I'm not sure why this question is on my mind today, but I think about this a lot. Probably because I talk to people from many different places, and they all say it, but it means different things to everyone. They say, "I'm going up north."


There were several people who commented on the question at hand this morning.

  • Erin in Albany:  "Warroad! That's North to me!"
  • Megyn in Long Prairie: "I have family in Roseau, so that's definitely up north! But I would say anything north of Park Rapids
  • Nadder from Sauk Rapids: "Anything north of Brainerd or Motley."
  • Julie from St. Cloud: "Up North is anything beyond Duluth or Cloquet area."
  • Dawn from Onamia: "Duluth or Alaska!"
  • Steve said "Above St. Cloud"
  • Megan said "Northern Minnesota up to the Iron Range"
  • Aaron said "Anything north of Highway 2; You gotta be up there to call it 'up north.'
  • Cory & Becky both agreed- "Anything Mille Lacs or north."
  • Mary, who is not a native Minnesotan, said "I've lived here long enough to know that anyone north of the Minnesota/Iowa state line defines it differently."

I think Deb had a great sentiment about Up North as defined by Suzanne Kindler:

"It's the place people go to escape, a place made of cabins, pine trees and lakes. But no matter how far you drive, there's no sign to say, "You've Arrived," so just follow your heart til you find...Your special place that brings peace of mind, as you breath in the air and unwind, Your cares are all left behind. It's no mystery where the northwoods start...When you arrive "UP NORTH..." you'll know it... in your heart."  ~Suzanne Kindler

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I hear people say they are going up north for the weekend, or some variation of the words 'up north' probably 20 times a week. But when people say 'up north,' what do they actually mean? Does 'up north' have certain qualifying factors to be used officially?

For example, 'up north' in St. Cloud might mean we are headed to the lake, whether or not it's north of where we live. Up north could also mean any place north of St. Cloud, but further than Little Falls. I mean seriously, if you live in St. Cloud and tell me you're going 'up north' for the weekend, I'm thinking that you mean you're heading to at least Brainerd.

To me, it depends on where you live. If you are in the cities and you are going 'up north' I'm thinking that you must be headed up to Brainerd; however, I'm aware of people in the cities that have a cabin in Princeton and call that going 'up north.'  To me, that feels weird. Princeton isn't up north; is it?

Whether it's right or wrong, 'up north' means lots of different things:

  • You're going on vacation somewhere north of your location.
  • You're going on vacation somewhere.
  • You're going to your cabin.
  • You're going to a friend's cabin.
  • You're going ice fishing.
  • You're going somewhere in Minnesota.
  • You're going to a friend's house.
  • You're going a mile up the road.
  • You're going to the farm.

I say I'm going up north when I'm playing music anywhere by Brainerd or Baxter. Sometimes I catch myself saying I'm going up north when I'm really not, I'm just going to visit someone. 'Up North' regardless of what you use it for, usually means something positive, so "Let's go 'Up North'!"


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