Wayzata is a lakeside city filled with main street style, good dining and plenty of options to have a good time. If you are in Wayzata, you won’t want to miss these top attractions. These are the top things to do in Wayzata, Minnesota.
Lake Minnetonka is a true gem. Finding a city that resides directly on the water is a whole different experience. You can use one of these lakeside towns to get away for a weekend, slow down time, or simply spend a day exploring. Wayzata was featured as one of our favorite things to do around Lake Minnetonka and rightfully so. You’ll see why.
We are going to provide you with some of the best ways to explore downtown Wayzata in style. We’ve been to both the Minneapolis riverwalk and to the suburbs and back. There’s only a handful of cultural experiences similar to Wayzata and it’s simply a must-see attraction while visiting the Twin Cities.
Table of Contents
What is Wayzata, Minnesota?
Wayzata is a posh, quaint town located directly on the northern end of Lake Minnetonka. A straight 15-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis, Wayzata has long been known as a resort area of the Twin Cities dating back to the mid-1800s when people would ride horse and buggy to spend the summer along Lake Minnetonka.
In 1852, two pioneer families settled on the present site of downtown Wayzata. The first of these families was Oscar Garrison. Mr. Garrison built a cabin at what is now the intersection of Lake Street and Broadway Avenue in downtown Wayzata.
From there, downtown Wayzata boomed into a local downtown featuring a main street, railroad hub and various residential buildings. Leading this to be one of the most desirable locations to live in all of Minnesota.
List of the Best Things to do in Wayzata
As fellow Minnesotans and former Wayzata residents, we are honored to provide you with the best things to do in downtown Wayzata. Both during winter or summer.
Golf on the Lake During Winter… Yes, it’s called the Chilly Open
Okay, this festival only happens once a year, but it’s awesome. The Chilly Open is a true Minnesotan experience. It’s something that you can’t get anywhere else. They have yoga and movies on the frozen lake during the winter.
Additionally, they offer golfing on Wayzata Bay while it is frozen. It’s an awesome experience and a great way to experience some down to earth Minnesotan culture.
They even offered free sled dog rides on Lake Minnetonka. What’s not to love about that?
Wine & Dine Like a Lyonnaise at Bellecour
Bellecour restaurant is one of the top dining locations in the entire Midwest, if not the country. It’s nestled right in the heart of downtown Wayzata. The restaurant is named after the main square in Lyon, France called Place Bellecour.
Bellecour features a range of traditional French fare that is sure to stimulate your palate. In the colder months they serve their escargot under a warm, freshly made puff pastry. It’s phenomenal.
Bellecour is known for their dinner menu. Steak frites, duck, and other traditional French fares make up an excellent lineup. But Bellecour has excellent brunch as well. And their cocktail hour features their best hand foods and wines for less.
Bellecour also boasts a traditional European cafe in the front of their shop. Pop in for a latte and freshly made pastry. Their pastries are unbeatable. The pastry chef, Diane Moua, creates perfect croissants, desserts, breads, and their famous crepe cake.
Stay at The Hotel Landing & Dine at the 925 Restaurant
Hotel Landing is one of few hotels in downtown Wayzata. Walking distance from all the best spots in Wayzata, including Benedicts and Bellecour, the Landing is a dog-friendly hotel with a modern vibe.
The hotel is home to an underrated restaurant called 925. The 925 restaurant has excellent burrata (check it out below) and a great selection of food to enjoy.
The best part about 925 is the happy hour. Their happy hour is by far the best happy hour in all of Wayzata. They have a selection of tap wines and appetizers for under $5. You’d never guess it when you walk inside – the restaurant is gorgeous and the food is top-notch. The happy hour is a steal that everyone should enjoy!
Grab some happy hour, dinner, or brunch on the outdoor patios. The second floor balcony sneaks a view of Lake Minnetonka!
Brunch Hard at Benedict’s
We love Benedict’s. It’s a true brunch spot that offers both amazing mid-day drinks and great food.
When we lived in Wayzata we came here basically every weekend. Their hash browns are to die for…thin as angle hair pasta and crunchy as ever, these are some hash browns you cannot get anywhere else.
Our favorite things on the menu are the Gravlox and chilaquiles. The Gravlox is a salmon benedict with fresh smoked salmon on top of a bed of spinach and tomatoes and covered with just the right amount of hollandaise. It comes with hashbrowns – obviously.
The staff at Benedict’s completes the package. The staff is friendly, helpful, and personable. We recommend sitting up at the bar to meet and mingle with the locals and bartenders.
Grab a Guinness & Watch a Soccer Match at McCormick’s
McCormick’s Irish pub is a great spot for any season. The second you walk through their doors you feel like you’re in Ireland. Golf flags and Irish advertisements line the walls for a cozy feel.
Stop in for a Guinness or other Irish beer and watch a football match – either soccer or American football – it’s a great spot to watch the game.
One side of McCormick’s is dedicated to family supper and weekend brunch. A full menu offering Irish classics such as pot pies and chips, and salads.
The other side – our favorite side – is a small pub with space to stand, sit, and relax. You can order off the full menu on the pub side, and enjoy their excellent happy hour. We recommend the truffle fries!
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Minnesota
Visit Grays Bay Dam Park
Grays Bay Dam Park is one of the lesser-known spots to hit in Wayzata. It’s a great park to go for a walk that you can stroll and experience the scenery of beautiful Lake Minnetonka.
Perfect for sunset or sunrise strolls and light fishing. You can also launch a canoe or kayak and coast down the river as far as Edina!
If you want to save some money with the family or have a cheap day spot, take a few hours to explore Grays Bay Dam park and the surrounding neighborhoods.
See Related: Best Parks in Minneapolis
Stroll or Drive Along Ferndale Avenue
Ferndale is one of the most expensive streets in the entire state of Minnesota. You can see houses that cost multiples of millions of dollars and feature some of the top executives of Fortune 500 companies.
You can’t get up close and personal with these houses, but you can drive along the street and gaze at the beautiful architecture and design. Ferndale is just next to downtown Wayzata, so it’s only a slight detour from getting in and out of downtown. I highly recommend it if you seeing home design and architecture.
Visit Wuollet’s Bakery for Breakfast
Wuollet’s is a family-run business local to Minnesota since 1944. Wuollet’s makes the best tortes, pastries and unique European breads.
Wuollet’s has a family focus. Their baked goods consist of fun, decorated sugar cookies for the kids, well-made cupcakes (my favorite is Lady Baltimore), and gorgeous cakes to take to any occasion. They also make the most exquisite wedding cakes in Minnesota!
There are a few locations, Edina, downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul, Robbinsdale, and our favorite, Wayzata. The Wayzata Wuollet’s is right off the main Lake Street. The perfect location when you’re doing some holiday shopping and need to stop in to pick up your cake. You can order ahead on their website and pick up when it works for you.
Trust us, pick up a cake at Wuollet’s for your next event. You’ll be the star of the party!
Paddle Board, Relax and Picnic at Wayzata Beach
Wayzata Beach is one of the best-kept secrets in downtown Wayzata. Right at the end of Lake Street is a hidden beach with a small parking lot.
Here, you can rent paddleboards and kayaks or simply relax and watch all the boats cruise along Lake Minnetonka. The beach is quiet and not crowded, despite being walking distance from all the great restaurants.
The beach is right next to 6Smith and Wayzata Brew Works. Stop in for a beer or bite to take a break from the sun.
See Related: Best Things to do in Excelsior, Minnesota
Like Rooftops? Go to the Roof at 6Smith
Right next to Wayzata beach is 6Smith – home to the only rooftop in Wayzata. 6Smith is known for their large portions and strong drinks.
6Smith boasts an excellent brunch. From healthy fruit and yogurt parfaits to 5-bacon french toast, their brunch has something for everyone.
6Smith happy hour is excellent. They have the unique option of “good” and “better” wine to choose from at happy hour prices. Instead of being stuck with the “house red” like most happy hours, you get to choose what wine you’d like to experience. You can get happy hour out on the patio too.
The best part about 6Smith is their rooftop with spanning view of Lake Minnetonka and good eats. Stop up on a weekend night in the summer and enjoy the lake views and incredible people watching.
Shop at Local Boutiques
There are plenty of boutiques worth stopping by if you love to shop. From local boutiques to national staples, Wayzata has it all.
Five Swans: perfect for Christmas gifts, home goods, and locally inspired goodies. Five Swans has the best kitchen ware in Wayzata, and the best gift selection around the holidays.
Sun & Slope: The ultimate place for well-made outdoor clothes. Sun & Slope has the best selection of winter wear in the area. They have incredible winter gloves that will last you a lifetime. They also have great home additions – their pillows are the perfect addition to any cabin or cozy room.
J.McLaughlin: the best men’s shop around. High-quality cashmere, well-made sweaters, shirts, socks, and ties. Stop in for the ultimate business ware.
Oh baby!: Get ready to buy everything. This baby store offers unique baby gifts and clothes made with the softest materials.
Schuler Shoes: shoes for every person! Schuler shoes brings in the highest quality, long-wear shoes. A perfect place to stop if you have sensitive feet and need good support.
Live and Dine in Nautical Fashion at Cov Wayzata
The Cov Wayzata is a coastal-chic restaurant with an outdoor patio and lake views. Cov offers a fresh menu of salads, sandwiches, and full plates.
The best part about Cov is the vibe. They created a space that feels like you are on the coast in an exclusive neighborhood on the east. Nautical themes bring together the midwestern-Lake Minnetonka vibe and the top-tier Hamptons style.
Their wine and cocktail selection is coastal-inspired, and changes with the season. Cov happy hour is every day – yes even Saturday!
And you can get happy hour out on the patio.
See Related: Best Minnesota Family Vacations
Visit the Train Depot with Kids
The train depot used to be the heart of Wayzata. Back in the 1800s and early 1900s city-slickers would take the train out to Wayzata to enjoy a holiday at the lake.
Today, the train depot is a local museum that teaches about the history of Wayzata right next to the train tracks that are still in operation! Stop inside to learn about the history and see old photographs.
Outside the train station is a miniature train that boasts some local landmarks. Kids love watching the small train go around the village, while parents laugh at the hidden jokes in the stores.
The train depot holds a number of events throughout the year. On the Fourth of July, volunteers dress in colonial wear to celebrate the holiday.
You can view their list of events on their website.
See Related: 10 Best Minnesota Family Vacations
Conclusion on Things to do in Wayzata, Minnesota
Wayzata is a happening city that has come a long way in the past few years. There are plenty of restaurants, outdoor activities and festivals that fit all age groups. You can bring the entire family to experience a weekend getaway or make a day trip from your stay in the Twin Cities.
It’s a worthwhile trip to see true Minnesotan culture.
Are you ready to plan a trip to Wayzata? Let us know if you have any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you.
Via Travelers is a modern travel blog focused on helping you learn the best travel tips, travel hacks, and itineraries to explore the world. Find your wanderlust.