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11 Awesome Things to do in Winona Minnesota

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Winona is an absolute gem town set amongst gorgeous bluffs and along the Mississippi River. We spent a weekend there exploring in the Fall and loved not only how scenic it was with the stunning fall colors but how many activities there were to do. We already can’t wait to go back and explore in other seasons. Read on for the 11 Awesome Things do in Winona!

1. Check out the Garvin Heights Lookout

Garvin Heights is a stunning viewpoint that’s just a short walk from the parking lot and is accessible. It’s particularly beautiful to visit there in the Fall with the colors changing. There are also side trails that offer additional views of the bluffs.

2. Grab a donut (or two!) from the famous Bloedow’s

Bloedow’s is an absolute must! The bakery has been around since 1924 and is a staple in Winona. It was voted the best donut shop in Minnesota in 2012 and its a well earned title – the donuts are delicious. Note that it’s closed on Sundays.

3. Hike up to Sugar Loaf Bluff

Sugar Loaf Bluff is an iconic bluff towering over Winona and you can hike up to it! Park along Lake Boulevard and start the hike at the trailhead behind the Edina Realty. It’s a short but steep trail and offers gorgeous views of the city.

4. Enjoy a Vietnamese meal at Norvary

A recent addition to to the Winona dining scene, Norvary is a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant that’s a must visit! Norvary offers a delicious menu of pho, fried rice, banh mi, spring rolls, smoothies and boba tea. We tried the Norvary pho, Egg fried rice and boba (get the ube for a unique drink!) and loved it all. The space is also beautifully curated and decorated and has a view of Sugar Loaf.

5. Take a photo at the Winona Sign in front of Lake Winona

Located at the Visit Winona Visitor’s Center along Lake Winona is the iconic WINONA statue. It’s a fun spot to take a photo with the bluffs in the background and then go for a stroll or bike ride around the lake.

6. Enjoy pizza and drinks at Muddled Thyme

Muddled Thyme is a well loved wine, cocktail and food bar and well worth a visit! We enjoyed a delicious brick oven made pizza and focaccia which I’d highly recommend ordering alongside drinks!

7. Dine on a culinary masterpiece at Heirloom

Heirloom is a culinary gem in Winona! It’s a family run, seasonally inspired restaurant and the food is phenomenal. We enjoyed melon crostini, elote fries, butternut squash ravioli and a fall harvest salad – all perfect for the fall!

8. Pick up coffee, tea and breakfast from Blooming Grounds

Blooming Grounds is a popular local coffee spot especially with the college crowd. We enjoyed breakfast from here along with a coffee and tea – everything was great! We brought our meal to enjoy lakeside but the coffeeshop was super cozy inside too. There’s also an express drive through location if you want a quicker experience.

9. Explore the Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM)

Set alongside the Mississippi, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum displays artwork inspired by water. From local artists to works by Picasso and Monet, the collections are impressive! I especially loved the colorful exhibit by local artist Anne Labovitz.

10. Buy take home pasta and other Sicilian goods from Sapori di Sicilia

Sapori di Sicilia is an incredible Sicilian restaurant in Winona. Everything is made with recipes from Sicily including pastas, breads, pastries and gelato. They also offer take home fresh pasta and sauces so you can enjoy the flavors for days to come!

11. Hike at John A. Latsch State Park (15 minutes north of Winona)

Just 15 minutes north of the main area of Winona is John A. Latsch State Park. With just under 600 stairs up, it’s intense but you’ll be rewarded with more sweeping views of the river and bluff region.

Are you ready to spend a weekend in Winona?! For more Minnesota travel ideas, check out more articles here!

Note: This post is sponsored by Visit Winona. Together we curated the activities. All opinions are my own.

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