The perfect explore day in Stillwater, MN

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Summertime in Minnesota means escapes to the lake and being outdoors for as long as possible until the bugs or humidity finally get to you. While I try to get on the water as much as possible, I simply love being near water in the summertime, especially where there are so many things to do and explore. That’s where Stillwater comes in.

I know Stillwater is known and visited by many, but I really think Stillwater is having a moment in the last year or so. With new restaurants, shops, and hotel openings, this is the perfect town to escape for a day, night, or weekend!

I had the chance to slip away from work when the weather was absolutely beautiful to explore some new places with my friend! We arrived in Stillwater around 9am and stayed until 4pm. Check out the things we did to give you some ideas on your next free day to explore Stillwater!

Things to do during a day in Stillwater

Breakfast at Mon Petite Cherie

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This adorable little spot just opened on Main street only a couple weeks ago. Formerly located in Minneapolis, Mon Petite Cheri is the hot spot for pastries and pancakes in Stillwater. The atmosphere reminded me of a being in a farmhouse kitchen – complete with exposed brick and antique kitchen cookware. Be prepared to wait in a line – but the food is worth it! Their pastries are out of this world and all made from scratch daily.  We went for breakfast and shared warm beignets with fresh jam, citrus ricotta pancakes, and the egg sandwich with homemade apple sausage. My mouth is watering just reminiscing about this breakfast! I will definitely be back as soon as possible. I think the Brioche french toast and amazing cinnamon rolls are on my list next.

Bike over to Wisconsin with Diro

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The weather has been perfect lately to get out and ride! If you’re like me and don’t have your own bike with you, they now have bikes you can rent. Head over by the Water Street Inn and you’ll find 10 Diro bikes for rent. Simply download the app and scan the QR Code (we were having a bit of an issue scanning the code so we just geo-located our station and entered our bike number) and then off you go! It is $7 an hour plus a $2 flat rental fee. There is even a wire basket in the back to hold your belongings! We decided to go for an hour on the loop trail and bike across the new St. Croix Crossing bridge into Wisconsin. It’s about 4 miles and makes a loop, hence being called the loop trail, coming back on the lift bridge*. It’s the perfect way to ride along the water, get in some exercise, and see some great views of Stillwater and the St. Croix River!

*Note the lift bridge is still currently under construction so you may have to do an out and back!

Caffeinate at Lora Hotel

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If you’re like me, you need your caffeine mid-morning or early afternoon. On our way back from biking we stopped at the new Lora Hotel (it’s gorgeous!) to their coffee shop called Made Coffee. The woman inside working was so sweet and talkative. I got my typical iced latte and went to sit on the patio to soak up some sun! If you’re feeling more adventurous- grab a coffee and head up the iconic staircase right next door. During our visit, a woman was writing positive messages on each step up the stairwell. It was such a heartwarming gesture to see!

Shop all things local at Mara Mi, Jori & June, & Minnesota Made

A trip is not complete unless I’ve done some shopping of course! There are several shops along Main Street and up the side streets but I only had time to tackle a few so you know I’ll be back for more!


Mara Mi

If you’re a stationery aficionado this store is for you. Oh did I mention they have a full coffee bar and pastry shop inside too? Browse their kitschy notebooks, list pads, and jewelry from local artists, then grab a latte while you take a break to plan your next adventure!


Jori & June

This store is for the Anthropologie lover on a budget. Take in their cute collection of accessories and decor (including my favorite – candles!) while chatting with the friendly ladies in the store. You can tell they are passionate about their products and it shows!  My personal favorites were a silk bandana scarf I purchased, a colorful woven tassel tote (pictured above), and delicious smelling gemstone candles.


Minnesota Made

Did you catch me listing this store as a Weekly Obsession last week? I was most excited to see this store on our adventure and it definitely delivered! I purchased an adorable Camp Minnesota tank and will be back for more. The owner designs all the graphics and screen prints them from the tees to hoodies to hats! Speaking of which, I think I’m needing a new bonfire hoodie for the summer…

Relax on a rooftop with views of the St. Croix at Northern Vineyards

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Summertime fun for me always involves an adult beverage and what pairs better than a sweet sip of wine with a great view? Head over the Northern Vineyards for friendly staff and some fun wine selections! I had a glass of the Lady Slipper – it was sweet but not too sweet! Peruse their shop but then head out back up the red staircase to a quaint balcony with amazing views of the river. They often have events where they make fun wine cocktails too! Froze anyone?

Play bags and try hard seltzer at Lift Bridge

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Is there anything more Minnesota than drinking a beer and playing cornhole? Or is it bags? You know what I’m talking about… I’ve only sipped Lift Bridge from cans or restaurants but never visited the Taprom! Located off of Main Street, we made a quick stop on our way out of town. Again, from my Weekly Obsessions  post last week, you know I’m a huge advocate of hard seltzers this summer. But, if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, try the Farm Girl Saison or the Mango Blonde. Both say, “cheers to summertime.”

Be extra with some extraordinary ice cream creations at MN Nice Cream

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I think my summer diet consists of mostly ice cream and I am okay with that. Especially when I’m able to dive into a beautifully handcrafted cone that makes me feel like rainbows and sunshine! The second location in Minnesota, MN Nice Cream is known for its crazy concoctions of soft serve. Follow them on Instagram to see their creation of the day or a secret flavor. Oh, and don’t forget to add the edible glitter!

I hope you enjoyed my explore day in Stillwater! While there are a ton of more things to do, my friend and I had the best time exploring. I think I’m in need of a staycation now to check out all the other restaurants they have to offer! What’s your favorite thing in Stillwater?

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