Day trips

An occasional series in which we visit small towns and interesting neighborhoods within an hour's drive of the Twin Cities.

October 10, 2015
Mankato is home to the Betsy-Tacy Houses, the fully-restored childhood homes of author Maud Hart Lovelace and her best friend, Frances 'Bick' Kenney.

Getting there is part of the fun when visiting Mankato

If you're looking to squeeze in a family trip before the snow flies, catch the spectacular show of fall color with a trip to Mankato. Getting there is part of the fun.
September 25, 2015
The community garden in Northeast Minneapolis is one of over 200 city wide.

Day trip: Historic NE Mpls. mixes Old World charm with new hipness

As far as urban enclaves go, historic northeast Minneapolis is one of the cool kids. This 7½-square-mile area of the city is a vibrant playground for foodies, artists and hipsters.
August 21, 2015
A customer rides one of the six zip lines at Trollhaugen Aerial Adventure Park in Dresser, Wis.

Day trip: Osceola, Wis., defines 'Minnesconsin'

Nestled into rugged bluffs of the St. Croix River, the quaint village of Osceola, Wis., has stayed true to its historical roots.
July 10, 2015
With beachfront restaurants like Tally's Dockside, above, White Bear Lake continues to be the lakeside lure it has been since the late 1800s.

Day trip: White Bear Lake maintains small-town charm

White Bear Lake, a suburban city of 23,000, has retained much of its small-town charm, while moving confidently into the 21st century with abundant attractions both culinary and cultural.
June 26, 2015
Arrow Hartman, 3, of Richfield, examined one of the many buffalo statues on display in Buffalo.

Day trip: Shuffle off to Buffalo for a sale-browser's haven

Once a month, Buffalo's occasional-sale stores open their doors to show what they've accumulated in the meantime to tempt your wallet.
May 28, 2015
Jordan is a small city in Scott County.

Day trip: Jordan is much more than you see from the highway

Just a few blocks off Hwy. 169, Jordan is nestled along the Minnesota River. While the residential streets have a suburban feel — this town of 6,000 is just a half-hour commute from Minneapolis — the downtown evokes a quaint, turn-of-the-century small town.
May 28, 2015
Savannah Weiden visits with customers at her aunt's restaurant, Shar'els Café in Oakdale, July 18, 2014. (Courtney Perry/Special to the Star Tribu

Day trip: North St. Paul is an old-style small town in town

It would seem to be difficult for a town with a 44-foot-tall stucco snowman to fly under the radar. But somehow, North St. Paul does it.
May 28, 2015
Open since 1972, SS Billiards in Hopkins is the place to go for pinball machines. Above from upper left: Cyclists passed under Hwy. 169 in Hopkins; Ho

Day trip: Hopkins serves up history hip in the 'burbs

Suburbs get snubbed a lot — Pleasantvilles with no culture, no history, no nightlife. Not true in Hopkins. If there is a recipe for what's trendy in big-city neighborhoods, Hopkins already has all the ingredients.
May 28, 2015
A horse-drawn trolley takes visitors through the Landing, an 88-acre living history museum near the Minnesota River in Shakopee.

Day trip to Shakopee goes off the beaten track

Visitors willing to forgo the adrenaline rush of thrill rides, horse racing and jousting and keep driving will discover rich and varied options in the hilly and understated city of Shakopee.
May 28, 2015
SAIL 8 Taking a cruise on the lake via Sail Pepin is the best way to experience the dramatic landscape around Lake Pepin.

Day trip to Pepin, a star on Wisconsin's 'West Coast'

Pepin offers a day's worth of adventure — from four-star food and wine to quaint museums and art-inspired stores. Though it's less than 70 miles from the cities, the Wisconsin village can seem a world away.
May 28, 2015
A pier welcomes those who cross the St. Croix River to Hudson, Wis. At right, from top: Store manager Brandon Stahnke worked on a bike at Art Doyle’

Day trip to Hudson finds fun in a historic setting

When you cross the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, something happens. At least, locals in Hudson like to think so. "People say the blood pressure just drops," said Ruth Misenko, a local gallery owner.
St. Paul
May 28, 2015
Behind the timber-and-stucco facade lies independent book store Micawber’s Books, in the walkable neighborhood of St. Anthony.

Day Trip: St. Paul's St. Anthony Park is like a small town -- but better

The St. Paul neighborhood has the feel of a small town, right down to the cornfields visible at the end of a few streets, thanks to the "living laboratory" of the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.
East Metro
December 13, 2014
Kathe Wohlfahrt of America features specialty handcrafted German gifts and collectibles.

Day trip: Stillwater is a holiday-inspired winter wonderland

With its ample shopping and dining, the Main Street of Stillwater seems as busy as any major downtown this time of year. But the hustle and bustle nestled into the bluffs of the St. Croix River doesn't feel harried.