Things to do in Stillwater, Minnesota
Stillwater is a wonderful city to have a wedding but also to visit! I Ty was born here and thought it would be fun to share a few things that visitors may like to do. Keep in mind we're not getting paid to give these ideas. We hope you enjoy the city and consider a wedding here.
If you come early to mid morning you may get a spot right on main street or closer to the river on water street is nice and free. There is also a larger free parking lot just north of downtown right off Laurel street. Then take the walk/bike trail to downtown. If its a nice busy summer day navigate to Pioneer park off 2nd street. Parking is available on that street or side streets by homes. It will be a nice talk down the hill to downtown. If your coming into town from 36 there may be free parking on the east side of 95 before downtown. Drive slow as a spot may open up.
I mentioned this as a parking area but take some time to relax up there with amazing views of the river and nice breeze. Bring the kids as there is a playground, nice restroom, water fountain, and covered picnic tables for many! We have served many wedding ceremonies in this park over the years. There is also a hidden stairway by the band shell that leads to the Warden's House Museum and main street.
It's easy to look up restaurants on google so it's up to you but there is quite the variety. I'm a dad with kids but I still like some of the old favorites I went to as a teenager haha. Leo's malt shop, Oasis cafe, Nelsons Ice cream. Mon Petit Cheri. The Dock cafe is right on the river and my grandma loved that place.
It seems like every other week in the summer and winter there is an event. Lumberjack days and the 4th of July parade and fireworks is what I have gone to for years. Sure not every year because I live here. There are art festivals, car shows, ice sculpture competitions, harvest festivals and more. Downtown is packed during events so come early as traffic is backed up and parking is tough.
I already mentioned Pioneer park. For younger kids Teddy Bear Park is really good. Otto Berg Memorial park is just out of town but offers a nice playground and a lot of grass to play sports or shoot hoops! Lakeside park in Bayport is a great one if your heading south out of Stillwater.
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Walk/Bike Trail & Bridges
Not that long ago a train track went right through town and some of the track is buried under the wide paved path. Take it all the way through town and continue to the new bridge! Take it all the way around if you wish back to the old lift bridge. Its a better view coming to the old bridge from WI anyway! Or take a short cut and go on the old bridge first. It never gets old watching the lift bridge go up and down. You can even rent bikes or E-bikes in town to make it easier. Watching boats and people right on the edge of the river is relaxing. Bring a blanket and have lunch on the grass under a tree.
As a local we take the kids once in a while through the shops on main street. The antique stores are fun to play around but then if we buy something who want's to carry it around so we do that last. There are a ton of boutiques, clothing, gift shops, breweries. My favorite and it's hard to not spend a few $$ is the candy shops. Oh my just amazing and gets me by until lunch. It's a busy town so the shops are top notch.
I have taken our 16' fishing boat on the river many times just to cruse! There are large boat tours called St. Croix boat and Packet. I had my senior prom on one of the boats and we have served a few weddings on the boats. I have never taken my wife on the Gondola Romantica but want to. I have seen it for years while walking downtown. It's a gondola ride for two people and one guy pushing the boat with a large stick in the water. I need to sign up for that!
Walking tours, bike, trolley and more are available. If you like history Stillwater has quite a bit as the birthplace of MN. I like the history of the railroad in town and finding out what all the old buildings were originally for and the people that lived here. I could give you a personal tour if you want, but we might have to stop for some candy on the way.
Take 95 north to Taylors falls. I always like that drive and stop in Marine on St. Croix to see an old time general store. In Taylors falls you have Interstate park which is very unique with the potholes and the drive in restaurant for mini golf and root beer! Another longer drive is Afton to Prescott, then Prescott to Bluff siding. Go across the river to Winona and head north on 61 to Red wing.