Our Town

Bemidji, MN - Home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox.
Bemidji, MN – Home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox.

Bemidji, the first city on the Mississippi River, has been called one of the best small towns in America and was awarded the 2017 Best Minnesota Town.


Bemidji State University is nestled among the pines along the shores of Lake Bemidji, several blocks from a thriving downtown community. In this Northwoods setting, students, staff and faculty have a variety of activities available at their fingertips. Possessing all the charm and character of a college town, Bemidji remains a tight-knit community of good neighbors and engaged citizens who always come out to cheer for the Beavers. Bemidji, named after the Ojibwe Chief Shaynowishkung (nick-named Bemidji), is the central hub for a diverse population of over 15,000 people. Located between three American Indian reservations – Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth – students at Bemidji State University have the opportunity to experience a dynamic local culture and history. Bemidji also sits at the center of the legends of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The famous statues of Paul and Babe greet students as they drive in from the south along Lake Bemidji.

Though quaint and historic, the city offers the urban conveniences upon which college students rely. Bemidji State is conveniently located minutes away from affordable restaurants, cozy coffee shops, grocery stores, city parks and more. Small, locally-owned shops and art sculptures line the streets of downtown Bemidji, while national chains can be found in and around the Bemidji area.

The Beaver Fever dragon boat team.
The Beaver Fever dragon boat team.

The thriving downtown community presents ample opportunities for engagement off-campus. Among other things, there are fine-dining restaurants, cafes and a natural foods coop in downtown Bemidji. The historic Paul Bunyan Playhouse has a calendar of classic shows, restaurants offer weekly live music performances, the First Friday Art Walk provides a tour of new monthly art exhibits and annual festive events bring the community together. Some local favorites are the Loop the Lake Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Blue Ox Marathon and The Minnesota Finlandia

For those who love the outdoors, there are wooded, multi-use trail systems within minutes of campus and community parks with walking trails, playgrounds and a skate park. Lake Bemidji State Park is located directly across the lake from BSU with trails leading to notable sights and there is a downhill ski area with transportation options during the winter months. Further, the Mississippi River Headwaters is a mere 45 minutes from Bemidji.

Visit Bemidji’s official website to learn more.