Top Stops in Wabasha and Lake City, Minnesota | Midwest Living

Top Stops in Wabasha and Lake City, Minnesota

Soaring eagles, a posh new paddle-friendly B&B and a hand-carved carousel are just 3 reasons to visit Wabasha and Lake City along the Great River Road.

I’d truly like to meet and thank the mother who raised Ritchie Mann, the owner of Wabasha’s Turning Waters Bed, Breakfast and Adventure. Ritchie knows just what kind of fluffy robe to hang in my bath, what toiletries to include in my suite and how to make a perfect plate of eggs before leading a beginner-friendly paddle on the Mississippi River, 85 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. But that’s just the start of a standout weekend in the Great River Road towns of Lake City (population: 5,048) and Wabasha (population: 2,591). Bird-watching, boating on Lake Pepin, quaint shopping and dining in cozy waterfront cafes round out a stay; when you go, check out these top spots.

Top stops

1 National Eagle Center Most people come here to watch eagles from the Wabasha center’s two-story windows and the 25-foot-high, outdoor observation platform. But be sure to leave time for the programs about resident eagles, too. Admission charged. (651) 565-4989;

National Eagle Center. Wabasha, Minnesota.

National Eagle Center.

2 Lark Toys Ride beside a troll on a pig or one of the other hand-carved whimsical creatures on the stunning carousel in this sprawling toy store, just 6 miles south of Wabasha in Kellogg. (507) 767-3387;

3 Lake Pepin Pearl Button Company See locally harvested clamshells once used to make pearly buttons, and browse antiques and gifts in Lake City’s historic 1866 former button factory. (651) 345-2100;

4 Nosh Restaurant Lake City’s upscale dining spot on Lake Pepin offers fabulous views and impresses with its seasonal and sophisticated Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. (651) 345-2425;

5 Reads Landing Brewing Company It’s all good when North meets South at this 1869 former dry goods store 3 miles northwest of Wabasha. Enjoy a craft beer and creamy garlicky shrimp and grits while watching trains rumble past. (651) 560-4777;

6 Chocolate Escape Indulge in dense and chewy caramels, rich truffles and gourmet chocolates at this sweet shop in downtown Wabasha. (651) 565-0035;

7 Turning Waters Bed, Breakfast and Adventure Combine adventure and comfort in a guided kayaking trip on the backwaters of the Mississippi and a relaxing stay at this B&B just a block west of Wabasha’s downtown. (651) 564-1568;

Turning Waters Bed and Breakfast and Adventure

For more information: Lake City Tourism Bureau (877) 525-3248; and Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 565-4158;

Click to see our two-day itinerary for Lake City and Wabasha.


Comments (1)

cjaksha wrote:
Great job on selecting locations - and highlighting their best items. Reads Landing nails the shrimp and grits and the brisket sandwich every time, and always opt for the garlic fries - you won't be sorry. Sadly, Rhythm & Brew closed this summer - but right next to Nosh is Rabbit's Bakery -- the desserts are delish, but make sure to ask about their 'savory roll' of the day (those sell out early). We've had horseradish-Swiss, bacon-cheddar, onion-goat cheese, pepperoni-provolone...they are all amazing. They also offer great coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch and wood-fired pizzas (just once a month for the pizzas). But no visit to this area would be complete without crossing the river in Wabasha over into Nelson, WI. Just three miles from the Eagle Center is J&J BBQ ( ). They serve the best ribs and brisket this side of the Mason Dixon Line... maybe even beyond! The Brisket Burger stacks their house smoked brisket between two burgers, both topped with real cheddar cheese. Resistance is futile, you will not be disappointed. Be sure to save room for some of the best locally made ice cream (go for the Mackinac Fudge). The prices are ridiculously low for the quality and quantity of food you get. The owners are super friendly and always there... AND it doubles as an antique shop with plenty to keep you busy while Jim cooks up your food!

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