Awesome Fall Things to Do in Winona, Minnesota

things to do in winona

Best Things to Do in Winona in the Fall

This was my first time to Winona, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve been having a great time this year exploring so many of Minnesota’s river towns, and Winona did not disappoint. We specifically timed our trip to be the first week in October to see the fall colors. The trees were still a bit greener than expected, but there were beautiful bursts of orange, red, and yellow along the bluffs.

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 long 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.
things to do in winona
things to do in winona

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 handwritten 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.

things to do in winona
things to do in winona
things to do in winona
things to do in winona

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.

things to do in winona
things to do in winona

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. 

You Won’t Regret a Trip to Winona

There are so many great things to do in Winona, you definitely won’t regret visiting this small, beautiful town. While the bluffs are stunning in the fall, I think Winona is a beautiful town year-round. Those fall colors really provide an extra special experience. Looking for more ideas? Check out my post on epic things to do in Stillwater!

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