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Cool Spots You Must-See in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

With more than 400 lakes within 25 miles of the city and the innate hospitality of the residents, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, is a popular year-round destination if you’re looking to swap cityscapes for natural beauty. And while the mile-long beach, outdoor recreation and sports or Historic Holmes Theatre may initially draw you here; there are plenty of other reasons to stick around. Here are seven cool spots that help make Detroit Lakes one of Minnesota’s premier locales for getaways,excursions and adventures of all kinds. 

Detroit Lakes MN - Explore the lake

Forest Edge Gallery

The Forest Edge Gallery is a staple for area art lovers and visitors. Owned and operated by metal sculptor Patrick Shannon and fellow artist Helena Johnson, their quaint space showcases a mix of paintings, potteries, glass, jewelry, sculptures and more from artists all over the United States. True to its name, the gallery extends outdoors to several floral and sculpture gardens. 


Visit during the summer for one of its popular Women’s Wednesday events. The events are from 3-5 p.m. on six Wednesdays in June, July and August. These cultural affairs boast art, music and good conversation in a distinctive setting. 


Detroit Lakes MN Mountain Biking

Long Bridge Bar, Grill and Marina

The Minnesota weather can be unpredictable, but at Long Bridge Bar, Grill and Marina, the atmosphere is always sunny. With a selection of appetizers, wings, salads, burgers, and other entrees, the restaurant brings “a taste of the islands” to Detroit Lakes.


It recently underwent a remodel and added a gorgeous second level. Voted as the best place for wings and outdoor dining in the “Best of the Lakes Area Reader’s Choice Awards,” the restaurant is always a good place to go. To get the full “island experience,” it’s suggested to visit on the weekends when live music is one of the main attractions. 


The restaurant has a public dock for an aquatic entrance and exit.


Detroit Lakes MN Nature Trails

Detroit Lakes Public Library 

Libraries may be less popular than they once were, but they still fill many of us with a sense of nostalgia and will always be cornerstones of community life. The public library here is no different. Well, maybe with one exception: the “Once Upon a Time” art installation by Becker County resident, Hans Gilsdorf.


An acclaimed local artist, Gilsdorf’s work can be found all around the lakes area, and this piece has certainly garnered its own well-deserved attention. The bronze-like installation depicts a child lying on the ground and reading a book. It is the perfect gatekeeper for the library, instilling wonder and inspiration for everyone who enters in search of their next book. 


The Detroit Lakes Public Library, one of Minnesota’s 65 historic Carnegie libraries, hosts a number of events throughout the year, including preschool and toddler storytime during summer months. Additionally, special events will feature a visit from the Red River Zoomobile on June 28, and a nature walk turned art project on July 19.


Detroit Lakes MN Upcoming Events

The Bandshell 

Minnesotans love any opportunity to be outdoors, and when live music is added to the mix, an excited crowd is sure to form. Down at the Bandshell in City Park near the Pavilion, you’ll find neighbors and visitors alike gathered for free concerts every Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. throughout the summer months. 


Headliners include local musicians and bands from all genres, and yes, humming and clapping are all encouraged! It’s recommended to show up early for the Habitat for Humanity Community Picnic. And if your heart is set on live music, but rain threatens the festivities, don’t worry because concerts will be moved inside the Pavilion.


Besides being one of the top spots to find local musicians, the Bandshell is home to a wide variety of local events, including public theater performances like Shakespeare in the Park, and private celebrations such as weddings.


Detroit Lakes MN Golf

Shoreham Chapel

Located on a picturesque slice of land between Lake Sallie and Lake Melissa sits the Hattie Goodman Chapel, also known as the Shoreham Chapel. Built in memoriam to Mrs. Goodman by her husband in 1902, the 150-seat chapel is nondenominational and welcomes all. 


Over the past century, the sanctuary has endeared itself to many locals in the area by playing host to weddings, baptisms, dedications, anniversaries and more. 


Whether you have a celebration to commemorate during your visit or just want to observe a Sunday service, consider the Shoreham Chapel. However, if this church doesn’t suit your needs, Detroit Lakes is home to over many welcoming houses of worship.


Detroit Lakes MN Fishing

Dunton Locks County Park

The great outdoors is what often beckons people to this little corner of the world, and if that’s the same for you, you’ll benefit from time spent at Dunton Locks County Park. Located just 3 miles south of town, the park has 53 acres for you to explore any time of the year.


Fish off the pier. Hike through the woods. Bike on family-friendly or rugged trails. Observe birds in their natural habitat. Picnic under covered shelters. Or simply take in the scenery with views from the bridge dividing Lake Sallie and Muskrat Lake. Just by wandering around the area, you’ll learn about the area’s cultural and natural history via interpretive signs located throughout the park. 


Detroit Lakes MN Dining

The Night Sky

One of the beautiful aspects of living outside of the major cities, and in one of the most scenic parts of the country, is the magnificent night sky. Nature truly gets the chance to shine in the most magnificent ways.


When the sun sets, the clouds part and the lake waters reflect the starlight, your jaw is sure to drop at the starry sky above you.  That moment may even seal the deal on planning your return trip