Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Stillwater, MN

  • Published 2022/10/07

The historic birthplace of the American state of Minnesota, Stillwater, is a lovely city in Washington county with a population of a little over 19,000 residents.

This city is the oldest one in the state and has preceded Minneapolis for several years.

It is a popular tourist attraction with tons to see and do.

Stillwater has a rich history and a vibrant culture that complement each other perfectly.

The city’s magnificent architecture, the finest museums, and historical landmarks will win over your heart.

The city is also blessed with plenty of green space and scenic vantage points.

Located on the banks of the St. Croix River, the city serves sweeping views of the water and a beautiful space for several recreational activities.

This charming town has been voted the most picturesque city in America.

You can spend all day exploring the incredible vineyards, orchards, nature trails, blueberry fields, breweries, eateries, and many more places in this delightful town.

Here are the 30 best things to do and see in Stillwater, Minnesota:

Take a Guided Tour of Warden’s House Museum

Exterior of Warden's House Museum

McGhiever / CC BY-SA

Built in 1853, Warden’s House Museum is a historical museum and an important part of Stillwater’s rich history.

It was first built as the residence of the warden of the Minnesota Territorial Prison.

However, the prison was shut down in 1914, and in 1941 the estate was sold to Washington County Historical Society.

Facade of Warden’s House Museum

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After that, it was opened for the public as a museum, showcasing how the wardens used to live there along with several artifacts from the earlier times.

Also, if you are interested in paranormal activities, it is rumored that the museum is haunted.

You can take a guided tour of the museum led by informative and friendly tour guides.

They will tell you all about the displays, exhibitions, antiques, and ghost stories.

Relish Incredible Views with Aamodt’s Hot Air Balloon Rides

As the name suggests, Aamodt’s Hot Air Balloon Rides is a company that offers hot air balloon rides to witness the stunning skyline and panoramic views of the heavenly countryside.

The flight takes off from Saint Croix Vineyards and Aamodt’s Apple Farm and flies over the St. Croix River.

They also offer smaller balloons for a more private and intimate experience.

After relishing the incredible views, you can stop by the orchard and vineyard to taste some fresh apples and crisp wines.

Bike along the Stillwater Lift Bridge

Aerial view of The Stillwater Lift Bridge

Jeff Lueders /

Built in 1931, Stillwater Lift Bridge is a historical landmark in Stillwater, Minnesota.

It is a vertical bridge on the St. Croix River between Stillwater, Minnesota, and Houlton, Wisconsin.

Daytime view of the Stillwater Lift Bridge

Ken Wolter /

It is one of the very examples of vertical bridges of its type and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bridge also has two pedestrian lanes along with two bike lanes, with bike rental places located nearby.

The views of the stunning bluffs, greeneries, and the river from the bridge are awe-inspiring.

Stillwater Lift Bridge view from waterfront

Jeremy’s N Photography /

Take Your Little Ones to the Teddy Bear Park

Located in Downtown Stillwater, Teddy Bear Park is a lovely public park.

This small park features a playground for children, a gazebo, designated areas for picnics, and giant teddy statues situated all around the park.

It is a popular attraction among locals and tourists because of its interesting setting and tons of activities to keep the little ones engaged.

It is tucked away just behind the Mainstreet, so you can just walk up to the restaurants to grab something to eat.

Take a Self-Guided Tour of Washington County Historic Courthouse

Exterior of Washington County Historic Courthouse

Ken Wolter /

Located in the rolling hills of the city, Washington County Historic Courthouse is one of Minnesota’s oldest standing courthouses.

It is one of the very few examples of magnificent public architecture from the 19th century.

The construction of the courthouse was completed in 1870, and it served the county for more than a century.

Front View of Washington County Historic Courthouse

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After more than a century, it was added to the list of National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

In 1975, the courthouse was opened for the public as an attraction with several activities, exhibitions, and displays showcasing the local history.

You can take self-guided tours of this historic landmark to see all the fantastic exhibits and especially the jail area.

Enjoy Romantic Ride with Gondola Romantica

Gondola Romantica is a boating service that offers a Venetian-like experience to visitors.

It provides gondola rides on the St. Croix River in authentic Italian-style gondolas.

You can choose a unique experience from various packages offered by the company.

The gondolier is very friendly and will make your experience even more perfect.

Make sure to ride the gondola at sunset best to enjoy the beauty and charm of the surroundings while relishing the tranquil waters.

Eat Delicious Food with Foodies On Foot

Restaurants along Stillwater

Sandra Burm /

Foodies On Foot offers guided tours of the fantastic food scene of Stillwater.

The city is full of fantastic food made with fresh local ingredients.

The tour takes you to the best eateries and provides food tasting of the town’s most famous and most favorite dishes.

You can taste the signature dishes of the restaurants while the owner or the manager will provide you with the description of the eatery and their process of procuring fresh ingredients to make the scrumptious food.

The whole tour lasts for about 3-4 hours and provides you with a walking tour of the charming town of Stillwater.

Make sure to take this tour to know and taste all of the town’s specialties.

Enjoy Stunning Views in the Lap of Luxury with Lady Chateau

Lady Chateau is a boat tour agency in Stillwater that offers cruises along the majestic St. Croix River in their leading charter yacht.

The luxury yacht offers both indoor and outdoor space to the visitors to best enjoy the beauty of the surroundings in the lap of luxury.

The food served is mouth-watering, and you can enjoy it while relishing the terrific views of the water.

The captain and the crew are amazing, very helpful, and provide impeccable service.

Wine Tasting at Saint Croix Vineyards

Located in the west of Stillwater on the scenic Manning Avenue, Saint Croix Vineyards offers lovely wines with picturesque views.

You can take a stroll through the vineyard’s stunning location to enjoy impressive views.

The vineyard offers wine-tasting in their rustic tasting rooms.

You can also enjoy a tour of the vineyard to see how the wine is made.

Or you can enjoy a lovely picnic while appreciating live music and relaxing outdoors.

Enjoy Delicious Food and Amazing Wine at Domacin Wine Bar

Domacin Wine Bar is a restaurant that serves American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist.

This award-winning restaurant has an extensive selection of wines and is an oenophile’s dream come true.

The restaurant has an intimate setting with a cozy ambiance to make your experience even better.

The service is also excellent with professional and attentive servers.

Make sure to try the mushroom risotto, steak tartare, charcuterie plate, chocolate ganache dessert, along with, obviously, the wine when you visit Domacin Wine Bar.

Drive along the St. Croix Scenic Byway Drive

Enjoy a picturesque drive along the St. Croix Scenic Byway to relish the impressive scenery.

The route starts from Stillwater’s Mainstreet and is not very crowded.

The serene environment and solitude of the route will refresh your mind and bring you peace.

Learn about the Town with Stillwater Trolley Company

Stillwater Trolley Company from Stillwater downtown

Sandra Burm /

Stillwater Trolley Company provides full-narrated 45-minute tours of Stillwater.

The tour guide tells the guests about the town’s history and how the city transformed from the Victorian era into one of the prettiest towns in America.

The guided tour is very knowledgeable and engaging and is a must when you visit Stillwater.

Check Out the Parks in Stillwater

The waters of Stillwater park

Rexjaymes /

Stillwater is a beautiful city filled with gorgeous parks, scenic views, and a tranquil environment.

Some of the best parks in the city you must visit are Lowell Park, Pine Point Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Afton State Park, and Square Lake Park.

These parks are spread across the city and are perfect for enjoying the weather outside by strolling around or enjoying picnics in these parks.

Drink Delightful Craft Beer at Lift Bridge Brewing Company

Lift Bridge Brewing Company is a craft brewery in Stillwater, Minnesota, that serves the finest beers.

It is Minnesota’s seventh-largest brewery and also has the oldest operating taproom in the state.

The brewery serves various experimental beers and flagship beers, including the Farm Girl Saison, Elevated Amber, Hop Dish IPA, and more.

It also has picnic tables for you to enjoy the beers while relishing the scenic outdoors.

You can take guided tours of the brewery and know how the beer is made at this premier brewery.

Pick Some Apples at Aamodt’s Apple Orchard

Nestled in a stunning picturesque location of Stillwater, Aamodt’s Apple Orchard is a family-owned orchard that grows high-quality Minnesota apples.

They also make their famous in-house apple cider that tastes heavenly.

You can hand-pick your produce in the orchard to make sure you get what you want.

There is a bakery on the site as well that serves different types of pies, cookies, kinds of butter, and jams made with fresh apples.

Along with everything delicious, the views from the orchard are spectacular.

The owners are super friendly and informative and will answer all of your questions about the process of growing the apples.

Make sure to visit the Aamodt’s Apple Orchard to pick apples straight from the trees and enjoy the beautiful views of the surroundings.

Go Hiking at Brown’s Creek Trail

Brown’s Creek Trail is 5.9 miles long recreational trail with scenic paths and vantage points.

It connects the city of Grant’s Gateway Trail to Stillwater’s St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

The trail is lovely, with gorgeous views, lush foliage, wildflowers, creeks, and birds.

It is accessible year-round and is used for walking, biking, hiking, horseback riding, rollerblading, running, horseback riding, and more.

Make sure to visit the Brown’s Creek Trail in the morning to beat the crowd and enjoy the picturesque scenic views in a tranquil environment.

Check Out St. Croix Boom Site

View of St. Croix Boom Site in Stillwater, Minnesota

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The St. Croix Boom Site, located in Stillwater Township, Minnesota, United States, is a gorgeous and historic riverside location.

An important log boom took place from 1856 to 1914 at this site.

Trail at St. Croix Boom Site in Stillwater, Minnesota

Elkman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here, logs were sorted and stored before being sent to sawmills downriver for further processing and use.

Stillwater’s sawmills were close to the St. Croix River’s confluence with the Mississippi, where the Boom was situated.

In addition to buying and selling upstream tributary pine timber, this area was also suitable for sorting, scaling, and rafting.

A house at St. Croix Boom Site in Stillwater, Minnesota

Elkman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eat Creamy Ice Creams with Glitter at MN Nice Cream

Located in Downtown Stillwater, MN Nice Cream is an ice cream shop that serves delectable and creamy ice cream.

This place crafts Instagram-worthy quirky cones with unique and inventive toppings such as fruity pebbles, edible glitter, potato chips, gummies, bacon, and so much more.

This ice cream shop also serves vegan and lactose-free ice cream to cater to its vast customer base.

Don’t forget to try their specialty cone, Cookie Monster, when you visit this incredible ice cream place.

Gaze at the Stunning Displays at Artreach St. Croix

ArtReach St. Croix aims to protect the special character of our town.

ArtReach has become an integral element of the quality of life in the Stillwater area.

Jobs, tourism, and the economic well-being of our community are all a result of creative industries.

In addition, the arts contribute a sense of harmony, delight, and insight into life.

The St. Croix Valley’s cultural diversity is a cornerstone of our community’s identity.

Art events in the neighborhood, artist training, substantial community outreach, and a hub for arts information are ways this facility tries to build a community of art lovers and foster a relationship between the arts and the people who live in them.

Dine at the Joseph Wolf Brewery Caves

A portion of downtown Stillwater is concealed behind rock and concrete.

The city’s attractive streetscapes and historic riverbank are well-known to the locals and visitors.

The Luna Rossa Trattoria and Wine Bar stand on the Joseph Wolf Brewery Caves site, carved into the sandstone bluff near Main Street in 1868.

Luna Rossa provides cave tours, which could be a wonderful addition to your date night or riverfront outing.

On these excursions, visitors enter a 40- to the 60-foot-deep chamber beneath the hillside where the pickaxe and blast-hole patterns that hollowed the cave system can still be observed.

Joseph Wolf brews beer in the cavern where a natural spring flows and where you begin your underground journey by listening to the sound of the water.

Visit the Exhibits at Stillwater Art Guild Gallery

Stillwater Art Guild Gallery has been running for almost 20 years.

It now has over 90 active members representing various genres and art.

It lies in the historic Isaac Staples Sawmill, constructed on the riverbank over 120 years ago and used to process logs that floated downriver from northern woods to the sawmills in Stillwater.

Excellent works in a wide range of mediums and styles are readily available, and fresh additions to the collection arrive almost daily.

It provides home design help, art and photography lessons, and framing services.

It also allows local youth to showcase their artistic talents and get exposure to the art gallery world.

Practice Your Swing at Oak Glen

Oak Glen, founded in 1983, is home to two public golf courses that are always in excellent shape and are ideal for hosting large parties because of their layout.

The Championship course is a walking Par 72 with strategic bunkering and fairway widths to test players of all skill levels.

The Executive Course is a par-29 course perfect for practicing and playing with friends and family.

All of Oak Glen’s courses play home to tournaments and leagues throughout the year.

Youth Golf is the most extensive junior program in the Twin Cities, and all summer long, members of Junior Golf may play golf for free on the Exec course.

In Oak Glen’s public event venue, guests will feel at home on the spacious dance floor, outside patios, and the massive bar with a granite top.

Try Standup Paddleboarding with St. Croix SUP Co.

Due to its accessibility, stand-up paddling (SUP) has quickly become one of the most popular water sports.

Paddleboarding is popular because you may do it in various environments, including Stillwater.

The members of the St. Croix SUP Company are true river rats.

They are native to the area around the St. Croix River near Stillwater.

In addition to SUP, the firm provides a broad range of water sports for guests, including boating, canoeing, water skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding.

If you’re in the St. Croix Valley, you may rent paddleboards from the St. Croix SUPCompany.

Grab Fresh Produce from Axdahl’s Garden Farm & Greenhouse

You can get lovely hanging baskets and locally grown, fresh fruit right in Minnesota.

You’ve arrived at the proper location.

The Axdahl family runs a successful greenhouse and farm in Stillwater, Minnesota’s verdant St. Croix Valley.

It’s the place to acquire annuals, instant color gardens, and hanging baskets.

It also has some of the most incredible sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, and other fresh veggies in Minnesota.

It uses environmentally friendly methods and commits itself to the long-term success of its agricultural production.

It also boasts of producing non-GMO crops.

Visitors for miles around make a detour to the roadside stand for Axdahl’s “Party Pack” of sweet corn.

Midway through July through September, get your hands on these fresh, tasty Minnesota Grown items.

Release Your Stress at Just For Me “The Spa”

Heidi, a local of Stillwater, founded Just For Me in 1988.

A short time later, in 1990, she bought a former dairy building in Stillwater’s historic district.

She was able to use the proceeds to open a center for holistic health and wellbeing.

Find out for yourself what makes this facility so unique.

Before your sensory experience begins, relax in one of its large and plush couches with a cup of Aveda Comfort Tea.

You may also plunge into its Ancient Healing Mineral pool to calm your mind.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Magnificent Vista at Stillwater Overlook

The view from Stillwater Overlook in Minnesota

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A magnificent vista near Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, the Stillwater Overlook is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The intersection of Minnesota State Highways 36 and 95, just south of Stillwater, is where you’ll find this little-known gem.

There is a large limestone wall overlooking the St. Croix River valley on the property’s main building block.

The grounds of Stillwater Overlook in Minnesota

Elkman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was constructed between 1936 and 1937 by the National Youth Administration (NYA).

As early as 1936, the NYA began demolishing the old Minnesota Territorial Prison and rescued this limestone from the rubble.

The building is a fine example of the National Park Service’s Rustic design, which stressed the use of locally sourced materials.

The view from the bluff has been well-preserved.

Visit the Franconia Sculpture Park

The grounds of Franconia Sculpture Park

Brian Kenney /

Located a half an hour drive away from Stillwater, Franconia Sculpture Park is a 43-acre outdoor sculpture park in Shafer.

It showcases an extensive collection of modern sculptures made by emerging and established artists.

The park also has interactive sculptures to provide a unique experience to the visitors.

Colorful sculptures at Franconia Sculpture Park

Denise Gerdes /

You can take guided tours led by enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides to know more about the park and the sculptures in it.

Entry into the park is free; however, a donation is appreciated to maintain the place’s upkeep.

Visit the Franconia Sculpture Park to spend your afternoon seeing unique and quirky sculptures.

Final Thoughts

Stillwater is a location where strangers’ smiles abound, and hometown pride is the norm.

You can find something to do year-round in Stillwater, no matter your interests.

With its incredible scenic views and amazing culture, the historic city of Stillwater is waiting to be discovered.

So what are you waiting for?

Visit Stillwater, and do not forget to tell us your favorite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this incredible city.

© All rights reserved.