Red Wing Has a Lot of Charm
Red Wing, Minnesota is about one hour Southeast of downtown Minneapolis. Known for its beautiful bluffs, historic sites, and world-famous boots, it’s a great spot for a day trip. It’s an especially beautiful place in the fall when the bluffs along the Mississippi River are bursting with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges.
There is so much history and pride in Red Wing. You’ll notice the red-colored wing logo used all around town. The Red Wing Shoe Company was founded here in 1905 and is still going strong! Keep reading for the ten best things to do in Red Wing!
1. Hike the Barn Bluff Trail
The Barn Bluff hike is an absolute must-see when visiting Red Wing. There’s free parking along the street and it’s usually pretty easy to find a spot. The hike itself takes 45-60 minutes if you’d like to see both lookout points with plenty of time to stop and take phots. It’s a very steep incline on the way up so be prepared for a workout. But once you’re there, it is well worth it!
2. Walk Around the Riverfront Park
Walk around Levee Park, which runs adjacent to the Mississippi River. Grab a coffee or take out and have a picnic. There is a large grassy area with park benches. It’s a small park so if you just want to walk through it, it will probably take you about five minutes. The Red Wing Train Station is next to the park, and when we walked by there was a free art gallery on display inside.
3. Visit the Red Wing Pottery Museum
Red Wing has a historic clay industry, so be sure to check out the Pottery Museum. Some of the pottery dates back to the 1800s. There are more than 6,000 vintage pieces of stoneware, art pottery, dinnerware, and folk art. Admission to the museum is free, and it’s quite interesting!
4. Enjoy the Cute Shops on Main Street
There are a lot of adorable shops in town, but note that many of them don’t open until noon on Sundays, and some are closed all day on Sundays. The Duluth Trading Co. is one of my favorite shops in Red Wing. They have awesome outdoor gear, flannel shirts and hiking boots. You’ll also want to visit the Uffda Shop for authentic Scandinavian products like decorative platters, jewelry and table clothes.
5. Sleep or Eat at the St. James Hotel
If you’re staying in Red Wing for a few days, treat yourself and stay in this historic and beautiful hotel in the heart of town. The St. James Hotel, which opened in 1875, has a bunch of shops and restaurants inside. There is also a rooftop bar overlooking the Mississippi River, which you can visit even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
6. Eat Sweet Treats at Hanisch Bakery
If you’re looking for something sugary and sweet, you’ll definitely want to visit the Hanisch Bakery for freshly baked goods. They are closed on Sundays, so be sure to plan your visit on a day when they’re open. They’re known for mouthwatering donuts, cookies, and coffee!
7. Grab a Beer at the Brewery
If you’re getting thirsty, stop by the Red Wing Brewery. It’s a great little spot on the outskirts of town. The beer selection is varied and delicious. I really like the Barn Bluff Brown and Work Boot Red. They also serve pizzas and calzones, which are very popular in Red Wing!
8. Sip Wine at Falconer Vineyard
If you prefer wine over beer, check out Falconer Vineyards. They offer wine and cider and have a great outdoor seating area overlooking the vineyards. They also sell wood-fired pizza, so you can grab lunch and stay for a while. When you’re finished, walk around the vineyards and enjoy the gardens.
9. Enjoy the Many Restaurants
If you’re looking for additional places to eat and drink, you’ll find Staghead, Red Savoy’s Pizza, Mandy’s Coffee, and several Mexican restaurants. During a visit to Red Wing with my mom we went to Liberty’s Restaurant and Lounge and shared a pizza. It was huge and really cheesy.
10. Check Out the Red Wing Shoe Company
Visit the Red Wing Shoe Company flagship store and museum to snap a photo with the world’s largest boot, which is a size 638 ½ D (US)! It was built with the same style and process as their original boot, which they identify as classic style number 877. Head upstairs to the museum and learn about the history of the company and how it’s grown over the years. Then finish up with some shopping on the main level.
Plan Your Perfect Fall Day Trip
From hiking the bluffs during peak fall colors to museums, breweries, and bakeries, Red Wing is a great town for a day trip. There are also so many restaurants and shops and great spots to enjoy the Mississippi River. Each time I visit, I discover something new.