How to Explore Hastings, Minnesota in the Summer

A True Hidden Gem

Somehow, my husband and I never managed to get to Hastings before last weekend. It’s a cute, underrated riverfront town and there is plenty to do! Keep reading for inspiration on how to explore Hastings, Minnesota in the summer!

Things to do explore Hastings Minnesota

Take a Hike at Vermillion Falls

About 30 minutes from the Twin Cities, this hiking spot has free parking and the waterfall is just steps away. It’s a very easy way to check out a scenic spot. Keep walking further along the path, which runs alongside the Vermillion River, and you’ll come across a walking bridge. The Vermillion Gorge Bridge is covered in locks with names and initials scribbled on them. We’ll have to bring one next time!

The trail splits and comes back together and is generally unmarked. But if you follow the crowd for about five minutes past the bridge, you’ll come across the remains of a building covered in graffiti. The ruins are the remains of a flour mill that burned down in 1894. It is so artistically beautiful and unexpected.

Things to do explore Hastings Minnesota

Go Shopping and Have a Picnic by the River

Downtown Hastings is super cute. There is plenty of free street parking. You can spend some time looking at antique shops and little boutiques. Or, head over to the riverfront area where you’ll find a killer view of the Mississippi River. For food, grab takeout from a number of restaurants in downtown Hastings, then have a picnic on the large grassy area.

Things to do explore Hastings Minnesota


Grab a Bite to Eat in Town

There are a ton of restaurants. Some popular ones include Lock and Dam Eatery, the Onion Grille, Emily’s Bakery and the Busted Nut Bar and Grill. Looking for some good beer? Stop by Spiral Brewery for a cold, refreshing brew. One street was blocked off to cars so the restaurants and bars in the area could set up tables and chairs for outdoor dining due to COVID-19. It felt clean and safe and all the tables were at least 6 feet apart.

I don’t know how we never made time for a day trip before, there is so much to explore in Hastings. It’s a super cute town and reminded me of Stillwater, Northfield and Red Wing. I just love the quaint river towns. Next time, we hope to visit the Alexis Bailly Winery. I hope this inspires you to plan a fun day trip to Hastings!

Looking for more ideas? Check out my post on Red Wing, Minnesota here!


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