Along the wild and scenic St. Croix River and 28 miles northeast of the Twin Cities, Stillwater combines a historic downtown with contemporary dining, shopping and lodging.
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Gondolier John Kerschbaum with Gondola Romantica
Credit: Ackerman + Gruber

As a quiet neighbor to Saint Paul, historic Stillwater lures Twin Cities locals and vacationers to the scenic banks of the St. Croix River. Boutiques, bell towers and wooded bluffs make a day trip fun, but the Venetian gondola may sway you to stay the night.

Aamodt's Hot Air Balloon Rides
Credit: John Noltner

Do

Aamodt's Hot Air Balloon Rides

Take flight from the property of Aamodt's Apple Farm and Saint Croix Vineyards for panoramic views of the Twin Cities skyline and the countryside. Then try a wine tasting at the vineyard, or buy some freshly picked apples at the farm to complete a picnic. aamodtsballoons.com

Franconia Sculpture Park

A rotating collection of modern sculptures dots the 43-acre park 25 miles north of Stillwater. franconia.org

Brown's Creek State Trail
Brown's Creek State Trail
| Credit: John Noltner

Gateway-Brown's Creek State Trails

The 5.9-mile Brown's Creek State Trail leads bikers and walkers to the heart of Stillwater, and it connects to other trail systems, including the 18-mile Gateway State Trail running from Saint Paul to Stillwater. gatewaybrownscreektrail.org

Gondola Romantica

Former Boundary Waters guide John Kerschbaum traded canoe paddling for gondola cruising in 2000 (after shipping an authentic vessel from Venice to Minnesota). He's been crooning to lovers on the St. Croix ever since. gondolaromantica.com

Shopping

Stillwater earned a reputation as the state's birthplace after hosting the first territorial convention in 1848. The Main Street where settlers met has become one of the state's most popular stretches for vintage wares and collectibles. Explore 50-plus shops, like Kathe Wohlfahrt of America (for holiday decorations). discoverstillwater.com

Urban hike

The city built on hills holds five long, iconic staircases with San Francisco-like inclines. Create your own path or find a route at discoverstillwater.com.

Eat and Drink

Freight House

A former railway warehouse from the 1880s churns out beer-brined steaks and elk burgers. thefreighthouse.com

LoLo American Kitchen and Craft Bar
LoLo
| Credit: John Noltner

LoLo American Kitchen and Craft Bar

LoLo (short for locally owned, locally operated) has won over regulars from Saint Paul with inventive fare like Korean barbecue steak tacos. loloamericankitchen.com

Marx Fusion Bistro

Eat your way around the world with a menu that combines Caribbean, Italian-American and Asian dishes. marxfusionbistro.com

Phil's Tara Hideaway Bar and Restaurant

Join locals for walleye, pastas or Greek dishes. Located off of State-36. tarahideaway.com 

Stay

Ann Bean Mansion

One of the six bedrooms in the former home and estate of a lumber baron has an oversize copper soaking tub; another room has a ladder leading to a tower with scenic views.  annbeanmansion.com

Lora

The 40-room lodging traces its roots to an 1868 brewery built into the bluff. Today, modern linens and decor soften the look of original stone walls and vaulted ceilings. Borrow a complimentary bike to explore the town. lorahotel.com

The Outing Lodge at Pine Point

The 1858 Georgian premises in the heart of 300-acre Pine Point County Park is known for sumptuous theme dinners. outinglodge.com

Rivertown Inn

Deluxe rooms and suites are named for Victorian authors. Some rooms have antique crystal chandeliers and stained-glass windows. rivertowninn.com

Water Street Inn

Each room in this historical inn has period furniture and a whirlpool tub; all but five have a gas fireplace. waterstreetinn.us

For more information visit discoverstillwater.com