On the western outskirts of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolis lies Delano. Located along Interstate 12 on the south fork of Crow River, this great place has a spacious suburban feel. It’s one of the top places to live in Minnesota and has a population of just over 6000.
Delano is a family-friendly town that is on the up and up. In recent years the city has seen improvements to its public parks, amenities and consistently ranks in the top 5% of public schools for the entire state – feel the school pride!
Interested? We’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Delano, Minnesota. Check out top attractions such as local farms and museums, discover killer bars and restaurants, or do some antiquing.
From kid-friendly spaces to fun annual events, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in this small town. Enjoy our list while you plan your trip!
Fun & Best Things to Do in Delano, Minnesota
1. Head to the Delano Farmers Market
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Delano, Minnesota, check out the Delano Farmers Market. They set up in the Flippin’ Bills Parking lot on County Line Road. You can visit them between May and October, from 2 to 6 pm every Wednesday.
Local farmers from the area come here to sell all kinds of goods. You’ll find the typical assortment of seasonal produce, but also things like pickles, fresh bread, and baked goods. You can buy freshly butchered beef and pork, local honey and maple syrup, and more!
Out of season, you can still find local goods at local businesses. MarkE 3rd Street Produce has a passion for fresh produce and canned food.
They run their business out of their home and sell at Delano stores and events. Check them out for things like jellies, preserves, and sauerkraut well into the winter!
See Related: Best Indoor Activities in Minnesota
2. Attend the 4th of July Celebration
Fun fact; Delano’s 4th of July Independence Day celebration is the biggest and longest-running one of its kind in Minnesota! The first one was over 150 years ago, in 1857.
Nowadays, it’s a 4-day event with all kinds of events, attractions, and celebration of all things All-American. Whether you’re a single person, a retired couple, or a family with kids of all ages, you’ll want to check out this celebration!
There’s a carnival with dozens of classic rides and games with prizes. All four days are full of softball and baseball tournaments. If you like bingo, join a game each afternoon of the event.
And every year, there’s a lineup of musical performances for children, teens, and adults alike. If you have kids, they’ll love the contests they can register for each day.
Everything finally culminates on the 4th. Join the 5k run in the morning before the big parade. After a full day of entertainment, find a spot on the grass around Central Park for the big fireworks show!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in St. Paul, Minnesota
3. Visit the Splash Pad
For those with small children, another one of the best fun things to do in Delano, MN, is to check out the Splash Pad. You can find this small water park inside Central Park.
Keep in mind that you must pay a small fee per person. The money goes to the upkeep of the Splash Pad.
Inside, there are more than a dozen aquatic structures on the concrete pad for your enjoyment. There’s also an indoor food court with seating for families to enjoy.
If you go, just check the website for specific times each day. The times change, and some days the splash pad is available to be rented out for parties.
4. Walk the Spirit of Community Trail
The city motto is “Spirit of Community.” This mindset has been the key to success in Delano. So, to honor that mindset, the city has created a virtual walking tour. They call it the “Spirit of Community Trail,” made to celebrate Delano’s upcoming 150th anniversary as an established city.
Use the virtual guide and walk to 16 important sites marked with bronze plaques. Each site commemorates the history and spirit that has created the city of Delano today.
5. See a Movie in Delano
Don’t miss out on Delano’s luxury cinematic theater, Emagine Delano. The company has a small chain of theaters around Minnesota.
Emagine creates a high-end experience without the price tag. Enjoy quality amenities like modern interior design, leather recliner seats, and a theater bar serving beer, wine, spirits, and cheeky cocktails.
Order classic cinema treats, plus things like gourmet pizza, caramel, cheddar popcorn, and custom soda flavors. Check the lineup for the latest movie releases.
They also show TCM classics and cult favorites, so check out their schedule. You can find Emagine on Babcock Boulevard, right before Ebersole Avenue.
See Related: Best Things to do in Excelsior, Minnesota
6. Go Bowling
For some classic fun, head to Delano Lanes and Entertainment Center. With ten lanes, pool tables, live music, and a solid menu, this is one of the best places to visit on a trip to Delano, Minnesota.
You can find them on Babcock Boulevard next to Kelsey Street. The weekends have extended hours, and the center has popular bands perform on Saturday nights. The menu isn’t your typical lanes menu, either.
You can enjoy a pretty hefty breakfast menu from 10 AM to noon. Then the full menu offers fresh salads, wraps, sandwiches, and even ribs!
Come to Sunday Family Fun Day if you’re in town with family. On Sundays, families get a discounted rate for bowling and dinner. You could also bring a date to the bowling alley and enjoy the outdoor seating and full bar!
7. Enjoy the Parks and Trails
With just over 6,000 residents, Delano has provided its residents and guests with 14 parks and over 15 miles of walking trails. Find parks and trails even dispersed throughout the city in a way that connects them.
When it comes to the best things to do in Delano, Minnesota, perusing the public park program can let you plan out a day or two’s worth of lazy walks or letting the kids blow off steam.
Delano Central Park
Delano City Park is on the northside, along River Street North. Here, you’ll find an impressive playground with lots of unique equipment like climbing ropes and scalable rock structures. Here you’ll find the Delano Splash Pad, as well as six baseball and softball fields.
There’s a picturesque gazebo at the park entrance where you can take pictures or enjoy a picnic lunch. There’s also a veterans memorial for those who have given their lives in the service of their country.
Find tributes to veterans of the Civil War, both World Wars, and the Vietnam War, and perhaps sit on one of the benches encircling the memorial or stroll down the walking trails from the memorial to pay your respects in this quiet corner of town.
Barb King Inspiration Park
As a neighborhood park past the river on Meadowlark Drive, Inspiration Park is the ideal place to come with kids who have bundles of energy. Here you’ll find a wheel-chair accessible merry-go-round, fun climbing ropes, and a child-friendly zipline. There are lots of slides, spinning seats, and a sizeable jungle gym.
There’s also a full-sized ball field for all kinds of sports. Let the kids run free in the spacious grassy areas. Plus, in the winter, they set up ice rinks in the park for free skating and hockey!
Delano Schools Campus
Delano’s School District 879 Campus includes the entire public school system, from elementary to high school. The campus is on Tiger Drive and County Road 30. The public playground and ball fields on the campus are open to the public when they’re not in use during school hours.
There are ball fields, a football scrimmage field, walking trails, and tennis courts. The community uses Delano Area Sports Arena for private tournaments and practices.
In the winter, check out the outdoor ice rink next to the arena. It’s huge, there are warming houses, and it’s free to the public.
Parkview Hills Park
Another neighborhood park, Parkview is surrounded by grassy lawns and is accessible by pedestrian trails heading in 4 directions. It’s a great place to tour more of the town’s superb parks as you can follow the trails all the way to two other neighborhood parks across 85th Street.
Off quiet Garden Drive, this is a serene park with a pond, footbridge, and a ballfield, too. Relax on the benches or at picnic tables and watch the kiddos play!
See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in Minneapolis, MN
8. Enjoy the Walking Trails
We’ve mentioned the walking trails above, as one of the best things to do in Delano, is to take advantage of the extensive trail system and fully paved and manicured walking paths.
Start at Crows River and follow the trail up River Street, east on County Road 30, turning south on County Line Road. From this point, you’ll find yourself on Highway 12, which you could follow all the way out of town. Turn off onto adjacent trails that meet up with city and neighborhood parks.
See Related: Best Things to do in Owatonna, Minnesota
9. Go Shopping in Downtown Delano
If you believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, you might be a fan of antiques and thrift goods. Delano is home to a number of fantastic antique stores and upcycle boutiques for anyone hunting for great deals and unique finds. Check out the heart of Delano for great shopping opportunities!
Find The ReFoundry on Bridge Avenue, near City Hall. They take antique, donated, and personal furniture and home goods at this highly rated upcycled.
The staff at The Refoundry are artists when it comes to refurbishing and restoring the items they receive, giving old junk a new lease on life.
Vintage on Bridge
Walk two stores down to Vintage on Bridge, a boutique home goods store. Here you’ll find a mix of vintage and restored pieces, collectibles, contemporary decor, and gifts. Just look for the cheery white and yellow archway to welcome you in.
Love INC-Heartland Thrift Store
Love INC is on Railroad Avenue between 3rd and 4th Street. This thrift store supports the work of dozens of local churches of all denominations in and around Delano.
Besides a terrific inventory on sale, they also provide materials and funds to support those in need.
They have a number of outreaches, including caring for infants and the elderly and mentoring those fighting to end cycles of poverty.
See Related: Best Things to do in Otter Tail, Minnesota
10. Visit a Delano Orchard
There are several farms and orchards around the city limits. For some of the best things to do in Delano, we suggest heading out to an apple orchard in the fall!
About 5 miles north of downtown Delano is Apple Jack Orchards on 37th Street. This family farm has been in production for almost 40 years.
Go apple picking, go Jack o’ Lantern shopping at the pumpkin patch, or wander through their stunning 5-acre cornfield. There’s also a seasonal country store for bags of apples, baked goods, homemade jams and jellies, and unique gifts.
Then there’s Fall Harvest Orchard, which is straight east from Delano on County Road 30. Visit the Apple House Gift Shop for bushels of apples, farm gifts, and more.
In the fall, they have apple picking and pumpkin fields. They also have a bunch of fun activities for all ages, like a corn maze, a petting zoo, and trampolines! Kids can also play some yard games, compete in a tractor race, or climb a hale bale mountain.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Grand Portage, Minnesota
11. Book a Wine Tasting
Last on our list of the best things to do in Delano, Minnesota is an afternoon at Fountain Hill Winery. This location offers more sophisticated activities as it is a renowned winery. Fountain Hill Winery and Vineyard are on County Road 30 just outside the Delano city limits.
Justin and Alexis Dooley run the winery and 5-acre vineyard, and they host live music on most Saturdays. Plus, they put on fun events like comedy shows and murder mystery nights.
If you’re a wine-lover, you must come to sample their selection of wine. They have a few snack food items on the menu, like homemade pizza slices, and pretzels, so be prepared for that.
When they have an event, they’ll often have a food truck parked out front too. Still, the main attraction is their exceptional wine, and it truly is exceptional!
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