15 Fun Things To Do In Stillwater MN

Stillwater is a beautiful small town in Minnesota with many hidden gems. There are tons of fun things to do in Stillwater MN. Located on the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota, and only 30 minutes East of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Stillwater is a great place to add to your Minnesota vacation itinerary and travel plans.

Things to do in Stillwater Minnesota are endless. With the historic downtown area packed full of antique stores, amazing restaurants, and a beautiful walk along the St. Croix River, you won’t be disappointed. 

Below we are going to share our top tips for visiting Stillwater Minnesota. You’ll find a list of the best restaurants in Stillwater MN, activities for the families to do, and where to shop in downtown Stillwater MN. 

First, let’s quickly talk about where to stay in Stillwater while you’re vacationing in Minnesota.

Fun Things to do Stillwater MN

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Top Stillwater MN Hotels

Stillwater is known for its small-town vibe and beautiful river views. That’s why our top pick for a great place to stay would be in the downtown Stillwater area within walking distance to the St. Croix River. 

The Water Street Inn is a great choice! It was recently remodeled to host a rooftop bar and an Irish Pub, while being the only Stillwater hotel on the riverfront next to the lift bridge. 

Water Street Inn Stillwater Minnesota

Another hotel accommodation option in downtown Stillwater is the Lora. Offering a historic feel right on the main street of the St. Croix Scenic Byway, the Lora is a polished hotel in a great location in downtown Stillwater. 

Bed And Breakfasts In Stillwater MN

Stillwater is known for its historic houses near historic Main Street and several have been restored and offered up as bed and breakfasts in Stillwater MN.

Located just 3 blocks from downtown Stillwater, Aurora Staples Inn provides 5 suites in their 1892 Queen Anne Victorian. With a beautiful garden, fireplaces, and a delicious breakfast, this place could make for an incredible romantic getaway.

The Outing Lodge at Pine Point is another one of the bed and breakfasts Stillwater MN has to offer. Surrounded by 300 acres of beautiful wooded parkland, their family-run all seasons B&B is a great place to consider staying. 

Visit Stillwater Minnesota

Fun Things To Do In Stillwater MN

Now that you have a place to stay, let’s dive into the fun things to do and the amazing sights to see in Stillwater Minnesota. Be sure to read further down to learn about the best restaurants in Stillwater that you’ll want to check out during your visit. 
Here are some great Stillwater MN attractions, places to visit, and activities to do while visiting this beautiful Minnesota town!  

Shopping in Stillwater MN

The Stillwater Lift Bridge

The Stillwater Lift Bridge, also called the St. Croix River Bridge, is a historic landmark in the heart of downtown Stillwater. It’s a vertical lift bridge that connects Minnesota to Wisconsin, and only recently stopped allowing vehicle traffic over the bridge. Instead, it has now reopened as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that completed the Loop Trail through Stillwater. 

Walk across the bridge and look at downtown Stillwater, MN from the Wisconsin side of the river.

Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge
Walk Across the Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge
Historic Lift Bridge Stillwater Lift for boats

Hike or Bike The St. Croix Loop Trail

Hike or bike across the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge to begin the 4.7 mile St. Croix Loop Trail. The crossing loop trail will take you across the river twice, first on the historic Lift Bridge and second over the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge that opened to vehicles and pedestrians.

St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail Map
St. Croix Crossing Bridge photo from the Stillwater Lift Bridge
Hike or Bike Stillwater St. Croix Loop Trail

Stillwater Trolley Company Tour

Go on a 45 minute narrated tour of Stillwater MN and learn how it was established as a lumber town. See the Victorian mansions up close and experience going up a few of the steep hills in Stillwater without having to climb them. The Stillwater Trolley Company offers private tours, public tours, and sometimes even special storytime tours for families with young kids. 

Stillwater Trolley Company Tour downtown Stillwater Minnesota

Climb The Stillwater Stairs For A View

Located just South of Nelson Street you’ll find The Stillwater Stairs on the west side of Main Street. If you climb to the top of the stairs, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of downtown Stillwater and the St. Croix River Valley. 

Climb to the top of the Stillwater Stairs

Stillwater Riverboat Cruise

Book tickets to create some incredible memories on a Stillwater Riverboat Cruise with your family or friends. Not only will you be able to see Stillwater and the St. Croix River from a different perspective, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a meal and drinks on board. 

Stillwater Riverboat Cruise MN

One year my siblings and I took my mom on one of the Stillwater riverboats cruise for her birthday, on Independence Day evening. We were able to watch the fireworks from the boat and celebrate both our mother’s and our nation’s birth together!

Stillwater Riverboats Cruise with family

Go On A Gondola Ride On The St. Croix River

You don’t have to go all the way to Venice, Italy to experience a romantic gondola ride. Gondola Romantica offers a romantic experience for two on the St. Croix River near downtown Stillwater. It was beautiful to see the gondola gliding under the Historic Lift Bridge at sunset last summer.

Gondola Ride Stillwater MN things to do

Visit Teddy Bear Park

If you are visiting Stillwater with kids, then you have to check out the unique Teddy Bear Park in downtown Stillwater. You’ll find the park open from 8am – 8pm on most days without snow and located on the corner of S 2nd Street and Nelson. Teddy Bear Park has some fun nets, soft landings, a treefort and trains, and so much more that the little kids just love. 

Go Shopping In Downtown Stillwater

Downtown Stillwater MN hosts some fun shops. From antique shops and home decore to toy stores and gift shops, Main Street is a fun place to shop around. 

Shopping in Stillwater MN things to do_

Visit St. Croix Vineyards

Located just 4 miles west of downtown Stillwater, Saint Croix Vineyards has grown to become one of Minnesota’s popular wineries. Their rustic wine tasting room is open daily in the summer months and they offer live music on Saturdays. So pack a picnic lunch and plan to spend a few hours enjoying the Minnesota summer weather at St. Croix Vineyards. 

15 Fun Things To Do In Stillwater MN

Visit Lift Bridge Brewery

The Lift Bridge Brewing Company provides local craft beers, stelzers, and non-alcoholic sodas. Their taproom in Stillwater is a fun place to stop in and try a few local brews and often hosts events and has live music. So if you’re looking for a brewery that the locals love, then check out the Lift Bridge Brewery. 

Great Places To Eat In Stillwater MN

Looking for a locally owned restaurant with a great view, located in downtown Stillwater during your visit? Or maybe you’d like to treat yourself to a large portion of excellent ice cream. Then read our top picks for the best restaurants in Stillwater MN. 

Stillwater MN Things To Do

Nelsons Ice Cream

Nelsons Ice Cream shop is a local favorite and brings you back to what an ice cream parlor was like in the ‘old days’. Been in business since 1923 and offers outdoor seating. The portion sizes are huge, so you may want to share your cone. 

Nelson's Ice Cream Stillwater MN

Leo’s Grill And Malt Shop

Enjoy the 50’s music and theme while you order your burger and malt at Leo’s. Located on the corner of Main Street and Chestnut Street (Lift Bridge), this shop is right in the center of downtown Stillwater. 

Leo's Grill and Malt Shop Things to do Stillwater MN

Candyland

Grab a piece of fudge at Candyland in Stillwater. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see the workers creating the delicious goods behind the glass. 

Brick and Bourbon

Brick and Bourbon offers indoor and outdoor dining with a view of downtown Stillwater. We loved their bacon, roasted duck, and the kind service. Oh, and they have a beautiful view of the Lift Bridge and St. Croix River from their rooftop dining area. 

Brick and Bourbon Stillwater Minnesota
Brick and Bourbon Rooftop Eating overlooking the St. Croix

Freight House Stillwater

The Freight House located in downtown Stillwater offers some great burgers and a delicious soft pretzel to name a few favorites on the menu. What makes this restaurant pretty unique is it’s historic building and a huge outdoor patio with a beautiful view. 

The Freight House Stillwater MN

The Wild Hare

The Wild Hare offers gluten-free and vegan options, along with sustainable meat, organic, and locally sourced ingredients at their new restaurant in downtown Stillwater. My niece has celiac and she’s thrilled to be able to eat their burger on a gluten-free bun AND french fries because their fryer uses rice bran oil and is totally gluten-free! My sister’s family has been there three times in the last month, and they don’t eat out much. 

Other Things To Do In Stillwater Minnesota

Stillwater Minnesota offers so many fun things to do, that you will have so many options during your visit. If you simply love history and historical buildings, then be sure to check out The Commander Building.

Commander building historic Stillwater_

It is a beautiful sight to see with some history to note. It was once the elevator that connected to the Minnesota Flour Mill in 1908.

Watch the lift bridge go up and down for the large yachts and boats that pass under on a warm summer night at Lowell Park in downtown Stillwater.

Lowell Park Stillwater MN

Or, sit and watch the Tuk Tuk drive-around ladies celebrating their bachelorette parties on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer.

Bachelorette Downtown Stillwater Minnesota

Being previous residents of Minnesota, Tony and I never really appreciated Stillwater until we came back for a visit. You see, we decided to move to Idaho where we now live.

When we spent a week vacationing in Stillwater with my sister’s family, I began to really understand all that Stillwater MN has to offer.

Vacationing in Minnesota Stillwater Lift Bridge

Have you been to Stillwater before? What else would you add to this list?

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