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Travelers who have time to visit only one area of Minnesota’s Iron Range will maximize their time and experiences by choosing Chisholm – seven miles northeast of Hibbing and 18 miles west of Virginia on U. S. Highway 169, just one hour north of Duluth. The pretty little city of about 5,000 residents offers a wide variety of places to stay plus two of the finest museums in the state. Its Minnesota Discovery Center is devoted primarily to the state’s ethnic groups, but also features exhibits relating to mining and a two-hour tour of an active taconite mine. The 33,000-square-foot center, until June 2009 known as Ironworld, is the largest ...

Travelers who have time to visit only one area of Minnesota’s Iron Range will maximize their time and experiences by choosing Chisholm – seven miles northeast of Hibbing and 18 miles west of Virginia on U. S. Highway 169, just one hour north of Duluth. The pretty little city of about 5,000 residents offers a wide variety of places to stay plus two of the finest museums in the state. Its Minnesota Discovery Center is devoted primarily to the state’s ethnic groups, but also features exhibits relating to mining and a two-hour tour of an active taconite mine. The 33,000-square-foot center, until June 2009 known as Ironworld, is the largest Minnesota museum complex outside of Minneapolis. The Minnesota Museum of Mines, housed in a WPA-era fortress-style building, includes an impressive outdoor collection of mining equipment, which includes a super-size truck (think 127 tons) and mammoth steam shovels, one of which is like those that dug the Panama Canal. Most of the city’s special events, including the St. Louis County Fair, take place at either the Discovery Center or Museum of Mines.

Chisholm’s identifying feature — the third tallest freestanding statue in the nation — is an 81-foot-tall iron ore miner. Ironically, the statue is made of copper, bronze and brass. The city’s downtown looks like a turn-of-the-century stage set, with business buildings reflecting their glory-days grandeur. Just a few blocks away is The Bridge of Peace, lined with the flags of nations around the globe. The bridge allows pedestrians and vehicles to cross Longyear Lake, one of several lakes within the city’s orbit. Located near the midpoint of the Mesabi Trail and to the Superior National Forest, Chisholm is also a popular headquarters for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also only a ten-minute drive to the world’s largest open pit iron ore mine, the Hull Rust Mahoning, on the north side of Hibbing, then another 15 minutes for motorists who who can’t resist a drive-by of Bob Dylan’s boyhood home.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid-May to mid-September; snowmobilers can use the paved Mesabi Trail in winter.