If you’re planning to visit Bethany Lutheran College (in Mankato) or Gustavus Adolphus College (in Saint Peter), here's what else is there to do while you’re in the area.
Entertainment and sports
- Take in a Mankato Moondogs baseball game. Giveaways, guest appearances by sports celebrities and silly ballgame antics can be expected at many of the games.
- If it’s Thursday and you’re in Mankato, spend the lunch hour at Songs on the Lawn. Listen to live music and grab a bite to eat from one of the food vendors.
Museums, art and history
- Enjoy the WordWalkpoems permanently stamped in sidewalks along Mankato's Riverfront Drive and its adjoining park.
- See sculptures of all shapes, sizes and mediums by artists from around the world in Mankato's CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour. Download the audio tour or pick up a brochure and Scavenger Hunt map. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite one. And art lovers, bring your checkbooks: all the sculptures are for sale. And while traipsing around downtown, check out some more permanent public art dating back to 1894.
- In New Ulm, visit to the fully-restored 1894 Queen Anne-style home of Millions of Cats author and illustrator Wanda Gag. Exhibit include works by her father, Anton Gag, and others. Again, call ahead for weekday tours.
- Learn more about author Maud Hart Lovelace’s career (and her characters) in their restored turn-of-the-century homes in Mankato and by exploring local sites mentioned in the books. Call ahead for a private weekday tour as the homes are only open Saturdays.
- Just a mile north of St. Peter, walk the Traverse des Sioux interpretative trails and visit the history center to learn about the region, treaties and Dakota and settler life in the 1800s.
- Stroll the Gustavus campus to view beautiful Christ Chapel, the Granlund Sculpture Tour and Linnaeus Arboretum, named for 18th century botanist Carl Linnaeus who is known as the father of taxonomy because he came up with the idea of giving all species a distinct Latin name.
- Walk or bike the Red Jacket Trail that runs along the riverfront from the depot in downtown Mankato to the village of Rapidan. It passes over three railroad trestles, including the historic Red Jacket Trestle, 80 feet high and 550 feet long, over the Le Sueur River.
- Walk the trail that encircles the beautiful waterfalls at Minneopa State Park , and leads to the panoramic valley below. The park is five miles west of Mankato.
- Bike the trails at Mount Kato. Over seven miles of mountain bike trails for the novice to expert rider.
- Enjoy the Sakahtah Singing Hills State Trail, which spans 41 miles. Bikers, hikers, inline skaters, horseback riders and — in winter — snowmobilers make ample use of the route. You’ll find parking just off state Highway 14 on Mankato’s northeast side.
- Explore the unique shops of St. Peter, including Swedish Kontur, Contents and Nutter Clothing.
- Visit the Mankato Farmer’s Market on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday morning. It’s everything local within 40 miles!
If you're getting hungry on your visit…
- Check out the burger selection at Patrick’s on Third — including the Chuck Norris burger or the Thunderburger!
- Stop in at River Rock Coffee where fair-trade java is served up alongside freshly made scones, salads and panini.
- St. Peter Food Co-op offers natural, organic, fair-trade and locally produced food.
- For a fine-dining experience, visit Suzette's, where five-star chef Banrith Yong, a native of Cambodia, serves up rack of lamb, chicken marsala and plenty of delicious European-style desserts.
- Pagliai’s Pizza is the officially the oldest pizzeria in town and the pizzas and décor haven’t changed much since opening day in 1969. Bonus: You can still hear oldies on the juke box.
- Jake's Stadium Pizza is a top-rated local pizza joint.
- Visit Olives for classical Mediterranean and American cooking with a light, modern approach. Also serving breakfast.
- For authentic Mexican food, try El Mazatlan. Eat on the relaxed outdoor patio.
- Tandem Bagels is a home-grown bagel shop with a menu of made-from-scratch bagels and baked goods.
- Let the ice cream artists make you an ice cream “creation” at Cold Stone Creamery.