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Top 12 Things to do in Faribault Minnesota

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If you’re looking for small town charm with tons of history and activities, Faribault Minnesota has to be on your list! Faribault makes a wonderful day trip. However, it would be even better to spend a couple days.  From hiking to history (it’s the oldest non-metro historic district in the state!) to arts and delicious food and drinks, Faribault has a wide variety of activities to include in your trip.  Below I share the top things to do in Faribault!

Note: Visit Faribault hosted our visit. As always, opinions are my own.

1. Do a Walking Breakfast Tour on Central Avenue

The historic Central Avenue in downtown Faribault has so many great options for breakfast. It’s best to stroll the street to enjoy the buildings and sample a variety of items for breakfast! Check out the spots below and along the way, read about the history of the town on the benches and plaques!

  • Crack of Dawn Bakehouse: a super popular bakehouse with delicious freshly made baked goods every day! Staples like quiche, caramel rolls and cinnamon rolls are always available. Additionally, there’s a special item of the day on rotation. We loved both the vegetable quiche and the caramel pecan roll!
  • Good Day Coffee: a recently opened café recently with the cutest, cheeriest decor! The perfect place to start your day. Everything looked delicious so you can’t go wrong but the homemade pop tarts are a must! Plus there’s a fun decoder to figure out the flavor.
  • Mighty Fine Coffee Roasters: Faribault has its very own hometown roastery! Mighty Fine Coffee is co-owned by two very impressive people – Nate and Jordan. Their mission is to bring people together over a delicious cup of freshly roasted coffee in any language. Case in point there’s a sign showing sign language to support members of their community that are deaf. They have many years of coffee experience which shows in their attention to detail. They import fresh beans from a variety of countries in the coffee belt according to the season. We sampled delicious fresh beans from Papa New Guinea. Since the soil has ash due to the volcanic nature of the area, it had a nice ashy flavor. They always have fresh coffee brewing so people can sample the product and catch up with others who stop in. You can also purchase beans and merchandise in store. It really is a great meeting place. Watch this space to see how they grow!

2. Tour the Faribault Woolen Mill

The Faribault Woolen Mill is an absolute gem in Minnesota with the most incredible history.  Originally founded in 1865 as a horse-powered mill, Faribault Woolen Mill moved to its current location in 1892 as a water-powered mill and has been in production ever since.  (For context, in 1865 President Lincoln was assassinated and the Civil War ended.)

While there were many mills in the country then, today only two vertical mills remain including Faribault Woolen Mill.  The incredibly high-quality blankets were purchased by: pioneers heading west, military for its members since World War I and many today who love the high-quality craftsmanship and design. 

We had the chance to tour the mill’s 22 steps from fresh wool to the finished blanket.  It was incredible seeing some machines that are still in use from the early 1900’s! The mill purchased parts and machines from other mills closing as back ups since the machine manufacturers are no longer in business.

While the products are not inexpensive, after seeing the 22 steps to make them, I think they’re extremely reasonable!

3. Grab lunch at Janna’s Market Grill

Janna’s Market is a beautiful space on Central Avenue that’s part grocery market and part deli. Janna’s sells freshly made hot and cold items for breakfast and lunch plus a delicious bakery. While everything looked delicious, we enjoyed a vegetable wrap (me) , a chicken marinara sandwich and bacon grilled cheese sandwich (Ryan), chips and a sweet potato maple cheesecake. Very reasonably priced too! There are many benches that have interesting history written on them around Central Avenue – perfect for a picnic!

4. Take a Class or Walk the Art Galleries at Paradise Center for the Arts

Built in 1929 on the grounds of the opera house, the Paradise Center for the Arts is a beautiful building. Inside has a gorgeous theatre, rooms filled with rotating art galleries that honor local artists and classrooms that host a variety of in-person art classes. There are also virtual class offerings, many free to MN residents, thanks to a grant. Check out their upcoming classes here!

5. Enjoy self-care with a reiki and vibrational sound session at Zensational

Miki at Zensational has created a beautiful and relaxing environment which is perfect for self-care time.  Trained and licensed in reiki healing, vibrational sound therapy and physic readings, Miki is a very intuitive professional.  For my session, Miki combined all three elements. I felt very comfortable with each step of the process explained to me.  Afterwards, I felt both relaxed and energized!

There are a variety of options to choose from but if you’re new to these experiences, a great option is to do the session that includes all three.  Check out all your options here!

6. Hike at Nerstrand State Park

Nerstrand is a beautiful state park and only 15 minutes from downtown Faribault. We did a quick 45 minute hike to Hidden Falls and a ways down the creek. However, you could easily spend more time enjoying more of the park!

7. Get takeout from Mizuki Fusion

Faribault Mizuki

Mizuki Fusion is a delicious Japanese and Asian restaurant local just west of the downtown area.  Perfect for either a takeout lunch or dinner (indoor dining was closed when we visited due to COVID), Mizuki has delicious (and generously portioned) sushi, miso soup and fried rice. Highly recommend enjoying a meal from here!

8. Enjoy cocktails at 10,000 Drops Distillery

10,000 Drops is a recently opened (2018) distillery in Faribault focused on producing high quality Gin, Whiskey and Rum. They tastefully renovated a historic building and many of its original features can still be seen. We enjoyed a couple cocktails that were very reasonably priced – most drinks are between $6-$8. The space is incredibly relaxing and inviting. They also offer an option for groups to host a private dinner in the distillery – what a cool idea!

9. Visit Our Merciful Savior Cathedral

We visited Our Merciful Savior Cathedral (just from the outside as it’s closed during COVID) and I felt like I was visiting a cathedral in England! It was built in the 1860’s and was the original Cathedral of the Diocese of Minnesota. Check back to see if tours are available when you visit – it would be so interesting to see the inside.

10. Hike at River Bend Nature Center

The River Bend Nature Center is a wonderful place to enjoy nature with many facilitated programs and events offered. We participated in a luminary snowshoe hike since we visited in winter. It was so beautiful and serene hiking at night amongst the pines and candle-lit path!

During the spring, there are maple syrup events and in other seasons there are a variety of other events as well.  Check out their website to see what’s coming up!  

11. Bike the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail

If you visit during warmer weather, the Sakatah Singing Hills trail would be a great option for biking! We’ve previously enjoyed a ~20 mile bike ride on it but you could go all the way to Mankato!

12. Stay at Shattuck St. Mary’s

We did a lot in our one day visit to Faribault! The only regret is not staying for a second day. A top place to stay, especially for history (and great homemade peanut butter), is Shattuck St. Mary’s. It was originally constructed in 1871 and has since been a library, dormitory and infirmary before being remodeled in 2013. A historic place with modern comforts – sounds perfect. Book your stay here! This is an affiliate link – I appreciate your support.

Other spots we missed this time but would love to visit next time: The Caves of Faribault and Vintage Escapes Winery & Vineyard.

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’re ready to plan your trip to Faribault! It’s a beautiful city and we can’t wait to visit again.

If you’d like more Minnesota travel ideas, check out my articles here!

Happy Planning!

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  2. Liz on March 12, 2021 at 07:54

    You missed the best restaurant in town Depot Bar & Grill owned for 30 yrs by Award winning Chef Jeff LaBeau.

    • Planet with Sara on March 12, 2021 at 13:17

      I’ve added it to the list for the next visit!

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