10 Best Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

10 Best Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

Winona, Minnesota, a charming city along the Mississippi River, offers a mix of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and historical attractions. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are plenty of things to do in Winona Minnesota, to make your stay memorable. Here’s your guide to exploring this picturesque city.

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Fun Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

Fun Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

Winona is packed with fun activities for everyone. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or looking to enjoy local culture, here are some top picks for fun things to do in Winona Minnesota.

Minnesota Marine Art Museum

One of Winona’s highlights is the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. This gem features an impressive collection of marine art, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. The museum’s beautiful riverside setting adds to the experience, making it a must-visit for art lovers.

Great River Bluffs State Park

For outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to Great River Bluffs State Park is a must. The park offers stunning views of the Mississippi River Valley and has plenty of hiking trails through forests and prairies. It’s perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking.

Garvin Heights Overlook

Garvin Heights Overlook provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Mississippi River. A short drive from downtown Winona, this overlook is ideal for photography, especially in the fall when the foliage is vibrant and colorful.

Free Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

Free Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

Exploring Winona doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are some fantastic free things to do in Winona Minnesota.

Lake Park

Lake Park is a beautiful urban park offering various recreational activities. Enjoy a leisurely walk around the lake, have a picnic, or relax and enjoy the serene surroundings. The park also features a rose garden and a band shell where you can catch free concerts during the summer.

Winona Farmers Market

Visit the Winona Farmers Market to experience the local flavor of the city. Held every Saturday from May to October, the market offers fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious baked goods. It’s a great place to mingle with locals and support local farmers and artisans.

Watkins Museum and Store

The Watkins Museum and Store is a hidden gem that showcases the history of the Watkins Company, known for its natural products. The museum is free to visit and offers an interesting glimpse into the company’s history, as well as a chance to purchase some of its famous products.

Things to Do in Winona Minnesota at Night

When the sun sets, Winona offers a variety of nighttime activities. Here are some things to do in Winona Minnesota, at night.

Historic Masonic Theatre

Catch a live performance at the Historic Masonic Theatre. This beautifully restored venue hosts various events, including concerts, plays, and film screenings. The intimate setting and excellent acoustics make for a memorable night out.

Local Pubs and Breweries

Winona has a vibrant nightlife scene with several local pubs and breweries. Island City Brewing Company is a popular spot where you can enjoy craft beers and live music. Another favorite is Ed’s (No Name) Bar, known for its eclectic decor and welcoming atmosphere.

River City Days

If you’re visiting in August, don’t miss River City Days, Winona’s annual summer festival. The event features live music, food vendors, carnival rides, and fireworks, providing fun for the whole family.

Attractions in Winona, Minnesota

Winona is home to various attractions that showcase the city’s rich history and natural beauty.

Winona County Historical Society

The Winona County Historical Society operates several museums and historic sites, including the Winona County History Center. Here, you can learn about the area’s history through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Polish Cultural Institute and Museum

Winona has a strong Polish heritage, and the Polish Cultural Institute and Museum celebrates this aspect of the city’s history. The museum features exhibits on Polish culture, traditions, and the contributions of Polish immigrants to the area.

Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka

The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture. Take a tour of this beautiful church to admire its intricate stained glass windows, detailed murals, and impressive pipe organ.

Outdoor Activities in Winona, Minnesota

Winona’s natural surroundings make it an ideal destination for outdoor activities. Here are some top outdoor activities in Winona, Minnesota.

Biking and Hiking Trails

Winona offers numerous biking and hiking trails for all skill levels. The Sugar Loaf Bluff trail is a popular hike that offers stunning views of the city and river. For biking, the Mississippi River Trail provides a scenic route along the river.

Water Sports on the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River offers plenty of opportunities for water sports. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and explore the river’s calm waters. Fishing is also popular, with numerous spots along the river and nearby lakes.

Winter Sports

In the winter, Winona transforms into a playground for snow sports. Head to the Winona Nordic Ski Club for cross-country skiing, or enjoy ice skating at one of the city’s outdoor rinks.

Best Time to Visit Winona, Minnesota

The best time to visit Winona, Minnesota, depends on what activities you’re interested in. Spring and fall are ideal for outdoor activities, with mild temperatures and beautiful scenery. Summer is perfect for enjoying the river and attending festivals like River City Days. Winter is great for those who enjoy snow sports and cozy indoor activities.

Hotels and Restaurants in Winona, Minnesota

Winona offers a range of accommodations and dining options to suit all tastes and budgets.


  • The Plaza Hotel & Suites: This modern hotel offers comfortable rooms, an indoor pool, and a complimentary breakfast.
  • Alexander Mansion Bed and Breakfast: For a more intimate experience, stay at this charming B&B located in a historic mansion.


  • Signatures Restaurant: Enjoy fine dining with a view at Signatures, which offers a menu of contemporary American cuisine.
  • Acoustic Cafe: This local favorite is known for its delicious sandwiches, soups, and live music performances.

Food & Drink Tours in Winona, Minnesota

For a culinary adventure, consider taking a food and drink tour in Winona, Minnesota. These tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at the city’s best eateries and breweries.

Winona Food Tours

Winona Food Tours offers guided walking tours that take you to some of the city’s top restaurants and cafes. You’ll get to sample various dishes and learn about the culinary scene in Winona.

Brewery Tours

Join a brewery tour to visit some of Winona’s craft breweries. Learn about the brewing process, taste a range of craft beers, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of local taprooms.

FAQ: Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

What is Winona, Minnesota Known For?

  • Natural Beauty: The city is surrounded by picturesque bluffs and lush landscapes, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Cultural Heritage: Home to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, which features works by Monet and Van Gogh, Winona has a vibrant arts scene. The city also hosts the Great River Shakespeare Festival and the Minnesota Beethoven Festival.
  • Historical Significance: The Winona County Historical Society and the Polish Cultural Institute and Museum highlight the city’s rich past and heritage.

Is Winona, MN Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Winona offers a unique blend of natural, cultural, and historical attractions:

  • Outdoor Activities: Hiking, biking, and kayaking are popular, thanks to the scenic Mississippi River and surrounding bluffs.
  • Rich Cultural Scene: The city boasts numerous galleries, theaters, and annual music and arts festivals.
  • Historic Charm: Winona’s downtown is filled with well-preserved historic buildings and museums that offer a glimpse into its storied past.
  • Friendly Community: Known for its welcoming atmosphere, Winona’s residents take pride in their city and its vibrant community life.

Fun Facts About Winona

  • Iconic Landmark: The Sugar Loaf, a prominent limestone pinnacle, is a beloved local landmark.
  • Educational Hub: Home to Winona State University and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
  • Historic Breweries: Once home to several breweries, Winona continues this tradition with local craft breweries today.

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Conclusion: Things to Do in Winona Minnesota

Winona, Minnesota, is a charming city with a lot to offer. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors, delving into the city’s history, or enjoying the vibrant arts and culture scene, there are endless things to do in Winona Minnesota. Plan your visit today and discover the beauty and charm of this Mississippi River gem.

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