Take a Day Trip to Granite City
There are so many great things to do in St. Cloud, and it’s a really easy day trip from the Twin Cities. Just over one hour from downtown Minneapolis, St. Cloud offers some really unique things to do, many of which are super cheap or completely free! It’s an incredible way to spend a Saturday, or stay for the whole weekend if you can.
When I first moved to Minnesota in 2011, I moved to St. Cloud and stayed for one year. It was really fun to go back this past weekend with my husband and visit our first apartment together, and some of the bars and parks we used to frequent. Read on for my favorite ways to experience St. Cloud.
Play a Fun Game During Your Visit
Explore Minnesota made a Road Trip’n Bingo game for each region of the state. Visit St. Cloud used the central Minnesota board and personalized it with specific sites around St. Cloud, which we played throughout the day. It was super fun and we did pretty well! Check out the game here, and see how we did in the picture above.
Grab Lunch in Historic Downtown
The downtown area is pretty large and there are a lot of great restaurants to choose from. There are Mexican and Thai restaurants, great burger spots and a lot of tap houses and grills.
We visited Jules’ Bistro, which has a huge selection of paninis, wraps, salads, soups and pizzas. I had the turkey pesto panini and Nic had ham and cheese. Both were really good and the chips were awesome! We sat inside and had plenty of space in between us and the few other people sitting inside. Masks are required when walking around the restaurant and we used a QR code for the menu. All the employees had masks and gloves on too. We felt really safe the whole time.
Walk Around Lake George
Find Interesting Art Around Town
There are so many cool sculptures spread all around town. There are also tons of beautiful murals! They are scattered all over downtown St. Cloud so keep an eye out for them as you walk around.
Visit a Brewery and Cidery
Walk Through the Most Incredible Gardens
The Munsinger Gardens and Clemens Gardens are two separate yet adjacent gardens that run along the Mississippi River. This is a must-see spot. It’s my number one favorite place in St. Cloud and I used to read and relax in these gardens often when I lived there.
The Munsinger Gardens first began in the 1930s. They consist of 14 acres of winding flower-bordered paths and incredible pine trees. There is also a large grassy area to sit and relax. The Clemens Gardens were developed in the 1990s and offer seven acres of roses, perennials, sculptures and a fountain. It’s really impressive and I could honestly spend all day relaxing there.
Take a Hike by the Quarries
In 1868, the first granite quarry was founded in St. Cloud, and the population boomed shortly after. There are a few ways to see the quarries, which should definitely be on your list.
The more popular route is to go to Quarry Park and Nature Reserve. It’s huge and you could spend two or three hours hiking around. There is a $5 daily pass to enter. The less well-known path is the George Friedrich Park, which is free to enter. We chose the George Friedrich Park because it was closer to town and is a shorter hike. These parks were once a spot for granite mining. Now, they are popular places for hiking, swimming and diving. Both parks are beautiful and absolutely worth seeing.
Unique and Affordable Things to Do
There are so many interesting and beautiful things to do in St. Cloud, and most of them are completely free! St. Cloud has some incredible hikes and gardens and a lot of options when it comes to food and breweries. It’s definitely worth a day trip, or even a weekend visit if you have the time. Looking for more inspiration? Check out my post on Grand Marais!
This post is sponsored by Visit St. Cloud and Beaver Island Brewery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.