Awesome Things to Do in Mankato, Minnesota

Enjoy Mankato on a Warm Day

Mankato is a really cool day trip you can easily take from the Twin Cities or Rochester. There are a bunch of unique things to do in Mankato, which is also a college town. My mother-in-law and father-in-law met at Mankato State University, so they always enjoy taking a drive through campus and seeing how the town has changed. Read on for a fun day trip itinerary!

things to do in mankato minnesota
Alex at Chankaska Creek Winery
things to do in mankato minnesota
My mother-in-law and I

Start Off With Lunch at a Winery

Chankaska Creek Winery is technically in Kasota, but it’s super close to Mankato, so it’s on my list! It has a huge outdoor seating area, which backs up to a creek that runs through the property. I have been there a few times and there is always a wedding going on in the back of the property, which is heavily wooded and has a bridge you take over the creek to get there. It’s really nice.

The menu is really great too. We love getting a variety of things to share at the table, like pizzas and charcuterie boards. They have a really great selection of wine and specialty cocktails. Last time I was there I had their Rose, which was super refreshing and not too sweet for me.

things to do in mankato minnesota
The bison at Minneopa

See Bison or a Waterfall

Just down the road from the winery is the Minneopa State Park. There is a $7 daily entrance fee, or if you have an annual pass for Minnesota state parks you can go straight in.

Follow the line of cars through the park and hopefully you’ll get a view of the bison. We saw them crossing the road a few cars ahead of us and then we got a great view once they moved in to the open field area. One of my friends went another time and didn’t see them at all, so you’re taking a chance since they are wild animals.

You can also take a walk to the Minneopa Falls waterfall on the other side of the park. From the parking lot, the waterfall is a short five minute walk on a paved path. You can continue on and hike around the park, but conveniently the waterfall is at the start of the hike if that’s all you wish to see.

Stop in St. Peter on Your Way Back to the Cities

We were coming from the Twin Cities so we passed through St. Peter on the way back home. One of our friends went to Gustavus Adolphus College so we called him from the car and asked for a recommended bar in St. Peter.

He suggested Patrick’s on Third, so we decided to check it out. It had the vibe of a college bar, and we were loving it. They have a very laidback, and low-key environmentPatrick’s on Third has cheap beer and a large food menu and we would definitely go back.

things to do in mankato minnesota
Grabbing beer at Patrick's on Third
things to do in mankato minnesota
The huge outdoor sign at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store

Get Your Sugar Rush

Our final stop for the day was Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan, Minnesota. This place is no joke! If you’re driving on Highway 169, you can’t miss the big yellow barn. It’s huge and the entire exterior is painted a bright yellow. Inside you’ll find an insane selection of candy, sodas, pies, cotton candy, popcorn and so much more. There are also massive statues of super heroes, a British phone booth, a fortune-telling machine and seasonal home decor. This strange place is a must-stop on any Minnesota road trip!

Nic drinking root beer
things to do in mankato minnesota
Nic with a transformer

Enjoy Unique Things to Do

I hope this post gives you some fun ideas for an epic day trip to Mankato. There are so many things to do, and some of them are quite unusual! Many of these ideas are less known, but they really shouldn’t be because they are super fun and inexpensive.

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