Minnesota mementos

Minnesota’s wealth of history and culture has given rise to a smorgasbord of souvenirs to remind visitors of their stay in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of the cool stuff you can find around the Twin Cities, these items tie to Minnesota’s past, our heritage, or the collective spirit of the Bold North.

A t-shirt from Sota Clothing Co.

6518 Walker St., St. Louis Park
Star Tribune staff

Sota founder Spencer Johnson grew his Minnesota-inspired designs into a popular retail shop, now occupying the historic Walker building in the suburb of St. Louis Park. The distinctive crossed-oars emblem is emblazoned on T-shirts, hoodies, jackets and hats, as well as phone stands, candles and just about anything else you can think of. Johnson’s minimalist style captures our state spirit: We’re proud of our home, but we’d hate to make a lot of noise about it.

(952) 446-7836

Bundt pan from Nordic Ware

4925 Hwy. 7, St. Louis Park

Many Minnesotans are descended from German immigrants, a culture reflected in our food. The Bundt cake, named after Nordic Ware’s unique ring-shaped pan, is based on a German-Jewish cake called Gugelhupf or Bundkuchen. Nordic Ware was founded in St. Louis Park after World War II, and the first Bundt pans were produced in 1950. After a Bundt cake won a Pillsbury baking contest in 1966, the pan’s popularity exploded. It’s been Nordic Ware’s most popular product ever since.

(952) 924-9672

Faribault blankets

1029 Washington Av. S., Minneapolis
Elizabeth Flores

Faribault Woolen Mill is one historic landmark that still does what it was built for. The waterwheel-powered mill on the Cannon River has produced quality woolen blankets, throws and accessories since 1865, and is one of the last vertical woolen mills in the country, using antique machinery alongside modern technology. Want to take a tour ($6)? Faribault’s only an hour south of the Twin Cities. Or just pick up a signature striped, cozy blanket at the downtown Minneapolis outlet.

(612) 254-8464

Mug from Red Wing Stoneware & Pottery

4909 Moundview Dr., Red Wing
Star Tribune staff

The town of Red Wing was built on clay-rich land, and has a lengthy history of pottery and stoneware. Red Wing Stoneware and Pottery is a large-scale ceramics producer that makes beautiful and functional pieces for a national customer base. The ceramicists bring an artisanal touch to even their mass-produced pieces, demonstrating a commitment to craftsmanship and history. Their mugs feel great in your hand.

(651) 388-4610
Tom Wallace

The legendary giant lumberjack felled millions of trees, had fantastic adventures with Babe the Blue Ox and stars in folk tales across the Midwest. Many towns claim to be Bunyan’s birthplace, but Brainerd and Bemidji are notable contenders, given their locations on the Mississippi River, which played a huge role in the lumber industry. Shot and pint glasses and countless other items depicting Paul and Babe are easily found in gift shops, the Mall of America and most museums.

Surly Brewing pint glass

520 Malcolm Av. SE., Mpls.

Minnesota has a sprawling craft-beer scene, and Surly is its poster child. The brewery is directly responsible for overturning a Prohibition-era law that prevented brewers from selling their products onsite. That made way for the present-day Twin Cities taproom boom. A stop at Surly’s destination brewery in Minneapolis’ Prospect Park neighborhood is a must for any beer aficionado, and you can pick up suds-inspired souvenirs in the gift shop.

(763) 999-4040
Courtney Perry

Minnesota’s state grain is a type of aquatic grass that Native Americans have harvested by hand for thousands of years. Minnesota is one of the largest producers of wild rice, and the seed still grows naturally in our rivers and lakes. It’s a high-fiber, protein-rich, low-fat grain, comparable to brown rice. When cooked, it’s slightly chewy, with a nutty flavor. It can be found at most grocery stores, including the Trader Joe’s a couple blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium.