Minnesota side of the St. Croix River just north of Stillwater. (credit: Leo Gehlhoff)

Scenic Stillwater sits only a short drive west of the Twin Cities, and its proximity to the St. Croix River means this bustling town is equally enjoyable on warm summer nights as it is wrapped up in a picturesque snowfall. Considered the birthplace of Minnesota, as the charter for statehood was signed here in 1858, the town is full of history. Don’t miss out on a day trip to one of the most darling cities Minnesota has to offer.

(credit: CBS)

Getting There

A drive west on I-94 toward the Minnesota and Wisconsin border, with a quick hop north on Highway 95, puts Stillwater an easy half-hour drive past St. Paul. Take Highway 36 across the north side of the metro area to reach this river town area. Stillwater is home to one of the major river crossing points from Wisconsin, and offers plenty of scenic routes in and out of town. Park near the downtown area so you may browse the shops and cafes along Main Street, running parallel two blocks north of the river. Stillwater has plenty of historic charm (and even more antique shops), so it’s a pleasant stroll with plenty to see no matter where you go.

(credit: Cafe Cyan)

Pine Tree Apple Orchard
450 Apple Orchard Road
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
(651) 429-7202

Click here for event schedule.

One of the best ways to head to Stillwater is with a stop at the Pine Tree Apple Orchard, located 20 minutes northwest of town between White Bear Lake and Dellwood. The orchard is an easy drive to or from Stillwater, and offers plenty of fun for the whole family. In addition to several varieties of apple, it also boasts a seasonal strawberry patch, an awesome bakery and regularly scheduled activities. Take a wagon ride, pick your own pumpkin in the fall, or stop to pick up fresh apple cider while enjoying the beautiful countryside. Family owned and operated, the orchard is a favorite amongst families in the area, and especially among those who enjoy making their own apple treats. The orchard and main saleroom are opened seasonally, so be sure to check current open hours on its website when planning your visit.

Teddy Bear Park (credit: Colleen McGuire)

Teddy Bear Park
Nelson and Second streets
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 430-8837

Price: Free

Just as adorable as the name sounds, Stillwater’s Teddy Bear Park is a great family destination for visitors. With giant bears to climb on and other playground equipment rated for children 7 and younger, there’s plenty to see and do here. The park also offers picnic tables, a gazebo and indoor bathrooms, making it easy to spend a few hours playing and picnicking here. A large, rentable party room/meeting building is perfect for birthday parties and family reunions.

coffee cup, generic

(credit: Jupiter Images)

The Daily Grind Espresso Cafe
317 Main St.
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 430-3207

This popular local coffee shop serves up its coffee with a spectacular view of the river. Good coffee, great breakfast sandwiches and a rotating bakery case make this a great first stop or re-caffeination point in Stillwater. The shop also makes amazing fruit smoothies and milkshakes. Be sure to chat with owners Meg and Tim, a local couple with a passion for good coffee and great conversations.

Mara-Mi store+studio+café
201 Main St. S.
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 689-1730

While strolling along Main Street, pop into local business Mara-Mi’s store and cafe. Part of the Gartner Studios family (a Stillwater grown paper goods company), Mara-Mi has built a unique boutique in the first floor under its design studio. Featuring fun gifts, paper goods, some of Mara-Mi’s own offerings, note cards, gift wrap, and other neat little trinkets, the store is just cool. Keeping with the company’s philosophy about celebration — the cafe carries cupcakes, cakes, ice cream, coffee and tea, so browse and then treat yourself to something special.

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Dock Cafe
425 E. Nelson St.
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 430-3770

For a tasty, sit-down meal with a view, stop by the Dock Cafe, located just of Main Street on Nelson. With both lunch and dinner menus, as well as a full wine list, the restaurant offers one of the best dining experiences in Stillwater. Try a fish entree, or grab a sandwich. Dock Cafe also offers a date package in conjunction with other local Stillwater business — Gondola Romantica, if you’d like dinner and a romantic gondola ride down the St. Croix afterward.

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Freight House
305 Water St. South
Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 439-5718

Located in the original depot building built in 1883 to service the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, the Freight House is listed on the National Registry of historic places. It also features a great restaurant, patio seating, live music in the summer and Stillwater’s only night club. A great stop on your trip if you’re looking for grown-up entertainment, the building itself is worth the visit, but the restaurant and club more than meet the expectations of the space.

Sassy professional by day, men’s style expert by night, Bethany Rein is a twenty-something living in Minneapolis. She loves baseball, coffee and the well-dressed male. An avid runner, Bethany also plays recreational sports with more enthusiasm than skill. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.