10 Reasons to Visit Stillwater, MN in the Fall

Fall River Cruise
Spot the bright red colors of maples and yellow leaves of the oak trees along the shoreline of the St. Croix River. Wave to Minnesota and Wisconsin shorelines while enjoying plated and served dinner cruises offered twice daily through October 18 (weather permitting). Book your fall river cruise online at StillwaterRiverboats.com. Come see the beauty of the river valley during its most colorful season. Peek colors in Stillwater are typically late September/Early October (sign up for the MN fall color finder).

Best Views & Colors
Stillwater was rated one of the Best Towns for Fall Colors by Travel & Leisure Magazine AND the St. Croix Crossing Bridge connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin was voted Best View by City Pages. Come see the view this fall! Pick your preferred transportation: Walk (parking lot near the downtown Stillwater exit on the MN side), rent a bike or bring your own to ride the St. Croix River Loop 4.7 mile Trail, drive over the bridge towards Wisconsin. For a longer excursion, head north from downtown to experience one of Explore Minnesota’s 10 Fabulous Fall Color Drives –  the St. Croix Scenic Byway stretch from Stillwater to Taylor’s Falls, MN.

Stay overnight in Stillwater and receive a postcard to send a special hello to a friend.
Stillwater Main Street Fall

Fall Fashion
Touch and feel the fabrics of fall. Faux fur, jewel tones like citrine & ruby, fine knit sweaters, suede fringe, preppy styles and of course cozy active wear…it’s all downtown Stillwater with several women’s clothing boutiques. Don’t forget to purchase a few fashionable face masks as well, they are everywhere downtown. You’ll even find tons of vintage pieces at several antique shops- mix new and upcycled while feeling all pulled together for the season. You’ll appreciate the mental boost a new outfit provides!

Fall Cooking

Pumpkin, maple, cumin, slow roasted one-pot meals…..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, cookware, and baking tools or for inspiration take a culinary class at Cooks of Crocus Hill  (don’t worry – temperature checks, masks and safety measures apply) – great for a date night! Be sure to have your home’s kitchen ready for warm meals and recipe adventures to get you through winter. Try a dutch oven, cast iron pan, silicone popcorn popper, new knives, or natural cookware from the new Toxy Free shop. You are basically a home chef, so be ready to enjoy it with the right tools and fresh local ingredients from Pinch n Rub Spice & Tea Hub or Stillwater Olive Oil Company.

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. Aamodt’s Apple Farm  is in high season open 7 days a week for apple picking or activities such as hay bale maze and live goats. Check their website for days/times. For the adults, sip hard cider or Minnesota wine flights outdoors at socially distanced fields of picnic tables as both Thor’s Hard Cider and Saint Croix Vineyards right on the apple farm.

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. Escape the chaos of the world and safely enjoy the beauty of this fall riverside town.

Dining Al Fresco

Have you been to one of the Best Small Town Food Scenes, yet? Stillwater was named as the 3rd best scene by USA Today this summer. The variety of parklets, alley ways, decks, rooftops and patios let alone cuisine choices is overwhelming so arrive hungry and thirsty. Almost all of the 30 dining establishments downtown have outdoor dining and many plan to warm you up with heaters on the patios into fall as well! View patios, full list of outdoor dining locations (those with heaters noted!), and view a list of breweries, wineries, cidery and a new distillery here. Also, be sure to get up to the best new view at the riverfront Papa’s rooftop at Water Street Inn!

Giant Pumpkins
A true Midwest experience, Harvest Fest & Giant Pumpkin 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. Obviously, things are different this year due to COVID with the festival being cancelled, BUT you can still tune in for a Virtual Pumpkin Weigh-off the last weekend in October. We think that may mean farmers will have pretty epic pumpkin crops to show off this year! For other events, visit www.DiscoverStillwater.com/events.

Local Art
Creativity is in season! Find art sculptures and murals on public display downtown and browse the local artists and works on exhibit at Stillwater Art Guild Gallery, Art Reach St. Croix, Galeria Saro and  Smith & Trade Merchantile. Well known fall art events like October’s Rivertown Fall Art Festival and September’s Take Me to the River . Paint your own pottery or canvas indoors or outside at Kari’s Create & Paint Studio on Chestnut St. And, don’t forget about the local performing artists at Stillwater Zephyr Theatre! They’ve been very creative offering socially distanced outdoor live music and theater events.

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 private home with kitchen? A loft above a downtown shop? An on-site bar & riverside rooftop restaurant? A Main Street location that is pet friendly? It’s all here. Rooms fill up quick in the fall, so don’t delay. www.DiscoverStillwater.com/Lodging 

Psst: Visit and take photos for a chance to win cash prizes. Photo Contest entries accepted through October 31st.

Discover Stillwater