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Conveniently located along I-90 near its intersection with I-35, Austin, Minnesota, is a vibrant community of more than 24,000 residents, boasting a diverse culture and expanding economic base while maintaining its rural charm.
Austin has been named one of the most exciting places in Minnesota in a new list on the real estate website Movoto.com. Austin ranked seventh in the list ahead of Rochester, Winona and Mankato for its arts and entertainment opportunities and restaurants. The list was put together based on per capita criteria such as nightlife options, live music venues, active outdoor possibilities, restaurants and population, among other things.
We’re home to Hormel Foods Corporation, the only Fortune 500 company in Minnesota located outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Hormel Foods’ corporate offices, research and development department, flagship processing plant and the SPAM® Museum are all located in Austin. The museum displays thousands of cans of SPAM from all around the world, selling more than 275 different SPAM items and featuring exhibits and displays relating to the history of Hormel Foods.
The Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin is part of the world-famous Mayo Health Systems. The Hormel Institute, a world-renowned cancer research center, studies ways to fight cancer naturally, with organic foods. Wind farms stretch out across the countryside, bolstering our rural economy while delivering the promise of a greener Earth. Austin is well connected to the world with community-wide high-speed and WiFi Internet service.
Austin also has a highly regarded educational system, from preschool through Riverland Community College. Austin High School, home of the Packers, offers some of the most advanced science and math programs in the state. Our residential areas feature quiet, friendly neighborhoods and outstanding home values. And the average commute to work is less than 10 minutes! Fine arts, an extensive park system, diverse shopping centers and a myriad of youth programs enhance our quality of life.
The Hormel Historic Home is a can't miss destination for both visitors and locals. A tour will open a window into the life of the George A. Hormel family. This 1871 home is where Hormel lived with his wife and son when he founded Hormel Foods, Inc. Purchased in 1901 by George and Lillian Hormel and now restored to its early 1900s decor, it includes original family heirlooms and photographs. The 18-room home is open for self-guided tours 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., M-F, year round. Conclude your visit with a quiet stroll through the beautiful Peace Garden.
Enjoy wildlife at this 507-acre center that features hardwoods, restored prairie, ponds, pine forests and Dobbins Creek. The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center offers ten miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails, as well as a one-third mile paved trail that is handicapped accessible. There's a three-story observation tower and canoe rentals are available for on-site use. During the snowy winter months, the trails are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiers. The nature center's interpretive building has an interactive quiz board that tests visitors' skills at identifying flowers, animal tracks and birds. The Naturalist staff presents programs that include wild flower hikes, cider pressing, maple syruping, astronomy, hawk and owl talks, bird banding, and much more!
Take in a bit of history with a visit to the Mower County Historical Society. Formed following the 1947 Mower County Fair, the historical society has grown to a total of 16 buildings and 11 outdoor-themed exhibits. Kehret's Wayside Chapel is a small chapel where people were actually married. The M-4 Sherman Tank was built during World War II. Other outdoor exhibits include a granite fountain, windmill from Udolpho Township, St. Augustine's church bell, and a model of the Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church. Tour the Rahilly Building to see horse-drawn buggies and carriages. The original fair building features the exhibit "Ghost Towns of Mower County." Other buildings include the Fireman's Museum, Excelsior School, Communications Building, Hormel Building, Headquarters Building, Ag Building, and much more. Special exhibits feature the Milwaukee Road Railroad (including a Depot Museum), a 1004 steam engine, and three train cars.
The Historic Paramount Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, originally opened September 14, 1929, and was designed for stage theatre and first-run movies. It is one of just 4 atmospheric theatres left in Minnesota. The Austin Area Commission for the Arts (AACA) purchased the vacant theatre and started a restoration project in 1990 to return the Paramount to its original 1929 grandeur. With a capacity of 622 people, today the Paramount serves as home to Matchbox Children's Theatre and Northwestern Singers in addition to a full season of performing artists and many other events. Check out the website for a virtual tour, history, event schedule and more.
Rydjor Bike Shop and Museum was founded in 1973 and is an Austin must-see. View the history of bicycles displayed on the 16-foot walls inside the shop. The original tin ceilings and maple floors make for a great setting to find the bicycle of your childhood, or go back in time to the turn of the century when bicycles were big business and at the forefront of technology. Each of the more than 84 bicycles has its own story, beginning in 1868 with the "Boneshaker." Rydjor Bike Shop was chosen one of the top 100 out of 6,000 bicycle dealerships in North America. View the evolution of bicycles up to the most current cutting-edge styles.
Whether you visit for a day or join us for a lifetime, you’ll find Austin is an Awesome place to be.
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