Waseca, a Small Town with a Big Personality
Waseca is known for its comfortable and friendly atmosphere, and it’s just one hour south of Minneapolis. With a population of around 9,000, you’ll be surprised by how much this small town has to offer. With two breweries, one winery, a plethora of shops, museums, restaurants, and parks, you’ll easily be able to plan a memorable getaway with friends, or the whole family.
1. Jump Out of a Plane
For the real thrill-seekers, I highly recommend you go skydiving with Skydive Northstar! They were extremely professional and knowledgeable. My instructor was one of the owners and he’s been jumping for nearly 20 years and has jumped about 4,000 times! I think they could tell I was pretty nervous, so they made a real effort to keep me laughing and relaxed. This was my very first time skydiving and it was such a thrill! I loved seeing the sunlight dance off the lakes, and I even saw Farmamerica in the distance. Before we landed, I told my instructor I couldn’t wait to do this again!
2. Spend Time at Farmamerica
This interpretive center was one of the highlights of our time in Waseca. You could easily spend a few hours here and you’re sure to learn a lot. Walk around the property and visit old schoolhouses, churches, and farm animals, recreated to honor what farming was like in Minnesota decades ago. The staff are so friendly and informative. I learned how to milk a cow (it’s a simulation, not a real cow, but it is very realistic). It’s really a great experience for kids and adults alike! Stay up-to-date on their calendar for unique events, such as goat yoga, meat-a-palooza, and barnyard bash. It costs $12/adult and $10/child.
3. Take a Coffee Break
When you need a caffeine break, head over to Jonnie Beans. It’s conveniently located in the center of town inside a beautiful brick building with a large porch. Once you enter the building, head down the stairs and into the coffee shop. Grab yourself an iced coffee, latte or cappuccino then bring it back upstairs where you can sip and relax on the porch.
4. Visit the Waseca Art Center
Stop into the Waseca Art Center, a non-profit community art center offering pieces created by local artists. Spend time walking around and enjoying a wide array of art pieces including sculptures and paintings. They also offer art education, music events, and local author book readings. They also have a lovely gift shop filled with unique items, and they’re totally free to visit!
5. Get Your Shopping Fix
For a smaller town, you may be surprised with how many great shops Waseca has! The Summer Farm House was definitely the most unique. Built inside an old cattle barn during the 1940s, this cool space offers home goods such as kitchen towels, soaps, and platters. The Now and Again Antique shop is another great spot, for antiques of course! Then head into town and stop by the Speckled Hen for women’s clothing, jewelry, and home decor, such as artwork, glass-blown ornaments, and flower pots. A few other great shops include Zinnia’s, Glitter and Grace, Pearl Button Primitives, and Homestead.
6. Visit Lau’s Meat Market
First opening its operations in 1959, Lau’s Meat Market specializes in the classics, like beef and pork, as well as more unique options such as bear, moose, elk, and goose! The moment you walk into Lau’s Meat Center you’ll be hit with delicious, mouth-watering smells. Grab steak and burgers to grill, or summer sausage for a picnic.
7. Enjoy a Local Park
At Maplewood Park, you’ll find walking paths and a large grassy area to relax or set up a picnic. Bring burgers and hotdogs to cook by the public grills. Or, enjoy the lake, which has a boat launch and a dock for fishing.
8. Grab Lunch at a Drive-In
Across the street from Maplewood Park is Barney’s Drive-In. First opening its doors in 1949, this All American Drive-In offers fresh, made-to-order food, which will be brought to your car! Or, you can sit in their booths, located adjacent to the parking lot. You’ll want to try rootbeer floats, burgers, and salty fries!
9. Cool Off with a Cold Brew
Waseca has two breweries and one winery! When we visited, we stopped by Ward Brewery because it’s located in the center of town and is easy to get to. This tiny little building with a drop ceiling and only a handful of bar stools feels like a comfortable space where locals gather to catch up. They have a great selection of beers from sours to porters to IPAs. I enjoyed the Kolsch, which was refreshing on a hot day!
10. Cure Your Sweet Tooth Cravings
When you’re ready for a sweet treat, head over to Sailor’s Sweet Shoppe for edible cookie dough and ice cream! You can order from their little window on the exterior of the building or a separate window from inside Pippi Lane. Then find a spot to sit on the patio, and enjoy!
Start Planning Your Visit
Waseca is a great town with so much to offer. While we weren’t able to see everything during our day trip, we do hope to go back. With breweries, a winery, tons of great shopping, an art center, and so many restaurants, you’ll be surprised with how much there is to do! Looking for more inspiration? Check out my blog posts on Pine City, Otter Tail County, and Northfield.