Introduction to Mankato, Minnesota

The city of Mankato is the county seat of Blue Earth County, Minnesota, and is located about 80 miles southwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Principal highways servicing the city include U.S. Routes 169 and 14, and Minnesota State Highway 60. Mankato is home to the main campus of Minnesota State University.

The city's original name was Mahkato, a Dakota Indian term meaning "greenish blue earth". An early spelling error which was never corrected caused the name to become Mankato. In 1862, a conflict between the U.S. and the Dakota Indians (known as the "Sioux Uprising" in reference to the Dakota tribe's alternate moniker of Sioux) resulted in the largest mass execution in the nation's history when 38 Dakota Indians were hanged in Mankato. The city received its charter in 1868, the same year that Minnesota's second Normal School was established in the city. A teacher's college until after World War II, the school expanded its curriculum to include science and fine arts courses and became Mankato State College and later Mankato State University before being renamed Minnesota State University, Mankato in 1999.

Arts and Entertainment in Mankato

The unique history of Mankato is preserved in many registered historic sites, and the talents of its students and residents support a thriving fine arts community. The city's location amidst Minnesota’s famed waters and woodlands also affords visitors and residents an easy escape to hiking/biking trails, golf courses, lake fishing and recreation, and winter skiing. Included among its many attractions are the following:

  • The Carnegie Art Center: The largest visual art center in south central Minnesota.
  • R.D. Hubbard House: Originally built in 1871, the house is the oldest remaining example of a Victorian Mansion in the area.
  • Judge Lorin P. Cray Mansion: A Queen Anne style mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Minnesota Valley Chorale: Grounded in the great works of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and complemented by folk music, madrigals and spirituals.
  • Mount Kato: A year-round recreation area for skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, and mountain biking.
  • Land of Memories Park: Located along the Blue Earth and Minnesota Rivers, the park offers bike trails and camping.
  • Minneopa State Park: Offers nearly five miles of hiking trails and over four miles of cross-country skiing trails.
  • Red Jacket Trail: A 13-mile biking trail.
  • Mankato Ballet
  • Merely Players Theatre
  • Minnesota State University Theatre
  • Highland Summer Theatre
  • Mankato Symphony Orchestra
  • Blue Earth County Heritage Center Museum
  • Seppmann Mill
  • Morgan Creek Vineyards
  • Wildlife Safari Museum
  • Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail

Mankato is also home to some popular annual events and festivals. April's International Festival is an event designed to celebrate and raise awareness of cultural diversity in Greater Mankato. The Hickory Street Ribfest, held every August, features a weekend filled with music, games and award-winning ribs from across the country. In September, the city hosts the Mankato Mdewakanton PowWow, where thousands of Native Americans return to their ceremonial grounds to celebrate and reenact ceremonial dances while wearing traditional costumes. The Deep Valley Book Festival, held in November, is a two day celebration of books and reading which gives the public a chance to meet and talk with Minnesota authors and writers.

Minnesota State University's athletic teams are known as the Mavericks. The men's and women's ice hockey teams both compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) along with four other Minnesota-based college teams. The other Maverick teams compete in the North Central Conference of NCAA's Division II. The University is also the current site of the summer training camp for the Minnesota Vikings National Football League team.

Plenty of professional sports, much of it of the major-league variety, can be found about 90 minutes away in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. A list of some of Minnesota's pro teams includes the following:

  • Baseball: Minnesota Twins (MLB)
  • Football: Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
  • Basketball: Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)
  • Hockey: Minnesota Wild (NHL)
  • Women's basketball: Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
  • Lacrosse: Minnesota Swarm (National Lacrosse League)
  • Soccer: Minnesota Thunder (United Soccer League)


Total Population 40,557
Male Share of the Population 50.5%
Female Share of the Population 49.5%
Senior Citizens 11%
Employed Population 16+ 22,507
Age of the Population 26


% of people married 34.1%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 35.3%
Median Earnings25+ $32,187
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $21,875
Median Earnings With High School Degree $24,934


Median Family Income $63,674
% Above Poverty Level 73.8%
% Below Poverty Level 26.2%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 15 minutes
% Working from Home 3.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 6.8%
% Using Public Transportation 1.8%


People Living Alone 31.6%
Median Gross Rent $726
Median House Value $152,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 13.9%
US/American 0%
English 5.3%
Irish 9.4%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Mankato Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 54 miles SW of Eden Prairie, Minnesota (center to center)
Nearest Large City 67 miles SW of Minneapolis, Minnesota
County Blue Earth
Standard Zip Codes 56001, 56003
P.O. Box Zip Codes 56002, 56006
Phone Area Codes 507
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 44.163
Longitude -93.999

Mankato Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 1.3 miles
Jan Temp 2 to 23 F
Apr Temp 34 to 57 F
Jul Temp 61 to 83 F
Oct Temp 36 to 60 F
Annual Precip 33.4 inches
Station ST PETER 2 SW
Distance 9.5 miles
Jan Temp 2 to 23 F
Apr Temp 33 to 58 F
Jul Temp 61 to 84 F
Oct Temp 36 to 61 F
Annual Precip 29.6 inches
Distance 24.1 miles
Jan Temp 1 to 21 F
Apr Temp 35 to 55 F
Jul Temp 61 to 82 F
Oct Temp 36 to 59 F
Annual Precip 34.7 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Eagle Lake 2,612 $81,528
Kasota 820 $54,479
Madison Lake 985 $71,875

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Mankato Public Libraries

Blue Earth County Library System
Mankato, Minnesota
(507) 387-1856
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Mankato Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(507) 625-4031
Emergency Service: Yes

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Mankato High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,168 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.1

Serves 991 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18

201 S. VICTORY DR. STE. 151
A Charter School.
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 118 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 10.3

A Non-traditional School
Serves 112 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12

A Non-traditional School
Serves 35 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 8.1

Mankato Colleges

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