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Day Trip Ideas for Thanksgiving Weekend



Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time to take a quick day trip to bond with family and friends while discovering the best shopping, eats, and holiday traditions around Minnesota and Wisconsin. Here are four often-overlooked destinations that are worth a visit.

Home of the renowned Mayo Clinic, and the third largest city in the state, Rochester offers a fun selection of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Eat at ZZest Café & Bar or Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine. Take an evening painting class at Canvas and Chardonnay (voted Rochester’s Finest 2016 Best Entertainment Venue), visit quaint shops such as Tangerine Gifts, Posh Boutique, or Scrub Your Butt Soap Company, and join the town for their “Here Comes Santa Claus” holiday tradition on Friday, November 25. 

New Ulm
Approximately 90 miles southwest from the Twin Cities, New Ulm is known for its German heritage and authentic vintage-style shops. Support small businesses by shopping at Lambrecht’s Gifts, Semblance, or Gallary 512 Boutique. Get lunch in New Ulm’s historic downtown at Lola’s – An American Bistro (the lighting and comfy couches makes for a cozy resting spot), and enjoy an evening performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at New Ulm’s Street State Theater. (Discover more things to do in New Ulm.)

Hudson, Wisconsin is just a quick 30 miles west of the Twin Cities. #OptOutside this Black Friday (or all weekend long!) by exploring Willow River State Park, which features extensive walking trials, bike paths, a waterfall, and of course, scenic views. Then grab a bite at Hudson’s #1 restaurant Pier 500, and shop small holiday gifts and treats at Lavender Thymes, LaRue Marche, and Knoke’s chocolates. End the night by attending the Phipps Theater’s performance of “A Christmas Carol”.  

Known as America’s Little Sweden, Lindstrom is a quaint town just 40 miles north of the Twin Cities. Even the water tower is adorable—the standard round shape is replaced with a white and blue tea kettle. Shop for vintage, one-of-a-kind gifts at Lindstrom’s Homespun Treasures II or their Lindstrom Antique Mall. Get dinner at the restaurant Swedish Inn, and for dessert, check out the delicious selection of baked goodies at Clark Cupcakes. For more shopping opportunities, swing over to Forest Lake for the Hometown Holiday celebration featuring local business sales and specials, and wraps up the day with a Tree Lighting Ceremony at Lakeside Memorial Park.

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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.

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