems2. River system
With more river shoreline than any other county in the state, Blue Earth County provides Mankato the opportunity for some impressive on-the-water adventure.  Try a canoe trek down the Minnesota River, making stops along the way at Sibley Park (360° virtual tourMore Mankato icon to visit the petting zoo animals or at Riverfront Park to catch a live concert. Kayaking the Blue Earth River is a thrill ride no one should miss. Devils Gulch, a narrow, mossy-covered ravine, provides impressive sights. Get in on the action of Mankato’s water adventure. Go>


CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour Mankato3. Arts & culture
No matter where you look, the arts are everywhere in Mankato (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon. Look up to see large sculptures on the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour. Glance ahead at a local theater performance, music concert or gallery exhibit. Or peer down to find poetry stamped along the trails. Plan an arts and culture trip to Mankato. Go>



Concerts at Riverfront Park4. Vetter Stone Amphitheater and Verizon Center
If a night on the town is more your style, look no farther than venues like Vetter Stone Amphitheater (360° virtual tourMore Mankato icon or the Verizon Center (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon. A packed year-round calendar of events presents opportunities for great experiences from outdoor live concerts to indoor sporting events to multi-day expos and tradeshows. Experience more entertainment options in Mankato. Go>



Mount Kato5. Mount Kato
Conquer the slopes at Mount Kato. In winter, it’s a vast wonderland for skiers, snowboarders or sledders with its 19 trails, eight chair lifts, and four terrain parks. In fair-weather seasons, Mount Kato is transformed into a mountain bike haven. Find out more to do at Mount Kato. Go>



Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota6. Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota
The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota’s many square feet provide hours of fun for kids as well as for those young at heart. Discover how food gets from ground to table in the Grow It Gallery. Get your hands dirty growing crops in the farmyard or get hands-on experience operating equipment in the Coughlan Quarry. Climb all the way to the top of the Museum’s Tree of Forts, made up of tunnels, tubes and bridges. No matter how you decide to experience it, the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (360° virtual tourMore Mankato icon is a one-of-a-kind vacation stop. Learn more about the Museum. Go>


A Kid-Friendly Guide to Mankato Sibley Park7. Parks
Mankato’s area parks (360° virtual tourMore Mankato icon offer the chance to be in the great outdoors all year round. Challenge your friends to a game of disc golf at Land of Memories Park. Hike the trails that encircle Minneopa State Park’s magnificent waterfalls or drive along Bison Drive to see a herd of these beautiful giants with high-quality genetics descending from the type of bison Lewis and Clark gazed upon in the 1830s. Catch a live outdoor music concert at Riverfront Park’s Vetter Stone Amphitheater. See farm animals in the city at Sibley Park (360° virtual tourMore Mankato icon, with its agriculture-themed playground and petting zoo. Discover more area parks in Mankato. Go>


8. Wines & brews
You don’t have to travel far for a nice glass of wine or a good brew in Mankato. With four wineries and three breweries, all within a half hour driving distance, Mankato has your beverage of choice waiting for you at a local winery or brewery. Warm summer nights provide the perfect backdrop to sit on the patio and enjoy a cold, hand-crafted beer. Or huddle in close to the cozy fireplace on a chilly winter day for a refreshing glass of wine. Savor the good times at a local winery or brewery. Go>


A Kid-Friendly Guide to Mankato Mankato MoonDogs9. Sporting events
Root for the home team! Mankato provides an array of events and tournaments to entice the avid sports fan (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon. The Mankato MoonDogs, a summer collegiate team, deliver an entertaining time with its special events, fun promotions and family-friendly atmosphere, and, of course, great baseball. Mankato is home to many college athletic teams, like the Mavericks of Minnesota State University, Mankato (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon, the Vikings of Bethany Lutheran College and Gusties of Gustavus Adolphus College in nearby St. Peter. Be an active participant in athletic events like Anthony Ford Pond Hockey, the North Mankato Triathlon or the Mankato Marathon. Get in the game for one of Mankato’s sporting events. More>

Mankato Marathon - Gather in the GreenSeam10. Major events

A variety of year-round entertainment options are waiting for you in Mankato after a day on the trails. Our vibrant, historic downtown offers live music and our civic center draws international headliner acts. Enjoy theater, music, dance, and visual arts events. Or, plan a weekend around one of the many wellness events Mankato can offer you. Pack it up and head to Mankato for one of these events. Go>


Mankato Shopping11. River Hills Mall & boutique shopping

Sometimes, a shopping trip can be a vacation all its own (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon. From the River Hills Mall, one of Mankato’s biggest retail draws, to the charming little shops in the City Center, Mankato offers a shop-til-you-drop experience. Every shop-a-holic can find what they are looking for in Mankato. Explore where to shop in Mankato. Go>



Blue Earth County Historical Society12. History
Founded in 1852, Mankato has a history than spans the decades (360° virtual tour) More Mankato icon. Learn more about its past by visiting the Blue Earth County Historical Society, which features an interactive history museum dedicated to the rich history of the area. Step back in time to the early 1900s when you visit the Betsy-Tacy houses, the childhood homes of local author Maud Hart Lovelace and her best friend. Visit Reconciliation Park to reflect on the tragedy that took place there during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862, when 38 Dakota warriors were tried and sentenced to death, resulting in the nation’s largest mass execution in history. Take a closer look at Mankato’s history. More>


Plan your vacation by requesting a Mankato visitor guide. Go>

Get more Mankato itineraries. Go>

Learn more about National Plan For Vacation Day. Go>


* = according to U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off