Here in Minnesota, we have more than a few notable towns. Among the most widely recognized is Stillwater, the beautiful town on the banks of the St. Croix River. Stillwater is constantly recognized as Minnesota’s best small town. It has even been listed by major news publications as one of the prettiest towns in the United States. But why? What makes Stillwater so great? How did it earn its spot as the best? The answer to those questions is pretty easy, as you’ll soon discover. Check out how Stillwater became the coolest place in the Midwest:
1. Stillwater is full of natural beauty.
Stillwater did not draw the short straw when it comes to location. This town is right on the western banks of the St. Croix River, with amazing views of the river from almost anywhere in town. The town is surrounded by low, tree-covered hills that offer an excellent vantage point for those who want a bird's eye view of this beautiful town. It's especially gorgeous in the fall, when the hills turn brilliant orange and red.
2. Downtown Stillwater has a charming small-town feel.
Stillwater's population is just shy of 20,000. It's not a tiny town by any means, but it is certainly much smaller than Minnesota's largest cities. Despite this, Stillwater has a beautiful downtown that is usually bustling with tourists and locals alike. Each street is lined with historic buildings and charming storefronts, just like you'd expect from a small midwestern town.
3. There's plenty to do outdoors.
Given the riverfront location, it should come as no surprise that Stillwater is full of outdoorsy activities. You can take the boat out for a day on the river, pitch a tent for some camping, or hike or bike on any of Stillwater's many trails. If you're looking for something more low key, Stillwater also has several lovely parks.
4. Stillwater is packed with history.
In addition to its gorgeous scenery and outdoor activities, Stillwater is historic. As the "Birthplace of Minnesota," it is one of the state's oldest towns. This means there are a lot of historic buildings and other sites to visit. Stillwater has a number of popular walking tours that will take you through the early history of this charming town.
5. You can always find something happening - even when it's cold outside.
Stillwater's calendar is packed. It seems there is always something going on in this small town. Whether it's a classic car show or Fourth of July fireworks, you're going to be impressed by the effort this little town puts into celebrating. But unlike many small towns, Stillwater doesn't close down when the cold sets in. This town embraces winter with festivals and other events that will make you forget the winter blues.
6. There are plenty of places to grab an excellent bite to eat.
If you plan a busy day in Stillwater, you'll definitely want to try one of its many great restaurants. A lot of them have patio seating with a view of the river. With a plate of tasty food in front of you and a glass of wine in hand, the gorgeous is just the icing on the cake.
7. In addition to having many restaurants, Stillwater is a shopping hot spot - especially for antiques.
This small town is filled with local stores that offer a huge variety of unique goods. Whether you're looking for local art or a new piece of clothing, you'll find it in Stillwater. One of the best things to do in town is antiquing. There are several antique stores that offer thousands of square feet of antique and vintage treausres. In a town where new and old live side by side, it only makes sense to walk away with a vintage goodie or two.
8. Visitors to Stillwater can expect to find some one-of-a-kind views.
The historic Stillwater lift bridge, which carried traffic between Minnesota and Wisconsin for years, is soon to be a pedestrian bridge. But that doesn't mean it won't still rise to let boats come through. Visitors will have the even more opportunity to enjoy the unique views of the St. Croix River. From its banks, you can watch the bridge rise. And from the lift bridge, you can get a panoramic view of the surrounding area - including cars crossing the brand-new St. Croix bridge. It's beautiful.
9. The town is not without its quirks.
Every small town has them, right? One of the most fun places in Stillwater is its quirky Teddy Bear Park. This unique playground is loaded with whimsy. Kids can climb over the large teddy bear statues, pretend to work in a steamboat, and even slide down a train. If you have little ones, definitely check out this quirky little park.
10. You'll always find a friendly face.
A lot of work goes into making a town as charming as Stillwater. Its local store and restaurant owners have a lot of pride in their town, and it shows in how well they treat visitors. It's not difficult to find a friendly face in this little town.
What do you think? Is Stillwater the coolest town in the Midwest? Let us know what you think in the comments down below!
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