Things To Do


Explore Things To Do

History & Sightseeing

historicsightseeing-photo

Discover the Past

Stillwater is considered the historic Birthplace of Minnesota because in 1848 the first territorial convention that began the process of establishing Minnesota as a State was held on the corner of Myrtle and Main Street downtown. Stillwater is also one of Minnesota’s oldest towns, preceding Minneapolis by years. At the time of incorporation as a city in 1854, Stillwater was the largest city in the Sate. The lumber industry made Stillwater famous. At the height of the log boom, Stillwater’s lumber mills were the largest in the country making Minnesota one of the largest lumber markets in the world. This boom brought wealth, railroads, steamships, gas lights, and grand homes. Today, Stillwater’s rich and vibrant history is celebration year-round with thousands of visitors from around the world.

paThe City of Stillwater is federally recognized as a Preserve America Community and the downtown Main Street area is Nationally registered as the Stillwater Commercial Historic District. In addition, there are 21 buildings on the National Historic Registry and over 100 Heirloom Homes and Landmark Sites. Visit the Washington County Historical Society website for more great history and enjoy the delightful boutique shopping and restaurants in these historic spaces.

Historical MarkerSleep in History – Immerse yourself in history and romance…spend a night, or longer, in a historic B&B or inn to get a glimpse into a lifestyle that was the envy of all during Stillwater’s heyday.

Shop in History – Many people visit Stillwater for the variety and number of unique antique and vintage shops offered. Find your treasure in Stillwater!

PLAY IN HISTORY – explore the variety of sightseeing, tours, and points of interest listed below. Discover what it may have been like to live here during the lumber boom era.

LEARN ABOUT OUR HISTORY – Walk the streets with self-guided tours and podcast videos to admire the many historic buildings and homes that still remain today. Downtown Tour, South Hill Homes Tour – Pine Street Loop and Chestnut Hill Loop.

AAMODT’S HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES

P.O. Box 40
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.351.0101

See the St. Croix Valley & River from the air…we are committed to providing a hot air balloon experience for every occasion and budget!

ALL AMERICAN SEGWAY

8312 Neal Ave N
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
507.206.0988

Choose from 3 Tours in Stillwater. 1hr Gateway Jr. 2hr Gateway Glide, or 3hr Taste of Stillwater (food included on the 3hr tour). Join the fun May 1st-October 31st. Ages 14+.

Arcola Mills Historic Site

12905 Arcola Trail North
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.439.1652

Tour and Explore this pre-Civil War milling community, now restored and on the national historic site register.   Six miles north of Stillwater. Event rentals available. 

BIERCYCLE ADVENTURES

Pedestrian Mall on Water St
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.300.2202

BierCycle Adventures provides a fun and interactive way to explore beautiful downtown Stillwater. Our bike can hold up to 10 eager pedalers, and 3 non-pedalers, for a tour through downtown and along the river. Join us for a public tour, or reserve our bike for a private tour with friends and family. All are welcome to join the adventure at BierCycle Adventures!

HISTORIC COURTHOUSE, WASHINGTON COUNTY

101 W. Pine St. Corner of 3rd and Pine
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.275.7075

The oldest standing courthouse in Minnesota – this magnificent 1867 Italianate style building offers guided tours year-round. Contains the old county Jail and Washington County Courtroom. National Historic Register. Available for weddings and events. Check events calendar for historic exhibits or special events as well.

HISTORIC LIFT BRIDGE

Lowell Park on Myrtle & Water Street
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)

Stillwater’s lift bridge (1931) spans the St. Croix River between Stillwater and Houlton, WI and is one of three remaining lift bridges in the U.S. today. Construction is underway to build a new bridge nearby and use the Historic Lift Bridge as a walking/biking bridge. Check out the lift bridge schedule to see when you can watch it go up/down!

HISTORIC MAIN STREET

Over 100 owner-operated shops and restaurants along Stillwater’s historic Main Street (on  National Historic Register).  Open year-round. Antiques, art galleries, fashion boutiques, home furnishings, decor, gifts, indoor and outdoor dining and more. Seeking a historic treasure? Stillwater is one of America’s Top 10 Towns for Antiquing with several multi-dealer antique malls and vintage reclaimed/up-cycled shops.

HISTORIC STAIRS

Downtown Stillwater was built on hills (much like San Francisco) with the lowest level being Main Street and the St. Croix river. Did you know that Stillwater has five sets of historic steps that you can climb for exercise, fun or for the view? The steps are marked on the map within the Stillwater Visitor Guide: Main Street Stairs · Chestnut Street Stairs · Pioneer Park Stairs · Triangle Park Stairs · South Hill Stairs. Each set has about 100 steps in a very steep vertical climb. Wind your way through downtown to find them all for a sense of accomplishment and about a 3 mile walk. Here is a suggested route –  Click to view/print Stillwater Steps Route .Stillwater Steps Map

 

Historic Walking Tour & Video – South Hill Homes

416 4th St. S.
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)

With funding assistance from the State Historic Preservation Office’s Certified Local Government grant program, the City of Stillwater’s South Hill Homes Walking Tour is the second in a series of public education tours. View videos on your smart phone at each stop on this self-guided tour to learn a little more about each historic home just south of downtown Stillwater, Minnesota. Highlights the story of 18 historic homes in two loops – Pine Street and Chestnut Street. Download/print Homes Tour.

Historic Walking Tour & Videos – Downtown

Lowell Park
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)

With funding assistance from the State Historic Preservation Office’s Certified Local Government grant program, the City of Stillwater’s Downtown Walking Tour is the first in a series of public education tours. View videos on your smart phone at each stop on this self-guided tour to learn a little more about 14 historic sites in downtown Stillwater, Minnesota. Brochure of the walking tour included in the Stillwater Visitor Guide. Download/print Downtown Tour Map.

History Tour – Secrets in the Landscape

People have long used Stillwater’s landscape to their advantage and shaped it to their needs. From the cool caves of the limestone bluffs to the steady river, discover the relationship between the landscape and the history of the city as you explore hidden features of Stillwater’s Cultural Landscape District.  This tour was developed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as part of the St. Croix Crossing bridge construction project. View/download the tour (no audio-visual accompany this tour).

Lowell Park

201 Water Street - Lowell Park
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.430.8837

This is the riverfront area of downtown Stillwater where many events are held. Take in a riverside walk or picnic in the grassy areas, view the historic lift bridge from this park. Gazebo area is a popular place to get married. Lowell Park is maintained by the City of Stillwater.

Pioneer Park

515 North 2nd St.
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.430.8837

Stop by for one of the best view of Stillwater as the park is perched on a bluff on the northern side of downtown. Playground, shelter, BBQ, private rental spaces for weddings and events. Pioneer Park is maintained by the City of Stillwater. Voted Best View in 2016 by City Pages!

Pivot Stillwater

Downtown Stillwater Various Locations
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)

This is a web-based app that allows you to view historical sites in Stillwater, Minnesota linked to their GPS locations. It is a tribute to John Runk and includes current and historical photos, audio and written narratives along with the surprise and magic of today’s digital image and location technology.

River City Sculpture Tour

Stillwater’s historic district downtown will feature a year-long outdoor exhibit of free public art as multiple art sculptures by Midwest artists will be on display as part of a multi-city tour in the the St. Croix and Mississippi River Valleys.  Stroll downtown to see what you can find, snap a photo and don’t forget to #DiscoverStillwater! Here is a Map of all 10 exhibits.

Scenic Drives

Hwy. 95
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)

Stillwater is located on the St. Croix Scenic Byway (State Hwy. 95 which runs through historic downtown Main Street) and is not far off the path of one of America’s Byways called the Great River Road in MN or WI that runs along the Mississippi River from Canada all the way to the Gulf of Mexico (from hwy 61 in Hastings, MN head north on Hwy 95) . Take the scenic drive listed on MotorcycleRoads.us (Hwy 95/Saint Croix Trail north from downtown Stillwater) for great ride from Stillwater to Taylor’s Falls, MN. More about Minnesota Scenic Byways.

ST. CROIX BOAT & PACKET CO. RIVER CRUISES

525 South Main Street
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.430.1234

Welcome to St. Croix Boat & Packet! We offer daily public lunch and dinner cruises on board our Paddlewheel Boats on the scenic St. Croix River.   Our private charters can accommodate groups of 25 to 675. Contact us today and we would be happy to assist you in planning your excursion. Seasonal business typically May-October.

Stillwater Balloons

PO Box 843
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.439.1800

Whether you are seeking an intimate and romantic excursion, a joy-filled, visually spectacular, once in a life time event, or a gorgeous gravity defying adventure, each flight will embrace your dreams and satisfy your desires. Enjoy the sensational experience of gently drifting over the beautiful and picturesque St. Croix River Valley.

STILLWATER LIBRARY

224 3rd St. North
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.275.4338

The original 1901 design was a one story Renaissance Revival made possible by Andrew Carnegie. Many changes have taken place over the years but much original beauty remains including stained glass windows and wrought iron shelving. The library rooftop deck provides a stunning view of downtown and the St. Croix River.

Stillwater Trolley

400 Nelson Street
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.430.0352

Hold on to your seat as you tour the hills and narrow streets of historic Stillwater, Minnesota’s oldest town and the 1848 Birthplace of Minnesota. 45 minute narrated tours run daily typically May through October. Check website for times. New specialty tours – kids story time, progressive craft beer and dinner tours, and tours of the Bed & Breakfasts on Tuesdays. Available for group reservations – perfect for wedding parties and other occasions!

STILLWATER VETERANS MEMORIAL

3rd and Pine St.
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)

This memorial, across the street from the Historic Courthouse, was founded to honor and remember all area veterans. The Wall of Honor lists names of residents who lost their lives while on active duty starting with the Civil War. Every Memorial Day there is a ceremony at this site.

Tuk-Tuk


888.4TukTuk (885 885)

Minnesota’s first electric Tuk-Tuk is a 3-wheel motorized people moving machine. Be on the look out for this new free service (tip the drivers) downtown. More details, website, and app scheduler coming soon. This is the 2nd time in Minnesota’s history that an electric mode of transportation has started in Stillwater. The first was the same day (June 27th) in 1889 (127 years ago) when Minnesota’s first electric street railway started operations in Stillwater.

VALLEY TOURS

101 West Pine St.
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.439.6110

Valley Tours offers walking tours for smaller groups, custom motor coach itineraries and walk-on tour guide services. Enhance your Stillwater visit with our knowledgeable, local guides.

WARDEN’S HOUSE MUSEUM

602 N. Main Street
Stillwater, MN 55082 (view map)
651.439.5956

Warden’s House Museum open for tours May through October  Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5pm. The cost is $5 per adult, $1 for children. Built in 1853 as the residence of the Minnesota Territorial Prison warden. Over time there were thirteen wardens that lived in the house until 1914.  This home was built next to the first Stillwater Prison. Group tours arranged year-round.

Discover Stillwater