Despite the city’s small size, there are numerous exciting things to do in Wabasha. Enjoy the rich history, festivals, winter games, and fishing tournaments.
Located in the heart of Wabasha County, Minnesota, Wabasha is a city that has plenty to offer both for local and international tourists. With a small population of slightly above 2,500, as of the 2010 census, the city lies in a perfect spot near the Chippewa and the Mississippi rivers’ confluence.
There are numerous things to do in Wabasha, Minnesota, that will capture not only your eyes but also your heart and mind.
Although not as popular as the big cities around the country, Wabasha is a unique tourist destination that is stealthily finding a spot among the well-known tourist destinations.
This article intends to explore all the Wabasha attractions and give you an accurate picture of the fun you can have while in this city. Whether you long to go kayaking or just watch the incredible eagles fishing, the 90 minutes’ drive from the Twin Cities is worth it.
Table of Contents
Top Fun Things to do in Wabasha
Wabasha Walking Tour
With the city’s history dating back to the early 19th, Wabasha is undoubtedly the oldest city along the upper Mississippi River. Its incredibly rich history can be seen at every turn you make, with the streets lined up with homes and buildings from the 19th-century era.
In fact, over 50 historic buildings in Wabasha are listed with the National Register of Historic Places. If you want to learn and experience the city’s history first hand, a tour of the city, either self-guided or tour-guided, can be a great idea. You can get an online self-guided tour brochure from The Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber.
Besides history, a city tour allows you to see and explore local restaurants, cafes, and other businesses. For instance, you can grab a cappuccino at the Eagle’s Nest Coffee House or a dessert at the famous Chocolate Escape.
Also, if you are there on a Wednesday or Saturday, a visit to Wabasha Farmers Market would crown your tour. The market is open on those two days, from May to October.
Enjoy a Cold Beer at Hoppy Girl Brewing dba.
A visit to the Turning Waters Brewing Co. is an excellent chance to sample the locally brewed beer for beer lovers. As they say here, “good beer can be found anywhere, but great beer doesn’t come by easy.”
If you want to relax as you sip some of the best hand-crafted local beers with family or friends, this is the place to be. What you get here is not the typical beer available in any joint.
The brewer’s passion and dedication can be felt with each sip of their smooth flavors, and it’s certainly a place you want to visit.
There is no better way to spend your evening than enjoy it with friends and your favorite craft beer flavor from Turning Waters Brewing Co.
If you are in the cities, check out our other guides on breweries:
Visit the National Eagle Center
This is a first-class interpretive eagle’s center that was established back in 1989 as EagleWatch, Inc. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, the center is one of the most frequented places in Wabasha, Minnesota.
The center’s main goals include:
- Educating people about the biology, ecology, as well as the natural history of the incredible birds (eagles).
- Encourage people to embrace environmental sustainability and conservation.
- Help people to relate with, and learn the importance of eagles in American history.
The place is home to two major eagle species (bald and golden eagles), which you can view and enjoy an up-close experience with during your visit.
On the upper region of the Mississippi River Valley, hundreds of bald eagles build their nests on the tall trees, creating an incredible sighting. Even more bald eagles can be seen here in winter, as the river runs all year round.
If you are an eagle lover, this place offers more than enough to make your day exciting. Both the tamed and wild eagles make this place a must-visit while on a Wabasha city visit.
So, when planning about things to do or where to go in Wabasha, the National Eagle Center should always be on the list.
Skiing is undoubtedly one of the most fun things to do in Wabasha, especially during winter. If you want to have that adrenaline rush, Coffee Mill offers just the perfect spot.
The place, which gets its name from a historic navigational point on the Mississippi River, is the best place to enjoy coulee skiing. The extensive slopes plus the high capacity chairs give a skiing experience you’ll find nowhere else.
The slopes extend from the mild slopes of Chippewa all the way to the extreme pitch of O’Chute, making each run an experience of a lifetime. The different runs are separated by a dense growth of oaks and pine trees, and the continuous modern snowmaking process keeps the place full of snow throughout the year.
Whether you are visiting the town alone or as a family, skiing at Coffee Mill has opportunities for everyone. You can have your best day here for just $30 for kids and $37 for adults.
And, if you have that seasonal pass, it guarantees you infinite skiing and snowboarding for the entire season.
Wabasha enjoys first-class fishing spots that visitors can’t ignore. In Wabasha, any time of the year is prime fishing time. If fishing is your thing, Wabasha offers more than you can imagine.
With the city lying along one major river and near the convergence of two, Wabasha is the perfect destination for your next fishing getaway. The high number of bass, perch, panfish, and walleyes will make your fishing expedition even more exciting.
During winter, the Mississippi River becomes icy, with some ice fishing spots.
This is a unique activity that you can enjoy, especially if you are visiting the city as a family or a group of friends. Obviously, you’re in Minnesota so there won’t be any shortage of nearby lakes to get your fish on.
Fish in any of these ice fishing spots, while watching your fish bite attract the prey beneath the clear ice.
As a popular place for fishing, the city is also known to hold several summer and winter fishing tournaments that can be incredibly fun to participate in.
You can visit the Wabasha-Kellogg website to check out the available tournaments.
Visit the Anderson Gardens
If you are looking for cheap things to do in Wabasha, a day at the Anderson Gardens might just serve you well. Located on 64784 141st Avenue, Wabasha, Minnesota 55981, this is the best place to relax as you enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the flowers in these gardens.
Anderson gardens are open for tours, garden clubs, church visits, senior groups, and more.
All you need to do is call in advance if you are going on a bus or with a larger group.
See Related: Things to do in Two Harbors, Minnesota
Interact with Nature
The great Mississippi River offers more splendor and attraction than any other feature in this city. From how it flows, the aquatic life it supports, and the rich natural world surrounding it, the river presents endless opportunities to engage with nature. Just the sight of this mighty river is spectacular.
The Mississippi’s backwaters around the city provide excellent fishing grounds, rich with panfish, walleye, and several other fish species. Lake Pepin, found along the upper section of the river, also offers rich fishing grounds all year round.
Here there is an abundance of catfish, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and panfish species.
The backwaters and the wetlands around the city are also excellent spots for bald eagles viewing. And you can enjoy seeing them catch their prey on these waters.
If you are lucky to be in Wabasha in March, you will love watching the spectacular annual eagle migration.
See Related: Best Lakes in Minnesota
Events and Festivals
Wabasha is never a dull city. It enjoys plenty of events and festivals that are pretty exciting to participate in.
Among the city’s events that can’t go unnoticed is the Riverboat Days. For over 4 decades, this annual event has been among the most anticipated events each year, and it dominates the entire city for a whole weekend with fun activities.
Held in late July every year, the Riverboat Days event is packed with activities such as:
- Fishing contests
- A parade
- Beauty pageant
- 1K, 5K, and 10K runs
- Volleyball tournament
- Car show
- Craft fair etc.
Food and drinks are also abundant during these festivals, and you’ll enjoy the local delicacies and beer if you happen to be around.
The arrival of fall is another reason for celebration in Wabasha. This is marked by the SepOberfest, a period that involves a lot of events lasting for over a month between September and October.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Wabasha during this time that will make you want to revisit the city the next season.
- Kayak and Sup Tours
While in Wabasha, kayaking is almost non-negotiable. With multiple unique kayaking spots, you cannot visit the city and not want to experience this fun – unless you are not a fan altogether.
Broken Paddle Guiding Company ensures that you’ve had the best experience, as you enjoy the wild waters, beauty, and the serene environment offered by the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
You get to paddle with an experienced kayak guide via the dense forest and learning more about the mighty Mississippi River’s ecosystem. The company offers daily kayak lessons and guided tours, and you don’t need any experience for this.
The guides will make sure you are safe and that you have maximum fun.
This is one of the cool things you can do in Wabasha during the weekends, especially while traveling as a group. This can be a great family vacation to get away and explore some of the great outdoors.
See Related: Best Midwest Roadtrips
Visit the Castlerock Museum
This is one of the few places in the world you can have direct contact with the early life of the Romans, Grecians, and Vikings. In this museum, you will see art, arms, and the actual body armors worn by the brave soldiers of those early days. If you’ve ever heard of the “Knights of the shining armor,” this is where to find part of that history.
The museum opens between 1 pm and 4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year. Also, from June through August, they open on Sundays, the same time. If you are not sure of what to see in Wabasha, the museum is one of the places you can’t miss.
In fact, Castlerock Museum is among the famous Wabasha attractions that will cost you just a few bucks to visit.
For only $6 for adults and $4 for students, you can have a moment with various items used by some of the greatest warriors in the history of humankind. Small kids are allowed for free, but with supervision from an adult.
See related: 11 Best Places to Take Pictures in Minneapolis
Being in Wabash at night is as exciting as during the day, or even more. Besides relaxing and taking a quiet beer at the Hoppy Girl Brewing, the nightlife here is pretty vibrant.
If you want to enjoy some unique original music, MoonShine Showcase concerts will give you just that. The place has a cool venue, great performers, and the customer service is certainly top-notch. You get to listen to original performances up close, something you won’t find in most big-city joints.