Settled in Carver County just a few miles west of the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Waconia is a vibrant area, home to around 13,000 people, and a popular destination for visitors. Take advantage of some exciting activities ranging from fishing and hiking to extreme sports.
There are plenty of top attractions to visit in Waconia for the whole family. You can spend all day on some part of the 3,200 acres of freshwater Lake Waconia fishing or engaging in watersports. Play a few sets at the tennis courts or the ball fields.
Enjoy a nice meal in one of the lively bars in Main St. with locally-made craft cocktails and live music from the locally renowned opera, or head outside to visit the farms, explore orchards, and take tours of vineyards.
Shop downtown or watch a film at the movie theater. You can even get an adrenaline rush at Two Flight Indoor Skydiving Experience from iFLY, or the nearby Valleyfair Amusement Park, Minnesota’s most popular theme park.
Whatever you like to do, you can find plenty of fun things to do in Waconia that’ll be right up your alley!
Fun & Best Things to Do in Waconia, Minnesota
From nature to theater, indoors to great outdoors, golf to skydiving, there are many options in the Waconia area.
1. Aspire Artisan Studios and Folk School
Located in nearby Victoria, Aspire is an amazing nonprofit organization that offers art classes in traditional and historic hand-arts.
Their mission is to enrich the community by providing educational opportunities that encourage students to develop their unique talents and artistic abilities. You can visit their classes page to view all of their upcoming coursework, and even inquire about a private class.
In their artisan marketplace, you’ll find handmade products like leatherwork, handmade paper, fiber crafts, metalwork, jewelry, and more. All purchases support local artists and small businesses. Aspire is seasonal and can be visited from May to October, though they hold classes during other months.
See Related: Best Things to do in Victoria, Minnesota
2. Carlson’s Loveable Llamas
The Carlson family’s llama farm is on the eastern side of Waconia. They enjoy sharing their loveable llamas year-round with the general public, with various activities available both on the farm and off.
Some of the things you can do with these adorable camelids include:
- Birthday parties
- Adopt-a-Llama program
- Visits to the farm
- Llama Camp
- 4-H projects
- Therapy visits
The Carlson’s also take their llamas to other locations, such as the Minnesota Zoo, Canterbury Park, and the Waconia Tree Lighting ceremony.
See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in Minneapolis, MN
3. Carver County Historical Society
The Carver County Historical Society, which features a library and a museum, is west of downtown Waconia.
Learn about the county’s history, including the fascinating story of Andrew Peterson, who settled there after leaving Sweden. Though he was one of the millions of immigrants, he stands out because he kept a detailed journal, which the Society translated into English.
Other historical places that you can visit or view in Waconia include the following:
- Emile Amblard Guest House,
- Coney Island of the West,
- the Charles Maiser House,
- the Mock Cigar Factory and House,
- the Waconia City Hall, and
- the West Main Street Houses.
See Related: Group Vacation Ideas
4. Emagine Theatres Waconia
Immerse yourself in a motion picture at Emagine Theatres. The luxury reclining stadium seating is just what you need to relax and enjoy a good movie. Purchase tickets online or at the box office and get your choice of seating before you go.
Concessions are available, ranging from the usual popcorn and candy to serving stone-fired pizza in Minnesota. You can get soft drinks, and adults can enjoy beer, wine, or craft cocktails.
See Related: Best Things to do in Northfield, Minnesota
5. Historic Andrew Peterson Farm
The homestead in which Andrew Peterson lived still stands on Highway 5 east of Waconia and is in the process of being restored to its original look and feel. The property still contains sugar maple trees and a dairy barn, and other historical attractions.
48 years’ worth of daily diaries can be viewed at the Carver County Historical Society, where they have translated them from his native Swedish into English.
6. Island View Golf Club
1959 is when the Island View Golf Club was founded on farmland. It began with only nine holes that Willie Kidd, a golf professional, helped to design. They added the second nine holes in 1973, with George Oftelie designing the setup.
The clubhouse’s pro shop has clothing and equipment, and you can also find lockers and dining in the building. They offer practice areas for driving, chipping, and putting.
Golfers’ families can join them in the restaurant and club even if they prefer not to play the game themselves. The facility is available for occasions such as weddings and other group events.
See Related: Ideas for Weekend Getaways in Minnesota
7. Safari Island Community Center
When the weather outside is less than pleasant, you can use the facilities inside the Safari Island Community Center to raise your spirits and enjoy indoor activities.
The indoor pool, spa, and water slide are delightful in any season. You can boost your energy with the fitness room or play basketball, bat a bit, play volleyball or shuffleboard, have a family game of four square, or walk around the elevated track.
Kids (10 and under) will love The Lion’s Den – a four-level indoor playground. It has tubes and slides and is sure to be a favorite part of the kids’ experience in Waconia!
8. Two Flight Indoor Skydiving Experience
Experience the excitement of freefall from 14,000 feet at Two Flight Indoor Skydiving Experience, one of the favorite places in Waconia for the adventurous.
After renting the required gear, your pre-flight training and individual instruction will begin. You will finish with a personalized flight certificate. Your friends and family can watch you from the Flight Deck. Get a taste of skydiving that may well leave you wanting more!
Best Parks in Waconia
For outdoor recreation in a family-friendly area, the parks in Waconia are a great choice for playing or walking in the sunshine and fresh air amid a lovely green space in the warmer months or an icy winter wonderland when it gets chilly.
9. City Square Park
City Square Park is in the middle of Waconia near downtown. It has a playground plus a gazebo and pavilion, which you can reserve for events.
There are walking paths and, in the summer, bathrooms are available in this wonderful park. Many events are held in this park, including Holiday in the Park in December.
Your kids will love the park, but leave your dog, as dogs are not allowed.
10. Brook Peterson Community Park
Situated on 40 acres, Brook Peterson Community Park features a great playground, 8 softball fields, a concession stand, and outdoor rinks for skating and ice hockey.
See Related: Best Things to do in Forest Lake, Minnesota
Best Shops in Waconia
A favorite activity of many people is shopping! There are several great shops available in Waconia for visitors to stroll through.
11. The Stash of Waconia
Located on Main St. in Waconia, The Stash of Waconia has pre-wrapped gifts, cute and elegant clothing, jewelry, and other accessories.
You can put together an outfit for any occasion!
12. Trending Upward Thrift Shoppe
Promise Church runs this non-profit ministry that offers affordable and unique items, including clothing and other gently used items.
The store is open from Tuesday to Saturday and packed away for church on Sunday. Each month, a portion of the money received is donated to a non-profit, which changes from month to month.
They also offer extra deals including percent-off sales on different tag colors and holiday deals, plus those who bring in something to donate get a discount on their purchase!
13. Yetzer Home Store
The family-owned Yetzer Home Store is owned and operated by the third generation of its founding family. They offer furniture and flooring in a full-service manner.
Founded in 1941, the company has provided quality home products from brand-name sources. Shop at Yetzer for:
- Area rugs
- Dining tables
- Wall art
- Window treatments
- and more!
The floor and sleep stores are located on Olive Street, while the furniture store is on W 1st Street.
Best Restaurants & Bars in Waconia
If you spend more than a couple of hours in a town, you will find yourself hungry or thirsty. Waconia has a variety of refreshment establishments and restaurants, so you’re sure to find some good food and drink that piques your interest.
14. D’Vinci’s Restaurant
31 years of delicious Italian food is the reputation of D’Vinci’s on Elm Street in Waconia. From appetizers to entrees, kid’s menu to adult beverages, D’Vinci’s is sure to satisfy your cravings and fill your stomach!
15. Egg-Cetera Cafe
You can eat fresh-made traditional American cuisine at the adorably named Egg-Cetera Cafe. Breakfast offerings include eggs and toast, pancakes and French toast, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, hamburger patties, sirloin, country-fried steak, waffles, crepes, cinnamon rolls, and more.
For lunch, you can eat sandwiches, cheeseburgers, grilled cheeses, and BLTs to BBQ. A menu for children is also available.
Egg-Cetera Cafe is located on East Frontage Road and is open every day from 7 am to 2 pm.
See Related: Best Minnesota Foods You Need to Try
16. Hoppers Bar & Grill
You are sure to love spending the evening at Hoppers Bar & Grill on Olive Street in Waconia. Their burgers are hailed as the best by local consumers, and they have beautiful beverages on tap. Compete in a friendly game of darts or pool, celebrate a birthday, or take in some live entertainment on the weekend.
17. Iron Tap
A craft restaurant all around, Iron Tap applies real craft to food, cocktails, and beer – of which there are 38 on tap. When the weather is nice, you can sit on the rooftop or the patio. If you want to be sure to have a seat, you can make a reservation.
Tuesday is their specials night, with the first of each month devoted to Tacos, and the remaining Tuesdays give a special burger and beer with a side deal.
You can also make to-go orders from Iron Tap by phoning. Pick up your order and enjoy it wherever you like!
18. Lola’s Lakehouse
When you are in the mood for seafood, Lola’s Lakehouse is the restaurant for you!
Preserve vacation memories with photos on the floating docks and enjoy a scrumptious seafood meal in the nautically-decorated dining room.
The full-length doors are glass with a gorgeous lake view so you can feed your eyes while you feed your belly.
19. Mocha Monkey
You will find so much more than a coffee shop when you enter the Mocha Monkey!
The mugs, bowls, and plates they use for the coffee and food are handmade by the establishment’s owner, Jon Schmidt. Some of his beautiful and unique pieces are also available to purchase and take home with you.
Three locations make it so convenient to enjoy Mocha Monkey coffee. Stop in at Olive Street, Marketplace Drive, or nearby Saint Bonifacius, MN.
See Related: Best Breakfast in Minnesota
20. Schram Vineyards Winery
Minnesota’s first winery and brewery on Airport Road grows its grapes and creates its wines on-site. You can arrange for tours and wine tasting, and you can add some tasty bites to your sips from the Tasting Room Kitchen.
They also have a great setup for playing bocce ball – if you have never played, Schram Vineyards is a great place to introduce yourself to it!
21. Waconia Brewing Company
You will discover some amazing craft beers at Waconia Brewing Company. They have unique blends that include Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, Wactown Wheat, 90K IPA, and more.
Nationally and internationally recognized and awarded (including awards from the World Beer Cup), the company’s motto is: “Approachable Brews by Approachable People!” justly summing up their goals and attitude.
Events at the West Main Street brewery include Wacky Wednesdays, Monday Funday, $12 Tuesdays, and seasonal events.
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