There is always something NEW happening in the fun, historic river town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Looking for information while visiting? The following Visitor Ambassador businesses welcome you to stop in, ask questions and pick up guidebook/map: Stillwater Trolley – Water Street Inn – Alfresco – Northern Vineyards
Discover Stillwater Blog – tune in for the latest!
Located along the scenic St. Croix River, and just outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Stillwater, Minnesota is considered the state’s historic birthplace. It’s been described as one of the Best Places to Take Out of Town Guests and named one of America’s Most Picturesque Towns, where paddle wheel river boats and gondolas still travel near a historic bridge.
This little city has easy access from the Twin Cities and Wisconsin and turns into a romantic, natural wonderland in wintertime. Stillwater is simultaneously festive, charming, and nostalgic, making it one of the best places in the nation to enjoy the holidays. Ready to celebrate the season? Here are some great ways to enjoy Stillwater at this magical time of year.
A bazaar and gala kick-off Stillwater Hometown for the Holidays Events, which span mid-November through New Year’s Eve. During the holiday season, hop aboard a free horse-drawn Victorian Wagonette Ride along the beautiful historic river town. You can greet Santa on Main Street as strolling carolers in Victorian garb add a festive soundtrack, especially during Stillwater’s Black Friday activities.
Stillwater likes to support its small businesses and there’s no better time than during Shop Small Saturday, a national, annual event that takes place, this year, on November 24. Shop small and you’ll feel even better about your purchases, especially as Santa and his reindeer join the celebration.
For classic holiday experiences, enjoy breakfast with Santa or indulge in Holiday Tea at the historic Lowell Inn or tour the Aurora Staples Inn, decorated from floor to ceiling in seasonal finery. Kids will love the annual Twinkle Party held in Lowell Park, where crowds adorned with twinkle lights gather to see the official lighting of the Christmas tree, fireworks and a performance by the Teddy Bear Band. Stay warm with free cocoa, coffee and cookies too.
“Make Stillwater Your Hometown for the Holidays” when you participate in a one-of-a-kind Biercycle Caroling Tour. You’ll join nine other ‘pedalers,’ plus bench seat passengers, on a beautifully decorated bike for a bunch. Then sing carols together as you travel through the streets of downtown Stillwater and sip wine or hot chocolate from home.
Visit the must-see Ice Castles where fairy tales are brought to life with twinkling lights of the nighttime glow, magnificent archways and towers, ice-carved tunnels and slides ready to be explored. Coming to the riverfront park of Downtown Stillwater this January-February (weather dependent). 11/9/18 update: Ice Castles will not be built in Stillwater this year, but we are hopeful they’ll return in 2020!. The frozen Ice Castles constructed downtown Stillwater were in Lowell Park on the riverfront the last two winters. We were grateful for the thousands who explored the carved tunnels, slides, archways and magical glow of this once in a lifetime frozen fun for all ages.
Revel in the joys of holiday shopping along Stillwater’s historic main street, where you’ll find perfect gifts and entertainment essentials. More than 50 downtown boutiques showcase an astonishing variety of locally made goods and unique ideas. These independently owned businesses provide a laidback, friendly ambiance too.
Park once and enjoy walking amid vintage buildings to shopping, dining, and even some lodging. There’s free on-street and city lot parking available from November to May, with a nearby parking ramp for $5 per day.
Shopping is a favorite Stillwater pastime. Whether browsing necklaces and shoes inside a hidden second story boutique, or trying on the latest high fashion dresses , jeans , or jewelry you’re sure to find new favorites. European wearable brands fill SASH and Simply Chic stocks affordable accessories for all ages, while outdoors enthusiasts appreciate adventure clothing and shoes, or gear, at 45 Degrees. Don’t forget, no sales tax on clothes in Minnesota!
Want to spruce up your home for the holidays? Fans of upcycled home decor & painted furniture enjoy browsing Reclaiming Beautiful. You’ll find eclectic home accents and clocks at Forget Me Not, rocks, fossils and funny gifts at Art n’ Soul and a general department store ‘feel’ from garden to bed and bath accessories to custom furniture, at Alfresco Casual Living.
There are baby carriers at Lil Tulips, natural soaps at Modern Roots, locally designed stationery at Mara-Mi and children’s accessories at Gully Wubbles. Foodies can purchase top-quality olive oil downtown, plus fresh candy and popcorn, while Pinch n’ Rub Spice & Tea Hub is known for premium-quality seasonings and loose leaf teas. Find unique imported goods from Kathe Wohlfahrt German Christmas Store or Scandinavian North. For the crafty in the family make a stop at Darn Knit Anyway and the avid reader, Valley Bookseller. Shop Stillwater’s used book stores and vintage antique shops, for more great purchases.
The Gift of Experience
When you’re ready to take a break from shopping, there are many more fun things to do in Stillwater. Enjoy breathtaking views of the St. Croix River Valley atop one of several historic main street stairways, or browse the beautiful two- and three-dimensional work of local artists at Tamarack Art Gallery and Stillwater Art Guild & Gallery. Or learn new culinary skills such as how to make the ultimate stir fry dish, and French inspired brunch dishes for holiday gatherings.
Gift giving becomes more personal when you create your own hand-painted pottery, custom heirloom jewelry, or spend an afternoon at Sawdust Savvy. The ideal Girlfriend Experience or DIY holiday gift idea, this woman-owned ‘shop’ provides all the power tools, paint and other accessories needed to create custom wood crafts without assembling your own workshop.
Stillwater gift certificates can cover meals at local restaurants, tastings at local wineries or a behind-the-scenes culinary walking tours with Foodies on Foot. You can treat loved ones to a stay in one of eight beautiful, historic Stillwater bed & breakfasts too, as well as trolley tours or boat tours. For more adventurous souls, book a hot air balloon ride or Segway tour. If your loved one enjoys being pampered, a gift certificate for spa & salon treatments will create the perfect ‘girl’s day.’
Eat, Drink & Stay
More than 30 downtown Stillwater restaurants and pubs can satisfy your hunger and thirst, as well as two breweries and two wineries. Sip your favorite coffee drink and savor freshly prepared quiche beside a roaring fire, or chow down on hearty Irish fare. In addition, sample cuisine riverside at The Dock Cafe and rich, delicious Caribbean seafood stew from Nacho Mamas. Whether you prefer pizza or burgers, scratch-made Thai food, or a house Reuben served with a side of bicycle repair, Stillwater dining offers plenty of tasty options.
This lovely city features diverse accommodations too. You can stay at a hotel with an indoor pool, in nearby Oak Park Heights, MN, or downtown in a historic inn or new boutique hotel. For a more personal lodging experience, settle into one of eight cute and cozy B&Bs, within short walks and drives from Main Street, while spa home retreats or sleek, modern downtown lofts combine privacy with all the comforts of home. No matter which option you choose, be sure to ask about #StayAnExtraDay deals too.
There’s no better place to celebrate the holiday season than in Stillwater, MN, where natural winter beauty and seasonal events only enhance the charm of this riverside city. #OnlyinMN
Hiking at William O’Brien State Park, just north of downtown Stillwater, Minnesota is a great way to create new memories while enjoying the great outdoors. Enter the Hike MN sweepstakes now through October 21st, 2018 for a chance to win a ‘Discover Stillwater Getaway’ that includes lodging, local beer from Lift Bridge Brewery, bike rental from DIRO Outdoors, shopping at 45 Degrees outdoor apparel shop, and sweet treats from Candyland.
Stillwater is just one of 10 featured hikes and 10 prize packages, so enter here: www.exploreminnesota.com/hikemn #OnlyinMN
1. Apple Picking
It’s officially fall when you arrive at an apple orchard and step inside a vintage barn to take in the fall scent of apples, apple pie, caramel apples and fresh family fun. Celebrating 70 years in business, Aamodt’s Apple Farm is in high season open 7 days a week for apple picking or activities such as hay wagon rides, honeycrisp express kids train, hay bale maze, and live goats. Check their website for days/times. For the adults, lounge in Thor’s Hard Cider tasting room or pop next door to Saint Croix Vineyards.
2. Fall Rivercruise
Spot the bright red colors of maple trees and yellow leaves of the oak trees along the shoreline of the St. Croix River. Wave to Minnesota and Wisconsin while enjoying lunch and dinner cruises offered daily (through October weather permitting) with an extra special live jazz band brunch cruise on Sundays. Come see the beauty of the river valley who’s celebrating 50 years as a nationally protected scenic riverway this year.
3. Fall Fashion
Touch and feel the fabrics of fall. Suede, denim, lace…it’s all downtown Stillwater with several women’s and some men’s clothing boutiques. You’ll even find a fashion show, a new shoe store, a Ladies Night Out shopping event in September and rare vintage fashion pieces you seek. Mix new and upcycled while feeling all pulled together for the new season.
4. Grape Stomp
Roll up your jeans and prepare to laugh out loud. You know a grape stomp is on your bucket list, so make plans to be a part of the fall harvest process at three wineries in Stillwater: Northern Vineyards, Saint Croix Vineyards, 7 Vines. Ask about tastings, tours, and special events like yoga in the vineyard. Stillwater has one of Minnesota’s oldest wine co-ops, award winning wines and new beautiful vineyard event venue in the countryside.
5. Gondola Romantica
Enjoy the romance of Venice blended with the beauty of the St. Croix River and the charm of Stillwater. Plan an especially romantic proposal, celebrate a birthday, wedding or anniversary, or just get away to a relaxing cruise on the river in an authentic Venetian gondola. You can book a sunlit daytime cruise or a moonlit evening cruise with options to add a 5-course dinner at the Dock Cafe with riverviews first, a gourmet picnic or even roll out the red carpet and red roses!
6. Giant Pumpkins
A true Midwest experience, Harvest Fest & Giant Pumpking Weigh-off is a fall festival in downtown Stillwater on the banks of the St. Croix River famous for it’s pumpkin regatta, giant pumpkin drop, and Guiness Book of World Record pumpkin competitions. Fun for the whole family right downtown so you can also shop, dine and stay right in the action.
7. Fall Cooking
Pumpkin, maple, cinnamon…..ooh the crisp air inspires you to have fun in the kitchen, doesn’t it? Visit Stillwater to stock up on your spices, olive oils, and cookware, or for inspiration. Take the foodie tour with a group of friends or a culinary class at Cooks of Crocus Hill, try a new restaurant or look for special dinner events at The Outing Lodge, Rivertown Inn, or Water Street Inn.
8. Best Views & Colors
Stillwater was rated one of the Best Towns for Fall Colors by Travel & Leisure Magazine AND the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin was voted Best View by City Pages. Come see the view! Pick your preferred transportation: Walk (new parking lot near the Stillwater exit on the MN side), rent a bike or bring your own, drive over the bridge, or take a guided segway tour from St. Croix Valley Segway or Stillwater Segway Tours. You can also drive the St. Croix Scenic Byway through downtown Stillwater heading north to Taylor’s Falls.
9. Local Art
Art is in the air….find art sculptures on public display downtown and browse the artists and works on exhibit at Stillwater Art Guild Gallery, Art Reach St. Croix, Jaguar Blu (new expanded location) or Tamarack Art Gallery. Well known fall art events are happening now, too: September- Take Me to the RIver a unique gathering of art events in the valley and in October, explore over 100 juried artists from the Midwest at the Rivertown Fall Art Festival downtown in Lowell Park featuring live music and local beer/wine/food vendors as well!
10. Unique Stay
If you’ve read this far, you’ve realized that Stillwater is no day-trip. You need more time, so plan to stay overnight! Stillwater has so many choices like never before, so you’ll find a place to stay to suit your style or budget. Swedish Hot Steam shower? Chandelier lit marble bath spa? Room with balcony? A Pool? A private home with kitchen? A loft above a downtown shop? An on-site bar & restaurant? A Main Street location? It’s all here. www.DiscoverStillwater.com/Lodging Rooms book quick in the fall, so don’t delay.
Need a place to host a meeting or event in Stillwater? You can tour venues right from your desk! Originally launched in 2017, we just added even more 360 tours to our website as well as an easy-to-navigate NEW menu of venue space tours.
View the 360 Venue Tours Here:
View table of details, capacity, etc. Here:
Stillwater has over 20 venues for weddings, meetings & events so think of this beautiful rivertown for your next special event – Restaurant private dining, Ballrooms, Upper Level Lounges, Breweries, Wineries, Golf Courses, and Historic Mansions.
New 360 tours just added in 2018: Lolo American Kitchen Stillwater, Revé Bistro and Bar, Portside Stillwater, Pearl & the Thief, Lift Bridge Beer Company, Aurora Staples Inn.
Tours created in 2017: Water Street Inn, Lowell Inn, JX Event Venue, The Loft at Studio J, Rivertown Inn, The Idea Pad, Cooks of Crocus Hill, The Grand Banquet Hall, Stillwater Riverboats, The Dock Cafe, Northern Vineyards Winery, Maple Island Brewing, Stillwater Library, Washington County Historic Courthouse
SELF-SERVICE BIKE RENTALS NOW AVAILABLE DOWNTOWN!!!
DIRO Outdoors rents bikes any day, anytime from sunrise to sunset and head off exploring the beautiful trails around the St. Croix Valley. Perfect for visitors, tourists, and locals looking for some fun and exercise. The bike rental station is located at the Water Street Inn on the corner of Water St. and Myrtle St. and has ten uni-sex seven speed bikes available. Riders use their smartphone to rent and pay for a bike. Couldn’t be simpler.
- Riders must be 18 or older
- Each rider must use their own smartphone to create an account and check-in/check-out a bike.
- Rider must install the Movatic app from the Apple or Google Play stores and have Bluetooth and Location Services enabled for the app. We recommending installing the app and adding your credit card info before arriving at the bike station to save time.
- Only one bike can be checked out per smartphone to ensure each rider is presented with and expressly agrees to the rental and liability terms and conditions.
- Rider must pay with credit card. Debit cards not accepted.
- Cost: First Hour: $9 / Subsequent Hours: $7
As you get ready to celebrate our country’s freedom next week for the 4th of July, take time to celebrate the fireworks inside all the fabulous entrepreneurs running fashion-forward boutiques on Main Street. They take the time to research, follow trends, and travel to buyers shows to find you all the lastest styles from jeans to jewelry. The shopping scene downtown Stillwater continues evolve with new shops popping up, so come stay for a shopping getaway.
You are beautiful, you work hard, and you have fierce female independence to celebrate as well, so treat yourself to fashion. Life is short, buy the dress, right!
July 1st-7th is national “Celebrate Your Independents” week honoring locally owned shops – if you live in the Midwest, Stillwater is your destination to shop local and shop small. We hope to see you soon. Featured in this photo shoot is a small taste of all the shops in downtown historic Stillwater, so be sure to check DiscoverStillwater.com/Shopping for a complete list of the 50 boutiques!
Get these looks and accessories downtown Stillwater right NOW.
Dress: Simply Chic $60
Shoes: Enchante, $130, Brand: Jeffrey Campbell
Bracelet: Mara-Mi $14
Ring: Enchante $39, Dank Smykkekunst
Earrings: Collaborations Boutique $15
Sunglasses: Downtown Divas $10
Purse: Enchante $105 wearable leather iphone case by Bandolier
Hair: Just Cuz Beauty Boutique
Top: Jori & June $35
Bottoms: Jori & June $66, Brand: Unpublished
Shoes: Luya $175 brand: Unity.In.Diversity
Bracelet: Simply Chic $24
Necklace: Downtown Divas $20
Earrings: Enchante $99, brand: Chan Luu
Sunglasses: Collaborations Boutique $15
Purse: Jaguar Blu $195 brand: Strey Designs
NOTE: Both gals are keeping soft summer skin with a light reflecting lotion made here locally in Minnesota using bronzing chaga and natural ingredients available at Modern Roots. Photo shoot locations: Northern Vineyards Winery and 210 Laurel (historic mansion vacation home rental perched on the bluff above downtown near Pioneer Park. Photographer: Eye Spy
Psst: We are the gals behind #discoverstillwater! Thank you for following us.
Celebrate independence day in an All-American historic river town! The City of Stillwater puts on a huge fireworks display over the St. Croix River offering views from anywhere downtown. Make a weekend out of it and stay overnight! During the day take a cruise on the river, ride the historic trolley, eat ice cream, relax and browse all the boutiques on Main Street!
Before dusk, be sure to find a spot to watch the fabulous firework display! Try a spot in one of the parks or settle in while enjoying food and beverages on one of our many outdoor dining decks. See the list below for some fantastic viewing options:
Lowell Park and Pioneer Park on the 4th of July – Wonderful views and first come first serve seating. Lowell Park is the riverfront area downtown and Pioneer Park is up on the bluff above downtown off 2nd Street. The fireworks are musically choreographed and simulcasted on WDGY FM Radio or you can hear it through a full sound system in Lowell Park (riverfront park). Come by early and hear live music in both parks. Special reserved seating will be available for Veterans in the Pedestrian Plaza at Lowell Park.
- St. Croix Jazz Orchestra at Pioneer Park from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.
- Civil War Cannons from Battery I, 1st US Calvary at Mulberry Point in Lowell Park.
- Bands at the Pedestrian Plaza area in Lowell Park from 6:30-9:45 PM. Scott Holt – blues/rock, Amanda Watkins & Cal Ecker, country.
- Fireworks by RES Specialty Pyrotechnics over the St. Croix River at dusk (after 10 PM).
With generous sponsorship support from: Gold Sponsor – CUB Foods, Silver Sponsors – Xcel Energy & Margaret Rivers Foundation, Bronze Sponsors – DBD Partners, Water Street Inn, P.D. Pappy’s, St. Croix Boat & Packet, Kwik Trip. CUB foods is the major sponsor of this year’s fireworks.
Fireworks on the Patio at Northern Vineyards Winery – Looking for a fun and unique location to celebrate 4th of July? The Northern Vineyard patio is the perfect location to view the Stillwater fireworks. Each seat reservation includes your first glass of Main Street wine and a reserved seat on the deck! Additional wine and small snack plates available for purchase.
4th of July at the Zephyr Theater – The Zephyr Theatre is serving complimentary root beer floats 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., with Lift Bridge Brewery root beer and Nelson’s vanilla ice cream. Get a tour of the new theatre-in-progress. All are welcome to bring a chair to watch the 10 p.m. fireworks from The Zephyr, or park and walk to Lowell Park for the fireworks display.
Brick and Bourbon – Rooftop Dinner, Cocktails and Fireworks – Take advantage of the beautiful rooftop patio by gathering there for the Fourth of July festivities! Seating fee for the table includes dinner for each guest and up to 4 handcrafted cocktail drinks per person. This is an amazing location to enjoy the firework display said to be one of the largest in Minnesota!
Book at room at Water Street Inn – Why not stay overnight in Stillwater on the 4th of July? There are rooms overlooking the St. Croix River for an up close and personal view of the fireworks! Or book a city side room and enjoy the display from the patio!
Light a Spark event at Stillwater Public Library – If you haven’t been to the Stillwater Library rooftop terrace, this might be the ideal time to check it out! The firework display and celebration are a must!
Watch the fireworks from the Riverboats – Celebrate the 4th in style on an authentic paddlewheel boat cruising the St. Croix River. Included is thier famous Chicken and St. Louis Style Rib Buffet. Upon return to the dock, stay on-board to watch the Stillwater fireworks or disembark and watch the show from land. Our full bar stays “live” throughout the fireworks. You can get on and off the boat at leisure during the fireworks display. Order tickets online or call us at (651) 430-1234.
Celebrate our country and locally independent businesses by shopping in our stores and dining at our cafes during the week of July 1st – 7th which is a national celebration of small independently owned businesses.
And lastly, please read through the important information from MNDOT about parking for the Fourth of July Fireworks: https://bit.ly/2MjKziP
Have a safe and wonderful time!
Stillwater’s Main Street Independent Business Alliance (Mainstreet Stillwater MN) is joining other organizations nationwide to #celebrate the great locally owned small #businesses who exemplify the uniqueness of Stillwater, #Minnesota. Did you know that the vast majority of our 100+ downtown shops, attractions, hotels & restaurants are locally owned?
🛍🇺🇸”Celebrate Your Independents Week” is July 1st-July 7th. Take time to shop and dine to say thank goodness we have this spirit of #entrepreneurship, individuality, #charm, and #character! Each business gives back to the #community with time, talents, goods and services fulfilling our community’s need. We are also recognizing the independence of our #customers– your ability to think and act for themselves and embrace their part in shaping our beautiful city!
We invite #locals and #guests to visit historic #downtown #StillwaterMinnesota to Celebrate your #Independents with us!!!
STILLWATER PHOTO CONTEST
Find what inspires you about historic downtown Stillwater, Minnesota!
Submit your photos of people and places of Stillwater during all four seasons. Portray Stillwater’s history, events, landmarks, scenery, attractions, dining, lodging, river activities, weddings, culinary travel, art scene, families, nature, outdoor adventure, architecture, boutiques, and more. Photos MUST be taken in Stillwater, MN.
- Popular Vote WINNER – Stillwater Getaway Package ($900+ value)
- 1st Prize WINNER – $300
- 2nd Prize WINNER – $200
- 3rd Prize WINNER – $100
The Stillwater Getaway Package includes:
- A night’s stay at Stillwater’s new boutique hotel on Main Street: Lora*. One night stay in a Deluxe King room. Valid through December 30th, 2018. Based on availability and black-out dates may apply.
Things to Do
- Tour of Lift Bridge Brewery and $50 gift certificate for the tap room or merchandise
- Two-hour bike rental for two at DIRO Outdoors new downtown bike rental station
- 2 tickets to the Stillwater Escape Room
- $25 towards a Sawdust Savvy workshop
- $50 Brick and Bourbon
- $50 Leo’s Grill & Malt Shop
- $50 Charlie’s Irish Pub
- $50 Foodies on Foot “Savor the Flavors” tour Gift Certificate
- $25 Mad Capper
- $25 Maple Island Brewing
NOTE: Not transferable. Prize awarded for winner’s use only. Restrictions and conditions may apply to each prize.
ENTRY DEADLINE: Monday, September 10th, 2018
Winners receive recognition with photo credit on www.DiscoverStillwater.com website, a showcase in the 2019 Official Stillwater Visitors Guide, social media recognition and in press release announcements to Twin Cities media. Prizes will be awarded in October. Contest entry period is June 10th 5pm to Sept 10th at 5pm.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd place cash prize winners will be judged by a panel of Stillwater Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) Board members. Popular vote grand prize winners will be determined by an online voting tool Sept 11-25th. People can vote for as many images as they’d like – 1 vote per image per person. Winners will be notified by email in October. Contestants can share the link of their image or tell fans to search by the name or description the image was submitted under.
Up to 5 images can be submitted (.jpg format, 300 dpi min. preferred, 8mb max size). Submissions are only accepted via the online tool. Enter online via our website with the ability to upload images from your computer, phone or Instagram account.We reserve the right to reject ANY entry. Photos must be obviously taken in Stillwater and be tourism related. No photos of flooding and current photos are preferred.
We encourage photos of all-seasons, so if the photo wasn’t taken this summer – that is okay! We are looking for scenery, selfies, history themes, creative shots, main street scenes, or active shots of fun experiences in Stillwater!
Enter contest and view past winners here: http://www.discoverstillwater.com/photo-contest/
Originally published in April, project Delayed to June.
Excuse our dust as we finish up making downtown Stillwater even more enjoyable for you!
Although the Hwy 36 St. Croix river crossing bridge opened to traffic on Wed, Aug. 2, 2017, additional work remains to complete the project. Find the current projects here: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/stcroixcrossing/
Hwy 95/South end of Main Street will be one of these projects starting June 11th. To avoid road closure or single lane traffic, take the detour from highway 36/Manning to enter downtown via the north on Hwy 96. Here’s the details: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy95stillwater/.