(credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Located just east of the Minnesota/Wisconsin border directly across the St. Croix River, Hudson is equal parts historic downtown district, beautiful waterfront views and modern city with all of the expected features and attractions. While there is certainly enough to explore for an entire summer, take a day trip that centers around the downtown area – with plenty to see, eat,and do, you will have no trouble filling your schedule and keeping the whole family entertained.

Getting There 

From the Twin Cities metro area, less than an hour’s drive east on I-94 will take you right to the edge of Hudson. The first exit will drop you right in the heart of historic downtown, while subsequent exits will put you closer to the newer parts of town. Visitors from the southern side of the metro will likely take 494 to link up with 94, but be aware of potential traffic congestion when crossing the Minnesota River. As always, check the MN DOT website for current construction projects. The eastern edge of the Metro is a frequent target for projects lately, especially on the weekends.

What To Do

(credit: .ci.hudson.wi.us)

Lakefront Park
1st and Walnut streets
Hudson, WI 54016
(715) 386-4774

Price: free

Lakefront Park offers a great jumping off point for most any day. Featuring playgrounds and jungle gym equipment for the kids, and picnic areas for the whole family, there is plenty to keep you busy. Enjoy plenty of shoreline for fishing, a pay-to-launch boat launch and paved walkways for taking in the sights. If you happen to circle back in the evening, there is also a great summer concert series offered at the park.

Related: Best Boating Trips Near Minnesota

La Rue Marché
513 Second St.
Hudson, WI 54016
(715) 386-1969

Open seven days a week, La Rue Marché offers a boutique shopping experience with a local feel. Uniquely targeted at women, this is not likely the shop to take your husband, but it features a little bit of everything. Snag some flare for the wardrobe or outfit yourself entirely by scheduling a visit to have the shop closed to the public just for you. Don’t worry, the shop provides snacks for when you actually drop from all of the shopping.


(credit: eatbricks.com)

Bricks Neopolitan Pizza
407 Second St.
Hudson, WI 54016
(715) 377-7670

Offering personal-sized pizza fresh from a brick oven, Bricks Neopolitan Pizza is made like pizza should be. Surrounded by a warm cozy atmosphere, this is the kind of meal that will make any day – and at an easy walk from anywhere else on this list, you are safe parking your car once in the morning and stretching your legs a bit. A picnic lunch at Lakefront Park is recommended, but Bricks is a must-do during your trip. Whether you plan a lunch stop, or end your day here with dinner, make sure you go.

The Nova of Hudson
236 Coulee Road
Hudson, WI 54016
(715) 386-5333

Featuring a more adult-style activity, this is a wine bar with a history. Because it began as a brewery, it was forced to make a change during the prohibition era, so it switched to Coca-Cola bottling. The natural cave, still standing a mere 150 feet away today, served as a great storage facility. The Nova has followed an interesting path throughout its history. The most recent change was in 2003, as the new owners changed the Nova’s mission again – from liquor bottler and wholesaler to a unique wine bar, offering a vast wine and beer selection in a comfortable setting complete with couches and a fireplace in the second half of the old liquor store.

Knoke’s Chocolates
220 Locust St.
Hudson, WI 54016
(715) 381-9866

Continuing the travel up the hill from Lakefront Park, Knoke’s is another must-do, regardless of the group tagging along on your trip. A great treat for anyone just leaving La Rue Marché after a long afternoon of shopping, a nice reward for the family who just got done on the playground, and a great way to cap off a meal at Bricks, this candy shop boasts a homemade feel. Come back as often as your waistline will allow, the variety will leave you constantly saying “Nope, I’m sure of it – that one’s my favorite.”

Related: Best Spots for a Picnic in Minnesota

Rich Rein has been featured in Midwest Outdoors and Outdoors Weekly magazines and has been a contributor to MyBuckStory.com and Examiner.com. He is a Minnesota transplant staying busy holding down a career as a software developer by day and a firefighter/EMT by night. His work can be found at Examiner.com.