Virginia, Minnesota, is a hidden gem in the heart of the Iron Range. The city beckons to explorers and history enthusiasts alike.
This picturesque city has rich mining heritage and stunning natural surroundings that draws thousands of visitors annually. It offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and cultural charm.
Virginia owes its existence to the booming iron mining industry of the late 19th century, a legacy that is still palpable in its historic downtown. The city was officially incorporated in 1892, and its name is believed to be a tribute to Virginia, the home state of one of its founders.
Notably, Virginia was the birthplace of Bob Dylan’s mother, and the city takes pride in celebrating its connection to the legendary musician. The city is also referred to as the land of 10,000 lakes.
Annually, Virginia attracts a diverse array of visitors where tens of thousands flocking to this charming city. Its historical significance, access to outdoor recreation, and cultural events make it a popular choice for tourists from across the United States.
Virginia’s allure lies in its ability to offer something for everyone. History buffs can delve into the mining heritage which outdoor enthusiasts can explore the vast Mesabi Trail and nearby lakes, and culture aficionados can attend vibrant events and festivals.
The city’s welcoming atmosphere and stunning natural landscapes make it a must-visit destination in Minnesota.
Virginia experiences all four seasons, with warm summers and snowy winters. The best time to visit depends on your preferences. Summer is perfect for outdoor activities, while winter is ideal for snow sports and experiencing a snowy wonderland.
Spring and fall offer milder weather and fewer crowds that make them great for exploring the city’s historical and cultural attractions.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking for a good time, Virginia has something for everyone. Here are the 11 most fun things to do in Virginia, MN.
1) Shoes and Things
Shoes & Things in Virginia, MN, has a rich history. This iconic shoe store has been a part of the community for many years. It’s not just a place to buy shoes; it’s a piece of local heritage.
Shoes & Things was founded in 1952 and has been a family-owned business ever since that served generations of customers.
Virginia has a unique connection to the mining industry, and Shoes & Things reflects this history. The store has always provided durable and comfortable footwear for the hardworking people of the Iron Range.
The store has a special collection of mining boots that pay tribute to the region’s mining heritage. Shoes & Things is a beloved part of Virginia’s community fabric. Locals and visitors alike stop by for quality shoes and friendly service.
The store has adapted over the years, offering a wide selection of footwear for various needs, from work boots to stylish shoes.
So, when you visit Virginia, MN, don’t forget to explore the town’s history and heritage, including a trip to Shoes & Things, where you can step back in time while finding the perfect pair of shoes.
234 Chestnut St, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
2) Iron Range Veterans Memorial
The Iron Range Veterans Memorial holds a special place in the hearts of the community. It stands as a solemn tribute to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces.
The memorial serves as a place of unity and remembrance for the entire Iron Range community. This memorial was dedicated in 2005, making it relatively recent but no less meaningful.
The memorial features an impressive wall adorned with the names of veterans from the Iron Range who have served in various branches of the military. It serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave individuals.
The memorial also includes a centerpiece sculpture depicting a soldier in combat gear that symbolizes the dedication and bravery of those who have served their country.
Visitors to the memorial can take a moment to reflect, pay their respects, and remember the sacrifices made by veterans from the region.
The Iron Range Veterans Memorial is a powerful symbol of gratitude and honor that reminds us all of the sacrifices made by those who have served in the military. It stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Iron Range and its commitment to those who have defended our freedom.
2nd St N, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
3) Mesabi Trail
The Mesabi Trail is a remarkable outdoor treasure that offers a blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities for locals and visitors alike to explore things to do in Virginia.
The Mesabi Trail was established in the late 20th century and follows the abandoned railroad corridors that were once used for iron ore transportation. It was conceived as a way to repurpose these corridors for recreational use while preserving the area’s rich mining heritage.
The Mesabi Trail is a part of the longer Mesabi Trail system, which spans over 135 miles and connects several communities on the Iron Range.
This scenic trail is perfect for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and even cross-country skiing during the winter months. It provides a close-up view of Minnesota’s natural beauty that includes forests, lakes, and historic mining sites.
The trail passes through numerous towns that offer opportunities to explore the culture and history of the region.
The Mesabi Trail is a local gem that celebrates the Iron Range’s history and showcases its breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure or a peaceful stroll, this trail has something for everyone, making it a must-visit when you’re in Virginia, MN.
1428 North 9th Avenue Virginia, MN 55792, United States
4) Laurentian Arts and Culture Alliance
The Laurentian Arts and Culture Alliance is a vibrant hub for the arts that enriches the local community and celebrates creativity.
This alliance was founded in 2009. It was established with the aim of promoting and supporting arts and culture in the region. It serves as a focal point for artists and art enthusiasts to come together and share their talents.
The alliance hosts a wide range of events and activities throughout the year, including art exhibitions, concerts, theater performances, and cultural festivals.
The organization’s mission is to foster a love for the arts and culture that makes it accessible to everyone in Virginia and beyond. It provides a platform for local artists to showcase their work and connects the community through artistic expression.
The alliance often collaborates with other local organizations to create diverse and engaging cultural experiences for visitors to enjoy unique things to do in Virginia.
The Laurentian Arts and Culture Alliance offers something for everyone in Virginia. It’s a testament to the power of art to unite and inspire communities.
510 Chestnut St. Virginia, MN 55792, United States
5) Lake Vermilion
Lake Vermilion is a stunning natural gem that has been captivating visitors for generations. This pristine lake has a rich history dating back thousands of years when Native American tribes inhabited its shores.
Lake Vermilion became a popular destination for tourists seeking outdoor adventures and natural beauty in the late 19th century.
The lake’s name, “Vermilion,” is believed to be derived from the red-tinged clay along its shores, which resembles the color of vermilion pigment.
Lake Vermilion covers over 40,000 acres and offers a wide range of recreational activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, and camping. It’s a paradise for anglers, with a diverse range of fish species to catch, including walleye, muskie, and bass.
Lake Vermilion is home to more than 365 islands, each with its own unique charm and character. The lake’s crystal-clear waters and lush forests provide a picturesque backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Lake Vermilion in Virginia, MN, promises an unforgettable experience in the heart of nature, adding charm to the list of things to do in Virginia.
Vermilion Land, 310 S 2nd Ave W Virginia, MN 55792, United States
6) The 218 Taphouse
THE 218 Taphouse is a popular establishment known for its rich history and delightful offerings. This taphouse was established in 2018 and quickly became a local favorite, offering a diverse selection of craft beers, delicious food, and a welcoming atmosphere.
The taphouse is named after the nearby highway, THE 218, which is a nod to its location in the heart of Virginia, MN. THE 218 Taphouse often hosts events like live music and trivia nights that makes it a hub for entertainment in the community.
With an extensive beer menu featuring local brews and a variety of flavors, it’s a go-to spot for beer enthusiasts and those looking to unwind with friends.
The friendly staff and cozy ambiance make it a great place to relax after a day of exploring Virginia’s attractions, like the Mesabi Trail or Lake Vermilion.
In addition to beer, they also offer a range of tasty dishes, from burgers to pizzas, ensuring there’s something for every palate.
THE 218 Taphouse has become an integral part of Virginia, MN’s social scene, offering a taste of local culture and a warm welcome to both residents and visitors alike.
218 Chestnut St, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
7) Rotary Park
Rotary Park is a beloved community space with a rich history and plenty of interesting features. It was established in 1978. It was created through the collaborative efforts of the local Rotary Club and the city of Virginia. It was designed as a place for people to gather, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.
The park’s creation was part of a larger movement to enhance the city’s recreational offerings, and it has since become a central hub for outdoor activities.
Rotary Park boasts a range of amenities which include picnic areas, a playground for children, and walking trails that wind through the beautiful wooded landscape.
The park is home to the Virginia Rotary Pavilion, a popular spot for community events, picnics, and gatherings. It offers a serene place to enjoy charming things to do in Virginia.
Throughout the year, Rotary Park hosts various events and activities that make it a vibrant and bustling place for residents and visitors alike.
The park’s serene setting amidst the lush greenery offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful day in nature, attend a local event, or simply relax with friends and family, Rotary Park in Virginia, MN, is the place to be.
N 6th Ave W, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
8) Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum stands as a treasure trove of the region’s history and offers a glimpse into the past and celebrating the community’s heritage.
The Heritage Museum was established in the early 1970s. It was founded to preserve and showcase the rich cultural and industrial heritage of Virginia and the surrounding Iron Range communities.
The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that provide a comprehensive overview of the area’s development over the years.
Visitors to the Heritage Museum can explore exhibits highlighting the mining industry, local traditions, and the lives of early settlers.
One of the museum’s prized possessions is a replica of a 1920s-era Main Street that allows visitors to step back in time and experience the charm of the past.
The museum also hosts educational programs, events, and guided tours, engaging visitors of all ages in the fascinating history of Virginia, MN, and its resilient community.
The Heritage Museum serves as a hub for cultural exchange, bringing together locals and tourists to celebrate the unique heritage of the Iron Range region.
800 N 9th Ave, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
9) Olcott Park
Olcott Park is a picturesque oasis with a rich history and fascinating features that make it a beloved spot in the community.
Olcott Park was established in the early 20th century and has been a green haven for locals and visitors alike. Its development was part of a broader initiative to create beautiful public spaces in Virginia.
The park was named in honor of William J. Olcott, a prominent figure in the city who contributed significantly to its development during the early 1900s.
Olcott Park boasts scenic walking paths, vibrant gardens, and ample space for picnics and outdoor activities, making it a favorite destination for families and nature enthusiasts.
The park features a charming gazebo, often used for concerts and community events that adds to its appeal as a social hub and offers a variety of things to do in Virginia.
Throughout the year, Olcott Park hosts various events, from summer festivals to winter holiday celebrations that bring the community together in a vibrant and friendly atmosphere.
Olcott Park’s serene ambiance and well-maintained greenery offer a peaceful retreat that makes it an ideal spot for relaxation and enjoying the beauty of nature right in the heart of Virginia, MN.
901 9th St N, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
10) Canelake’s Candies
Canelake’s Candies is a delightful confectionery with a sweet history and some intriguing tidbits. This candy shop was founded in 1909 by Anton Canelake and has been a local favorite for over a century. It started as a small storefront selling homemade chocolates and candies.
Canelake’s Candies has been a family-owned business for generations that passes down the art of candy-making from one Canelake to the next.
The shop is renowned for its handcrafted chocolates, caramels, and other sweet treats, all made with care and attention to detail.
The store’s old-fashioned charm and vintage decor take you back in time that makes your candy-buying experience even more special.
Canelake’s Candies is not just a candy store; it’s a beloved part of Virginia’s community fabric that is known for its quality sweets and friendly service.
The shop often features seasonal treats, so there’s always something new to try and savor, from chocolates to seasonal candies.
Whether you’re a local looking for a sweet indulgence or a visitor seeking a taste of Virginia’s confectionery heritage, Canelake’s Candies is a must-visit spot for all candy enthusiasts.
414 Chestnut St, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
11) Virginia Bowling Gardens
Virginia Bowling Gardens is a recreational hub with a history and unique features that make it a popular destination for fun.
This bowling alley was founded in 1948 and has been a local favorite for decades that provides a space for families and friends to enjoy the sport of bowling.
The Bowling Gardens has seen various renovations and improvements over the years, ensuring that it remains a modern and inviting place for bowlers of all ages and enjoying some unique things to do in Virginia.
The alley features a range of bowling lanes, from traditional lanes to state-of-the-art cosmic bowling lanes that add an extra layer of excitement to the game.
Virginia Bowling Gardens often hosts special events and leagues that foster a sense of community and friendly competition among bowlers.
The alley’s welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff make it an ideal spot for a night of entertainment, whether you’re a seasoned bowler or just looking for a fun outing.
Bowling has a long history in the United States and remains a beloved pastime, and Virginia Bowling Gardens keeps that tradition alive and well in Virginia, MN.
207 S 3rd Ave, Virginia, MN 55792, United States
Virginia, Minnesota, may not be the most famous tourist destination, but it offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and natural beauty.
Whether you’re exploring its rich mining history, enjoying the great outdoors, or immersing yourself in local culture, Virginia has something fun for everyone to experience and enjoy.
So, the next time you’re looking for an exciting getaway, you can consider these 11 most fun things to do in Virginia, MN.