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12 Ideas for Weekend Getaways in Minnesota

12 Ideas for Weekend Getaways in Minnesota

Commitments may tie you down from taking a much-needed week off, but don’t fret. Sometimes, a quick romantic getaway with your significant other is all you need to calm your frazzled nerves. Fortunately, Minnesota doesn’t fall short on quick and easy destinations for vacation-deprived couples. Here are the best weekend getaways in Minnesota! 

A state perfect for quick getaways 

Minnesota is known for its gorgeous prairie land, breathtaking sceneries, sparkling blue lakes, and thick forests, but couples looking beyond expansive bluffs and greenery are bound to discover a lot more.

From cheese sampling in award-winning wineries to booking a facial at world-class spas, the choices are endless, but there’s another reason why quick weekend getaways and weekend trips in Minnesota are so popular.

No matter where you live in the area, great restaurants, luxurious hotels, and top-notch attractions are just a short car, train, or bus ride away. 

Exploring the locality by car is the most popular choice, but the Amtrak passenger train service is another convenient option as it crosses the state from the scenic and urban southeast corner to the wild prairies of the northwest.

The Twin Cities area holds several transportation options including bus service and the light rail. Minneapolis is the 11th most walkable large city in the US, and it’s also very bikeable. 

If you’re flying in from another state or country, booking a flight is incredibly cheap and easy with platforms like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Most airports in Minnesota are located near great accommodations and attractions, so you can get started on your adventure without having to spend hours in transit. Time is, after all, extremely essential if you’re only spending a weekend in the area.  

To help you in planning the perfect weekend, I selected 12 of the best ideas for weekend getaways in Minnesota, selected according to their popularity and reviews.

Now pack your bags and let’s begin! 

1. Spend the night at a charming hotel

St. James Hotel best weekend getaways MN

Location: St. James Hotel, Red Wing, Minnesota

St. James Hotel offers rest, relaxation, and a chance to immerse yourself in rich history. This luxury hotel is one of the best Minnesota hotels to book. It is more than a 150-years old, but it still carries the traditions that made it one of the best accommodations in Minnesota state. 

Set amidst majestic bluffs, the family-owned, St. James Hotel, offers several premium rooms, some of which offer scenic views of downtown Red Wing or the Mississippi River.

Once winter arrives, couples can try downhill skiing by booking a 2-night getaway package while purchasing lift tickets from the Welch Village. Or, have your hand at cross country skiing at the nearby Frontenac State Park.

The Scarlet Kitchen & Bar, a top destination in Red Wing, offers scrumptious New Age American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with panoramic views of the Mississippi River. 

Once you’re full, you can explore the vicinity of the city. Visit some historical sites and museums, head to the Sheldon Theatre for a delightful show, or go hiking at Frontenac State Park.

Book a night at St. James Hotel through Booking.com.  Like what you are hearing? Check out these other best things to do in Red Wing during your stay.

See Related: Best Hotels in Duluth, Minnesota

2. Calm your nerves in an award-winning resort

Glacial Waters Spa

Location: Grand View Lodge, Nisswa

Sometimes, a weekend spa retreat is all you need to prepare yourself for a busy week ahead. If you’re in dire need of relaxation, head to the Glacial Waters Spa at Grand View Lodge, one of the best weekend spa getaways in Northern Minnesota. 

The Grand View Lodge was awarded by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the Top 5 Resorts in the Midwest, as well as earning a spot in U.S. News! ‘16 Incredible Midwest Vacations’.

Here, nature beckons: 750 acres of rich pine forest and over 2,500 feet of fine sand beach offer a natural retreat for weary souls, but the resort’s main draw is its world-class spa. 

Set amidst nature and atop a natural spring created over 10,000 years ago, Grand View’s Glacial Water’s Spa aims to calm the body, mind, and spirit with a host of professional spa services including facials, body treatments, massages, manicures, pedicures, and the latest in health and skincare. 

Once you’ve renewed your energy, the outdoors await.

Grand View Lodge holds 750 acres of natural surroundings perfect for biking, horseback riding, golfing, and a host of water activities. 

Check prices on this excellent resort now and make the most of your Minnesota weekend getaway.

See Related: 8 Best Things to do in Nisswa, Minnesota

3. Revel in luxury at a historic landmark

Hotel Ivy

Location: Hotel Ivy, Minneapolis

If you’re looking to make the most of a night’s stay, booking a weekend at the Hotel Ivy can be one of the best weekend getaways for those looking for an urban adventure paired with a romantic getaway. It’s also a great spot for a staycation if you live around the Twin Cities as well.

A historic landmark located at the heart of downtown Minneapolis, Hotel Ivy is a luxury accommodation with seven miles of the skyway, which offers guests access to a myriad of attractions including the Nicolet Mall, the Convention Center, Guthrie Theatre, and the Orchestra Hall. 

Hotel Ivy offers 136 rooms and over 9 world-class suites, complete with fine linens, 10-foot floating ceilings, flat-panel televisions, and a display of original works from local artisans. 

More than anything else, the Anda Spa is Hotel Ivy’s main draw. Here, couples can book a bespoke treatment ritual or indulge in several hydrotherapy offerings.

Get a body scrub, a much-needed manicure or pedicure, a wide array of facials, or a relaxing rub down. Gym buffs will feel right at home at Hotel Ivy’s fitness center, which boasts virtual reality hiking, biking, and running trails.

Looking to save? Join the Marriot Bonvoy program and earn points from your stay at Hotel Ivy.  Check out these other top hotels in Minneapolis if you are looking for an adventure in the city.

Looking for things to do? Check out our list of the best things to do in Minneapolis or these other specific activity guides:

See Related: 28 Best Hotels in the Midwest

4. Live the solitary life at a Scandinavian lake house

Scandinavian Lakehouse Cabin

Location: Lutsen, Minnesota

Tucked deep in the woods and by the shore of Caribou lake, this stunning Scandinavian lake house can be a great setting for one of the most romantic weekend getaways in MN right along the North Shore of Lake Superior.  

Surrounded by water on all sides while offering over 500 feet of lakeshore, this lake house cabin in Lutsen comes complete with modern comforts, including a deck, dock, a sauna house, screen porch, a spacious driveaway, and canoes you can use to explore the nearby lake.

In the winter, you can go cross-country skiing or ice fishing to enjoy the Minnesota winter weather in its true natural beauty. Once you’re done, head back to this cozy cabin and make a fire.

Best of all, this cabin is just a short drive from the ski hill and located just 20 minutes away from the legendary Lake Superior city of Grand Marais

Check out all the awesome things to do in Lutsen Mountains from our YouTube channel here.

Lutsen Mountains | Attractions & Things to Do [4K HD]
Watch this video on YouTube.

The cabin’s claim to fame is its airy aesthetics – hand-finished columns of cedar, fir, pine, and natural stone along with wide-open spaces that let the light in result in a pared-back style of understated elegance. 

This stunning cabin offers three bedrooms, three walk-in showers, and enough space to hold a group of eight.

A night’s stay is easy to book with Airbnb. On your way driving along the iconic shores of beautiful Lake Superior, make sure you stop at one of the many amazing state parks featuring beautiful waterfalls, excellent fall colors, and beautiful scenery.

A few of our favorites are Tettegouche State Park, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse, and Cascade River State Park.

See Related: Best Tropical Vacation Spots in the World

5. Go on a gastronomical seafood escapade

Pescara Seafood

Location: Pescara, Rochester

If you’re looking to spend your weekend on a more high-end dining experience, Pescara in Rochester regularly receives raving reviews and is one of the best weekend getaways in Minnesota for food lovers, and is an easy day trip from the Twin Cities.

This popular restaurant in southern Minnesota serves fresh, line-caught fish daily, while shipping in fresh from various parts of the world six days a week. 

From wild Alaskan halibut to Costa Rican Mahi Mahi, oysters, scallops, mussels, and shrimp – seafood lovers have plenty to choose from.

While the restaurant focuses mostly on seafood, those who have a more land-based diet can feast on a variety of steaks, pasta, and vegetarian options. There are plenty of great breweries in the area where you can grab a before or after-dinner drink during your stay.

Sound intriguing?

Dive into these guides on Rochester, Minnesota to start your exploration in the city:

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Minnesota

6. Get a relaxing massage at a world-class spa

LutZen Reflections Massage Studios

Location: The Mountain Inn, Lutsen

Looking for the best weekend getaways for couples in Minnesota?

Don’t underestimate the restorative powers of a good massage. If the weekdays’ got you frazzled, leave your worries behind for one of the best weekend getaways in Minnesota at LutZen Reflections Massage Studios.

Located at The Mountain Inn in Lutsen, this spa sits at the base of Lutsen Mountains Ski and Summer Resort – a great place to soothe sore muscles from a day of skiing or snowmobiling.  

LutZen offers several massage services that employ the latest in massage therapy. Try the Deep Buddha massage for a deep tissue rub down that focuses on the deepest layers of tendons, muscle tissue, and fascia.

The Earth Mama Prenatal massage is specifically designed for mothers-to-be who are suffering from the common aches and pains of pregnancy. 

If you’re looking for a more romantic setup, there’s plenty to choose from.

The Zen Sweethearts Couple’s Massage is a couple’s massage session where you can relax with your partner in the same room, while the Honeymooners Romance Package allows you to enjoy a 90-minute Gitche Gumee Hot stone session while snacking on chocolate truffles and sipping on champagne.

You don’t need to be staying at the Mountain Inn to enjoy the spa, so if you’re staying in Grand Marais or another nearby town you can still enjoy this place of nirvana.

See Related: Best Minnesota Lakes to Explore

7. Get your nature fix at a state park

Voyageurs National Park

Location: Voyageurs National Park, International Falls

Tired of urban life? If you’re looking for a more nature-themed excursion, a trip to Voyageurs National Park is one of the best weekend getaways in Minnesota.

Featuring untouched landscapes, top-notch hiking trails, and a wealth of flora and fauna, Voyageurs not only promises an adventure-filled weekend but an opportunity to disconnect. 

Couples usually reach the area by car from the city of International Falls, the most popular launching point.

Travelers can access the visitor’s center easily by car, but the Kabetogama Peninsula, the state park’s heart, may only be accessed by boat, plane, or by traversing the frozen lake during winter.  

Here, couples can participate in several nature-based activities including hiking, fishing, canoeing, spying for local flora and fauna, as well as visiting the many historic sites available in the area. Voyageurs National Park offers 270 campsites which are only accessible by boat travel.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to witness the rare northern lights (aurora borealis) – spectacular natural light displays caused by solar winds! 

Check these hotels and lodges near Voyageurs National Park to book a weekend of exploring. Be sure to stop by the International Wolf Center and/or downtown Ely on your way up to a great Northern Minnesota getaway.

See Related: Best Minnesota State Parks to Visit

8. Unleash your inner culture vulture

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Location: Minneapolis

For couples looking for an art fix, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is one of the best weekend getaways in Minnesota for good reason. Located south of the downtown area, MIA receives more than 700,000 visitors annually.

The museum offers a wide range of attractions and art, all without having to pay a single penny for admission.  MIA boasts of an extensive collection of art: more than 89,000 artworks to be exact, with permanent and temporary exhibits of various themes, from ancient artifacts to African American art, textiles, European masterpieces by Monet and Titian, and a plethora of Asian masterpieces. 

Planning to tag your children along? Kids’ activities like the monthly Family Day and scavenger hunts make MIA one of the best family weekend getaways in MN.

MIA is also the home of the Doryphoros, one of the four surviving Roman copies of ancient Greek sculpture. Once you’re done exploring art, grab a cup of coffee or cold-pressed juice at MIA’s Agra Culture Coffee Shop and Cafe. 

While general admission is free, some special exhibits cost extra. Exploring MIA will take around 90 minutes, but other visitors recommend breaking up your tour into two days.  

Check these top hotels near the MIA to make your visit into a weekend getaway of art and culture.

While you’re in the Twin Cities, make sure you add the Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum, and the Minnesota History Center to round out your culture trip.

See Related: 10 Best Museums in Minnesota

9. Dine by the wharf

Lord Fletchers

Location: Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge, Minnetonka

With a history spanning more than five decades, Lord Fletcher’s is one of Minnetonka’s most popular establishments and is an ideal stopover spot while taking a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka.

This bustling restaurant which seats 500 is nestled on the shores of Lake Minnetonka and is always busy during the summer.

Guests will be happy to choose from several dining options. If you’re looking for an outdoor, party-like ambiance, you can choose to dine at the wharf, while those looking for a more intimate setting can feast at the main dining area. 

The menu is incredibly varied, with seasonally fresh lodge-inspired entrees and plates including steaks, freshwater fish, pasta, lobster, walleye, and others. 

Check out these other guides to Lake Minnetonka cities while you are out at the wharf:

See Related: Best & Fun Things to do in Brainerd

10. Frolick in a field of flowers 

Munsinger and Clemens Gardens

Location: St. Cloud, Minnesota

If the idea of frolicking in a garden of flowers excites you, then the Munsinger & Clemens Gardens might be one of the best weekend getaways in MN for you and your significant other. 

Once a sawmill located on the Mississippi River in 1890, the Munsinger & Clemens Gardens now houses over 80,000 annual plants within a stunning setting of swings, benches, trees, ponds, and fountains. 

There are two sights to see here: the Munsinger Gardens and the Clemens Gardens. The former features winding flower-bordered paths under tall pine trees while the latter features six European-style gardens with American plantings and fountains. 

Take a relaxed walk around the area and witness a plethora of fauna, including perennials, clematis and rose vines, hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas.

Photo contests are held annually for both aspiring and professional photographers, while free concerts are held on alternating Sundays at 3 pm near the Munsinger Gazebo. 

Munsinger and Clemens Gardens also hosts an art fair every summer with over 45 artists from all over the state. Music is provided, along with food and beverages. 

Like what you are hearing? Check out these other great things to do in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

See Related: Best Parks in Minneapolis

11. Plan the ultimate relaxation getaway 

Chase on the Lake Spa

Location: Chase on the Lake Resort & Spa, Walker 

Before the new week starts, plan the ultimate girls’ getaway weekend in MN or a romantic rendezvous and treat yourselves to a relaxing stay at the historic Chase on the Lake Resort & Spa.

Perfect for friends or couples looking for a quick staycation, The Chase offers classy lodging, lake and land rentals, lakeside dining, a two-lane bowling alley, and a popular favorite: the Copper Door Aveda Spa. 

The Copper Door Aveda Spa offers a unique menu of spa services. Try their relaxing massage treatments which include a hot stone massage, a chakra massage that focuses on deep tissues, and a personalized massage experience based on the Aveda elemental natural philosophy.

Sign up for facials, body treatments, nail care services, waxing services, and Reiki sessions.  Not sure about which service to sign up for? Plan one of the best Minnesota weekend getaways by booking a spa package.

This package includes two nights in a lakeside room, a couples massage, full resort amenities, and a bottle of champagne to toast the night away. 

Check prices on this resort via Kayak now to get the best deal.

12. Wine and dine at a popular restaurant

Domacin Wine Bar Stillwater

Location: Domacin Wine Bar, Stillwater

If you’re looking to spend your weekend on gastronomical delights, Domacin Wine Bar in Stillwater is one of Minneapolis’ most popular gems. The extensive wine list alone is what makes it one of the best Minnesota weekend getaways. 

Here, guests can expect a delicious Mediterranean menu with a couple of twists.

Some of their most delightful dishes include succulent braised pork with cheese grits, perfectly seared ahi tuna slices with wasabi mashed potatoes, and beef tenderloin drizzled with a glaze-like dark truffle sauce.

There’s plenty to enjoy here for the avid foodie. 

The establishment’s Wine Shop is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, with more than 600 selections including over 100 chilled rosé, whites, and bubbles. After dinner, stop by one of the many great cocktail bars, dive bars, and lounges in the heart of downtown Stillwater.

Make your stay the best possible one by staying at our personal favorite, Lora Hotel, one of the best boutique hotels in Minnesota featuring luxurious amenities.

Or, check out the legendary Water Street Inn if you want some historic charm during your stay along the St. Croix River.

Related Minnesota Food Guides

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