What do Bob Dylan, Judy Garland and F. Scott Fitzgerald have in common? Besides being household names around the world, they have all, at one point or another, called Minnesota home. Walk in their footsteps at these sites that honor their lasting legacies.
Born in Duluth, raised in Hibbing and spending his college years in Minneapolis, Robert Allen Zimmerman is one of Minnesota’s biggest claims to fame. The Hibbing Public Library houses a Bob Dylan exhibit and offers a walking tour map and accompanying podcast, and Duluth hosts an annual Dylan Fest in May.
In the Twin Cities, a mural in downtown Minneapolis is the city’s latest tribute to the legendary singer, and a street outside CHS Field in St. Paul was renamed “Positively 4th Street” after his hit song.
Before he wrote “The Great Gatsby,” Fitzgerald spent much of his early life in St. Paul. The Minnesota Historical Society offers walking tours of the neighborhood where he lived, including the home where he wrote his first successful novel, “This Side of Paradise.” Tours depart from the James J. Hill House on Summit Avenue. Also in St. Paul, the Fitzgerald Theater is the city’s oldest theater, staging live music and other events year-round.
The girl best known as Dorothy was born in Grand Rapids by the name Frances Ethel Gumm. Her childhood home on the outskirts of town is open for tours, as is the attached Judy Garland Museum, which also hosts an annual Wizard of Oz Festival and separate Judy Garland Festival in June.
The professional golfer was born in Austin, grew up in Alexandria and graduated from the University of Minnesota before joining the PGA Tour. He still comes back to play and had a hand in designing several courses, including the Alexandria Golf Club. Check out his list of bucket list courses to play in Minnesota.
Tour the boyhood home of America’s first Nobel Prize-winning author in Sauk Centre and walk along the town’s charming Main Street, the inspiration for his novel of the same name.
The pioneering aviator grew up in Little Falls in central Minnesota, where visitors can tour his childhood home, explore the exhibits and take a simulated flight on the Spirit of St. Louis. Across the street is Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, with scenic trails, campsites and picnic grounds.
The Minneapolis native and international superstar made his hometown famous in the 1980s classic “Purple Rain,” which features landmarks including First Avenue and Lake Minnetonka (though that scene was actually filmed further south in Henderson). Paisley Park, his headquarters in Chanhassen, is now a museum featuring artifacts from his life and career. Murals, museum exhibits and tours have popped up to invite fans to honor his memory. Check out this self-guided tour of Prince sites to see them all.
Best known for her role as Mrs. Cunningham on “Happy Days,” Marion Ross hails from Albert Lea. The Freeborn County Museum has an exhibit dedicated to her (and fellow Albert Lea native Eddie Cochran), and the town’s performing arts center bears her name.
Named after the town where she was born, Winona Ryder returned to her namesake city to film a quirky, “Fargo”-inspired commercial for the 2020 Super Bowl. Though the diner scene was filmed at Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul, the rest of the video features snapshots of downtown Winona and its classic small-town haunts, including the movie theater, bowling alley, barber shop and the Mississippi River.
Creator of the timeless “Peanuts” comic strip, Schulz is another St. Paul icon. Homages to his beloved characters, including Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy, can be seen around town in the form of bronze and other colorful statues. Pictured here, Marcie reads a book with Woodstock outside the beautiful Landmark Center.
The Olympic gold medalist and Minnesota native learned to ski at a very young age at Buck Hill in Burnsville. Other Winter Olympians who hail from Minnesota include Jessie Diggins of Afton, the first U.S. woman to ever win in cross-country skiing; John Shuster, 2018 gold medalist in curling from Chisholm; and Gigi Marvin of Warroad, 2018 gold medalist in ice hockey.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls fans from around the world flock to Walnut Grove, where the family once lived on the banks of Plum Creek. The museum here depicts daily life in those days and displays numerous artifacts from the books and TV series. There’s also a popular outdoor pageant every July.
A transplant via New York, the celebrity chef and TV host proudly calls Minnesota home. Catch him at the State Fair, where he notoriously hangs out all 12 days, or sample his fare at AZ Canteen at Target Field or Minibar at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
Other famous faces with Minnesota ties include the Coen brothers (award-winning filmmakers); actors Jessica Biel, Chris Pratt, Josh Hartnett, Jessica Lange, Craig Kilborn, Tippi Hedren, Loni Anderson, Laura Osnes, Amy Adams and Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver); folk singer Leo Kottke; baseball legends Roger Maris, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Joe Mauer; basketball stars Kevin McHale and Lindsay Whalen; pro hockey players Neal Broten and Zach Parise; NFL icon John Madden; comedian-turned-senator Al Franken; former wrestler and governor Jesse Ventura; and former vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale.