Stillwater, Minnesota is a small town that has a lot to offer. It is a year-round destination and its attractions include trails, orchards, food tours, gondola rides, and vineyards. Stillwater is located only a few minutes away from the cities of Minneapolis and St.Paul, and the MSP airport and the Mall of America. When in Stillwater, you can experience the breathtaking architecture, food, and the St.Croix River. It is possible to experience the best of this destination on foot or by bike. Here are the best things to do in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Stillwater is also known as the birthplace of Minnesota. It is the site that led to the statehood of Minnesota in 1858.
A century later, Stillwater is recognized as one of the prettiest small towns in America by Forbes. It is often described as the small-town beauty that offers plenty of year-round options and is a storybook-looking town.
It is famous for the wide collection of art galleries, restaurants, interesting shops, and old inns.
You’ll be sure to find an amazing Minnesota gift at one of the many boutiques.
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List of the top things to do in Stillwater
Stillwater Lift Bridge
The Stillwater Lift Bridge in Minnesota is a must-visit. It takes State Highway 36 between Houlton and Stillwater.
This bridge was constructed in 1931 and is an ideal example of a vertical lift bridge construction of Waddell and Harrington type. There are a total of six bridges of this type that were constructed before the Second World War.
This bridge and the concourse are located in the Stillwater Cultural Landscape District.
The ten-span bridge consists of six steel Parker through truss spans, one movable span, and three slab approach spans.
It remains one of the top Stillwater attractions for tourists.
2. Brown’s Creek Trail
One of the best things to do in Stillwater, Minnesota is to visit Brown’s Creek Trail. It is a recreational gem of the area.
Thousands of visitors head to the trail every year, making it one of the most popular places in Stillwater. This trail was the rail bed of Soo Line in the past and it has now been paved.
The trail runs for eighteen miles starting from Stillwater’s Pine Point Park to St.Paul city.
It is a multi-use trail that offers skiing, running, walking, horseback riding, biking, and rollerblading to the users of the trail throughout the year. It remains one of the popular activities in Stillwater.
3. Warden’s house museum
The Warden’s House was constructed in 1853 and it was initially used as a home of the warden of the Territorial Prison.
Over the years, a total of thirteen wardens resided in the house until 1914, when the prison was shifted to a different location. The house was sold in the year 1941 and it was converted into a museum in the same year.
There are many rooms in the museum that have exhibits showing different parts of the history of the County including the Civil War, Old Prison, as well as the lumber industry.
Other rooms reflect those commonly seen in traditional middle-class houses.
4. Teddy Bear Park
Teddy Bear Park is a famous attraction for kids in Stillwater. This park is pretty small but is an amazing place to spend quality time with kids of all ages. Teddy Bear Park is conveniently located at a distance of about a block from Main Street.
There are many shops and restaurants that Stillwater is famous for. They are at a small distance from the park.
The park has a massive tree structure, one sandpit, picnic benches, train slides, rock cliff, and several teddy bears. When you enter the park, you will be greeted by a teddy bear ten feet tall. It is one of the must things to do in Stillwater with kids.
See Related: 10 Best Museums in Minnesota
5. St. Croix Crossing Loop Trail
The 4.7-mile loop trail is a must-visit in Stillwater. It connects the Minnesota and Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River. This trail is not fully complete yet. You will find amazing views and detailed information at the different lookout points.
Simply park in the lot off the highway 36 downtown and then walk south on the new bridge to Wisconsin and back.
6. Aamodt’s Apple Orchard
Aamodt’s Apple Orchard was started by Lucille Aamodt and Thor. It is their unique version of the American Dream. The orchard is more than six decades old and it still retains the same charm that once served as an inspiration years ago. It is one of the fun things to do in Stillwater.
You can reach for an apple on the tree and imagine that you have gone back to the good, old days. You will see many historic structures on the farm from the 18th century. There is an apple store, bakery, and a winery.
A day out at the orchard will be fun, delicious, and educational.
See Related: Best Things to do in Rochester, Minnesota
7. Gondola Romantica
Enjoy a Venetian like experience in Stillwater at the Gondola Romantica. You can take a relaxing cruise through the downtown area on an authentic gondola, similar to the one you would find in Venice. It is one of the most romantic experiences you can have in Stillwater.
There are many packages for you to choose from. You can enjoy a range of experiences on the Gondola.
There are both, moonlit evening cruises and daytime cruises for you to choose from. It is undoubtedly a unique experience, making it a very popular place to propose.
The Gondola ride is also a great way to take in the charm of the town.
8. Nelson’s Ice Cream
Founded in the year 1923, Nelson’s Ice Cream is a historic treasure of Stillwater. It is a beloved ice cream place among all types of people, local residents, and visitors alike.
There is much more than just an ice cream shop to the place. It offers memorable experiences that are shared with family, friends, and the community.
Nelson’s Ice Cream has the most generous scoops of any ice cream shop within the five-state area. It has received many awards and recognitions over the years from the state and international levels.
It is undoubtedly one of the fun things to do in Stillwater Minnesota.
See Related: 13 Reasons Why Traveling is Important
9. Lift Bridge Brewing Company
Located in the historic town of Stillwater, The Lift Bridge Brewing Company is a craft brewery that is based in Minnesota. The company has the state’s oldest operating taproom and is the seventh-largest craft brewery in Minnesota.
It is known for several flagship beers which include the Farm Girl Saison and the Hop Dish IPA.
The company was established in 2008 by many homebrewers. They initially brewed beer only for their families and friends but soon started brewing larger batches of beer and sold the first beer keg in September in 2008.
See Related: 19+ Best Breakfast Spots in Minnesota
10. Foodies on Foot
A premier food and tourist destination of the city, Stillwater offers the most exciting and memorable food in the state.
At Foodies on Foot, you will be taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the best shops in the town. Local chefs in the area are proud of the quality of ingredients used and they are committed to using fresh, local ingredients.
It remains one of the best things to do in Stillwater.
This tour lasts for about three hours and offers a unique walking tour with exceptional food. The culinary walking tour is one of the best ways of exploring the culture of Stillwater. You can enjoy the history of the town and fill your appetite with your favorite dishes.
The tour is well planned and is organized in a very logical manner.
It will give you the finest food offerings and will also give an opportunity to meet the chefs and owners known for the impressive culinary innovation. Plan your tour well in advance and make the most of your time in Stillwater.
Take a tour at the beginning of your stay in Stillwater to enjoy the best of food and beverages at Stillwater restaurants.
See Related: Things to See and Do Around Minnehaha Falls
11. Lady Chateau
A premier charter yacht, the Lady Chateau cruises on the stunning St. Croix River. At this yacht, you will see the exceptional luxury of leather furnishings, stunning art, and warm, wood interiors from the minute you step in. The 1.5 million dollar yacht will take you to a different world altogether.
The vessel can accommodate up to seventy passengers but a typical size for groups abroad the cruise is around twenty to thirty guests at a time. The main salon of the ship includes a bar area, and a buffet while the top deck has comfortable seating.
It is one of the romantic things to do in Stillwater. It is a three-hour cruise that will leave you with memories of a lifetime.
On the yacht, you will notice etched glass by a Florida artisan that highlights the entrance to the area and offers the perfect place to relax or party.
The top deck has a comfortable seating area in the sun and the forward portion of the flybridge can be enclosed as per request.
There is an intimate salon and two bathrooms below the deck. Whatever the occasion, a trip on Lady Chateau is nothing but special and memorable.
See Related: Best Breakfast in Minnesota
12. Stillwater library
Built-in 1901, the Stillwater Library is a stunning example of Renaissance Revival architecture and it gives exceptional views of the St. Croix River Valley. You can easily spend a few hours at the library.
The building still retains the old world charm and unique architecture of the 1900s and is one of the best things to do in Stillwater.
The terrace at the library is a very popular wedding venue. It gives a breathtaking view of the beautiful surroundings from the top.
See Related: Best Lakes in Minnesota to Visit
13. Stillwater Trolley Company
You can enjoy 45-minute tours daily with the Stillwater Trolley Company. The tour of Stillwater is properly narrated and it takes passengers back in time. You will go back to a time of transformation of the town from a lumber town into the most beautiful small towns of the country.
Most of the tour will take place in the hills of Stillwater and you will be able to see the old mansions that were built between 1850 and 1915 by the barons. They also offer kayak tours. If this is your first time in Stillwater, this tour is a must.
It will give you detailed insights about the development of Stillwater and will make it easier for you to explore the destination.
14. Washington County Historic Courthouse
The Washington County Historic Courthouse was constructed in 1870 and it served as a judicial and administrative center of the country for more than a hundred years. Later, in the year 1971, the Courthouse was on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest standing courthouse in Minnesota.
There are free guided public tours offered from Monday to Saturday and these take you around the courtroom, the old county jail, and the exhibit rooms. It is an architectural gem that should be on your list of the must-see when in Stillwater.
During the tour, the guide will take you through historic events in Washington County history when touring the different rooms. Apart from public tours, they also offer private tours, community events, and large group tours. If you are traveling in a large group, you can book a tour in advance.
Stillwater has something to do for every traveler personality. Include these things to do in Stillwater when you head to Minnesota next. Irrespective of your age and preference, you will not get bored here.
There are plenty of things to see and do throughout the year. This is the reason Stillwater is considered a year-round destination and is loved by everyone.
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