The Ultimate Stillwater Day Trip

Featuring bookstores, burger joints, and a brand-new bike trail

What can you do in Minnesota on a single tank of gas? That’s what Minnevangelist co-founder and Explore Minnesota multimedia editor Andrew Parks is answering each week in his new “Trip on a Tankful” series. Here, a few to-dos from a recent day trip to Stillwater:

🚴 Warm up on the newly completed St. Croix River Crossing Loop, an almost five-mile pedestrian and bike path. Save yourself some huffing and puffing on the 8 percent grade by renting an electric bicycle ($45 for two hours) from Herman Electric Bikes, a life saver tucked in the back of Greenbridge Coffee Shop.

🍔 Eat at The Wild Hare, where the dream of the ‘90s is alive and well. There’s Sublime on the speakers and TRL-era music videos on the TV, but you’re not here for the nostalgia trip — you’re here for the burgers and cocktails. Try the Casablanca, made with harissa aioli and goat cheese, and the Phantom Menace, a gin number with yellow chartreuse, pineapple shrub, and cucumber agua fresca.

📚 Stock up on summer reads at Black Letter Books, a “real, honest-to-goodness brick & mortar bookstore.” From a first edition of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass to books on Lydia Lunch and Latin American kinetic art, BLB specializes in the kind of rare and out-of-print titles you won’t find on Amazon.

🇸🇪 Channel your inner Ole at the Scandinavian North flagship. It’s like Ingebretsen’s with a design degree, selling biodegradable dish cloths, artisanal licorice, reindeer hides, and sleek raincoats.

🏠 Blow the rest of your $$$ at Brick + Linen, a new HGTV-worthy home goods store from Lisa and Joseph Robbins. The carefully curated selection includes Midcentury-inspired wine glasses, brass flatware, and plush textiles.

🍺 The perfect outing ends with a cold one at River Siren Brewing (Upstream Flow Here has a nice hop bite and smooth blueberry finish) or a refreshing cocktail at Forge and Foundry distillery next door. Fun fact: When the latter opened in September 2020, it was Stillwater’s first legal distillery since Prohibition.

To scope Andrew’s full itinerary, head over to Explore Minnesota. And stay tuned for his next “Trip on a Tankful” adventure — St. Joseph and Collegeville!