Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Wabasha, MN

  • Published 2023/02/16

Wabasha is a pocket city situated 70 miles southeast of Minneapolis in Minnesota.

Many consider Wabasha an ideal outdoor destination and a quick weekend getaway destination, especially with loved ones.

Despite Wabasha’s small size, it’s well-known throughout Minnesota for its festivals, outdoor attractions, rich history, and activities.

Its outdoor attractions are mainly concentrated along the Mississippi River, while some are scattered throughout the city and neighboring towns.

Whether you’re yearning for an adventurous hike or want to kayak the Mississippi River, many exciting activities await you in Wabasha.

Tourists from all parts of Minnesota frequently visit Wabasha because of the year-round activities they can enjoy there, whether it’s summer, fall, spring, or winter.

If you’re interested in a trip to this Minnesota City, check out this post about the 20 best things to do in Wabasha, MN.

Cast Your Line at the Mississippi River

Bridge at Mississippi River

Randy Runtsch /

The mighty Mississippi River is not just known for its size but also for being a popular fishing destination throughout the United States.

If you’re in Wabasha, don’t miss your chance to cast your line at one of the many fishing spots in the city along the Mississippi River.

Fishing at the Mississippi River is open year-round.

Frozen water at Mississippi River

Birdie McBride /

Since Wabasha is nestled along with the convergence of the Mississippi River and the Chippewa River, it’s abundant in various fish species.

The Mississippi River is rich in panfish, walleyes, perch, and bass, giving you a lot of choices for a catch.

During winter, many anglers cut a hole on the frozen surface of the Mississippi River for some ice fishing.

Boating at Mississippi River

Kimberly Gazda /

Ski on the Slopes at the Coffee Mill Ski Area

The Coffee Mill Ski Area in Wabasha is one of the main reasons the city is a popular outdoor destination.

During winter, it spans over 28 acres of snowy slopes; the pitches have a 425-foot drop, more than ten ski trails, and three lifts.

The Coffee Mill Ski Area also features an excellent coulee skiing through its unique bowl.

Historically, this skiing resort in Wabasha got its name from its navigational point along the Mississippi River.

Aside from top-notch skiing courses, the Coffee Mill Ski Area also boasts a stunning view of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Mississippi River below.

There’s no better way to start your Wabasha adventure than skiing on the coffee Mill Ski Area’s slopes.

Get a Closer Look at the Majestic Bald Eagles at the National Eagle Center

Classes at National Eagle Center


Wabasha is also home to a significant landmark destination in Minnesota, the National Eagle Center.

This massive environmental interpretive center is an excellent place to visit, especially with your loved ones, to learn more about the importance of cultural, natural, and historical information in Minnesota.

An eagle flying high at National Eagle Center

Bjones0792 /

One of the highlights you should not miss when you’re in the National Eagle Center is the live bald eagles that serve as its ambassadors.

In addition, naturalist educators offer guided tours throughout the center, making your visit there worthwhile and educational.

The National Eagle Center along Pembroke Avenue recently opened in Spring after it underwent renovation.

Exterior of National Eagle Center

AlexiusHoratius, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Set Up Your Tent at the City of Wabasha Municipal Campground

The Wabasha Municipal Campground at the Upper Marina along the Mississippi River is an excellent place to stay in Wabasha for days.

Besides affordability, this campground offers convenience and comfort because of the amenities available for campers.

The campground is also a popular outdoor recreation area where everyone can enjoy boating and hiking.

At the same time, it’s close to restaurants, shops, and other attractions in Wabasha.

In addition, it has ample parking areas for trailers and recreational vehicles.

At the same time, shower facilities and bathrooms are also available.

Stroll through Downtown Wabasha

Street view of Downtown Wabasha

Jon Platek, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To fully immerse yourself in Wabasha’s charm, the best way to do this is to visit its downtown area.

Wabasha’s Downtown area starts from Main Street west to Main Street East.

Strolling through these streets showcases the genuine American small-town vibes.

Skyline of Downtown Wabasha

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll see century-old brick buildings, small shops, well-lighted streets, and a peaceful ambiance.

You can visit more than 27 shops in downtown Wabasha comprised of pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, small boutiques, services, and the city’s famous attractions.

There’s no better place for a great dining and shopping experience than the heart of Wabasha.

So, before heading back home, drop by Wabasha’s downtown area.

Remember Your Childhood at Lark Toys

Lark Toys is a famous attraction in Wabasha for locals and visitors.

This massive toy store offers not just classic and modern toys but also top-notch wholesome entertainment for the entire family.

It has an arcade, mini-golf course, bookstore, food court, and an indoor carousel inside its 20,000-square-feet facility situated along 170th Ave in the neighboring city of Kellog.

Stepping inside Lark Toys offers everyone a one-of-a-kind experience through themed sections full of puzzles, toys, games, and interactive displays.

Bookworms also have many reasons to visit this place because of its top-notch bookstore filled with popular titles and rare finds.

In addition, visitors certainly have something to buy at the toy store, filled with collectibles, miniatures, replicas, novelties, and wind-up toys.

Spending a day at Lark Toys is truly a magical experience you and your loved ones shouldn’t miss during your Wabasha trip.

Relax at the Olde Triangle Pub

Wabasha is also home to an Irish-inspired pub, the Olde Triangle Pub, an excellent place to relax and enjoy a drink or two.

If you’re seeking to take a break from exploring Wabasha’s attractions, head to the Olde Triangle Pub and appreciate its cozy atmosphere and warm people.

Being one of the city’s favorite watering holes, the Olde Triangle Pub offers not just a relaxing experience but also lovely entertainment like a genuine Irish pub.

Enjoy a wide array of drink selections from spirits, wine, and beer.

At the same time, it also serves food and plays great music.

There are many reasons for you to visit the Olde Triangle Pub.

You might meet new friends from locals while enjoying a drink there.

Spend the Night at the Anderson House Hotel

Huge big brick building of Anderson House Hotel

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Anderson House Hotel in Wabasha is not your typical lodging.

This local hotel is considered a historical landmark that dates back to 1856.

This charming hotel is situated along Main Street in Wabasha, near the city’s top attractions and the Mississippi River.

This hotel has witnessed Wabasha’s growth throughout the years; thus, it holds historical significance in the city.

The hotel earned its well-deserved recognition after listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Today, it remains one of the best accommodations in Wabasha, not just for its historical significance but its top-notch amenities and service.

Suppose you’re looking for the best lodging during your trip to Wabasha, book your stay at the Anderson House Hotel.

Enjoy Kayaking with the Broken Paddle Guiding Company

The Broken Paddle Guiding Company offers visitors in Wabasha the top-notch boating and kayaking cruises along the mighty Mississippi River and the Blufflands.

Professional guides lead these guided tours, which take you through the lush natural ecosystem of the Mississippi River on a kayak or a boat.

Suppose you yearn for a kayaking adventure on this world-famous river; the Broken Paddle Guiding Company offers guided tours and rentals for everyone.

In addition, they also offer bike tours throughout Wabasha and neighboring towns.

Their bike tour takes you to historical landmarks, attractions, breweries, shops, wineries, and restaurants during the bike tour, making it a worthwhile experience.

To book a kayak or bike tour, visit their office on Main Street.

Grab a Delicious Meal at the Slippery’s

One of the most popular restaurants in Wabasha is the Slippery’s, which overlooks the Mississippi River on Main Street.

This restaurant has become famous throughout Minnesota for being the set of Hollywood movies “Grumpy Old Men” and the “Grumpier Old Men.”

Interestingly, the area where the Slippery stands was a former boatyard and Marina in Wabasha back in the early 1900s.

Moreover, aside from its popularity for being the set of two Hollywood films, Slippery’s serves excellent sandwiches, burgers, seafood, steak, and pasta.

So, it’s a no-brainer.

Locals loved Slippery’s even before it became a Hollywood film set.

Learn Astonishing History at the Wabasha County Historical Society Museum

Sign board of Wabasha County Historical Society Museum

Myotus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head to the Wabasha County Historical Society Museum in Reads Landing if you’re keen on learning Wabasha’s history and the Mississippi River.

Astonishingly, the museum itself is in the oldest brick schoolhouse in the entire state of Minnesota.

Visiting this museum takes you back to this region’s historical eras.

Back view of Wabasha County Historical Society Museum

Myotus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum features exhibits about the clamming industry in the region back in the day.

In addition, it also features artifacts of the Native Americans who lived in the region, military equipment, household items, and early river transportation.

The museum is full of fascinating things worthy of spending your time with.

Celebrate Wabasha’s SeptOberfest

Wabasha is known in Minnesota for its annual festival, the SeptOberfest.

Revelers from various parts of Minnesota and the neighboring state of Wisconsin converge in Wabasha to have fun and celebrate the start of the Fall season.

Various art exhibits pop out in many parts of Wabasha.

At the same time, you can see artistically designed pumpkins, flowers, cornstalks, gourds, and other vegetables commonly harvested during Fall throughout the city.

This annual celebration is similar to Halloween, but it is less scary; instead, people combine Germany’s Oktoberfest and Halloween, making it a unique festival.

Tee Up at the Coffee Mill Golf Course

The Coffee Mill Golf Course features an 18-hole, par-72 golf course nestled on the tip of the Mississippi River Valley.

Whether you’re an experienced golfer or an average tourist, you will be surely mesmerized by the scenic vistas that stretch more than 50 miles into the Chippewa Valley.

The Coffee Mill Golf Course claimed the first spot on Minnesota’s top public golf courses list in 2010, beating 283 other golf courses.

Touring through the golf course is already a satisfying experience; how much more if you play and step on its greens?

So, don’t miss the chance to play golf or perhaps enjoy the scenery the Coffee Mill Golf Course offers during your Wabasha trip.

Bike through Wabasha’s Trails

Nature trail at Wabasha

Jon Roanhaus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wabasha’s untamed trails make a perfect destination for off-road mountain bikers.

Its location near the Mississippi River makes this city a top-notch biking destination.

More than nine trails which connect Wisconsin and Minnesota and vice versa are open for bikers and hikers in this region.

Suppose you’re planning for a spin at one of Wabasha’s trails; you can choose from three different routes.

The routes have different distances, from a mile to three miles, and the five-mile course takes you through a mixture of paved and dirt trails.

These three routes start at the riverfront fountain near the famous National Eagle Center.

The shortest route takes you through Lawrence Boulevard and Main Street.

Meanwhile, the three-mile route goes beyond Main Street.

On the other hand, the five-mile route crosses the pedestrian bridge while traversing the MRT and vice versa.

Biking through Wabasha’s streets is a fulfilling experience and one of the most convenient ways to tour the city.

Lastly, numerous bike rentals are available in Wabasha if you want to saddle up and tour the city on a bike.

Chug a Pint at the Hoppy Girl Brewing

Head to the Hoppy Girl Brewing along Bridge Avenue to reach the best watering hole in Wabasha.

This brewery and pub offer you a wide selection of locally brewed craft beer.

It’s a great place to relax and sip a pint of its freshly-brewed craft beer, either on tap or bottled.

Some of the most-recommended craft beers at Hoppy Girl Brewing are Skinny Biever, Pale Wheat Ale, Chubby Chipmonk, Russian Imperial Stouts, Milk Stouts, and Belgian Dark Strongs, Barrel Aged Stouts, and Berliner Weiss.

Of course, more drinks wait for you in the brewery.

So, head to the Hoppy Girl Brewing for a relaxing afternoon or evening.

Check in at Coffee Mill Inn and Suites

If you’re planning to maximize your trip to Wabasha, checking in and staying for a few days might be your best route.

Located along Coulee Way, Coffee Mill Inn and Suites is a great place to check out, especially if you want accommodation that will also double as an attraction.

The best selling point of this inn is its rustic but comfy rooms that go perfectly well with the overall vibe of Wabasha.

While the facade may look like just a regular inn from the outside, their rooms are beautifully designed with rustic woodworks and modern furniture.

One of the best things about their rooms is their gas-powered fireplace along with their open Jacuzzi setup.

Take Scenic Photos at Mississippi Parkside Marina

Mississippi Parkside Marina is a beautiful spot to take photos of the Mississippi River that flows through Wabasha.

It’s a beautiful marina sprawling with all kinds of boats and yachts, accentuating its overall aesthetic which makes it a haven for riverside photography.

It’s also a great place to do some walking, especially during a breezy and clear day where you can appreciate the pristine waters and clear skies.

You can also immerse yourselves with the locals, as many boat owners, vendors, and rental shops are found here.

Located along 3rd Street West, Mississippi Parkside Marina is a great late afternoon or early morning part of your itinerary.

Go Bowling at Riverboat Lanes

If you want some indoor fun during your stay at Wabasha, Riverboat Lanes is one of the best amusement attractions that you can visit—found along 2nd Street West.

Highly rated by both locals and tourists, Riverboat Lanes offers you the classic bowling alley experience plus more.

There’s a bit of aging in this bowling alley, but it actually works to its favor as it gives it a rustic ambiance that fits well with Wabasha’s atmosphere.

And while it may be on the older side, Riverboat Lanes does not have any dingy feel to it and is a perfect place for family fun and special occasions.

Besides their bowling alley, they also have a neat bar and restaurant here to complete the experience.

Go for a Jog at Malone Park

A great way to experience the quaint atmosphere of Wabasha is through Malone Park, a large recreational space with great greenery and facilities.

Malone Park is situated right by the Mississippi River, giving it a great aesthetic and ambiance that’s perfect for some quiet time.

Because of its huge and open vicinity, you can easily spend a whole morning jogging in the park.

Depending on the season you go, the park transforms into different looks, best appreciated during fall because of its foliage.

Found along Beach PK Street, Malone Park is a great addition to your itinerary for some down time or exercise.

Go Camping at Big River Resort

Big River Resort is both an inn and a campground in Wabasha; a perfect place for large groups of friends or families.

One of the best things about Big River Resort is you’ll have access to all the conveniences of a standard inn, but you can also pitch a tent or set up your recreational vehicle for a more rustic camping experience.

You can set up a bonfire here as well and immerse yourself with fellow campers, making this a nice and sociable place to meet new friends.

If you want to only utilize the rooms of Big River Resort, you’ll be pleased to know they are clean and modern as well.

If you’re an avid fan of camping, Big River Resort can be visited along Hiawatha Drive East.

Final Thoughts

Wabasha is truly a unique travel destination worth visiting with your family or travel buddies.

Your travel experience in Wabasha perfectly combines the outdoors and history without draining your wallet.

Still, this city has so much to offer than meets the eye.

If you’re undecided about what to visit first in Wabasha, refer to this post as your handy itinerary.

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