Day trips are starting to become my choice of adventure this summer so I decided to grab a friend and head down to Faribault for the day to discover this little gem of a town! With a quick jaunt down 35, Faribault has so much to offer for everyone and this history that lives in this town is incredible! For example, did you know the Tilt a Whirl was invented here? Yeah, I didn’t either! I’ve only stopped here one for the woolen mill warehouse sale but thank to Visit Faribault I decided to come back and experience more!
With COVID, there are a few things that are still not accessible, however with the beautiful weather we’re having you can definitely fill your day with plenty of things to do outside. Read more about what we filled our day with and learn a little bit about the rich history in Faribault.
Hiking at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
On our way down we detoured a bit to stop at Nerstrand State Park! I’ve heard great things about this park and was excited to see the waterfall. It actually was a really easy hike if you just want to see the waterfall – just note there’s definitely a notice in incline on the way back up! Bring your water shoes, a floatie, or even a suit – there were already a few families wading through the water and cooling off when we reached the falls. If you choose to go, get there early! The parking tends to fill up fast. You also need a State Park pass, which you can buy a day pass there for $7. Once your done head down the gravel road and stop at Caron Park – a free park that also had a small little waterfall you can find your way to! After that, it’s a quick 15-20 mins into town.
Mural Hunting Downtown
Once you get to downtown Faribault keep your eye out for the MANY murals you’ll see throughout town! They are all within a 4-5 block radius so it’s a great way to see downtown, step back in time, and learn more about the rich history. You’ll also notice all the Fleur De Lis symbols around town. Alexander Faribault, who founded the town and is pictured in the mural on the 2nd photo, was of French and Native American Heritage. Since Faribault is a french name and the Fleur De Lis symbols originated in France, it has been a part of the town’s imagery throughout history and eventually was adopted as the official symbol of the town.
Lunching Depot Bar & Grill
You’ll definitely work up an appetite while walking through downtown so stop at The Depot Bar & Grill for lunch! It’s really is an old depot too, sitting right along the train tracks! They have a beautiful patio out back where you can enjoy the delicious food and hopefully catch a train come by! (Be prepared, you are literally steps from the tracks!)
Biking the Sakatah Trail
Get your pedals going on the Sakatah Bike trail! If you’re feeling really adventurous bike the 41-mile trail all the way to Mankato! Or if not, bike the nicely paved trail out and back as far as you want to go. Don’t have your own bikes? You can actually rent bikes for the day from Rent N Save (it’s super affordable too!) and their location is only a couple blocks to hop right on the trail. Head out of town and do some biking, then on your way back, stop and treat yourself and the local Dairy Queen for some ice cream!
Tour Shattuck St. Mary’s Campus
Whether you’re coming into town or heading out, this quick stop is a MUST. The architecture at Shattuck St. Mary’s is amazing and this high school is home to some very notable graduates. Think Marlon Brando, Sydney Crosby, Zach Parise, and Amanda Kessel. Also, if you’re a Mighty Ducks fan, you’ll definitely recognize this campus as parts of Mighty Ducks 3 was filmed at Shattuck (or should I say, Eden Hall). There’s also a quaint Inn right on the property that you can stay at. Take the weekend and have a cozy night at the inn and wake up to wander along this castle-like campus!
Sip of Cocktail at 10,000 Drops Distillery
I don’t know about you, but a cocktail or beer is always on my list when visiting a new town or doing an explore day! I especially love supporting local craft breweries or distilleries so I was in luck Faribault had both. The patio at 10,000 Drops is currently open for cocktails and they have a fun rotating slushie cocktail too! You just walk right up to the window and order then pop over the next window to pick up. You’ll spot one of the Murals there too! Right next door is Cork & Pints were you can get wine & beer on the patio as well, or mosey down the road to Crooked Pint Ale House for a beer!
Shop at Faribault Woolen Mill
Another must, while you’re in town, is to stop at the Faribault Woolen Mill. Unfortunately, all tours are suspended until about Mid July but the shop is open, just make sure to wear your mask! Founded on the banks of the Canon River in 1865, the Faribault Woolen Mill is one of the last vertical woolen mills in America. Their strong ties with the Military continues today as many soldiers from the past and now have slept under a Faribault wool blanket. Even if the tours are currently paused, there is still much history on display in the store, and the staff working there are extremely knowledgeable and helpful!
Take a Self Guided Tour
If you have time, the City of Faribault has created a self-guided historic tour of the town complete with it’s own podcast to listen along to! See Alexander Faribault’s house (above), an old brewery started by 2 brothers in 1857, and the Paradise Center for the Arts, which opened its doors back in 1894 as the Opera House, later to be burned down and rebuilt as the Paramount Theater, then reopened again as the Paradise Center for the Arts! Stop by the Visitors Center (530 Wilson Ave) to grab a copy of the information, map, and QR code for the podcast!
If you have a free day, Faribault is definitely worth a trip! There’s a lot of beauty and history to be found and the people are incredibly friendly. I’ve just scratched the surface of all the town has to offer and I can’t wait to visit again soon!