When planning your next vacation, visiting family and friends, or looking for something new to try nearby, you will find a variety of great things to do in Faribault, Minnesota. From immersing yourself in the history of Rice County, zipping down a body slide to visiting a pizza farm and sipping fine distilled gin, come along and discover 16 of the best things to do in Faribault, Minnesota.
1. Rice County Historical Society
Step back in time with the first item on our list of the great things to do in Faribault. The Rice County Historical Society was founded in 1926 with the aim of preserving the history of the area and sharing knowledge through experience with the community and visitors. The society holds regular events, so look out for special music events or special events like the Alexander Faribault House Christmas Open House.
Walk back into history when you visit the Heritage Harvest Walk and get a picture of farming across the years. Then, there is Main Street USA, which is a timeline of businesses through history. If you want to know where Rice County came from, then the Historical Society will have all your answers.
2. Depot Bar and Grill
Next on the list of great things to do in Faribault, Minnesota is to dine at the Depot Bar and Grill. The perfect spot for lunch or dinner is the Depot Bar and Grill, with its relaxed atmosphere and fresh healthy food. There is such a variety of dishes, in fact, you may need to go back again and again. The daily specials keep the menu fresh and the kids’ menu means that it caters to everyone’s tastes. The Depot also does outside catering for your special events.
3. Paradise Center for the Arts
The Paradise Center for the Arts is the place for the visual and performing arts and culture to meet. The center has a strong link to the history of the arts in Faribault, having been built on the original foundations of the Faribault Opera House, dating to 1885 and which was destroyed by fire in 1929. Today, the site is home to the center that stages performances of all kinds and curates visual art exhibitions in the galleries. There are also clay and textile labs. The classrooms are the venue for classes in the arts.
4. Nestrand Big Woods State Park
It is not often that you find a venue that really and truly has something to offer in every season, but Nestrand Big Woods State Park does just that. In Spring, you can enjoy the wildflowers that pop out in all their glory and for which the park is well known. Summer is the time for hiking along the 11 miles of groomed trails.
Fall is when you will be awed by nature’s colorful display of richness as the trees get ready for winter. When the cold sets in, Nestrand is the place for snowshoeing in most areas, except for the groomed trails and sensitive areas, and for following the four miles of trails on your snowmobile.
5. 10000 Drops Craft Distillers
10000 Drops is the brainchild of four friends who went their own ways after school and then came together to form the distillery, each bringing important skills to the business. Their aim is to produce the highest quality American spirits. They only use locally-sourced ingredients in the distilling process. This is your opportunity to try distilled and aged whiskey, gin, and rum.
6. River Bend Nature Center
This free attraction gives everyone the opportunity to get right into nature and enjoy the beauty and peace. One experience is to walk along some of the trails in the park. You can picnic at your leisure and there is a well-equipped playground for the kids. The Center hosts summer camps for children, which allow them to learn and explore as they get right into nature.
7. Faribault Aquatic Center
On those hot summer days, what is better than fun in the water? Go along to Faribault Aquatic Center and have fun in the great swimming pool, or zip down the body slides and splash into the water pool at the end. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can challenge yourself on the climbing wall, or cross the water on the floating alligator. Don’t worry, there are ropes to hold onto. For the smallies, there is a zero-depth entry pool.
8. Vintage Escapes Winery
Close to Faribault, Vintage Escapes Winery beckons with its 3 acres of vineyard and wines made on site. This family-owned business prides itself on the production of its own brand of wine. The first vines were planted in 2017 and the vineyard now welcomes visitors to sample their original wines.
9. Cannon River Wilderness Area
The 850 acres of the wild wooded river valley in the Cannon River Wilderness Area are there for exploring on foot or horseback. There are 5 miles of trails that can accommodate all visitors. You can also take along your canoe or kayak and launch from the dedicated site to explore parts of the park from the water. One of the unique features of the Wilderness Area is that it stretches on both sides of the Cannon River. You can cross between the two on a pedestrian wood beam bridge. This is a special opportunity to explore both banks to really get to understand the area the river runs through.
10. Sakotah Singing Hills State Trail
The Dakota name for ‘Singing Hills’ is ‘Sakotah’ and this trail allows you to truly appreciate why this beautiful name was given to the area. The trail connects Faribault with Manikato, via 41 paved miles, suitable for walking and riding. Part of the trail follows the railroad corridor that marks the site of the railroad that ran from the late 19th century to the 1970s. When it was abandoned, the corridor was identified as the perfect place for such a trail, which takes you through a range of country and beautiful landscapes, including farmland, woods, wetlands, and past lakes.
11. Joe’s Sports Café
Isn’t it the best thing to think about enjoying a game with friends, while sipping on a refreshing drink before biting into a wonderfully tasty burger or getting stuck into some ribs? At Joe’s Sports Café, you can do just this. The atmosphere of the café is relaxed and focused on sport. All the burgers are hand-pressed from fresh, certified beef. If a burger is not your choice, then there is the signature pressure cooked broasted chicken. Of course, what would a game be without slow-roasted BBQ ribs? You will enjoy these with Joe’s original BBQ sauce, or a Carolina honey sauce.
12. Basilleo’s Pizza
Dine-in, pick up or have it delivered. Whatever you choose will be the perfect way to get hold of the food from Basilleo’s Pizza. The fare doesn’t stop with pizza, though, because the restaurant offers pizza, pasta, salad, and sandwiches, all handmade from scratch and from fresh ingredients. Founded in 1960, this wonderful eatery brings taste and enjoyment to your tastebuds. Basilleo’s also offers homemade sauces and bread, as well as hand-cut vegetables. This is truly a place to find lovingly prepared food.
13. Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm
A short drive south and you’ll discover a unique pizza experience. By way of contrast to what the name suggests, Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm doesn’t farm pizzas. It does offer a unique outdoor experience in the surrounds of a farm, while you enjoy good food. The farm attracts everyone from anywhere, with the aim of encouraging visitors to enjoy the food music surrounded by the beautiful landscape.
14. Donoghue’s Greenhouse
Next on our list of great things to do in Faribault, Minnesota just might encourage you to relax and smell the roses. Did you know there are literally more varieties of Clematis than most of us could name? Or think of. At Donoghue’s Greenhouse, not only will you be able to see the different types of these beautiful flowers, but you can go home with your own at reasonable wholesale prices.
15. Well’s Lake
If you have a pioneer settler with an interesting name like ‘Bully’ Wells, then why not name a lake after him? This 677-acre lake is a friendly and productive lake. It is only 4 feet deep at its deepest point and offers some of the best fishing in the whole area. You can expect to reel in White Bass, Channel Catfish, Yellow Perch, and Bluegill.
16. Faribault Woollen Mill
When you visit Faribault Woollen Mill, you will truly take a step back in time. It is one of the only surviving vertical woollen mills in the state, which makes it special. Then, there is the vintage machinery that is used. You will be taken on a detailed tour, during which you will learn all about the 22 steps it takes from raw wool to the final product, like the scarf you may buy in the onsite shop.
Wrapping Up the Variety of Great Things to Do in Faribault, Minnesota
It is not often that you come across a place that really and truly offers such a variety of interesting things to do that you will be spoiled with so many choices. In Faribault, you can enjoy fun in the sun on the river, fishing on the lake, or zipping down a water slide. In winter, the land is yours to take in a game with a delicious burger at hand or to zoom around the wilderness on your snowmobile. Whatever your interests are, Faribault really has everything you need
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.