Northfield's Downtown Delights

By Explore Minnesota

Nineteenth-century architecture lines Northfield and Division StreetIn this charming college town along the Cannon River, the vibe along Main Street (named Division Street, actually) is both historic and hip. A relaxed downtown stroll is the key Northfield experience, with a backdrop of architecture dating to the 19th century. Along the way are antique shops, art galleries, gift shops, pubs and coffee houses.

This is the town that defeated Jesse James, and you can step into the bank that his gang tried to rob back in 1876 (this dramatic event is reenacted each fall). Nearby is the Northfield Arts Guild gallery. The guild also organizes a series of concerts and plays in the summer months. At one end of downtown is the stately Archer House River Inn, dating to 1877, now renovated and catering to a new era of guests.

Division Street parallels the river, which is bordered by the Riverwalk. June through October, the Riverwalk Market Fair, a combined farmers’ market, art fair and food fest, is held each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Northfield is set amid a rural landscape, with nearby farms for berry or apple picking, the forests and hiking paths of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, and golf at the Northfield Golf Club or Willingers, often named as one of Minnesota’s best courses.

In addition to the historic inn, Northfield lodging includes a couple of B&Bs and several brand-name motels.

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