We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

Which Minneapolis hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Cleveland, Ohio
7 posts
Save Topic
Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

My boyfriend and I are going to be staying in downtown Minneapolis from Sept. 7-10th. One of those days we would like to rent a car and take a drive outside the city to see the 'countryside' and stop at some small towns for lunch or dinner. Any suggestions on pretty, scenic drives? Would be willing to drive a couple hours outside of the city.

Burnsville, MN
Level Contributor
539 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

The S.E. section of Minnesota is a great area for a day trip, but if you're interested, that weekend is the Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield MN. It commemorates the occasion when the James-Younger gangs found it wasn't a good idea to rob a bank in one of our towns. They even have shuttle buses now from locations in the Twin Cities. The website is http://www.djjd.org/

The nearby river towns of Hastings, Red Wing, and Lake City are fun as well as good places to visit on the Wisconsin side of the river too.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,545 posts
1,020 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

I have 3 suggestions:

Head 2 1/2 hours north to Duluth for the day and see Lake Superior and the start of the North Shore. Walk through Canal Park and see the freightors go under the lift bridge. Alpine Twister Coaster at Spirit Mountain. Bike the Munger Trail, hike, many local tours and spectacular scenery. Recommend lunch at the Northern Waters Smokehaus for excellent food.

Go east about an hour to Stillwater a picturesque town on the St. Croix River. Beautiful bluffs with Wisconsin on the other side. Lots of shops and good restaurants with a view. I recommend the Trolley tour to learn about the history of the area. Nice hiking nearby as well as the Gateway State Trail for biking.

Go south about 2 hours and see the bluff country and end up in the Lanesboro area. This is Amish country and you will see them out in their buggies and farms. There are tours available. Can tour a cave, hike, bike the Root River Trail or canoe the river.

All 3 are a really fun way to spend the day or longer.

Fish Creek...
Level Contributor
995 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

Good recco, PlanetR, but you forgot to tell them to stop for caramel rolls at Toby's in Hinckley!!!

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,545 posts
1,020 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

You are right! I'm trying not to eat anything that delicious so I guess I blocked it out of my mind. Sorry.

Minnesota, USA
Level Contributor
702 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

I'd recommend Duluth as well (okay, it is my hometown, but it really is beautiful!). The drive on I-35 isn't the most scenic, but if you choose to go there, as the previous post said, don't forget to stop at Tobies in Hinkley! (yummy bakery!) This is roughly the half-way point between the Twin Cities and Duluth. Just a word of caution-there are a LOT of construction projects right now between the two cities, and major construction in Duluth itself as you come into the city. Definitley go on a weekday (except Friday).

Have a great trip!

Burnsville, MN
Level Contributor
539 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

I stopped going to Tobie's a number of years ago because it seemed more like a tourist trap, the service was poor, and even the caramel rolls seemed over-rated. I just had a look at current reviews, and it seems a majority of them agreed with me.

I love going "up north" myself, but it seems like often people only recommend going that direction. It truly becomes scenic starting at Duluth, and we can wind up talking about a trip that's considerably longer than 2 hours in each direction.

Saint Paul
Level Contributor
2,151 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

Oh, you'll get a lot of posts out of this one.

Duluth: stay away: "You can't get there from here". Seriously, there are something like 11 construction areas currently on that 2.5 hour drive, and brit is right: Tobies is a real tourist trap now.

I like the River drive as well, but would suggest going one way down on the Minnesota side, and returning via the Wisconsin side. Depends how far you want to drive, but cross the River at either Red Wing or Wabasha.

Stillwater is a good destination, but weekends are he** over there.

Hope you have a great time on your hiatus.

tptr

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
574 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

The river drive is one of my favorites. I would go down one side and back the other, as recommended, and highly recommend a stop for lunch at the Harbor View Cafe in Pepin, WI.

Saint Paul
Level Contributor
2,151 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

Another brainstorm:

Head east on hwy 36 for Stillwater, but take the bypass around the north side, then head up 95. Stop off in Marine-on-St Croix for a bit. Cross the St Croix into Wisconsin, specifically to Osceola. Ride the excursion train out of there. (Not a long ride) Head north to Taylors Falls / St Croix Falls, hit the winery. You could then drive back down 95 on the MN side and through Stillwater, where things may be settled down more later in the day.

cheers

London, Canada
Level Contributor
274 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Day trip outside of Minneapolis?

Thankyou for all the interesting suggestions for a day- trip. I will be in St. Paul next weekend. I was thinking of a trip to Stllwater-- I will look at the drive suggested by tptr, however may hit Stillwater early, have lunch then continue on. Any suggestions for lunch in Stillwater?