The city of Winona, Minnesota is located in the heart of bluff country. The county seat of Winona County, a little bit under 30,000 people call the city home.
Those visiting Winona might be curious about what to do in the area. Despite being a relatively small city, there is still some intriguing stuff to check out. Below is a look at some things to do in Winona MN and the surrounding area.
Minnesota marine art museum
A non-profit education center as well as an art museum, visitors will notice a lot of traditional marine paintings in the museum. Over the years, there has been quite a bit of expansion, including the work of several American and European artists. Van Gogh and Picasso are two names many people will notice, but Leo and Marilyn Smith dominate the location with a huge collection of their work.
Marine art might be a small niche out there for a lot of people, but anyone who can appreciate the arts should check it out when visiting Winona. It’s definitely one of the more intriguing things in the city.
The views in Winona are pretty beautiful, especially on nice days during the year. Garvin Heights allows people to take in looks of those views as long as they are willing to put in the work to get to the location in the first place.
The best way to get to Garvin Heights is to hike up a bluff for about a mile and a half. It is a pretty short hike, and the visitors will either walk, bike or drive. There are paths for people to follow so that they do not have to worry about being in a weird location off-road.
Sensing an outdoor theme? Winona definitely is known for its natural beauty, and Lake Park is a great city park to check out. It has a trail that runs around the lake, providing a number of great views for people to check out. It is only a 5 mile trail, so most people are able to do one lap.
There is also a beach located in Lake Park called Veterans Memorial Park. It has all the amenities somebody is looking for out of a small beach, even if it can’t be used that many days out of the year.
In the colder months, there is a winter skating rink, as well as a place to enjoy a number of sports. This is the best overall park in the city for people to check out, and it draws the visitors and the locals every single day.
Great River Bluffs State Park
About 20 miles south east of Winona is a very remote state park called Great Rivers Bluffs. This is one of the best ways to get a truly remarkable view of the Mississippi River. There is a lot of natural beauty within the park, ranging from side hill prairies to pine plantations. It’s also a place a lot of people like to come to see unique wildlife in the area.
Locals love to come to the state park to get away from everything. It is great for hiking, camping and more. During the winter months, there are a lot of people who ski and snowshoe for a fun outdoor activity.
US Highway 61
Not everyone is going to be a major fan of having a highway listed as something to do in a city. However, US Highway 61 has gained a reputation as one of the most scenic highways in the United States. It is over 1300 miles long, going from the Canadian border to New Orleans, following the Mississippi River.
The highway goes right through Winona, and there are plenty of views going north or south from the city. There is a lot of history surrounding the highway, and who knows, visitors might be inspired musically when exploring. The highway has been romanticized by a number of musicians locally, most notably Bob Dylan.
Not everyone is going to be a fan of driving, but it is a quick way to take in a lot in the area.
Winona County Historical Society
The city of Winona has quite a history, and the historical society is in charge of preserving it all. They have three museums under their name, and each one is a great visit for those trying to learn more about the area.
The main museum is the Winona County History Center. If visitors are strapped for time, this is the one to check out. They have a number of exhibits, as well as a library and archives for people to sift through.
Those with more time can visit the Historic Bunnell House and the Rural Heritage Museum. This is a great way to see the entire history of the area. The historical society has been around for over 80 years now, and they have just about all the early information a person could ask for.
Of course, no list of things to do in Winona is complete without Sugar Loaf. This is the one thing that a lot of people who are not familiar with the area know about. It is the most noticeable bluff in the area, allowing people to get a clear view near the Mississippi river. It is situated between Highway 43 and Highway 61. It is listed on the national register of historic places, and visitors love everything about all The outdoor activities available.
In the summer, the hiking trails can be pretty packed. It’s also a great place for people to enjoy the lake. There is even a brewery located on site for people to enjoy some local drinks.
It’s a must visit for anyone who has never been to the city before. There are more things to do on nice days at Sugar Loaf, but people still have a good time when the weather is not exactly ideal. During the summer, it is truly a remarkable place to take in the natural beauty of the surrounding area.