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Places Welcoming You

Drive 74.2 miles • 1 hour, 47 minutes

 “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” entices visitors to ride down Highway 61, a major north-south artery immortalized in music and literature. Running parallel to the Mississippi River, this stretch of the 61 unveils scenic vistas at every turn.




1. Minneapolis

Starting Point • Entertainment, Food, Nature

The Mall of America launched the state’s largest city into orbit as a shopping metropolis. Minneapolis overflows with cultural offerings, like award-winning theater, groundbreaking music and modern art. Restaurants are everywhere to satisfy diverse appetites. So, too, are sprawling parks, including the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a long stretch of park offering amazing views of the mighty Mississippi.


2. Hastings

29.9 miles, 40 minutes • History, Nature

Just minutes from the Minneapolis, Hastings greets visitors with impressive views along the banks of the Mississippi River. Vermillion Falls dazzles with its shimmering curtain of water. Equally spectacular are the St. Croix Scenic Byway, local wineries, golf courses and fishing spots. At least 60 homes here are listed in the National Register. Peruse the downtown district for antiques, dining options or art galleries. Visit on a Saturday night to get a peek at classic cars rolling through on Classic Car Cruise-In.


3. Red Wing

27.5 miles, 43 minutes • Nature , Outdoor Recreation, Quirky

The Red Wing Water Park is easier to visit than to say. The park offers picnic areas, huge water slides, an interactive play area and a sand play area to boot. Bald eagle sightings bring birders to Colvill Park on the south side of Red Wing. Great River Road National Scenic Byway, Cannon Valley Trail and horseback riding on Goodhue Pioneer State Trail are all nearby. If thoughts turn to new shoes after all of that hiking, visit the Red Wing Shoe Company Museum with 110-years of history on display, including the world’s largest boot, which is a size 638-D and is too big for even the statue of liberty to wear.


4. Lake City

16.8 miles, 25 minutes • Nature, Outdoor Recreation

Water skiing was invented in 1922 in Lake City, and the town continues to uphold the tradition of wild water recreation. Located along the shoreline of Lake Pepin, Lake City affords visitors walking trails, swimming, golfing, fishing and some of the best boating in the Midwest. This historic river community boasts of the natural splendor of spectacular bluffs that rise above the river. The 250-acre Hok-Si-La Park has walking trails, a beach and tent camping. The Pearl of the Lake paddleboat takes visitors on scenic cruises.