Known for iconic pottery and handcrafted boots, Red Wing’s well-preserved downtown and Mississippi River and bluffs make it one of Minnesota’s most romantic weekend getaways.
Red Wing Minnesota view from Sorin's Bluff
Sorin's Bluff
| Credit: Ginger Crichton

Day 1

Whether you arrive by train on Amtrak's Empire Builder, by car on Highway 61 or by bike on the Cannon River Valley Trail, swing into Red Wing Depot along the river. Besides serving as the city visitor center and functioning depot, it also has an arts gallery and store for area artists.

Hungry? Walk next door to the St. James Hotel (the oldest in Minnesota) for a stop at Scarlet Kitchen and Bar.

Giant boot at Red Wing Shoe Company Museum and Store
Red Wing Shoe Company
| Credit: Lisa Meyers McClintick

Stroll through hotel shops and along historic Main Street, which includes the Uffda Shop, a classy blend of Scandinavian housewares, holiday decor and gifts.

Have your camera handy for the size 638½ work boot at Red Wing Shoe Store and Museum. The second floor of this downtown shop covers the evolution of work boots in America and includes some kid-friendly displays. Ask about weekday tours of the off-site factory. The store's main floor includes dress shoes, work boots and hiking boots; the basement is stacked with outlet bargains.

View from Barn Bluff He Mni Can Red Wing Minnesota
Barn Bluff/He Mni Can view
| Credit: Ginger Crichton

Grab a burger at Bev's Cafe downtown or have a sweet snack or lunch sandwich at Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop before taking your own boots a-walking for the afternoon.

Take a drive up Sorin's Bluff for great views of the town or hike up iconic Barn Bluff/He Mni Can along the Mississippi River. Stop at Colvill Park to watch for eagles—especially during peak migration and mating season in March. You'll find another fine birding area 10 minutes south of Red Wing in Frontenac State Park, where trails run along steep wooded riverbanks.

Spend at night at the St. James Hotel (where halls were built wide enough for hoop skirts!), or head south to Round Barn Farm.

Day 2

Pottery Museum of Red Wing Minnesota
Pottery Museum of Red Wing
| Credit: Ginger Crichton

Delve into the city's roots as a pottery town dating to when a German immigrant used local clay to fashion sturdy salt-glazed stoneware in the 1860s. See bowls, crocks and jugs used by Minnesota's pioneers at the free, self-guided Pottery Museum of Red Wing. With mechanization in the early 1900s, the Red Wing company became one of the biggest pottery manufacturers in the world-even branching into elegant dinnerware.

The museum is across from The Pottery Place, a converted warehouse ranking as a favorite place for shopping. Find collectible Red Wing pottery or go a little "Mad Men" in your kitchen at Pottery Place Antiques, with close to 50 dealers under one roof. You'll find aisles packed with floral juice glasses, Watts ware, rare bottles, vintage hats and aprons, rare toys, beer glasses, old books and colorful quilts. It can be nirvana for antique lovers.

Haven't shopped 'til you drop? Walk or bike along the 19-mile Cannon Valley Trail to wind down the day.

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