While Sauk Centre is known as the birthplace of Sinclair Lewis, this little town in Central Minnesota has so much more charm to offer. Whether you’re needing a mini getaway or stopping through on your trip through lakes country, Sauk Centre is must visit. It’s the perfect combo of history, art, and the outdoors!
Read on below on my personal must-stops while visiting Sauk Centre!
Palmer House Hotel (Ps – it’s haunted!)
A national registered Historic site, The Palmer House Hotel was rebuilt in 1901 after the original building burned down in 1900. That means this year they are celebrating their 100th year anniversary! The Palmer House attracts those curious about the old hotel for a number of reasons… but the main reason is the rumblings of this being one of the most haunted places in Minnesota. There have been sightings of paranormal activity from the Palmer House, mostly from their infamous basement. While I didn’t encounter anything (too) eerie during my visit, I have had friends say they’ve seen some things! You’ll just have to visit yourself or sign up for one of the Paranormal tours that they offer! I highly suggest going during the fall – close to Halloween – they decorate the place in the spookiest decor! While you’re there, pop into the pub at night for a drink or casual dinner or they also serve breakfast in the morning in their little bistro.
Jitters Java Coffee Cafe
Fuel up for your day by stopping at Jitters Java Coffee Cafe, which is conveniently located right on the corner of downtown Sauk Centre. Not only do they have coffee, but they also serve breakfast and lunch with a rotating menu and weekly specials. Their menu is extensive so they will have something for everyone! Pop in during the afternoon and they serve wine too!
Joyful Blooms Flower Co. & Sprinkle of Joy
One of the cutest shops downtown, Joyful Blooms is your one-stop-shop for floral, however, they have the best home decor and gifts too! When I popped in for a visit, it happened to be Pedal it Forward day so I was greeted with 2 mini bouquets! It was the sweetest surprise. Connected to the floral shop is also Sprinkle of Joy Boutique. They have trendy and affordable apparel and accessories for women of all ages and range from size S to 3X! I was happy to see the inclusive sizing and the ladies there were so sweet!
Merchants on Main Street
A large shop on, you guessed it, Main Street, Merchant on Main Street features home decor & gifts, clothing, local artisan’s originals and J Decor 54 Boutique! Peruse through “mini” shops as different vendors showcase their products! There are lots of fun items to be seen!
A classic family-owned shop along main street, if you can catch Bart’s Bakery when they are open you won’t regret it! They are typically open Wednesday – Friday in the mornings or until sold out. They sell a variety of bakery products and it varies day-to-day. Go for the classic cake donuts or their delicious cookies!
Tutti Fruitti Market Farm
Located right outside the town Sauk Center, Tutti Fruitti Market is both a farm + restaurant! Come for their home-cooked meals and stay to check out their entire farm! There are ‘original’ farm-style meals to indulge in, animals to see, fall farm tours to be a part of, and the opportunity to pick your own fresh berries (seasonal). The staff is so friendly and portions are plenty, so really it’s a great way to start or end your trip in Sauk Centre! On Saturdays, they even do a big breakfast buffet!
Sinclair Lewis’ Childhood Home
Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in Sauk Centre in 1885 and raised in the town. Sauk Centre was his inspiration for Main Street, the novel of small-town life that brought him worldwide fame. His boyhood home, located in central Sauk Centre, has been restored with antiques appropriate to the period. Many rooms contain items that were known to belong to the Lewis family themselves. Unfortunately it is closed due to renovations currently but slotted to open back up in the spring! However, it is so easy to drive by and snap a quick photo!
The Outpost Mercantile
A unique stop in town, The Outpost Mercantile, is a one-stop-shop filled with fresh and healthy foods. You can grab a smoothie, sandwich or ice cream while also perusing their toys and outdoor gear and also their array of baking products! You’ll be surprised at the unique finds here!
If you drive through Sauk Centre you will definitely notice some murals around every other corner it seems like. Local artist Roger Reinardy is the mastermind behind these murals. Go on a Mural hunt and see how many you can find! Definitely make sure to see the Mural on Main street, The Palmer Hotel, Bandshell, and the Library Mural.
A mere 15 mins outside of Sauk Centre, take a little trip to the first distillery in Minnesota. Located in Osakis, Panther Distillery is a fun stop during your trip. You can schedule a distillery tour or simply pop in for a tasting! For $10, you get four 15ml tastings plus a shot glass to take home. All of their grain for their distilling comes from within 30 miles of their distillery. Their shop is quaint and has some fun merch too just make sure to check hours before you go!
While I only spent one day in Sauk Centre here are some other notable places to check out if you have more time!
-Take a class at the 510 Art Lab
-Bike or hike the 65 miles Lake Wobegon Regional Trail
-Check out one of the 3 Golf Courses
-Grab a drink at one of the bars on Sinclair Lewis Ave like Crazy J’s, Next Door Bar!
-In the summer, check out the Stearns County Fair or take a dip in Sauk Lake
Now, did I miss your favorite?! What is your favorite thing to do or place to visit around Sauk Centre? Whenever you’re planning your next visit make sure to check out Visit Sauk Centre’s great resources.