26 Best & Fun Things to Do in Bemidji (MN)

Bemidji is nestled in Beltrami County in northern Minnesota, United States. It is the county’s seat.

Amongst Duluth, North Dakota, and Grand Forks, Bemidji is known as the biggest commercial hub, with a population of nearly fifteen thousand during the 2020 census.

Bemidji is a small city that offers a welcoming and relaxing ambience, encouraging visitors to visit and explore.

The city can be tagged not only as a fun and retail center but as an educational and cultural hub offering tourists diverse opportunities.

Some places to visit in Bemidji include Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Headwaters Science Center, Watermark Art Center, Lake Bemidji State Park, Buena Vista State Forest, and more.

Bemidji is one city that would definitely exceed your expectations through the number of options available at your disposal.

Here are the best and fun things to do in Bemidji, MN

Things to Do in Bemidji

1. Lake Bemidji

Lake Bemidji
Credits: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock
Lake Bemidji

Are you looking for a place that offers you the perfect escape you need? Lake Bemidji is one of the best places to visit in Bemidji, MN.

Lake Bemidji is a place of rejuvenation and meditation with refreshing scents, calming sounds, and a beautiful appearance.

It can be inarguably listed as one of the rare gems of Minnesota, being a popular destination for many families every year.

The Lake is an outstanding destination for snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Lake Bemidji is beautified with blooming flowers during the Spring months, especially at the tamarack dog area, where you will find dragon’s mouth, orchids, and lady’s slippers.

The summer season signifies the time for tremendous outdoor fun through activities like swimming, fishing, jet skiing, tubing, boat-in, wakeboarding, and water skiing.

Address: 1001 Naylor Drive SE, Bemidji, MN, United States

2. Headwaters Science Center

Headwaters Science Center
Credits: MPCA Photos / Flickr
Headwaters Science Center

For science students and animal lovers, do well to add a visit to Headwaters Science Center to your list of the best things to do in Bemidji, MN.

Headwaters Science Center is dedicated to offering hands-on science and technology programs with exhibitions.

The Center was originally established in July 1993. It houses an extensive collection of handmade exhibits and a gift shop.

Headwaters Science Center features eleven exhibits of Science Carnival obtained from the Pacific Science Center.

Headwaters Science Center showcases a live collection of animals to educate the public, including snakes, owls, turtles, and more.

The Center provides interactive projects, including simple circuits and animal menagerie involving the demonstration of live animals educating the public on how to feed and care for them.

Address: 413 Beltrami Avenue NW, Bemidji, MN, United States

3. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
Credits: Tony Webster / Flickr
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

Despite being a roadside attraction, Seeing Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox should be on your list of what to do in Bemidji, MN.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, which is 18 feet high, is mentioned on the National Register of Historic Places.

Paul Bunyan is known as the mightiest lumberjack, passing through the dense north American forests while Bemidji proclaimed him theirs.

Paul stretches with a width of 5 feet while Babe soars about 10 feet high and stretches 23 feet in length.

These statues are historically recognized as Minnesota’s first and strongest exhibit of a roadside colossus.

Address: 300 Bemidji Avenue N, Bemidji, MN, United States.

4. Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land

Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land
Credits: Denise Allison Coyle / Shutterstock

A place for animal lovers which offers them an opportunity to get closer to wildlife is Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land.

Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land, which is located in Bemidji, is known as the biggest wildlife park in the state with a petting zoo.

The zoo features nearly one hundred species of animals representing all the various continents on earth.

You will find animals like coatimundi, foxes, reptiles, Deer, rabbits, wolves, skunks, coyotes, cavies, jackals, and bobcats.

There are also animals like exotic birds, raccoons, tigers, lemurs, kangaroos, camels, and lions.

Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land is a perfect family fun attraction where children get to learn about the various majestic creatures. It is one of the best places to visit in Bemidji, MN.

Address: 3857 Animal Land Drive SE, Bemidji, MN, United States

5. Paul Bunyan Playhouse

Paul Bunyan Playhouse
Credits: Andrey_Kuzmin / Shutterstock

The Paul Bunyan Playhouse is found in the Chief theater as a proficient summer company in the downtown region of Bemidji.

The artistic director is Jim Williams, while the Playhouse hires numerous kinds of talented actresses and actors from different parts of the country, including Bemidji and the twin cities.

The Playhouse officially kicked off in 1951 and has consistently functioned for more than sixty-six years. It has become a cherished tradition for tourists and locals.

Paul Bunyan Playhouse offers visitors amazing live entertainment, including Steel Magnolias, America Abridged History, Hairspray, and more.

Address: 314 Beltrami Avenue, Bemidji, MN, United States

6. Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Bemidji State Park
Credits: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock
Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Bemidji State Park, covering over one thousand six hundred acres, is home to stunning pine forests and recreational facilities.

Lake Bemidji State Park features beautiful hiking trails, which makes it a popular destination for bikers and hikers.

It offers several outdoor activities, such as swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating, and volleyball.

The Park is an excellent place during winter for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.

Lake Bemidji State Park is a popular place for camping as it features ninety-five drive-in spots, which include four handicaps accessible and forty-three electric.

You will likely come across eagles, herons, black bears, minks, porcupines, owls, and loons within the lakeshore.

 Address: 121 7th Place E, Suite 360, St. Paul, MN, United States

7. Bemidji Sculpture Walk

Bemidji Sculpture Walk has been widely known for publicizing public artworks in Bemidji, Minnesota, since 1999.

This particular Walk consists of more than twenty-five sculptures and murals publicly displayed throughout the year in the city’s downtown region.

Normally, returning pieces stay at least two or three years on showcase, with several pieces open for personal purchase.

Bemidji Sculpture Walk features charming murals within the city, the Veterans Memorial, a permanent collection, and recent unique works.

The art pieces include a harp sculpture, a dog sculpture, a public globe sculpture, etc. So, if you are an art lover, don’t hesitate to add checking out Bemidji Sculpture Walk to your list of top things to do in Bemidji, MN.

Address: 300 Bemidji Avenue N, Bemidji, MN, United States

8. Sanford Center

Sanford Center
Credits: DominicHennig [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Sanford Center
Are you a sports fan? Then, visit the Sanford Center, a multi-use conference arena and center.

The Sanford Center provides a seating capacity of approximately four thousand and seven hundred spectators.

The Center was founded in October 2010. It also serves as the official home of Bemidji State Beavers ice hockey men’s and women’s teams.

You can also catch a live concert, including the championship of the Gigazone Game, when hockey games are not being held.

The convention center of the George W. Nielson, which is a component of the Sanford Center, is fully equipped with an elegant ballroom ideal for celebrations, receptions, banquets, dances, and weddings.

Its ballroom can carry up to one thousand persons and be decorated to offer an elegant, romantic, or joyous atmosphere.

Visit with your entire family or friends as you all share in the excitement through the quality shows presented.

Address: 1111 Event Center Drive NE, Bemidji, MN, United States

9. Mississippi Headwaters State Forest

Mississippi Headwaters State Forest
Credits: Edgar Lee Espe / Shutterstock
Mississippi Headwaters State Forest

Mississippi Headwaters State Forest is located in Bemidji as a state forest of Minnesota, which is made up of 45 290 acres.

The Forest goes across Beltrami, Hubbard, and Clearwater counties featuring eastern white pine, Black Spruce, birch, oaks, maples, and more.

This location will be loved by outdoor fans, as it also consists of ninety-five lakes and ponds meandering the Mississippi River.

Mississippi Headwaters State Forest features camping sites scattered throughout, with several trails perfect for various activities.

The trails are open for snowmobiling, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and hiking, with other recreational activities such as boating, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.

So, you can choose the kind of activities you would like to participate in, although it somewhat depends on the season.

Address: 300 Bemidji Avenue N, Bemidji, MN, United States

10. Buena Vista Ski Area

Buena Vista Ski Area
Credits: Lizard / Shutterstock

Buena Vista Ski Area, a ski resort, offers visitors an assortment of outdoor recreational activities during the summer and winter seasons.

Buena Vista Ski Area offers guests a scenic and shaded wagon rides drawn by horses along the “Top of the world” Ridge.

They offer narrated tours that go through the Leech lake and Red Lake trails, identical paths used by early Native Americans, pioneers, and tourists.

The resort is prepared for activities like tubing, skiing, and snowboarding during the winter season.

Buena Vista Ski Area features a ski school, tubing park, and a terrain park with several national and state forests encompassing it. Skiing in this Resort is one of the fun things to do in Bemidji, MN.

Address: 19600 Irvine Avenue NW, Bemidji, MN, United States

11. Movil Maze Recreation Area

Movil Maze Recreation Area
Credits: Gutesa / Shutterstock

If you’re in the mood to get outside and have fun, one of the fun things to do in Bemidji, MN, is to visit Movil Maze Recreation Area.

Movil Maze Recreation Area is a little gem that covers nine hundred and thirteen acres of land. It is known as the first Finlandia Ski Marathon in Minnesota after its opening in 1979.

There is a unique chain of trails that were created in a way that the area adopts a maze-kind look which is the reason for its name.

The Recreation Area is a popular destination for many locals and tourists throughout the year, offering various outdoor activities.

One of the popular sports here is skiing during the winter, although snowmobiling and snowshoeing are popular as well.

Movil Maze Recreation Area is a favorite place for numerous mountain bikers as they take advantage of the curving trails.

Address: 11449-, 12285 Wildwood Rd NE, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

12. Bar 209

Bar 209
Credits: Rido / Shutterstock

That moment when you feel stressed and tired after exploring the city of Bemidji, drop by Bar 209 for a chilled bottle of drink.

Bar 209 is a humble, brick-designed bar that offers delicious meals made using the freshest ingredients with unique recipes.

The bar is usually busy as it is surrounded by popular attractions in the state, including Lake Irving, Lake Bemidji, and the Mississippi River.

This place is perfect for relaxing and refreshing, as you get to enjoy some deliciously made local craft brews on tap.

Some drinks offered include Summer IPA, Bemidji Brewing’s Vertical Pale Ale, and Rising North Pale Ale.

Bar 209 offers an extensive menu serving juicy signature Burgers made with perfectly cooked beef and American cheese.

They provide a laid-back but lively environment with cool live music entertainment for better relaxation and enjoyment.

Address: 217 Minnesota Avenue, Suite 209, Bemidji, MN, United States

13. Bemidji City Park

Bemidji City Park
Credits: wellphoto / Shutterstock

Bemidji City Park offers visitors and locals several trails for biking and walking.

The paths are well-leveled and are open to users of different skill levels and ages, so a group of friends and families would definitely have fun here.

The Park features several play areas where children can run around and get soaked in sweat.

Bemidji City Park provides picnic benches and tables where adults and children can relax, watch their kids, or have a romantic picnic.

There is a standard 18-hole disc course open to beginners, intermediates, and professional golf players.

Address: 1330 23rd St NW, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

14. Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial

Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial
Credits: Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial / Facebook
Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial

Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial illustrates the respect, cooperation, and agreement the United States armed forces have made to protect the liberties and freedom of the country and the people.

The Memorial consists of several components that honor the military’s men and women, including a Walk of Honor, Nine Flags, Service Dogs, and Stone Pillars.

Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial offers visitors the opportunity to realize, appreciate and respect the hard work of the United States military.

You can stop by when you have some free time with your travel companions to pay your respect to the fallen heroes of the United States.

Address: 130 Minnesota Avenue SW, Bemidji, MN, United States

15. Beltrami County Historical Center

Beltrami County Historical Center
Credits: Beltrami County History Center / Facebook
Beltrami County Historical Center

Do you want to learn exclusively about the county’s history? Then, a visit to Beltrami County Historical Center should be among your top things to do in Bemidji, MN.

Beltrami County Historical Center is a history museum located between Lake Irving and Lake Bemidji.

The Museum has been in different locations since it was founded in 1952 before it had its permanent site in 2002 in a fully refurbished James J. Hill railroad.

You get a total glance at the county’s history through several collections, interpretive exhibits, and public archives.

Beltrami County Historical Center offers programs centered on education and dialogue and facilitates self-meditation.

You will find numerous exhibits, including baskets, the railroad, beads, a w.w.i. Centennial exhibit, and more.

Address: 130 Minnesota Avenue SW, Bemidji, MN, United States.

Planning a road trip in Minnesota? explore this list of things to do in Maple Grove, things to do in Alexandria and things to do in Grand Marias for a memorable Minnesota road trip.

16. Buena Vista State Forest

Buena Vista State Forest
Credits: Ancapital / Shutterstock

Buena Vista State Forest spreads for approximately eighteen thousand six hundred and ninety-three acres.

The Forest is managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, with a larger part scattered between public and privately owned areas.

The eastern part of the Forest is found in the Chippewa National Forest, where the lands owned by the country are managed by the Forest Service of the United States.

Buena Vista State Forest is home to a variety of habitats of numerous local flora and fauna formed by glaciers.

Visitors can visit the various units in the Forest by touring the trails, which include climbing elevated ridges and valleys.

The Forest is perfect for activities like swimming, hunting, and backcountry camping in various rivers and lakes.

Buena Vista State Forest is a place for nature lovers as it helps bring them closer to the natural world, including outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

Address: Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

17. Bemidji Town and Country Club

Bemidji Town and Country Club
Credits: Artikom jumpamoon / Shutterstock

How does playing golf on one of the best golf courses sound? Exciting, right? Then check out Bemidji Town and Country Club.

Bemidji Town and Country Club is open to beginner and amateur players in the city, guaranteeing them an incredible experience.

The golf course is characterized by tall pines, rolling fairways, and well-manicured greens, making it a beginner-friendly course.

Even when the course is shut down during the winter, other facilities are open for casual dining, private parties, and holiday celebrations.

Bemidji Town and Country Club consists of an onsite restaurant, North Shore Gille, which offers delicious meals and scenic views.

You could decide to spend your day here playing golf and later visit the onsite restaurant for some refreshing treats.

Address: 2425 Birchmont Beach Rd NE, Bemidji, MN, 56601, United States.

18. Watermark Art Center

Watermark Art Center
Credits: Watermark Art Center / Facebook
Watermark Art Center

A nonprofit organization in Bemidji, Watermark Art Center was established in 1982 as a proclaimed art hub in the city.

Watermark Art Center is absolutely loved by visual art fanatics who get to explore the various parts of the Center.

The Center was named Watermark for good reasons, which includes honoring the state’s streams, rivers, and lakes that have been part of the culture and lifestyle of the people.

It was founded to facilitate the advancement and expansion of the community art scene providing the right environment for everything relating to art.

Watermark Art Center provides a forum for author readings, exhibitions, workshops, and more. In addition, it showcases sculptures and paintings by regional and national artists.

You will surely love it here, whether you’re an emerging artist or a professional in the industry, as you get to meet people of your kind.

The Center is also a venue for art festivals, inviting the public to unleash their creative sides and participate in various activities.

Address: 505 Bemidji Ave N, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

19. Bemidji Woolen Hills

Bemidji Woolen Hills
Credits: Creative Lab / Shutterstock

Whenever you want to go on a shopping spree, one place to visit in Bemidji is Bemidji Woolen Hills, a fantastic retail store.

Bemidji Woolen Hills has been serving the public since 1920. It has become a significant component of the city.

Bemidji Woolen Hills offers people only the highest quality wool accessories and apparel as a clothing outlet.

The store offers footwear with blankets, woolen sweaters, hats, and gloves, all produced in the city.

Bemidji Woolen Hills offers a wide variety of merchandise from world-recognized and trusted companies.

You will find brands like Eco Ragg Wool Cuff Cap, Heavy Weight Hunter Shirt, the Ragg Wool Glove Deer Palm, and more.

The staff is always available to assist you in finding the perfect item which suits your personality and, of course, your budget.

Address: 301 Irvine Avenue NW, Bemidji, MN, United States.

20. Chief Theater

Chief Theater
Credits: Jasperdo / Flickr
Chief Theater

Are you one of those seeking terrific entertainment? Then, visit Chief Theater.

The Chief Theater is the number one spot for art performances in the area. It was founded in 1937 and has continuously served as a center for premier theater plays.

It is the headquarters of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Minnesota’s oldest certified summer stock corporation.

The Theater has since become a culturally important establishment in the town, bringing actors from various parts of the country.

The Chief Theater offers a seating capacity of three hundred and ten viewers, serving them captivating performances.

The Theater was functioning until the 1980s when it was shut down, and another theatre took over its role as the community’s movie theater.

It can be referred to as the powerhouse of performing arts which is operated by an experienced staff with the support of volunteers.

Address: 314 Beltrami Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

21. Bemidji Speedway

Bemidji Speedway
Credits: Kuznetsov Alexey / Shutterstock

If you’re a crazy car enthusiast, Bemidji Speedway will offer you the thrills and adrenaline rush you seek in Bemidji.

As a dirt track, Bemidji Speedway measures for a quarter mile. It is located in Bemidji downtown area.

Bemidji Speedway kicks off its racing season on the memorial weekend, which attracts enthusiastic fans from various parts of the state.

You will find different kinds of cars, such as Mini Stock, Wissota Super Stock, Wissota Modified, Wissota Pure Stock, and Wissota Mod 4.

In the area, you will find numerous campgrounds; the track also offers a site without any electricity, which is why a generator is important.

Bemidji Speedway is a perfect place for families and friends as they get the opportunity to watch cars racing against each other.

Address: 1831 Sunnyside Road SE, Bemidji, MN, United States

22. Cameron Park

Cameron Park
Credits: FamVeld / Shutterstock

Cameron Park is one of the several locations that show that Bemidji is a haven for waterside public attractions.

The Park features a small beautiful sandy beach making it a perfect place for sunbathing with a spot for swimming.

It features well-paved trails, which are popularly used by those who want to go jogging, running, or for a quiet walk.

Cameron Park is filled with trees that serve as shade and picnic benches where visitors can relax and take a break.

The park features a gigantic playground equipped with swing sets and more for children to play around.

There is a boat dock, kayak launch, bathrooms, and bird preserve which are open for everyone, although some depend on the season.

You can take a peaceful walk around the park as an effective way of relaxing as you sink into the beautiful natural environment.

Address: 2609 Birchmont Dr. NE, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

23. Diamond Point Park

Diamond Point Park
Credits: Artfilmphoto / Shutterstock

Still wondering what to do in Bemidji, MN? Spend a day at Diamond Point Park, one of the most beautiful waterside attractions.

Diamond Point Park has been in existence since 1917 and is recognized as the oldest park in the city of Bemidji.

The Park is a mind-blowing outdoor location for visitors and locals, featuring contemporary amenities and spots.

It has been constantly upgraded and redesigned to cater to modern needs, with enormous open spaces packed with trees.

Diamond Point Park features numerous pavilions and shelters with picnic tables for loved ones to have a nice picnic.

There is a swimming beach ideal for swimmers, with fishing spots and biking and walking trails available.

While visiting, all you have to do is come with enough food and beverages in case you feel peckish or want an intimate picnic.

Address: 1710 Birchmont Dr. NE, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

24. Greenwood Golf Course

Greenwood Golf Course
Credits: amenic181 / Shutterstock

Enjoy a fantastic golfing experience in Bemidji by visiting the Greenwood Golf Course. This golf course is open to everyone, regardless of your golfing skills.

This 18-hole golf course which opened in 1976, offers a challenging layout for every skill level type of golfer. The design of the golf course was done by Lowell Arndt. A Co-owner, Robert Arndt, manages it.

Greenwood Golf Course features watershed fairways, a driving range, a full-service pro shop, a snack bar, rental services, club repair, and custom club making.

They also offer golf lessons for beginners and professionals wanting to perfect their golfing skills. You can be part of their Men’s League, held each Thursday beginning in early May. All golfers are welcome to participate, whether or not they are members.

Address: 1361 Swenson Rd NE, Bemidji, MN 56601, USA

25. Bemidji Brewing Company

Bemidji Brewing Company
Credits: Jag_cz / Shutterstock

If you are a beer enthusiast, an ideal place to check out during your visit to Bemidji is the Bemidji Brewing Company. 

It is a craft brewery in this city’s beautiful downtown area and a nice place to hang out with your friends to enjoy some tasty beers either by the glass or by the bottle.

You can check out their taproom to enjoy a glass or sample beer paddle from their extensive list of beers. Some items on their beer list include India Pale Ale, Stout, Spring IPA, German Blond, Red X, Espresso Porter, Blood Orange IPA, and others.

Bemidji Brewing Company offers non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and take-out in their taproom. However, visitors can bring food from home or order restaurant take-out food.

Address: 211 America Ave NW Bemidji, MN 56601, USA

26. Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival

One of the best ways to enjoy your visit to Bemidji, MN, is to be a part of this remarkable event known as the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival.

This annual event has been happening since 1944. It features plenty of fun activities, including carnival and rides at the Sanford Center and Bemidji waterfront close to Paul and Babe.

The festival features a robust schedule of events to provide guests with a fun and worthwhile experience. The atmosphere during the event is filled with energy as there is never a dull moment in this place.

There are various activities for the kids, including a kiddies parade with music from Busch Light and Northwoods Lumber Company Entertainment. Another unique highlight of the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival is the fireworks display, color run, and the Bald Eagle Waterski Show.

Address: 300 Bemidji Ave N, Bemidji, MN 56601-3109, United States

Explore more cities in Minnesota, and check out our list of things to do in Mankato, things to do in Winona and things to do in Red Wing for fun.

Plan Your Trip to Bemidji

Bemidji is easily described as that one city that would sweep you off your feet and make you feel like you’re on a different planet.

The city depicts why nature is one of the best gifts to humans, as it is decorated with many natural blessings. Don’t hesitate to explore this city.