Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town


PHoto Courtesy of Mocha Monkey

 According to the calendar, it’s spring, and even if the weather doesn’t agree quite yet, greenery, flowers, and lakeside day trips are on the horizon. Can anyone else hear a warm wind rustling through the trees and feel the spring sun soaking into their skin? Not yet? It's coming, I promise! Waconia, located 30 miles west of the Twin Cities, has been considered a lake destination city since 1884 when its inhabitants began to develop the large island in the center of the lake into "Coney Island of the West." Although Coney Island is not like it was in the early 1900s, with gardens, summer homes, a hotel, and a dance pavilion, Waconia itself still boasts of tasty restaurants, award-winning wineries and distilleries, and of course, the lake, the gem of all lakeside towns.

For those visiting in the morning (or even if you're just passing through), be sure to stop at Mocha Monkey, voted a few years ago as the No. 1 coffee house in Minnesota. It's easy to see why, too. Located in downtown Waconia in a gorgeous two-story 19th-century home, Mocha Monkey serves an astounding selection of coffee beverages, wine, sandwiches, and even ice cream and sorbet. With a plethora of seating options upstairs (the little nook to the left of the stairs and around the corner is the best for cozy conversations or studious endeavors) and an ever-changing collection of on-sale handcrafted pottery pieces created by owner Jon Schmidt, Oliver Clay Co., and Rhonda Tesch, the charm and atmosphere of Mocha Monkey is worth the quick trip to Waconia alone.

For more of a social outing with friends or a special someone, spend a couple hours at one of Waconia’s breweries, wineries, or distilleries. Visit Schram Vineyards Winery and Brewery just outside of town; J. Carver Distillery, which was just awarded medals at the American Craft Spirit Association Awards; Sovereign Estate Winery, who can boast of four double gold honors from San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition; or Waconia Brewing Company, conveniently located right downtown.

Beach days won’t be possible quite yet (unless you're looking for a polar plunge), but for when it gets to be that time of year, take the afternoon to visit Lake Waconia Regional Park with its swimming beach, playground, and picnic shelters. The area is located on the east side of Lake Waconia and is currently being developed into a 130-acre regional park. Check out Destination Waconia for more parks and trails.

A lakeside destination doesn’t live up to its name unless there’s lakeside dinin. Fortunately, Lake Waconia has Lola’s Lakehouse just a few blocks northeast of downtown. Dine on the deck and catch some rays overlooking the lake (yes, it’s just as Instagrammable as it sounds) or enjoy your appetizers and entrees inside with Lola’s elegant ambiance and nautical-inspired decor. For more of a casual brewpub setting with rooftop dining later this spring, visit Iron Tap downtown for a large selection of craft beer that will impressive even the most avid of craft beer enthusiasts.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags