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Granite Falls is a small town in Minnesota that is the perfect place to have a vacation. It is a place where you can escape from the city and have fun. There are 12 fun things to do in Granite Falls MN, from sweet treats to WWII Fighter Planes.
As someone who has explored the beauty of the Minnesota River Valley, I can confidently say that Granite Falls is a gem of a town. When you arrive, you’ll instantly feel a sense of escape.
With 12 exciting activities to choose from, you’ll never run out of things to do in Granite Falls. Treat yourself to some delicious sweets or immerse yourself in the history of WWII Fighter Planes.
Trust me, Granite Falls is the perfect destination for your next adventure!”
Fagen Fighters WWII Museum
The largest WWII Museum in the Midwest is hiding just outside downtown Granite Falls. The Fagen Fighters WIII Museum started out as a son’s tribute to their dad who served. Today it has grown into a collection of fully operational active aircraft and vehicles all from WWII.
With bronze sculptures and interactive displays, this self-guided museum gives a rare look into what it was like to serve. The whole family will enjoy seeing the aircraft from different vantage points, as well as climbing the tower or sitting down for a briefing.
This is an epic museum you don’t want to miss. You can easily spend hours there exploring. Check out the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum: Honoring the Greatest Generation for more info.
Granite Falls Kiwanis Popcorn Stand
Open every night from 7-9:30, May Day to Labor Day. The Granite Falls Kiwanis Popcorn Stand is a staple in town for over 100 years. Serving hot buttered popcorn made with real dairy and 1919 Root Beer. Get some treats and wander along the riverfront views.
Taste in Time Ice Cream Shop
Looking for a cold treat? You gotta check out the newer edition to the town, a Taste in Time Ice Cream Shop. Opening just this past year as a themed 1950s ice cream parlor and sandwich shop.
Banana Splits, Shakes, Floats and Sundae are just some of the magic hiding inside. They even have some dairy-free options! This is a great family-friendly shop!
Falls Cafe Watercraft
Take a float down the Minnesota River! The Falls Cafe is not only a great breakfast but they also have watercraft rentals. Renting both Kayaks and Canoes ranges from $40-60. You’ll park your car at Kinney Landing on Highway 67.
Bring your own watercraft and do the adventure on your own. Inflatable Kayaks are reasonably priced online and will pay for themselves in just a few adventures.
Historic Swinging Bridge
The first bridge to span the Minnesota River in Granite Falls dates back to 1888 when a wooden trestle was erected supporting a footbridge. It was replaced in 1935 with a steel bridge.
It’s a three-span steel suspension bridge, a rarity in Minnesota. In 2014 the bridge was rehabbed due to some serious flooding occurring.
They had to adjust the suspension towers and elevated the bridge, as well as add in an ADA-compliant pedestrian ramp. Most of the elements still remain of the historic bridge.
Walking across the bridge connects the business side to the residential part of town.
At first glance, you wouldn’t know it sways. But once you start walking, you’ll notice the bounce. It’s also one of the best places to get a view of the hydroelectric dam just upstream.
Open Tuesday – Saturday this bakery is family-run. Selling delicious bread, cakes, and my favorite, donuts since 1950.
Early in the morning, you can smell the delicious fresh baked bread coming in. At lunchtime, they sell pulled pork sandwiches and Coney dogs at prices that can’t beat. You gotta check them out.
Watch the Pelicans by the Dam
For some reason Finding Nemo had me thinking pelicans were only by the ocean. But they are native to Minnesota as well.
The American white pelican is one of Minnesota’s largest bridges. They like to live in areas rich in fish. Granite Falls, that’s right next to the dam in downtown Granite Falls.
Fishing on the Minnesota River
People come from all over. When the birds are out, you know you are at the right spot. The bank next to the dam is filled with fishermen and they were all catching.
Just sitting next to the riverbank, fish were jumping all over the place. Walleye, sauger, and white bass are common along with the occasional northern pike, smallmouth bass, and shovelnose sturgeon.
There have even been reports of people catching 52lb catfish. You can either fish off the shore or drop a boat downstream.
River Walk Murals
The buildings below the swinging bridge were designed to flood when the river comes up. Each spring this happens.
To bring the area to life, the walls are covered with artwork. Beautifully designed pieces of mosaic and paintings make it a fun place to take a stroll while enjoying the town.
Park and Playgrounds
There are two great places to let the kids burn off some steam. First is Rice Park. Just across from the swinging bridge, this play area is old school. A quality I love in playgrounds. Just enough to do to keep them busy!
The second is Memorial Park. Memorial Park is the largest in the city, with a fun place for the kids to play. Primarily rope-based with rustic nature-driven play, the kids will love it. It’s also got camping on-site, picnic spots, and more.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park
Sleep in a Tipi at Upper Sioux Agency State Park. These tipis are designed for comfort, with their high ceilings and ventilation, you won’t be sweating inside.
They also do well at keeping out bugs. My sister stayed in one while we were there. They have a wood floor so bring your own air mattress.
For those not interested in staying in a tipi, they also have a large campground to explore with some great hiking trails. This campground is a favorite of mine. One night and you’ll fall in love with the prairie too!
I’ve stayed at the State park a few times down. I highly recommend sites 29e or 31e for amazing prairie views and a breeze. Otherwise sites 15-20 have some shade and are a little more protected. Check out my full review: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Upper Sioux Agency State Park
Prairies Edge Casino
Not the camping type? Check out the Prairie Edge Casino Resort. This has a great hotel as well as games and entertainment inside.
They have blackjack tables, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and virtual roulette, along with a large selection of classic slot machines that still takes real coins! Check out their event calendar as they also have live bands performing on their stage.
What are your favorite things to do in Granite Falls MN?
There are so many different things to do in Granite Falls, MN that it can be hard to decide what to do first. From the sweet treats at the local bakery to the WWII Fighter Planes at the Granite Falls airport, there is plenty of fun to be had.