Detroit Lakes boasts a bustling main street, hundreds of lakes, thrilling mountain biking, award-winning golf and events that happen all year long. Find out where to go while you’re exploring this popular northwest Minnesota town.
WHERE TO SHOP
Whether you choose to window shop its historic main street or hunt for unique finds at the flea market, Detroit Lakes has a wide variety of locally owned shops to support.
Washington Square Mall and charming storefronts line downtown. Explore popular boutiques like Leela & Lavender, The Nines, Mainstream Boutique, Vintage N Vogue, JQ Clothing Company, Beautiful Junque and regional chains like Maurice’s and Glik’s. Bluebird Books is one of the newest shops on the block and offers a wide selection of books to entice any reader.
For trendy home décor and gifts, LIT offers some of the best selection in the region. Find lake life apparel and gifts at Red Willow. Travel down Washington Avenue to visit their original location located in an adorable historic home filled with specialty food items, kitchen gadgets, home décor and more. Explore 14,000 square feet of antiques at SuLaine’s Antique Mall or get your beach gear by the water at Lakeshirts.
One of the region’s most popular attractions is Shady Hollow Flea Market, which has welcomed shoppers for more than fifty years. With up to 100 vendors operating across 3.5 acres, it’s a must-see for fans of antiques, vintage finds, locally made goods and repurposed décor. Shady Hollow Flea Market is open every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day and every Saturday in September.
WHERE TO GO OUTSIDE
Detroit Lakes has 400 lakes within 25 miles of the city. That is a lot of water and there are plenty of ways to enjoy it all year long. Anglers can fish on the pier at City Beach on Detroit Lake, rent a boat from J&K Marine or go out with a local fishing guide. Many hotels, resorts and campgrounds offer canoes, boat launches and docks for guests to enjoy. Ice fishing is also popular and come winter, the frozen lakes will be lined with ice houses and hearty anglers.
Detroit Mountain Recreation Area is a popular spot for skiing (downhill and cross country), snowboarding, tubing, and fat biking during the winter. The rest of the year, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy mountain biking for all skill levels. If you’re traveling with kids, visit their natural outdoor play area with logs and boulders combined with tunnels, slides, and a climbing net.
In winter, outdoor enthusiasts will find hundreds of trails for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing throughout Becker County. Popular trails follow state and county roads and connect Detroit Lakes to nearby towns like Frazee, Vergas and Lake Park or border the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.
Be on the hunt for 150 sailboat sculptures throughout the city that were designed by area artists to celebrate the city’s sesquicentennial in 2021.
WHERE TO EAT / DRINK
There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Detroit Lakes, from strolling through downtown, walking down the beach or sitting on a deck overlooking the lake.
In the downtown block, Brygge Taps & Tastes and Roasted Pub & Eatery offer burgers, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas and more. Try a locally made brew at Bucks Mill Brewing, which opened in 2022 and offers traditional brews, non-alcoholic versions of their most popular beers, sours, seltzers, and homemade root beer. Fuel up for your day with breakfast at Main Street Restaurant or grab a coffee or pack a picnic lunch at La Barista or Chickadee Coffee Roasters.
If you’re looking to dine by the water, head to the City Beach area that boasts several spots like Hub41, Lakeside Tavern and Brewery, El Loro and Mi Cartagena Café. Casual spots like Long Bridge Bar & Grill and Bleachers Bar and Grill are local favorites. If you’re looking for a special spot to celebrate, The Fireside offers fine dining overlooking Detroit Lake. Find fresh sushi, hibachi, or American comfort food at Sapphire that offers delicious options for any palette.
A summer staple is the seasonal hotspot, Hotel Shoreham, with an expansive menu with favorites like ribs, walleye and fresh seafood, steak, pasta, and square cut specialty pizzas. And one of Detroit Lakes’ claims to fame is being home to the original Zorbaz, the popular pizza, pasta and Mexican food joint that has become a summer tradition in several other lakeside destinations.
Resorts offer a little more room to roam and a boatload of ways to get out on the water. Plan a stay at Fair Hills Resort, Lakecrest Resort or Valhalla Resort to take advantage of larger lodging options, sandy beaches, on-site dining and more.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Detroit Lakes offers incredible events throughout the year, and many have become annual favorites for travelers. For 40 years, every August country music fans have been coming to WE Fest at the Soo Pass Ranch. Past performers have included Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Brothers Osborne, Jo Dee Messina, and other fan favorites.
In February, Polar Fest is a celebration of all things winter with an ice fishing derby, frozen golf, fireworks, sled dog rides, laser tubing, kites on the frozen water, and in the past, incredible ice castles made from ice harvested from Detroit Lake.
The Historic Holmes Theatre hosts events and shows throughout the year. Recent productions and shows have included Godspell, the Fabulous Armadillos, and the Concordia Orchestra.
Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.
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