12 Attractions in Blaine, Minnesota

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Blaine, Minnesota is a vibrant suburb located just north of Minneapolis and St. Paul. With its convenient location, affordable housing, and abundance of parks and trails, Blaine has become a popular place to live, work, and play in the Twin Cities region.

Though Blaine is primarily a residential community, it also boasts plenty of attractions and things to do for visitors and residents alike. From museums and performing arts venues to amusement parks and nature centers, Blaine truly has something for everyone.

In this article, we will highlight 12 of the top attractions and things to do in Blaine, Minnesota. For each attraction, we will provide an overview, history, and details on exhibits, activities, or amenities. Whether you’re a longtime local or just passing through, this list offers a great starting point to help you plan your Blaine itinerary.

1.The National Sports Center

Overview: The National Sports Center is one of Blaine’s most popular attractions and the largest amateur sports complex in the world. Spanning over 600 acres, this mega sports facility has ample indoor and outdoor fields, courts, rinks, tracks, trails, and more to accommodate just about every sport imaginable. It hosts regional, national, and international amateur sporting events throughout the year that attract athletes and spectators from around the globe.

History: The National Sports Center was developed in 1990 as part of a public-private partnership to create a space for amateur sports training and competition. It has undergone several major expansions through the years, including additional fields, stadiums, velodromes, golf courses, events centers and more. Today, it serves over 15 million visitors annually.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: With over 50 soccer fields, 8 baseball/softball diamonds, 32 outdoor tennis courts, 4 indoor tennis courts, an international velodrome, golf courses, trails, aquatic facilities, and more, the National Sports Center has endless options for sports training, competing, and spectating. It also hosts a range of regional tournaments and events like the Schwan’s USA Cup soccer tournament.

Visitors can watch competitions, rent equipment to use the facilities, enroll in sports camps and training programs, utilize the athletic therapy services, shop sports gear and memorabilia, and enjoy food and drinks at one of several on-site restaurants or concessions stands.

2.Anoka County Parks

Overview: Blaine is home to several beautiful Anoka County parks that offer plenty of recreational activities within nature. From trails to picnic grounds to disc golf and more, these parks provide access to the outdoors right in the heart of Blaine.

History: While Native Americans utilized this land for centuries, Blaine’s parks were formally established as designated conservation land in the mid-late 20th century amid rapid development. They are maintained by the Anoka County Parks and Recreation department to preserve green space and provide recreation opportunities to county residents and visitors.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: The Centennial Lakes Park is Blaine’s central park featuring a popular paved trail encircling two small lakes, fishing docks, a playground, and a band shell that hosts summer concerts. Locke Lake Park has a swimming beach, fishing pier, trails, and boat launch access to the lake. Lexington Athletic Complex is home to baseball, softball and soccer fields, plus an archery range and playgrounds.

Sunrise River Park Trail offers a 3.8 mile stretch of trail following the Sunrise River through wetland areas good for hiking and biking. Visitors to Blaine’s Anoka County Parks can walk/bike the trails, relax by the lakes, picnic, geocache, play sports, launch boats, fish and more.

3.3M Innovation Center

Overview: The 3M Innovation Center offers an interactive glimpse into the innovative world of one Minnesota’s most beloved brands – 3M. Through self-guided tours, visitors can explore how 3M has created many ubiquitous products we use every day and get a behind-the-scenes look at their research and development processes.

History: 3M, which stands for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corporation, was founded in Two Harbors, MN over a century ago in 1902 as a mining venture company. It later set up its global headquarters in St. Paul and opened this smaller Innovation Center in Blaine in 2018 to provide visitors hands-on learning about 3M’s legacy of innovation.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: The Innovation Center features two floors of interactive exhibits displaying some of 3M’s most popular consumer products. Visitors can play with Post-It notes, command strips, Scotch tape, Filtrete filters, respirators, orthodontic appliances, healthcare products and more. Other exhibits let you assemble a computer disk drive, construct an electronic display screen, and build your own wood shelter utilizing multiple 3M products.

Visitors can also create fun DIY projects to take home like identity-concealing glasses, custom stickers, personalized Post-its, and more. It offers great family-friendly interactive learning about science, engineering, manufacturing and product design.

4.The Monastery of St. Benedict

Overview: This tranquil monastery and contemporary architecture icon welcomes visitors to get away from it all while exploring the heritage and community of its Benedictine Sisters. People of all faiths can enjoy guided tours, worship services, social events and arts/cultural performances.

History: Established in 1956, the monastery was initially home to a group of nuns who relocated from Missouri. It was built in the mid-century modern architectural style with award-winning churches and facilities designed by architect Marcel Breuer. While currently home to just 40 Benedictine sisters, their reach extends far beyond the monastery walls into the global faith community.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Visitors can take a docent-led tour of the monastery every Sunday to view the churches, heritage center, and grounds while learning about the history of the Benedictine sisters and their faith. Guests can participate in worship services held daily with the sisters or personal reflection/renewal retreats.

The monastery also hosts performing arts series, lectures, social events and meetings that the public can attend for a fee. It has released award-winning recordings of its heavenly sacred choral music. Visitors will find a peaceful, welcoming place to connect with faith, history and community.

5.FlyOver America

Overview: FlyOver America is a one-of-a-kind flight simulation/ride experience that gives you an exciting bird’s eye view of iconic U.S. landmarks and regions from coast to coast. It utilizes state-of-the-art technology, multi-sensory effects and special filming/rides to make you feel like you’re hang gliding across America.

History: This innovative attraction comes from a Canada-based entertainment company called Pursuit that has created similar FlyOver simulation rides in other cities around the world. FlyOver America opened at the Mall of America in 2013 as their first U.S. location. Its dynamic technology and immersive experience quickly made it one of the most popular Mall of America attractions.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: The FlyOver America experience starts with an intriguing pre-show presentation on flight history and geography. Guests then get to hang glide over some of America’s most stunning landscapes and famous landmarks spanning the Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge to the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Nashville, New Orleans and more.

The sensation of realistic flight is created through a state-of-the art ride mechanism, aerial filming technology, dynamic sound/scents and even wind/mist effects. Some key highlights will appear right in front of your face thanks to 8K video projected across a smooth 100-foot spherical screen. It’s an amazing virtual tour giving you an exhilarating bird’s eye perspective on America.

6.Nickelodeon Universe

Overview: Nickelodeon Universe is a massive indoor theme park boasting thrill rides, family rides and attractions themed around beloved Nickelodeon shows like Spongebob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar: The Last Airbender and PAW Patrol. As one of the largest indoor theme parks in America, it offers year-round fun right inside Minnesota’s biggest mall.

History: As the Mall of America was being conceived in 1989, developer Triple Five Group wanted to incorporate an indoor park to turn the mega mall into a multi-day tourist destination. After partnering with global children’s entertainment company Viacom, Nickelodeon Universe was born.

It opened its doors in 1992 to great fanfare and has continued expanding its rides, attractions and events ever since. There is always something new and exciting happening for kids at this ultra-fun Nickelodeon-themed park.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Spanning over 7 acres, Nickelodeon Universe packs in tons of rides from extreme rollercoasters to tame kiddie rides to 4D shows and arcade/carnival games. Some of the most popular rides include the Spongebob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge launch coaster, Avatar Airbender rollercoaster, Brain Surge vertical drop capsule ride and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell Shock machine. Kids and parents can ride together on PAW Patrol-themed attractions.

Characters make appearances for meet and greets. Special events occur like orange slime celebrations. It offers almost endless entertainment for families inside a climate-controlled environment all year long.

7.Minnesota Vikings Museum

Overview: Diehard Minnesota Vikings fans won’t want to miss the Minnesota Vikings Museum. This team museum shares the storied history of Minnesota’s beloved football team with engaging exhibits and displays showcasing Vikings memorabilia.

History: First opened in 1998 at the Vikings original Winter Park headquarters, this population museum got a major makeover when the new state-of-the-art TCO Performance Center was built in 2018. It expanded into a huge 2-story, 20,000+ square foot space to showcase Vikings history for fans to enjoy.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Inside the Vikings Museum, fans are immersed in Vikings lore with storyboards, placards, memorabilia and multimedia elements bringing its 52+ year history to life. Some key highlights include the original Vikings team bus, Super Bowl rings, game-used uniforms and equipment, trophies like the 1969 NFL championship Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy, playbooks, commemorative footballs and more.

Display cases spotlight standout players and coaches with bios, photos and artifacts like Fran Tarkenton’s jersey, Bud Grant’s booth and headset, game balls from milestone occasions and Adrian Peterson’s MVP trophy.

Additional exhibits cover Vikings Ring of Honor members, the Vikings founding and inaugural season, evolution of uniforms and logos, the 2017 Minneapolis Miracle video and more. Fans can also tour the facility’s outdoor football fields and observe practices when the team is training.

8.Bunker Beach Waterpark

Overview: When Minnesota’s long winters have you longing for summer, escape to Bunker Beach Waterpark any time of year for splashing family fun. This huge indoor water park next to the National Sports Center has waterslides, pools, rides, and other attractions perfect for all ages.

History: Taking inspiration from the beach bunkers along the Atlantic coast during WWII, Bunker Beach Waterpark first opened in 1999. It doubled in size just 4 years later to become one of the largest indoor waterparks in the Midwest. Owned and operated by Anoka County, this award-winning park provides year-round aquatic entertainment to Twin Cities families and visitors.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Bunker Beach boasts over 200,000 square feet of pools and attractions. Adrenaline junkies will love plunging down Minnesota’s tallest indoor waterslides like the BulletHole or Boomerango. More relaxed rides like the Mississippi Twist or Little Bunker let young children play safely. Large activity pools feature lily pad walks, rope swings, a climbing wall and dump bucket.

The leisure pool offers gentle currents you can float along like a lazy river. Whirlpools, saunas, cabanas and private event spaces provide laidback lounging. Foghorn Grill serves up classic waterpark fare when you need to refuel. With so many slides and features across multiple pools, Bunker Beach offers endless soaking and sliding fun out of the harsh Minnesota elements.

9.BLAINE FEST – Annual Summer Festival


Overview: Blaine’s biggest annual tradition, Blaine Fest sums up local pride for this vibrant Minnesota community. Occurring every July, it packs three days of live music, a parade, races, fireworks, amusement rides, arts & crafts, food vendors and family-friendly fun into local parks to celebrate all things Blaine.

History: Blaine Fest started in the late 1980s when two existing city festivals merged together into one giant summer bash. It has steadily grown over the decades into the massive event it is today drawing tens of thousands of visitors. The festival is orchestrated by a committee of local volunteers year-after-year showcasing fantastic community spirit.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Most Blaine Fest activities take place across Aquatore and Town Square Parks near City Hall. Each day boasts a packed schedule of events and entertainment. The lively parade travels down 109th Ave featuring floats, marching bands, performers and local organizations. The festival hosts an art and craft fair, business expo tents, amusement rides and games.

Local restaurants and vendors set up on-site food stands, so you can sample a wide variety of delicious eats. National acts hit the main stage for concerts in the evenings followed by a spectacular fireworks finale on Saturday night. From free kids activities to sports contests to strolling performers, Blaine Fest has something for all ages to enjoy while celebrating the local community.

10.Anoka County History Center

Overview: The Anoka County History Center brings local history to life through its museum exhibits spotlighting how Anoka County communities like Blaine have progressed over centuries. Historic buildings have been moved and restored onsite to serve as galleries, while timely rotating exhibits dive deeper into aspects of Anoka County culture and heritage over the years.

History: Established in 1937, the center began amassing a collection of local artifacts and archives while advocating historic preservation causes for the county’s nearly two dozen unique cities and townships. It relocated several times through the decades before moving into its current dedicated building in downtown Anoka to serve as a heritage education hub and event venue.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: The History Center features permanent and special rotating exhibits on early Native American inhabitants, pioneering settlers, agricultural growth, wartime efforts and more. Photos, artifacts, memorabilia and multimedia displays provide glimpses into student life, family homes, general stores, town gatherings and other scenes from yesteryear.

Genealogy research help is available along with its archive of historic photos, documents and reference materials. The historic 1948 Sheriff’s House, 1880s Thurston Hill Schoolhouse and 1849 Company B suite were all relocated here for more immersive historic house tours. Talks, educational events and summer camps help delve deeper into unsung history.

11.Green Haven Golf Course and Event Center

Overview: Green Haven Golf Course offers scenic recreation through its 18-hole course and grounds nestled along the Rum River. Visitors can golf for leisure or league play on this challenging championship course. Banquet facilities host stylish weddings and events within natural surrounds.

History: Established along the Rum River in 1965, Green Haven is one of the longest continually operating golf courses in Minnesota today. In its early years, it consisted of just 9 holes until expanding into an 18-hole course that follows the river featuring challenging elevation changes and wooded areas. Its stately timber lodge clubhouse opened in 1983 to host golf banquets, weddings and more.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Golfers at Green Haven navigate through a heavily wooded landscape intertwined with wetlands and the Rum River. Its narrow fairways and small greens surrounded by forests and ravines make it a challenging course suitable for beginner and experienced golfers. The course plays over 6800 yards peppered with sand traps, marshes and elevation shifts to test your game.

Green Haven also boasts one of the best 18-hole putting courses in the state. Off the course, visitors can relax at the Evergreen Restaurant and Lounge known for its burgers and broasted chicken or reserve the Grand Timbers event space for special occasions. The lodge’s rustic décor and soaring windows overlooking nature provide beautiful backdrops for weddings and banquets.

12.Scenic State Trail System

Overview: Blaine boasts over 40 miles of scenic recreational trails perfect for walking, hiking, bicycling, skating and skiing through forests, prairies and wetlands surrounding the community. These multi-use state and regional trails form an extensive network of paved paths for easy exploring by foot or bike.

History: Efforts to establish a trail system took shape in the 1980s after land acquisitions were made possible by state funding programs. Local advocacy from parks departments and trail associations bolstered growth mile by mile over the decades. Today Blaine’s trails connect to Anoka County, state and national trail systems that span over 1,600 miles into neighboring states.

Exhibits/Activities/Amenities: Four key trails traverse Blaine’s landscapes. The 26-mile Anoka County Rum River Trail forms a packed limestone path good for hiking and biking with access to the river. The hard-surfaced State Highway 47 Trail travels 6-miles across wetland areas northeast of Lexington Avenue.

Rice Creek West Regional Trail is a 19-mile paved trail following Rice Creek through scenic natural areas heading toward Duluth. Round Lake Park Trail circles a small lake offering 1.25 miles of woodland and prairie terrain for an easy peaceful walk near families and homes. Benches scattered along the trails allow hikers to pause and enjoy Mother Nature’s splendor through diverse plant-life and wildlife unique to Minnesota.

Conclusion

Blaine, Minnesota offers no shortage of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests to enjoy. From world-class sports facilities hosting international competitions to renowned arts venues fostering creativity and culture to amusement parks, nature areas and historic sites, Blaine has something for everyone. Conveniently located just outside the Twin Cities metro, Blaine provides access to dynamic city attractions and entertainment with a small-town community vibe.

The wide variety of attractions covered in this article are just a sampling of the many sites and happenings that make Blaine an excellent place to visit and live. Whether you spend a day, weekend or longer exploring local attractions, you’re sure make memorable discoveries across this vibrant Minnesota suburb.

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