Instead of simply professing my love for Minnesota summers, I thought I would talk about one of my favorite places to spend them: Excelsior. This small town (the population is less than 2,500) is located just 20 minutes outside of Minneapolis, and most attractively, is situated along Lake Minnetonka. Here’s what I would suggest spending the day doing.
First and foremost, you’ve got to dine lakeside. My personal favorite is Maynard’s, but be warned, outside seating can competitive during peak times on warm days (and trust me, you want to eat outside). If you find the wait too long, try walking next door to Bayside Grille. For dessert, head over to Adele’s Frozen Custard, where every batch is homemade on site.
Next, make your way into downtown to stroll through antique shops, boutiques and other specialty stores. If you happen to be here on a Thursday, check out the Excelsior Farmers’ Market, which is set up on Water Street between Second and Third streets, and features fresh produce, plants and flowers, baked goods and more, plus food trucks and live music. For all you girlfriend getaway enthusiasts, Excelsior hosts a Girls Night Out each week.
If you want a break from the outdoors, catch a show at Old Log Theater, one of the oldest professional theaters in the country, which regularly performs plays, comedies and musicals. There’s also a small movie theater downtown.
This area is all about the lake, so make sure to carve out plenty of time to spend in The Commons. This waterside area is particularly great for families, as there’s a picnic area, swimming beaches, playgrounds, tennis courts and a baseball field. And, if you want to get out on the lake, Paradise Charter Cruises offers sightseeing and themed excursions that depart from The Port of Excelsior, right next to The Commons.
Left and right Photos by Todd Buchanan