Enjoy the Charm of Southern Minnesota This Winter

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Go shopping by candlelight at Northfield's annual Winter Walk event

Enjoy the Charm of Southern Minnesota This Winter

By Southern Minnesota Tourism Association

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays in southern Minnesota. Whether you’re meeting friends at breweries, boutique shopping or going to holiday events with the family, there’s something fun and festive for every traveler. Make plans to hit the road and enjoy the charm of southern Minnesota this winter.  

Bottles of whiskey, vodka & bourbon at a distillery

Handcrafted whiskey, vodka and bourbon / Harmony Spirits in Harmony / Harmony Spirits


Ready to lose your mind? Visit Lost Sanity Brewery in Madelia for some crazy good beer. The featured beers stay on theme with names like Manic Black Lager, Catatonic Cream and Hopzophrenia. Feeling a little hangry? Order in from Madelia’s own La Plaza Fiesta or Fox’s Pizza Den. Don’t go without trying a dessert from the local bakery Sweet! Indeed or a scoop of gelato, a pound of handmade fudge or old-fashioned candy from Hope & Faith Floral Studio & Gifts in downtown Madelia.

Forbidden Barrel Brewing Co. in Worthington offers four to six original beers made on-site as well as a variety of porters, stout, IPAs, honey wheats and other craft brews. The brewery’s name was derived from an 1872 story about East Coast settlers who didn’t abide by Worthington’s temperance movement. During a Fourth of July celebration, Professor Ransom Humiston, Worthington’s founder, learned there was a keg of beer in the Worthington House Hotel, so he seized it, dragged it outside and destroyed it with an axe, hence the Forbidden Barrel.

Harmony Spirits, southeast Minnesota’s newest distillery in the small town of Harmony, takes grains to glass. The handcrafted spirits are made in small batches, including vodka, bourbon, whiskey, rum and gin using locally sourced grains. Sit in the rustic indoor tasting room while you sip and order food from one of Harmony’s local restaurants for a full farm-to-table experience.

Girls walking through a courtyard

Enjoy a latte / Mandy's Coffee & Cafe in Red Wing

Unique Holiday Shopping

Grab your girlfriends for a fun shopping trip to historic downtown Red Wing. This river town in southeast Minnesota is home to several family-owned shops featuring high-quality foods and service with local flair, including the quintessential Uffda Shop offering uniquely Scandinavian gifts. The famous Red Wing Shoes flagship store and museum is also downtown. Stop by for custom shoe and boot fittings, a clearance center and , of course, the World’s Largest Boot (size 638 ½) while learning about the history of this local manufacturer.

Wander and shop through a winter wonderland in downtown Northfield during the annual Winter Walk Celebration on Dec. 12. Stroll through unique shops in the historic Archer House hotel and dine downstairs in the Tavern Restaurant. Take to the luminary-lit streets and enjoy Christmas caroling, horse-drawn wagon rides, decorated storefronts and winter fireworks. Be sure to take the kids to see the Magic of Model Trains display at the Northfield Public Library.

Looking for a place to get all your holiday shopping done in one trip? Check out the two-dozen stores at Ultra Outlets in Medford. This premiere shopping destination offers 25-75% off everyday prices and features favorite brands including Old Navy, Christopher Banks, Eddie Bauer, Nike, Bath & Body Works, Famous Footwear and much more.

Victorian home decorated for Christmas

Victorian Bed & Breakfast decorated for the holidays / Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour in Lanesboro


Take the family to a show at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center in historic downtown Pipestone. This season you’ll find features like the Al Opland Singers “Friends & Family Christmas,” The Holly Rocka Rollaz and “As Long As We Both Shall Live.” Treat yourself at Lange’s Café and Bakery for the famous daily fresh-baked pies, or drop in for a nightcap at Pipestone’s newest restaurant, the Stonehouse Supper Club and Quarry Lounge.

Give your kids the gift of culture with tickets to the beloved holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” at the Dawson-Boyd Memorial Auditorium in the small southwest town of Dawson. Performed by the Bloomington-based Continental Ballet Company, the show makes for a perfect pre-holiday outing on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Spend an afternoon touring seven of Lanesboro’s bed-and-breakfasts fully decked out for the holidays on the Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour, set for Sunday, Dec. 8. New this year, the Artisan Market is at the new Cedar Valley Resort Event Center in Whalan. While you’re in the area, visit artists along the Lanesboro Area Art Trail for some one-of-a-kind Christmas presents.

Southern Minnesota Tourism Association

Southern Minnesota has plenty of other fun indoor attractions, tons of upcoming festivals and events, and countless places to dine. And if you’re looking to stay overnight, there are plenty of affordable lodging options. Plan your southern Minnesota winter escape today.