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Honoring Minnesota's Brightest

Find out how the biggest Minnesotan celebrities left their mark on the Twin Cities
Photo by Erica Loeks

By Claire Noack

Minnesota has been home to a wide variety of celebrities, including singers, artists, writers and actors. See how Minnesotan’s pay homage to the biggest stars who called the Land of 10,000 Lakes home. It might even stir you to hop in the car for a road trip to visit some of the most famous sites around the state.

Bob Dylan

The Duluth, Minnesota native has been an influential figure in popular music for more than five decades. Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, left the University of Minnesota to pursue his career as an American folk musician. Celebrated for his songs about 1960s social unrest, the singer-songwriter sold more than 100 million records during his career and recently received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. Dylan has left his mark on the Twin Cities with a five-story kaleidoscopic mural in Minneapolis, commissioned in 2015, that depicts three stages of the musician’s career. | Fifth Street and Hennepin Avenue South

Judy Garland

Born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, this singer and actress is most well-known for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Garland, named Frances Gumm at birth, had a successful film and music career, becoming the first woman to win a Grammy for Album of the Year for her live recording of the album Judy at Carnegie Hall. Admirers of Garland can re-live her glory days by visiting the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, which includes the world’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz and Garland memorabilia. If you plan to visit Minnesota in June, don’t miss out on the Wizard of Oz festival, hosted by the Judy Garland Museum, with three days packed full of events that pay tribute to the actress. | 2727 S. Pokegama Ave., Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Photo by Todd Buchanan

Charles Schulz

Beloved Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis and grew up in St. Paul, where he attended Central High School. Schulz’s career took off after featuring his comics in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Sunday Evening Post. Schulz drew nearly 18,000 strips during the 50 years that Peanuts was published. During the height of its popularity, Peanuts was published daily in 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. Bronze statues depicting Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang were erected in Schulz’s honor after his death in 2000. The permanent statues can be found in Landmark Plaza in downtown St. Paul, while a plethora of Peanuts sculptures created by local artists can be found all over the Twin Cities. | 379 St. Peter St., St. Paul

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Widely considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, F. Scott Fitzgerald was born right in St. Paul. He attended St. Paul Academy before leaving for college at Princeton University. Best known for his novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald wrote several books and short stories that illustrate the Jazz Age. The author returned to his parents’ house on the historic Summit Avenue, where he rewrote the script that would become his first novel, This Side of Paradise. Fans of Fitzgerald’s work can visit the F. Scott Fitzgerald House, known as Summit Terrace, to see where the author worked. The site was named a national historic landmark in 1976. Walking tours of St. Paul take visitors around his favorite locations in the city. | 599 Summit Ave., St. Paul

Photo by Dan Corrigan

Prince

One of the most iconic musicians of all time was born and raised in Minneapolis. Hoards of fans gathered at First Avenue, Prince’s favorite performing spot, in downtown Minneapolis after his sudden death in 2016, leaving flowers and messages near the music venue. Fans can now pay their respects by visiting Prince’s estate and recording studio, Paisley Park, in the southwest suburb of Chanhassen. Tours provide an in-depth look at the musician’s mysterious and eccentric life, including the performance hall and private recording studios on the estate and memorabilia from his groundbreaking albums. | 7801 Audubon Rd., Chanhassen, Minnesota

Garrison Keillor

The author and radio personality was born in Anoka, Minnesota. Keillor is best known for the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion, which features the humorous happenings of the fictional Minnesota town, Lake Wobegon. The lakeside town was also the setting for many of Keillor’s books. Fanatics of the revered radio show can experience the beauty of mythical land created by Keillor on the Lake Wobegon Trail. The 62-mile long hike-and-bike pathway travels through Stearns County, the area where Keillor grew up and where Lake Wobegon is based. You can also catch Keillor on his “Gratitude Tour” as he visits five college cities around Minnesota April 23-28. | 33504 Shorewood Dr., Avon, Minnesota

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