Best Things to Do in Winona in the Fall
Since the main goal of this trip was to see the fall colors, we took the scenic route on our drive. From the Twin Cities, we followed highway 61 south, and on the return trip we took highway 35 on the Wisconsin side so we could get a great view of the Minnesota bluffs. The longer drive was definitely worth it and we especially enjoyed the drive on highway 61 which was a winding road that gave us stunning views of the bluffs.
There are so many great things to do in Winona. Here is a roundup of our day trip and what I recommend doing when you visit.
Minnesota Marine Art Museum
We kicked off the day with the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. It’s a gorgeous building next to the Mississippi River with pretty gardens. The museum had many different rooms and included a chair from the Titanic as well as hand written letters from a survivor. Another room had incredible photographs of animals underwater, like alligators, sharks and whales. My favorite room had colorful paintings from Picasso, Mattise, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and other infamous artists. I highly recommend this museum, which costs only $9! It also had a very cute gift shop in the front entrance.
Grab Lunch and Eat at the Brewery
After the museum, we drove over to the Acoustic Cafe. They serve sandwiches, soups, smoothies and coffee. We grabbed soup and sandwiches for takeout, and brought it over to Island City Brewing, which is just one block away.
The brewery had a great selection of beer. My favorites were the Octoberfest and red ale. They also have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and the outdoor area has a large tent, which was nice because it did drizzle for a little bit.
Hike Sugar Loaf Bluff for Epic Views
If you can only do one thing in Winona, it should be Sugar Loaf Bluff. It takes about 45 minutes round trip, including time for photos and stopping to enjoy the view along the way. The fall colors were so pretty and this was an awesome way to finish off the day.
Pro tip: It’s really hard to find on Google Maps and the Sugar Loaf Historic Site is not the right spot. There is an Edina Realty at the trailhead, so search for that and you’ll find plenty of street parking. Once there, it will be clear where to go.
There are so many great things to do in Winona, I hope this helps you plan your visit. I think it’s a beautiful place to go year round, but the fall colors really provide an extra special experience!