Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Fairmont, MN

  • Published 2022/09/21

Do you know “George, Sisseton, Budd, Hall, and Amber”?

If you don’t know these names, these are lakes in Fairmont, Minnesota, running from north to south of the city.

These freshwater lakes enhance Fairmont’s picturesque setting, earning the title “City of Lakes.”

However, the “City of Lakes” has more to offer besides water-based activities.

Read further to learn the best things to do in Fairmont, Minnesota!

Explore One of Minnesota’s Finest Buildings in Martin County Courthouse

Exterior of the Martin County Courthouse

Robert Alescio, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find another piece of history on Lake Avenue on the city’s western side.

Overlooking Lake Sisseton, the Martin County Courthouse is a Beaux Arts building with a high copper dome and four clock faces.

Its current site was once a stockade protecting locals from Indian uprisings.

Then, it became known as Fort Fairmont.

Charles E. Bell designed the courthouse building, which J. B. Nelson built in 1906.

The architecture makes it one of the most beautiful courthouses in Minnesota.

Its first floor comprises Michigan sandstone, while the second and third stories include Bedford limestone.

The Martin County Courthouse’s upper floors also feature murals in addition to its artistic construction.

Follow Fairmont’s Bike Trails

The city’s development revolved around this chain of water bodies.

This means the pavement near the lakesides suits walking and biking.

Since these lakes are connected, you can easily bike from George Lake to Amber Lake daily.

This is an excellent way to let you observe the city on your own while searching for spots around the city that you may like.

You can start putting your foot on the pedal from the Downtown Plaza of the city and make your way around Fairmont.

The bike trails are also connected to the public parks in the city, like Lincoln, Sylvania, and Cedar Creek Parks.

Savor the Apples of Timberlake Orchard

This five-acre orchard sits on 200th Avenue and grows approximately 2,800 trees of 21 apple varieties.

Stop by Timberlake Orchard and learn why their apples are the best in the city.

With 17 apple varieties, different varieties lend different flavors to various recipes.

Delicious varieties like SweeTango, Honeycrisp, and Zestar are up for grabs.

Meanwhile, their new type, B-51, packs crisp, sweet, and juicy flavors that leave the mouth wanting more.

Though they specialize in apples, the Timberlake Orchard also grows vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and pumpkins.

Stop by their store and choose your favorite.

Splash around at the Fairmont Aquatic Park

“Water” you waiting for?

Drive to South Prairie Avenue and check out Fairmont Aquatic Park.

Cool off from the summer heat with your family at this water park.

Bring your children to their zero-depth pool with interactive water play features like sprays, tumble buckets, and a kiddie slide.

On the other hand, adults can try their six-lane recreational pool and try to finish one lap in this 75-foot-long pool.

Thrill-seekers will be happy as Fairmont Aquatic Park has a 127-foot speed slide.

Moreover, you can cannonball-dive into the water from their one-meter diving boards or test your grip with their AquaClimb poolside climbing wall.

However, you can enjoy a more relaxing ride on their 235-foot river-style slide.

After having fun under the sun, check out their “Sweet Shop.”

The store offers tasty foods and fantastic, refreshing snacks to complete your enjoyment.

Catch Performances at the Fairmont Opera House

You might have heard of the famous arias in Carmen, Rigoletto, and La Traviata in various pieces of pop media.

At the Fairmont Opera House, you can hear the singers bring these arias to life.

You’ll find the opera house in the city’s downtown plaza.

The establishment features a century of history.

In the past, only people in high society could watch opera; today, the art form has become accessible to a broader demographic.

The Fairmont Opera House hosts several professional performances each year.

Enthusiasts should take advantage of discounts available if they watch more shows with their five and ten package series.

Check Out the Artworks at the Red Rock Center for the Arts

In 1898, famous Minnesotan architect Harry Jones designed the Red Rock Center for the Arts, formerly called “The First Church of Christ Scientist.”

The building follows the Richardsonian Romanesque style, with round masonry arches and square towers.

Its construction also used red rock, or Sioux Quartzite, quarried from southwestern Minnesota.

Check out this historical building at East Blue Earth Avenue, displaying the craft of emerging and experienced artists.

They also feature an artist monthly, and displays are always open to the public.

Moreover, the community art center offers different entertainment options to guests.

They sometimes perform in concerts (big band, jazz, strings, etc.).

Meanwhile, their hardwood floors are perfect for ballroom dancing.

A calendar of events should help you plan your visit to the Red Rock Center for the Arts.

Bring Your “A” game at Cedar Creek Disc Golf

Cedar Creek Disc Golf, located on 80th Street (also called Lake Aires Road), has three 18-hole courses.

Choose from Cedar Creek East, Cedar Creek West, or Cedar Creek Central.

The first of these courses was built in 1996 and grew until the third piece of the puzzle finished in 2018.

This puts Cedar Creek Disc Golf among the small list of places worldwide, with three 18-hole golf courses in the same area.

Because of its prestige, it’s also a location for many golf tournaments.

Roll a Strike at the Bowlmor Lanes & Lounge

For a change of pace, why not go bowling at Bowlmor Lanes & Lounge?

Since the 1940s, this place has become a gathering spot for avid bowlers and casual players looking for a good time.

On South State Street, you’ll find the Bowlmor Lanes & Lounge.

While they’ve become famous for their bowling lanes, you can grab a meal at their lounge.

You can try their burgers, chicken strips, fries, and beverages while you sharpen your bowling skills.

The Bowlmor Lanes & Lounge opens every day except on Sundays, and you might want to keep an eye out for bowling tournaments.

Bring Your Dog to the Fairmont Dog Park

If you’re bringing a pet on your travels, they might prefer a quiet environment where they can roam more freely.

At South Prairie Avenue, the Fairmont Dog Park is a safe environment for your four-legged friends.

The park opened in September 2015; volunteers and city workers maintain and support the garden.

After entering its double-gated entryway, let your dog run loose on this 1.5-acre space with other dogs.

Don’t worry if your pup is small, either.

The dog park has a particular area for smaller dog breeds.

Revisit Farming History through Heritage Acres

Go to Heritage Acres and find a spot overlooking Lake Sisseton.

Heritage Acres is an agricultural interpretive center founded on Lake Avenue that aims to preserve the area’s rural lifestyle.

This 40-acre land also grows plants that attest to the upper Midwest’s title of “America’s Breadbasket.”

The story goes that pioneers from northern Europe settled on the land in 1776, and farms sprang up as the community grew.

However, estimates indicate that only 5% of Fairmont’s population engages in farming today.

This is why Heritage Acres continues to promote this humble lifestyle, and you can share in their goals by experiencing the rural atmosphere of the location.

Take a Photo at the Oldest Fairtown Residence in Chubb House

Standing along Lake Avenue, the Chubb House is another historic spot and the oldest residence in Fairmont.

Built in 1867, it used bricks from Fairmont’s first brickyard.

The homeowner is the community’s first physician, Orville Chubb, and the house shows the Yankee American development of southern Minnesota towns.

It has changed owners since then.

Likewise, you can see various architectural trends when examining specific areas around the house.

For example, the third house owner, Martin Wade, added an entrance to the house in the Classical-Revival style.

The city once planned to demolish Clubb House to make space for a parking lot.

To prevent this, the residents created the Martin County Preservation Association, which takes care of many historical spots around Minnesota.

Rent a Canoe at the Marina Lodge

The Marina Lodge started in 2013 and has grown as a lakeside pub and restaurant beside Lake Sisseton.

With the view of the lake on top of its casual dining atmosphere, many locals grab a meal here, including breakfast on weekends.

Moreover, the Marina Lodge features live music and family-friendly events all year.

You can also rent a canoe from the Marina Lodge.

Likewise, capture the scenic view of Lake Sisseton so that you’ll have a memory of your stay in the city.

Ride Pontoons and Jet Skis with the Hall Lake Cabins

Hall Lake is the largest and deepest of the five bodies of water in the City of Lakes.

For some visitors, a faster underwater vehicle will quench their thirst for thrills on the water.

Hall Lake Cabins is a place to enjoy a relaxing stay while enjoying many outdoor activities around the city.

Go to Albion Avenue and rent their jet skis to enjoy the waves of Hall Lake.

You can rent a pontoon for a smooth ride around the freshwater body for a more relaxing tour.

Likewise, you can ask around for fishing spots around the lake.

The Hall Lake Cabins entertains throughout the year, aimed at outdoor lovers and leisure sports enthusiasts.

Feel the Rush at the Fairmont Raceway

Get on track and drive towards North Bixby Road and enjoy the smell of burning tires as drivers compete in races at the Fairmont Raceway.

This half-a-mile dirt track opens every Wednesday evening.

Depending on their lineup, you’ll see racers with United States Racing Association (USRA) modified vehicles, stock cars, and sport mods.

If you want to feel the rush and hear the sound of engines, come to the Fairmont Raceway.

Stay the Night at Flying Goose Campground and Resort

Since 1965, the Flying Goose Campground and Resort has changed owners.

Today, the campground has become a top-notch family destination.

Its location is ideal for peace as it’s outside Fairmont’s bustling urban center.

It also has associations with Lake Imogene.

The Flying Goose Campground and Resort has 100 pull-through sites with 50 amp full hookup sites.

If pitching a tent outdoors isn’t your thing, they have up-to-date cabins with a full kitchen and two queen beds.

One suggestion is to plan your trip here for the weekend and stay the night to spend with the family.

The camp always states: “We can’t guarantee the weather, but we can always guarantee a fun time!”

Final Thoughts

From the stories of early settlers to a bustling farming community that perseveres through modern times, Fairmont respects its roots while looking toward the future.

You can’t go wrong with planning your trip to the city around its iconic lakes, but you might want to spice things up by looking into the city yourself.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Fairmont, Minnesota!

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