Offering a variety of indoor and outdoor activities to be enjoyed throughout all the seasons, you will discover a variety of great things to do in Monticello, Minnesota. For those who love the great outdoors, the city features over 26 city parks and 19 miles of paved pathways. It’s also part of the Mississippi River Trail and National Great River Road. Heading indoors, you will find great shopping, the theatre, craft breweries, and more.
Also, every year Monticello is the proud host of over 2,000 migrating Trumpeter Swans! These gorgeous birds can be seen here from mid-November up until early March.
Let’s dive into our list of the best things to do in Monticello, Minnesota.
1. Lake Maria State Park
This idyllic state park is home to a threatened species of turtle known as the Blandings turtle. Lake Maria State Park also features private backpack campsites, lots of trails for hiking, spring wildflowers, terrific fall leaf-watching, nesting eagles and osprey, walk-in-in camper cabins, remote ski-in, and cross-country skiing.
2. Rustech Brewing
If you happen to be a beer connoisseur, located just south of the Mississippi is Rustech Brewing which features a taproom and microbrewery with a 5-barrel onsite brewery that offers 20 beers on tap. They have indoor and outdoor seating with heated patio space for the colder months.
3. Montissippi County Park
Next on our list of best things to do in Monticello is a trip to Montissippi County Park. This beautiful 170-acre park is a lovely picnic area filled with pines and hardwoods. Montissippi County Park also features attractions such as a bike trail, 18-hole disc golf course, canoe campground, hiking and walking trails, a DNR fishing pier, picnic areas, public access to the river, a playground, and a winter sledding hill.
4. Monticello Country Club
And if you really love golf, you must visit the Monticello Country Club located on the west side of the city. The course features beautiful ponds, meandering creeks, and majestic oaks. But don’t let its beauty fool you. This course is no walk in the park and will put even the most seasoned golfer’s skills to the test. The course was founded in 1969 with its original nine holes designed by the great Tim Murphy. In 1987, it expanded to 18 holes and opened in July of 1988 with additional holes designed by Joel Goldstrand.
5. Von Hanson’s Meats
Open since 2000, Von Hanson’s Meats offers award-winning meats and other delicious foods in a rustic atmosphere reminiscent of an old-fashioned butcher’s shop. This place is a far cry from the supermarket deli departments most of us are used to, returning to a simpler time with friendly customer service and expert advice from their outstanding butchers.
6. Moose-Sherritt Ice Arena
If ice skating’s your thing, then you’re in luck because Monticello’s Moose-Sherrit Ice Area features a huge indoor ice floor that you can rent for skating and hockey games. They often hold exciting hockey tourneys and skating competitions, and they have skate rentals and a pro shop.
7. Emagine Monticello Theatre
If you want to catch a show while in town, make a trip over to the Emagine Monticello Threatre, where you can enjoy freshly popped popcorn, sodas, hot dogs, pizza, candy, and a full bar featuring delicious cocktails and cold beer. The theatre also features RealD 3D screens, Axe-throwing lanes, a party room, and luxury stadium seating in front of their enormous ceiling to floor screens!
8. Bluestone Grill
While in town, be sure to taste some of the best cuisines in Monticello at the Bluestone Grill, where they proudly serve a variety of delicious fares like tacos, burritos, salads, and bowls. Plus, they offer their one-of-a-kind Chicken Parm made with fresh, season breaded chicken tenders topped with their incredible Alfredo sauce and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese along with their golden, crispy french fries or savory cilantro rice.
9. Drawers of Davlee
The Drawers of Davlee offer a unique shopping experience that takes you back in time while offering an eclectic blend of antiques, art, primitives, chic & vintage treasures, soaps, jewelry, and more. You’ll always find some happy memories and hidden gems here.
10. Nancy’s Barn
For a truly local shopping experience, you need to check out Nancy’s Barn. Now, folks, Nancy’s Barn is not just a trendy name. It’s literally a barn owned by a woman named Nancy, who occasionally sells some interesting merchandise in her barn. This is a place where you can find all types of little and big treasures, everything from furniture to adorable nick-nacks.
11. River Terrace Park
Nestled on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, River Terrace Park features tons of fun attractions, activities, and facilities, such as campgrounds, an RV park with full hook-ups, tent sites (no water or electricity), a big, new children’s playground, a camp store, showers, restrooms, and it’s close to downtown Monticello but far enough to enjoy some nice and quiet.
12. The Nordic Brewing Co
Another fun beer brewery to visit while in Monticello is the Nordic Brewing Co, makers of a variety of hand-crafted brews that hit just the right spot. They have everything from fizzy hard seltzers to dark craft lagers and all varieties in-between! Their spacious facility features several sitting areas and tasting stations where you can sit back and enjoy some of the finest local craft beers.
13. Foul Line Sports Bar and Grill
The Foul Line Sports Bar and Grill feature lots of seating and delicious bar food, with a spacious dance floor, and separate bowling and arcade facilities where families can hang out with the kids or let them play for a bit while enjoying a nice drink. They also feature a delicious buffet earlier in the day featuring pizza, chicken, three soups, garlic mashed potatoes, and a salad bar, among many delicious items.
14. Pedego Electric Bikes Monticello
The Minnesota lifestyle is one where folks love to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, so while in Monticello, park your car and head over to Pedego Electric Bikes where you’ll find affordable electric bike rentals to explore the city and its beautiful spaces. You can also book bike tours where professional guides will take you for a ride and show you all the wonderful sights to see.
15. Monticello Mercantile
Another great shopping experience is an interesting shop that started as a pop-up concept in 2016 called Monticello Merchantile. Since its humble beginnings, the store has grown into one of the must-stop shopping destinations located right in the heart of downtown Monticello, featuring home decor, gifts, infant and women’s boutique clothing, and much more!
16. River City Extreme
Bowling, burgers, and brews, that’s what’s in store for you at River City Extreme, where you and your family can enjoy 30 lanes of bowling along with over 60 arcade games, a full-service restaurant, two-story laser tag facility, banquet rooms, a pro shop, and so much more! This is also the perfect place to plan parties, weddings, and all kinds of big events. And folks, let me tell you, they have some seriously huge burgers and sandwiches — those large knives in the buns aren’t just for decoration!
17. Monticello Community Center
A fun place to visit with your family is the Monticello Community Center. This spacious, full-service facility features tons of programs, activities, and events for your entire family. Some of the amenities include a fitness center, waterslide, and pool, gymnasium, climbing wall, fitness classes, supervised play, Romp and stomp indoor play area, and an indoor ice arena! You can also sign up or just watch some outrageously fun dodge ball tournaments in the fall.
For some real down-home cooking up north, you’ve got to try the Perkins location in Monticello. This restaurant features mouth-watering dishes like a sunrise skillet, pot roast stroganoff, fajita breakfast quesadilla, and a savory classic pot roast dinner. And for dessert, they feature sweet and delicious pumpkin pastries like pumpkin pie, pumpkin cream cheese mammoth muffins, and creamy pumpkin cheesecake!
19. Pizza Ranch
If you’re craving pizza while in Monticello, you need to visit the Pizza Ranch, which offers a full buffet with pizza, salads, chicken, sides, and lots of sweet desserts. Some of their specialty pizzas include the Texan Taco, The Stampede, the Tuscan Roma, the Roundup, the Prairie, and Bronco — a meat pizza loaded with sausage, beef, diced ham, pepperoni, and bacon. Saddle up for some big-time flavor at very affordable prices.
20. Vic’s Rib Cage, Inc
Last, but not least on our list of best things to do in Monticello, Minnesota is to dine at Vic’s Rib Cage, Inc. When it comes to BBQ, Vick’s Rib Cage, Inc is a local legend in Monticello, which used to share space with the Nordic Brewing Co. They feature cherry wood smoked roasted meats and sides that will send your taste buds straight to heaven! Don’t expect fancy plates and that fluff. These folks have one mission, to serve the best BBQ in Minnesota, and most folks around town say they’ve succeeded!
Final Thoughts: Fun Things To Do In Monticello
Far from a one-stoplight town, Monticello, Minnesota, has a spirit and personality that makes it unique and exciting while offering lots of small-town hospitality that makes it a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Full of great indoor and outdoor activities, you’ll be sure to find great things to do in Monticello throughout the year.
Once you’ve discovered some of the best things to do in Monticello, let us know which activity you enjoyed the most.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
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.