Two colleges keep this small town on the Cannon River vibrant. Its central spine, Division Street, offers proof of that, lined with great shops like Content Books and Swag of Northfield. Nearby, you can stroll the Riverwalk; on Saturdays in June through October the paved walkway hosts the Riverwalk Market Fair, with artists, performers and organic farmers. If conifers interest you more than commerce, stroll the 880-acre Cowling Arboretum at Carleton College. 1-800-658-2548;

Best of Minnesota 2016

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