Skip to main content
  • Al fresco dining at night in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    View more

    Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

  • Great River Road Ship's Wheel Sign in Potosi, Wisconsin
    View more

    Potosi, Wisconsin

  • Steamboat on the Mississippi River in LeClaire, Iowa
    View more

    LeClaire, Iowa

  • Red-brick street in Hannibal, Missouri
    View more

    Hannibal, Missouri

  • Cardinals Major League Baseball game in St. Louis, Missouri
    View more

    St. Louis, Missouri

  • Beale Street lights at night in Memphis, Tennessee
    View more

    Memphis, Tennessee

  • Streetlit roadway by the Mississippi River in Natchez, Mississippi
    View more

    Natchez, Mississippi

  • City street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana
    View more

    New Orleans, Louisiana

Paddle wheel boat on the Mississippi River
View more

Going Down the Great River Road

  • Route distance:
    2,254 km
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Follow the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana

The beating heart of America lies in its great middle. The pulsing artery of the nation is the Mississippi River and following its path by car provides a unique and unforgettable view of this nation. This is the river that sparked the imagination of one of the USA’s finest authors, Mark Twain. Control of the river was a key factor in determining who won the U.S. Civil War. For much of the nation’s early history, the Mississippi was as important to the USA as the Nile to Egyptians. It stretches from its headwaters in icy Lake Itasca in Northwestern Minnesota and flows more than 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) to the Gulf of Mexico, fed by dozens of tributaries along the way. A trip down the Great River Road, a series of thoroughfares stretching from Minnesota to Louisiana, is an opportunity to experience a wide range of American regional culture and the eclectic diversity of its people. To understand the river is to understand the USA. Plan your next Great River Road trip and explore the USA even more.

01
Al fresco dining at night in Minneapolis, Minnesota
View more

Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

Begin your trip in Minnesota when you fly into Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. The modern metropolis of Minneapolis was the jumping off point for westward expansion and home to grain mills along the Mississippi River banks, remnants of which you can see today. The friendly city was also the lifelong home to one of the USA’s most innovative performers: Prince. The First Avenue Club is the venue where Prince began performing and would continue to play throughout his career. Nearby in Bloomington, the Mall of America – the second largest shopping mall in the United States – offers 500 retail stores, rollercoaster rides, luxury hotels and a water park. In the summer, catch a Minnesota Twins game at Target Field, consistently ranked as one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball.

385 km
5 hours by car
02
Great River Road Ship's Wheel Sign in Potosi, Wisconsin
View more

Potosi, Wisconsin

After Minneapolis drive south through Minnesota to the quaint town of Potosi. The National Brewery Museum in Potosi, Wisconsin merges the transportation and commerce that the Mississippi is known for with Wisconsin’s storied brewing heritage. The museum explores the history of Midwestern brewing and offers tours of the facility where its beer is made. The museum also has a dedicated section on the history of the Great River Road. After the tour, cross the border into Iowa at Dubuque, which sits as the crossroads of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. There you can visit the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and stretch your legs on a walk in Eagle Point Park, taking in the panoramic river views.

158 km
2 hours by car
03