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6 Of The Most Walkable Towns In Minnesota

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6 Of The Most Walkable Towns In Minnesota


Minnesota certainly has a lot going for it. Located in the Upper Midwest region of the United States with a northern border shared with the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, it’s also a part of the Great Lakes region, sharing a Lake Superior shoreline with Wisconsin. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” it also shares another characteristic with its neighbors: an abundance of charming communities waiting to be explored.

Minnesota’s small towns not only serve as great jumping-off points to explore the state’s scenery, but they also offer no end of fun things to do in town. The best of them are easy to explore on foot, with top attractions often centrally located and accessible even to those who don’t want to walk long distances between attractions. For ideas and inspiration, we’ve pulled together this list of six of the most walkable towns in Minnesota.

Stillwater

View of the downtown stores and restaurants in Stillwater, Minnesota. Editorial credit: Sandra Burm / Shutterstock.com.

Just 25 miles from downtown Minneapolis on the banks of the scenic St. Croix River, Stillwater is one of Minnesota’s oldest and most picturesque towns. Dubbed the “Birthplace of Minnesota, “it was here in 1848 that the process of statehood began, with the actual spot where this event took place easy to find on the corner of Main Street and Myrtle. Other historic sites to include on a walking tour are the Warden’s House Museum, set in the former home of a local prison warden, and the Washington County Historic Courthouse, built in 1870 and one of the finest municipal buildings in the Midwest.

The iconic Stillwater Lift Bridge is also easy to get to on foot and now sees only pedestrian and bike traffic. Built in 1931, this iconic structure connects Stillwater with Houlton in Wisconsin and is especially nice to view at night when it’s lit up. It also connects an extensive network of walking trails on both sides of the river.

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Red Wing

Aerial view of Red Wing, Minnesota.
Aerial view of Red Wing, Minnesota.

Red Wing is another lovely riverside town worth exploring. Set along the Mississippi River 45 miles downstream of St. Paul, its immensely walkable downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it a fascinating place to explore on foot. Top attractions include the Red Wing Shoe Company Museum, dedicated to the history of the famous manufacturer with tours of the still-working factory, and the historic Sheldon Theatre, built in 1904 and just steps from the town’s John Rich Park with its attractive old church.

Nearby Barn Bluff to the east of town is a must-see. While only two miles away, you’ll want to drive to this prominent geological feature with its hiking trails and panoramic views of the Mississippi River and the town. The Red Wing Marina, just a short walk from the downtown area, is a great place to hop aboard a river cruise along the Mississippi and rest those weary feet.

Grand Marais

Grand Marais Light against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains on Lake Superior.
Grand Marais Light against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains on Lake Superior.

Situated on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Grand Marais’ compact size and scenic setting make for an excellent walking experience. The highlight here is Grand Marais Harbor, a large natural bay protected by man-made break walls, each topped with charming little lighthouses. Follow the shoreline from scenic Artist Point along a section of the Gitchi Gami State Trail to Grand Marais Marina Vista Point. It’s only a mile walk around the bay, with attractions like Fish House Historic Landmark Museum, North House Folk School, and the Harbor Picnic Shelter to check out along the way.

Just a few minutes walk from the harbor, the Grand Marais Art Colony is a key cultural attraction in this part of the Great Lakes and offers workshops and classes in various arts and crafts. The town’s annual Fisherman’s Picnic is a great time for a visit. Held mid-summer for over 60 years, this much-loved local festival features live music, a parade, and various family-friendly activities. The Grand Marais Arts Festival in July is another great event to experience.

Northfield

 Northfield, Minnesota.
Pedestrian bridge crossing the Cannon River in Northfield, Minnesota.

Follow the I-35 south from Minneapolis to Northfield for another walkable small-town experience. Located along the Cannon River, this charming college town boasts a quaint downtown core that’s fun to explore on foot. Highlights include the Northfield Historical Society Museum with its displays relating to the town’s founding and the infamous 1876 bank raid by the James-Younger Gang, along with the lovely Bridge Square, a pretty park that’s a great place to rest the feet for a while.

From here you’re just seconds away from Northfield’s Riverwalk. This delightful riverside trail follows the Cannon River for some distance in either direction and can be included with other walking routes such as the Carleton Arboretum Trail and the East River Trail for a multi-mile hike. Northfield is also home to Carleton College and St. Olaf College, both of boasting campuses with walking paths and gardens.

Winona

Winona, Minnesota
The Minnesota City Boat Club Inc. on the Upper Mississippi River in Winona, Minnesota. Editorial credit: Linda McKusick / Shutterstock.com.

Winona is another small town along the mighty Mississippi River that’s worth putting the ol’ walking shoes on for. Handy to get to, thanks to the I-90 just a few miles to the south, this walkable town is known for its attractive downtown area. Among its many well-preserved historic buildings is the landmark Winona National Bank, a stunning surviving example of Prairie School architecture designed by George Maher in the early 1900s.

From here, it’s just a short distance to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Set overlooking the river, this state-of-the-art attraction houses an impressive collection of maritime art and exhibits, much of it related to the Mississippi. Nearby Sugar Loaf Bluff, with its hiking trails and views of the Mississippi River, offers more walking adventures.

Ely

Main Street in Ely, Minnesota
Main Street in Ely, Minnesota. Editorial credit: Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock.com

Ely is not just a paradise for those who want to explore the town on foot but also for those who enjoy paddling. Located in the state’s northeast corner, its proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness places it firmly on the radar of outdoor adventurers. Not only does Ely provide easy access to this wilderness area’s more than one million acres of stunning scenery, but it also features numerous trails and waterways of its own, enabling visitors to explore without having to venture too far afield.

Other notable attractions in Ely include the International Wolf Center and the North American Bear Center. Both provide unique opportunities to learn about and observe these magnificent animals in their natural habitats.

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The Final Word

Minnesota’s small towns are worth considering if a day trip, a weekend getaway, or even a longer vacation is on the cards. These six small towns in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” offer opportunities to explore some of the state’s most exhilarating scenery and are also immensely walkable. In fact, here you may find yourself parking the car and forgetting about if or a few days.



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Minnesota

Crews work to recover submerged vehicle in Minnesota River, and more headlines

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Crews work to recover submerged vehicle in Minnesota River, and more headlines


Crews work to recover submerged vehicle in Minnesota River, and more headlines – CBS Minnesota

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A recovery operation is stalled for a car that went into the Minnesota River, plus more of the day’s top stories.

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So Minnesota: German POW camp at Wright County Fairgrounds

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So Minnesota: German POW camp at Wright County Fairgrounds


So Minnesota: German POW camp at Wright County Fairgrounds

Minnesota played an important role during World War II.

In the summers of 1944 and 1945,  a group of about 60 German prisoners of war were brought to a camp at the Wright County Fairgrounds to help work in factories.

“They would be picking the corn for the canning company,” Geoff Welles with the Wright County Historical Society said.

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The fairgrounds were turned into the POWs’ home.

“They had the barracks over in the ag building, showers in the poultry building. They ate around here at the grandstand,” Welles said.

One year the Wright County Fair was delayed because of the POW camp. The prisoners were allowed to worship at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted and were treated very well.

“They were given toys, tools, games to play,” Welles said.

Few who attend the Wright County Fair know of its connection to a German POW camp.

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Wet conditions remain a problem in Minnesota – Brownfield Ag News

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Wet conditions remain a problem in Minnesota – Brownfield Ag News


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Wet conditions remain a problem in Minnesota

Excessive moisture continues to hinder spring fieldwork in Minnesota.

USDA’s latest weekly crop update says topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies are 97 percent adequate to surplus.

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Soybean planting is 94 percent complete, four days behind the five-year average.  Seventy percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition.

Corn emergence is 93 percent, slightly off the usual pace, with the condition of the crop called 71 percent good to excellent.

For small grains, crop condition ratings are in the low 80’s.

Sugarbeet condition ratings bounced back on the week, improving to 81 percent good to excellent.

And the first cutting of alfalfa reached 67 percent, with 77 percent of hay considered good to excellent.

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