Situated on the St. Croix River across from the Wisconsin border, Stillwater, Minnesota boasts rich history, swaths of nature and plenty of shops and restaurants ripe for exploring. But if you thought Stillwater was solely for antique seekers...think again. A visit to this year-round destination means an opportunity to explore miles of picturesque biking and hiking trails, it means summer nights imbibing at local breweries or vineyards and winter days spent skiing through a frosty wonderland. It’s a chance to discover fascinating historical sights and maybe even indulge in a romantic evening on a riverboat cruise. In fact, there’s so much to do that you’ll need more than a day to do it in! Rest assured-- this riverfront town’s stylish lodgings are more than up to the task. You’ll discover unique accommodations that are perfect for your needs and price point, proving that the Birthplace of Minnesota has something to entice all travelers to stay a while.
Want to be right in the thick of it all? Consider staying on Main Street. The modern Lora boutique hotel occupies historic brewery caves, built into the bluffs. This uniquely sleek hotel is filled with details like exposed brick and limestone walls enhanced by clean, chic design. Well-appointed rooms feature Minnesota folklore and fables with stylish local touches, like the in-room minibar that offers locally made treats and brews. Take in Lora’s beautiful contemporary art collections, accented by the buildings unique nooks and corridors before heading downstairs to grab a nightcap at the street level Long Goodbye bar, where craft cocktails pair with cozy wood and celestial wallpaper.
At Hotel Crosby, reclaimed wood, rich leather, and vintage board games offer a rustic vibe, while the 3rd floor suites and amenities like an on-site spa and year-round rooftop saltwater hot tub offer a dose of luxury. Enjoy farm-to-table meals at the on-site Matchstick restaurant where you’ll feast on wood-fired, locally sourced meat and produce, plus a range of rare and unique whiskies.
The streets of Stillwater are lined with stunning, historic mansions that make you long for the grandeur of times gone by. Fortunately, several have been converted to luxe accommodations, allowing visitors to stay in extraordinary surroundings while indulging in the personal touches — think welcome happy hours and gourmet breakfasts — that only a bed and breakfast or small inn can offer.
Built in 1881, the William Sauntry Mansion pairs lavish features such as original chandeliers and parquet floors with modern luxuries like steam showers and in-room fireplaces. It's situated off Main Street in the hillier part of the city, offering quiet moments from its wraparound veranda. Nearby, the Lowell Inn boasts a grand brick exterior with white columns on the outside, and 23 opulent, historic rooms on the inside. If you prefer more modern lodgings, check out the annex which offers 12 contemporary rooms. Prepare your taste buds for elevated dining, as the on-site dining rooms offer unique culinary experiences, including fondue and high tea.
Looking for stunning river views? Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Water Street Inn is Stillwater's only waterfront hotel. Enjoy original features in this 1890s building like tin ceilings and several large walk-in vaults that are leftover from the building's days as the Lumber Exchange for wealthy lumbermen. Beginning in June, come witness the hotel's finished renovation that adds an additional 20 rooms, as well as a new entrance inspired by Stillwater’s original clock tower and a rooftop restaurant. Here you’ll have the best seat in town to view the boats cruising the river as they go under the historic lift bridge-- one of only three remaining in operation in the US! After dinner, head downstairs to visit the onsite Charlie's Irish Pub, where you’ll find live music and Guinness on tap. Ready to explore? Also being unveiled this summer is the renovation of The Lift Bridge and the final section of a 5-mile pedestrian and bike loop trail to Wisconsin and back over to downtown Stillwater.
Featuring exquisite European details like working fireplaces with Victorian-Era mantels, colorful stained glass and jaw-dropping architectural antiques, the Rivertown Inn offers nine different accommodations, all named for famous authors. You might find yourself relaxing in the Arthur Conan Doyle grand suite, escaping on a romantic getaway with the Jane Austen, or visiting old friends in the Oscar Wilde grand suite. Set on a hill three blocks above downtown, the inn has professional chefs on staff that bring a health-centered gourmet touch to everything from nightly wine and appetizer socials, while supporting local growers and organic agriculture.
Home rental services like VRBO allow visitors to live like a local, with access to a kitchen, living room and other home comforts. In Stillwater, these rentals boast next-level amenities that add to the getaway vibe while nearby stores like the River Market Community Co-op and Tremblay's Sweet Shop help keep the kitchen stocked with favorite foods.
Though located in the middle of Main Street, Excelsior Escape is a lush and quiet oasis, especially when taking in the bustle of the city and the breathtaking river views from the private rooftop deck. The fully stocked kitchen allows guests to unleash their inner gourmand, or for a night off, hire a private chef to craft a three-to-five course meal with wine pairings (reserve with the host in advance). Also located in the heart of downtown, Union Alley Escape is a spacious, light-filled loft complete with an outdoor deck that’s rich with plants and greenery. An available one-car garage makes for easy guest parking, too.
The Downtown features two bedrooms, high ceilings, lots of natural light and a parking spot reserved for guests. The open floor plan allows for plenty of socializing, while the downtown location, above a pottery studio, allows guests to ditch the car and explore Stillwater's many charms on foot. Perched at the base of one of the historic stairs and next to the historic prison wardens home, Main Street Hideaway may seem off the beaten path, but don’t be fooled. It's located just on the north side of Main Street—you’ll enjoy a relaxed vibe without sacrificing walkability. The space features two separate units — each with two bedrooms, one bath — and was recently renovated to include stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and updated bathrooms. Traveling with a bigger group? If both units are open, it can sleep up to 10 people.
Located across the hall from each other, Downtown Loft Getaway and Main Street Retreat are adorned in magazine-worthy décor. While the open-concept Downtown Loft Getaway is chic and stylish, Main Street Retreat features more rustic, Minnesota-themed decor. Both units are outfitted with modern conveniences like a smart TV and Keurig coffee maker.
While an apartment or loft is perfect for couples or smaller crews, when it comes to big-group travel — think family reunions, bachelorette parties, friend getaways and weddings — Stillwater's beautiful old homes provide the perfect place to gather before setting off to tackle your travel to-do list.
Located on the bluffs, and voted “Best View” by City Pages, 210 Laurel has six bedrooms, five full bathrooms and three half-baths. It also boasts a state-of-the-art kitchen with river views, multiple communal spaces, a giant yard, a large porch and gazebo, and a downstairs rec room with a bar, pool table and other games. The Cottage in the Alley, a three-bedroom restored 1880s cottage, is located just a mile from downtown near the marina, and offers well-appointed rooms, a fully-stocked kitchen, comfortable communal areas, a screened-in porch and an outdoor area with a fire pit. Take in the natural landscape via the Browns Creek Trail, which is located nearby and provides a direct path to downtown.
Ready to hit the spa or relax in a healing mineral pool? Be forewarned, you may never want to leave. Just For Me Spa homes provide guests the chance to indulge in deluxe services like skin treatments, massage therapies, visits to a salt cave and much more. After being professionally pampered, guests can then retire to an equally relaxing atmosphere post-treatment. Accommodations are located next door to the spa in turn-of-the-century homes, and include a cozy cottage, a log cabin and a larger home, which can sleep up to eight guests.
Beyond Stillwater’s outstanding boutique hotels and accommodations, you’ll also find traditional franchises with price points that are flexible without sacrificing quality. Grab the kids and head to AmericInn by Wyndham to enjoy their indoor pool and complimentary hot breakfast that includes fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. You can even reserve the swimming pool for your own private party for up to 20 people, ensuring that your event will make a splash.
Easy to get to right off of the highway, Comfort Inn is another great option. Guests seeking suites that include whirlpool tubs, sitting areas and kitchenettes will be pleased by the options available. Shake off the snow and swim in all seasons in their indoor swimming pool or start the day off right with a complimentary breakfast and coffee.
As you can see, there is no shortage of places to stay in Stillwater. Whether you are visiting town to escape to a quieter, more elegant time or looking to explore all of the fresh new things Main Street has to offer, you can find your perfect getaway in Stillwater, Minnesota. So, where would you like to stay?