Bemidji State University is nestled among the pines along the shores of Lake Bemidji, just blocks from a thriving downtown community. In this Northwoods setting, students, staff, and faculty have a variety of activities 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. While the city of Bemidji — named after the Ojibwe Chief Shaynowishkung (nicknamed Bemidji) — is home to a diverse population of more than 15,000 people, it serves a regional population of more than 100,000.
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, including an uptown selection of department stores and restaurants.
The thriving downtown community presents ample opportunities for engagement off-campus. Among other things, there are fine-dining restaurants, cafes, and a natural foods co-op in downtown Bemidji. The historic Paul Bunyan Playhouse has a calendar of classic shows; restaurants and lounges offer weekly live music performances; the First Friday Art Walk provides a tour of new monthly art exhibits; and annual events such as the Loop the Lake Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Blue Ox Marathon, Bemidji Winterfest, and The Minnesota Finlandia bring the community together.
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 and its miles of navigable trails is located directly across the lake from BSU, and the Buena Vista Ski Area — just 12 miles north of campus — offers downhill skiing and BSU-sponsored student transportation in the winter months. Further, the Mississippi River Headwaters is a mere 45 minutes from Bemidji.