We are lucky to be only 30 minutes away from the adorable town of Northfield, MN. When people ask me what my favorite towns in Minnesota are, I will always say Grand Marais, Stillwater, Taylors Falls, Lanesboro and Northfield. Northfield has a special place in my heart because I have been going there since I was little with my family. Fast forward to today- I have my own family & take them to explore Northfield as well! To make the most of your day trip or stay, here are my family’s 15 Favorite Day Trip Activities in Northfield, MN.

Frequently Asked Questions About Northfield, MN

The stroll along Cannon River is as scenic as they come in Minnesota.
Beautiful mural in downtown Northfield, MN.

Is Northfield a suburb of Minneapolis? Where is Northfield, MN?

Northfield is a growing community about thirty minutes south of Minneapolis. It’s a small town with a city vibe.

Is Northfield MN a college town?

Northfield is home to Carleton College and St. Olaf College.

Is Northfield MN a nice place to live?

There are a lot of parks, a beautiful, busy downtown area and great location not too far from the Twin Cities. There are over 20,000 residents in Northfield.

15 Favorite Day Trip Activities in Northfield, MN

Downtown Northfield, MN.

1. Harvest Apples at Fireside Orchard and Gardens

Every fall we plan a day trip to Northfield, MN to explore the 27 varieties of apples (Fireside is our favorite) at Fireside Orchards and Gardens. The landscaping is beautiful on the property and they offer a variety of baked goods, jams, fudge, honey and other treats. My personal favorite are the apple cider donuts, fresh out of the oven! They are closed during the winter but reopen late August.

Take a tour of Minnesota’s Most Charming Towns to plan your next adventure!

2. Taste the Flavors at Imminent Brewing or Loon Liquors Distillery

If you enjoy ciders and craft distilleries, check out Loon Liquors, also equipped with a cocktail room. All ingredients are sourced locally and they are always playing around with new recipes. Imminent Brewing is kid and dog friendly equipped with a tap room. They usually have a lot of fun events throughout the seasons!

3. Breakfast at The Hideaway Coffee House, Brick Oven Bakery or Tandem Bagels

Breakfast places and coffee shops are my weakness, and Northfield is abundant with both. The Hideaway Coffee House and Tandem Bagels are located 30 seconds from one another. If I am wanting a delicious sandwich or craving bagels, Tandem Bagel is our stop. If I want a a bigger breakfast meal with more options, Hideaway Coffee House is always my choice. We also like to stop at Brick Oven Bakery for some delicious fresh-baked goods.

4. Pick Me Up Drink at Tin Tea or Little Joy Coffee Downtown Northfield, MN

Little Joy Coffee in Northfield, MN.

I am crazy over the Horchata Lattes are Little Joy Coffee, which is an adorable, modern & chic cafe downtown Northfield. If I am craving Boba tea or a delicious Banh Mi Sandwich, I make the short drive to Tin Tea, a few minutes down the road from Target.

Save our list of Favorite Coffee Shops in Minnesota!

5. Lunch or Dinner at Reunion Downtown Northfield, MN

If you are looking for a darling restaurant with gourmet meals for a special night out, Reunion is your pick! There is an upstairs area that has drinks and appetizers. The downstairs area features the full menu. Our favorite is the Parmesan Crusted Walleye and the Lemon Tres Leches Cake- but it’s all delicious!

If you are a foodie, save this post for best breakfast places to eat near Minneapolis and All Over MN!

6. Walk Along Cannon River in Downtown Northfield, MN

Park your car anywhere downtown and head to Cannon River on foot. You will find a beautiful stone path behind the historic downtown buildings and discover other neat shops on the backside. We love the views along the Cannon River and crossing the bridge to get the perfect view.

7. Shop Unique Stores Historic Downtown Northfield, MN

Northfield is not lacking wonderful, unique shops all within walking distance in the down town area. Our personal favorites are The Rare Pair, Soulstice Boutique, Champion Sports, Fine Fettle, The Goat and Olive Oils and Vinegar. This is just a few of them-see the full list here.

If a historic downtown are your thing, plan your visit to Stillwater, MN!

8. Visit the Most Famous Bank Robbery Site in Minnesota

The Northfield Historical Society downtown.

In September of 1876, Jesse James and his gang attempted a robbery at the First National Bank in Northfield, MN. The bank clerk on duty and a citizen were killed during the robbery, as were 2 of the gang members. The site of the robbery is currently the Northfield Historical Society, or the Scriver’s building & is located downtown. You can pay a visit to the oldest building in Northfield, MN today!

9. Stroll Through The Garden of Quiet Listening

Hosted on the Carleton College Campus is the Garden of Quiet Listening. It’s a Japanese Garden located behind Watson Hall. Although it’s small, it’s serene, peaceful and gorgeous in the summer time. The beauty of this park is all in the details.

If you love Japanese Zen Gardens, read about our adventure at the Japanese Zen Garden in Portland, Oregon!

10. Hike to Caron Falls

My photo shoot at Caron Falls, photo credit to The Little Things Photography.

A few miles from Northfield is the beautiful wooded area of Caron Park. In the summer, you can find wildflowers at their peak, no crowds and a neat waterfall with a bridge. We enjoy the .7 mile hike from the lot to the falls. My kids have seen awesome wild life in this area, like a bull frog, bald eagle, rabbits and minnows. A couple minutes down the road is Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, but if you are looking for a quiet place, Caron Park is the best choice.

Do you love chasing waterfalls? Check out my articles featuring The North Shore of MN to plan a dreamy vacation!

11. Explore Hidden Falls at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Along a one mile loop trail in the Big Woods State Park, you will find a serene forest, endangered wildflowers and the Hidden Falls. Nerstrand offers over 2,000 acres of woods that offers hiking trails, a playground and campground. This has been one of my favorite parks to visit not too far from my home town. It’s the best during fall time with the leaves changing color.

Check out our list of Hiking Gems in Minnesota. If you are hiking with family, check out my Day Trip Hiking Tips.

12. Visit The Blast Ice Cream Shop

During our downtown walk along Cannon River, we discovered the perfect summer treat- The Blast Ice Cream Shop, right off the path! My kids were very excited and we were able to eat along the riverside. I suggest you try their cookie dough flurry!

13. Smell the Flowers at Forget Me Not Floral Shop

I discovered this adorable store, Forget Me Not, in Northfield while I was looking for a birthday present for my mom. This place is a gardner’s dream, mixed with floral arrangements, breeds of cactus and potted plants. During spring time, they have various sales on all items to kick off the new season.

14. Pick Berries at Lorence’s Berry Farm

Lorence’s Berry Farm is always on our summer itinerary when we visit Northfield, MN. Enjoy picking strawberries ($3 a pound), raspberries ($6 a pint) and asparagus($5 a pound)! We like to pick buckets of berries and freeze some to make smoothies! They only take cash or check.

15. Relax at Blue Sage Spa

Blue Sage Spa offers a variety of hair services, lash services, foot reflexology, micropen treatment, plasma pen, medical grade chemical peels and waxing. It’s a perfect addition to a day trip where your goal is relaxation.


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