Nestled amidst bluffs on a sharp bend in the Mississippi River, Red Wing is a scenic and charming destination for a day or weekend visit. This historic river town is world-renowned for its pottery, shoes, and delightful accommodations. Take in some unique shopping and art galleries, play a round of golf, wet your fishing line, or enjoy award-winning dining. Whatever your desire, Red Wing truly has something to offer everyone and is extremely family-friendly.

Barn Bluff

Trail access from 5th Street, Red Wing

French explorers first named this boxy barn-shaped bluff Mt. La Grange, or Barn Mountain. Now referred to as Barn Bluff, this recognizable landmark is clearly seen as you approach Red Wing. The bluff overlooks the downtown area and towers 350 feet above the Mississippi River, with an extensive view of Lake Pepin to the south. And the only way to get that amazing view from above is to hike to the top. Although it’s not a super strenuous trail, it does take some time to get up there. Be prepared with water and maybe a little snack. My husband and I particularly enjoyed watching the adventurous climbers on the shady northern side’s vertical rock face. It was the perfect spot to take a cool rest on a hot summer day.

(credit: Red Wing Pottery)

Red Wing Pottery and Shops

1920 W. Main St., Red Wing
Summer Store Hours: Mon.-Sat.: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sun.: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(651) 388-3562

Red Wing is world famous for its pottery, which is still hand-turned today in the same skilled tradition as the first potters over 140 years ago. And you can watch these collectibles being made with your very own eyes! The pottery studio is open seven days a week, where visitors can interact with the potters as they wheel-throw and decorate the pottery. Also visit Red Wing Stoneware and the Red Wing Pottery Museum to see more of this important part of American culture.

(credit: Red Wing Shoes)

Red Wing Shoe Company Museum and Store

315 Main St., Red Wing
Hours: Mon.- Fri.: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sat.: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sun.: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Another product synonymous with Red Wing is its boots. Founded in 1905, the Red Wing Shoe Company has been making premium quality work boots for the most demanding of jobs. Today the factory cranks out 5000 pairs of boots each and every day. Visit the company’s museum and flagship store on beautiful Main street, where you’ll also find the world’s largest work boot. Standing 16 feet tall, this size 638-1/2 D boot is one impressive piece of footwear!

(credit: Cannon Valley Trail)

Cannon Valley Trail

“Lower A.P. Anderson Access”: 3775 Hwy. 61, Red Wing
“Old West Main Access”: 2480 Old West Main St., Red Wing
Wheeled trail users 18 years and older must have a valid Wheel Pass. Daily $4, Season $25

If your family likes to hit the trail for hiking, biking, or in-line skating, Red Wing offers trailhead access to the spectacular Cannon Valley Trail. This 19.7 mile paved trail, built on a former railroad bed, parallels the Cannon River from Red Wing to Cannon Falls. The scenery is diverse, ranging from overhanging cliffs to wetlands to farmland. Running through some of the most beautiful areas in southeast Minnesota, it’s easy to see why this trail is so popular.

(credit: Red Wing Trolley)

Red Wing Trolley Company

420 Levee St. (at the Depot), Red Wing
Hours: Thur. – Mon.: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Mid-October
10 and under free with paid adult, ages 11-17 $5, adults $10, seniors $9

This charmed town is full of history and beautiful architecture, and was recently ranked the 23rd historic place to visit in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Hop on a Red Wing Trolley for an information packed 50-minute excursion, taking in the sights of beautiful Victorian homes, historic buildings, and hotels. And for other views into Red Wing’s past, visit the Goodhue County History Center or take in a historic walking tour.

Rusty’s Red Wing River Rides

292 Levee Rd., Red Wing
Public excursions: Mon.-Fri.: 1:00 p.m., Sat. & Sun.: 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Public excursions: 4 and under free, ages 5-14 $5, seniors $10, adults $12

Enjoy this beautiful river town from out on the water! Join Captain Rusty and his crew on the Sight-Sea-ER II for a fully narrated cruise that is both informative and relaxing. Take in the local wildlife, watch some barges and famous paddle boats go by, and just plain enjoy the scenery.


Stay the night!

Website with lodging options

Planning a quick Minnesota getaway is easy with Red Wing’s variety of overnight accommodations. For the outdoorsy folk, pitch a tent at a state park or private campground on Hay Creek. For a family-friendly stay, there are a number of hotels and motels offering pools, continental breakfasts, and family suites. And for those seeking the historic ambience of beautiful Red Wing, book your stay at the nationally recognized St. James Hotel overlooking the river, or one of the many beautiful bed and breakfasts. Featured in such magazines as Country Living, Midwest Living, Wine Spectator, and Minnesota Monthly, these places are a special kind of roof over your head. I especially want to check out the beautiful Round Barn Farm, where you can get in on some bread baking in their wood-fired bread oven!


Brenda Score is the Minnesota blog author of A Farmgirl’s Dabbles, where she shares stories of family and fabulous food. You can find Brenda at, on Facebook at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles, and on Twitter as @farmgirlsdabble.