Edit ModuleShow Tags

Road Trip: Follow the Great River Road


Published:

 

 

Originally conceived as a single, continuous road along the banks of the Mississippi River in the 1930s, the Great River Road in reality is a network of existing roads that lead through hundreds of riverside towns from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. A large chunk of its nearly 3,000 miles is contained within Minnesota, and there’s plenty of local flavor to be found in the 21 cities it winds through. Ahead of the summer road trip season, here are some local highlights to consider—from St. Paul on down.

St. Paul: With the constant influx of new restaurants into downtown and a wealth of historical sightseeing on Cathedral Hill, Minneapolis’ sister city may be smaller, but no less cultured. Stop by Saint Dinette for brunch, and spend the afternoon exploring the rest of Lowertown. Make sure to grab dinner at the Commodore, a newly refurbished art deco-inspired eatery just off Summit Ave. Spend the night at the St. Paul Hotel (their high tea is legendary) and grab a coffee at Nina’s on your way out the next morning.

Red Wing: This artsy city’s high-quality ceramics have resulted in unique partnerships that celebrate their home state's cultural touchstones. During your stay in Red Wing, visit the eponymous shoe store and pottery manufacturer for handmade artisan goods. Ahead of your overnight stay at the historic St. James Hotel, grab a bite at their inventive underground restaurant, The Port.

Lake City: Camping season is upon us, and Lake City’s Hok-Si-La campground is a hidden gem (just make sure to bring a tent if you camp). After a night under the stars, there’s nothing like a day on the banks of picturesque Lake Pepin, the birthplace of water skiing. Get out on the water to water ski or sail, followed by some lunch at nearby restaurant Nosh. Head across the water to Stockholm, Wisconsin for a stay in one of many delightful B&Bs—and don’t miss the notorious Pizza Farm before you go.

Wabasha/Kellogg: Wabasha’s National Eagle Center tracks the movements of local Bald and Golden Eagles, and its access to the birds has allowed the center to become a destination for unparalleled educational programs. A few miles down the road in Kellogg is LARK Toys, a family-owned store known for its hand-carved wooden toys and carousel, as well as its mini golf course, freshly made fudge, and other trinkets.

Winona: Along with a focus on the arts evoked by its preserved architecture, Winona’s waterfront location is celebrated throughout the city in various ways. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum, home to classics by Picasso, Monet, and more makes a great first stop. After lunch at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse, swing by the Mid West Music Store and bone up for its music festival on April 28-30. If you choose to stay the night, check out the Victorian-era Carriage House B&B. The beloved Bloedow’s Bakery should be your first stop the next morning.

Learn more at mnmississippiriver.com

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

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities Around the Twin Cities

While counting your blessings on Thanksgiving, think ahead to helping others in December by volunteering your time at one of these locations around the Twin Cities metro.

What Else To Do on Black Friday: Alternative Plans across the State

Things to do on Black Friday in Minnesota—other than shop

Where to Run a Turkey Trot in Minnesota This Thanksgiving

Burning off those Thanksgiving Day calories is a great way to start the day before giving thanks for what you have. Join one of these fun (and local) turkey trot races on Thanksgiving morning.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: November

Sue Z.'s ideas for getting charitable this month include baking with North Minneapolis teens and the annual Taste of the NFL

Finding Neverland Brings the Story of Peter Pan to Life

There was never a dull moment during the performance of Finding Neverland, the story of how Peter Pan came to be.

Drag Queens Fill First Ave for Puerto Rico

Flip Phone and drag queen Phi Phi O'Hara team up for a First Avenue show in Minneapolis with all proceeds benefiting victims of Hurricane Maria

Photos from Nigeria: A Series with a Cause by a MN Resident

MN photographer Bre McGee's series "Stolen Lives: The Lost Futures of Nigeria's Trafficked Youth" raises money for victims of child labor and sex trafficking

Calhoun, Mud Lake, and Pig’s Eye: A Brief History of Renaming Minnesota Places

Lake Calhoun is on its way to becoming Bde Maka Ska, but it's only the latest in the history of Minnesota place renamings, which includes N-word lakes, Pig's Eye, and a middle school almost named after Prince

Staging a Magazine: A Storytelling Pop-Up in St. Paul

St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater hosts a "live magazine"—where journalists become performers

What to Do on Halloween around the Twin Cities

Celebrate scariness over the weekend—or on Tuesday,, October 31—with haunted tours, a First Ave monster mash, and the last Zoo Boo

Pumpkin Nights: 3,000 Artful Jack-o'-lanterns

In this photo essay, check out how the MN State Fairgrounds have transformed into a Halloween celebration—and go for yourself this weekend

The Weird Beauty of Scream Town

How the decade-old Minnesota scare fest, in the middle of a Chaska cornfield, has combined today’s "Insidious"-conditioned jump-scare obsession with the dreamlike, strangely touching allure of old-world Disneyland

Hit the Road for a Fall Weekend in Alexandria, Minnesota

When fall comes around in Alexandria, Minnesota, the leaves aren’t the only things that are colorful. Fall festivals and events brighten up the first chilly months and give life to a city that lives on the lake during summer.

Lantern Light Festival Celebrates Chinese Culture at Canterbury Park

Shakopee is the temporary home of dazzling lanterns illuminated in lights, Chinese performances, and a unique family-friendly experience.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags