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Getting There & Where to Stay
Stillwater is less than an hour away from the Twin Cities, making it an easy destination for those near Minneapolis or St. Paul & the surrounding suburbs. Although you could just take a day trip, we highly recommend staying in town to make the most of your trip and be able to fully take advantage of all the incredible things to do!
On our most recent visit we stayed at the Hotel Crosby, which is conveniently located downtown and within walking distance of just about everything on our list! Not only do they have an amazing rooftop hot tub (super cozy for a winter date night) but their downstairs restaurant, Matchsticks, is one of the best restaurants in town. If you're able to, try to book the "Suite Premium 1 Bedroom" - which has a full kitchen, private balcony, and super fun giant bean bag chair!
Best Winter Activities in Stillwater
1. St. Croix Sauna
Having just opened a few years ago, the St. Croix Sauna is hands down the best way to unwind and relax while visiting Stillwater in the winter. Located at Aamodt's Apple Farm, this 75 minute experience includes your own sauna experience along with a cold cycle of either jumping in the snow or using their fun "dump bucket" or "Russian shower" - the option we recommend for maximum fun!
2. Weekly BINGO
Every Tuesday night at 6 pm you can head over to River Siren Brewing for a fun night of Bingo! Not only do they have a great selection of local brews to choose from, but they also offer food deliveries from Victoriano's right to your table! If you choose to play all 10 rounds and the cover-all/blackout round then it'll cost at least $22 per person for all your cards - but you could win upwards of $1,000!
3. FREE Walking Tours
If you're new to the Stillwater area, then you might not realize that there's actually a lot of history in this small town, and it's often considered the "Birthplace of Minnesota." If you want to learn more about this charming riverfront city, then the best way to do that is by heading to the Lens Flare Stillwater website. They have multiple free self-guided tours you can follow that take you through Stillwater while teaching you about the history of the area. If you're itching to explore on your own, make sure to stop by the hidden Union Art Alley (start on Commercial Street in the alley between Main St. and 2nd Street) and the awesome views from the Carnegie Public Library Rooftop!
4. Afternoon Tea at the Lowell Inn
One of our favorite activities in Stillwater is having afternoon tea at the historic Lowell Inn. Built in 1927 and nearing it's 100 year mark, for just $24 a person you can experience a 4 course proper afternoon tea! When we went we had endless tea and were served warm scones, their signature cream of mushroom soup (the best we've ever had), yummy miniature sandwiches, a variety of desserts, and of course an unending supply of teas. This is the perfect activity for group trips or fun date ideas - just make sure to make your reservations in advance!
5. Explore Adorable Downtown
Downtown Stillwater is one of our favorite downtown areas to visit in the entire state of Minnesota. With plenty of boutiques and antique stores for shopping and an amazing amount of local restaurants and places to eat - you really could spend an entire day here just walking the Stillwater Main Street!
6. Walk the Riverfront
In addition to an adorable downtown to explore, Stillwater has a beautiful riverfront area just one street over! Not only is there an excellent walking path, but there's also a gazebo and is a great spot to have a picnic as long as the weather's nice enough. They also often host fun winter events here like the World Snow Sculpting Championships! Our favorite thing to do is walk the infamous green lift-bridge over to Wisconsin - it also gives you some of the best river views and views of Stillwater!
7. Try the Local Food Scene
Named one of the best food scenes by USA Today, one of the best things to do in Stillwater is to try out some of the local places to eat! If you're basing in downtown Stillwater, then most of the places are even within walking distance - and we've gone ahead and listed our favorites below!
8. Visit the Heritage Center Museum
If you're visiting with the family or just want to learn more about the Stillwater's history, then we recommend visiting the Heritage Center Museum! They have free parking onsite and inside you can learn all about the huge logging industry that boomed here and how that shaped and influenced Stillwater to be what it's become today. The exhibits are fun and interactive too! Admission is $8 per adult.
9. Winterfest Fun
This annual winter event is one of the most fun times of the year to visit Stillwater, and if you're able to time your visit to line up with this weekend in February then we highly recommend participating in the many fun events that the city organizes - you can even win some awesome prizes! The goal is to encourage the community atmosphere all while supporting local charities and businesses, so it's really a win-win for everyone!
For more fun ideas, try heading to Discover Stillwater!
Watch our Adventures in Stillwater here!
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