The best city for family travel? It might be Minneapolis


Planning your summer vacation? The founder of a travel website has, what he calls, the perfect family-friendly place for you to visit. Better than crowded places such as the crowded Orlando or Pocono, he says.

"Not only will it offer enough entertainment and culture to keep a smile on your kids' faces," he writes, "it does so at a cost low enough to keep a big smile on yours."

That spot?


Tom Gilmore, the founder and CEO of, writes on Huffington Post that Minneapolis is a "great (and perhaps unassuming)" spot to consider for a vacation. Gilmore lists five reasons for his pick: The Minnesota Zoo, The Mall of America, the easily-accessible Target Field, the Chain of Lakes and the city's top-notch theater scene.

It doesn't seem to be a feeling many national outlets share, however.

Neither ABC News, Budget Travel, U.S. News, or Lonely Planet mention Minnesota (much less Minneapolis) as top travel spots on recent lists.

A recent report shows Minnesota's tourism industry is growing however, even if only moderately. For the fourth consecutive year, Explore Minnesota found hotel and resort numbers up from the year prior. And Explore Minnesota communications manager Joan Hummel said she hoped the Legislature’s increase in the marketing budget for tourism — up to $14 million from $8.4 million — will increase state tourism numbers for 2014.

Well north of Minneapolis, Duluth officials said last year they were on pace to have their best tourism year ever.

And just last month, the town of Lanesboro, Minnesota made a list of the best small towns to visit in 2014, coming in at No. 10. The town, which has a population of fewer than 800, is known as the bed-and-breakfast capital of Minnesota and boasts one of the best regional theaters around in the Commonweal, which opened in 1989.

Then there's St. Paul, which in January was named the most romantic city in America by USA Today voters. The cold-weather capital even beat hotspots such as New Orleans and Honolulu.

The state as a whole is making a concerted effort to boost tourism, too, specifically from France.

Minnesota’s tourism agency is currently seeking vendors to carry out a fresh pitch to French visitors, and will spend up to $45,000 to build a marketing presence for the state in France. In addition, an official with Explore Minnesota Tourism said more nonstop flights between France and Minneapolis-St. Paul International makes this an ideal time build a deeper connection.

So maybe Minnesota and its biggest city only made one recent list. What Minneapolis has planned this summer may mean lists aren't all that important.

According to the Star Tribune, tourism officials are licking their chops over three events this summer: the MLB All-Star Game, being hosted by Target Field; the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships; and the Shriners International Imperial Session, an annual event for the Masonic fraternity.

Officials, the paper reported, anticipate the total number of people at these events will exceed 685,000 – making it the city's biggest tourism year this millennium (also known as, since 2000).

Lists? Who needs lists when you've got all that?

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