Looking for a shopping getaway? Stillwater, Minnesota, is one of America’s Top 10 Towns for Antiquing with several multi-dealer antique malls and vintage shops.
Over 100 unique shops and restaurants line Stillwater’s historic Main Street. Open year-round, antiques, art galleries, fashion boutiques, home furnishings, decor, gifts, indoor and outdoor dining and more can be found without a chain franchise in sight.
There’s so much ground to cover that Kurtis and Hannah start promptly in the morning at Mara Mi.
It opens early enough to get a delicious coffee while checking out the merchandise.
You could spend hours here looking at all the gorgeous products. Hannah has a thing for office supplies. This was honestly her heaven.
Fortunately, it has comfy seating for anyone not so into browsing (except on his phone).
Next stop is Namaste, a clothing and accessories shop where nothing is over $10. Seriously, $10.
And, already, Kurtis is in the usual position for guys in clothing stores.
He’s a little more into the shopping thing at Alfresco, a home and garden shop housed in a 100-year-old warehouse building. Hannah always feels like good kitchen supplies are an indulgence that’s allowed on vacations.
For lifestyles rooted in nature, stop in at Stillwater Farm Store (since circa 1896). Find a wonderful collection of one-of-a-kind gifts, birding goods, including hand-mixed feeds, and homemade artisan products.
Owner Rebecca Kolls makes each shopper feel welcome (as do her friendly canine helpers). If you go, be sure to check out the buckets, the dogs hide their toys in there.
Across the street are the Joseph Wolf Brewery caves. These caverns, dating back to 1868, were cut into the section of the sandstone bluff located off of Main Street. No matter the weather, it stays a constant 52 degrees in the caves year round.
Next stop is Cooks of Crocus Hill, for all things culinary. If you’re looking for something cooking-related, chances are, you’ll find it here.
And if you want to up your game in the kitchen, Cooks holds an extensive evening schedule of participation and demonstration classes.
In addition to top-notch products and classes, Cooks also offers culinary activities and crop share opportunities.
If you’re feeling crafty, stop in at Sawdust Savvy and make a stenciled sign at one of their workshops. Or take a kit home for an evening project. These people are extremely nice, and everyone was having such a good time.
That coffee at Mata Mi was a while ago, so we head to Lion’s Tavern, upstairs at the historic Grand Garage building, for a bite to eat and one of their signature cocktails. They provide a robust lunch menu of sandwiches, salads, and tacos.
Now that we’re fueled, it’s time to hit the vintage shops (some of these are quite large antique malls, so sustenance is a must!). Our first stop is River City Antiques, a well-curated selection of items that features some stellar midcentury modern pieces.
In addition to furnishings, they carry gorgeous accents (cool lamps!), serving pieces, and bar ware.
The Midtown Antique Mall just down the block houses over 100 dealers on three floors. It is a great mix of big and small items—you’ll find something here you can’t live without.
Smaller collectibles fill the ground floor, while furnishings and accents feature on the second floor. The top floor is filled with furniture from Victorian era through midcentury modern. You can even find vintage motorcycles up here.
After wandering all those aisles and floors, Hannah and Kurtis stop in at the Stillwater Olive Oil Company for some taste testing.
With over 30 flavors to choose from of both vinaigrettes and olive oils, they could be here for a while. They provide bread for dipping if you’re not into drinking them straight.
As former archaeologists, Kurtis and Hannah can’t pass by Art N Soul, the local rock and bead shop. Everywhere they go, they find a rock shop.
They’re like kids in a candy store.
The merchandise is pretty cool. Labradorite, anyone?
Stop off at the Maple Island Brewery for a tasting with 2 flights featuring their 10 current flavors. It’s a chance to sit down, listen to some live music and chat about what we’ve seen and which brews we prefer.
Of course, if you like a more mobile experience, you can have your beer and cycle, too. This group was having a great time knocking back suds and rolling around downtown.
One more antique mall to go today—this one housed in the old Staples Sawmill.
Another labyrinth of amazing stuff on multiple floors, mezzanines, and back rooms. The nice thing about Stillwater, is that you can make multiple trips back to your vehicle to drop off your shopping bags without losing shopping time! I think we had made two or three at this point.
You can’t visit Stillwater and miss the fabulous malts at Leo’s Grill and Malt Shop. Their walk-up window is always busy, but their ice cream is so worth it!
The gazebo at Lowell Park is a great spot to watch the river traffic while enjoying those malts.
Hannah and Kurtis have been shopping all day and are still smiling. They’re troopers.
While we’re resting, the lift bridge goes into operation.
These types of bridges are few and far between now so it was a rare chance to see how they work.
If you’re interested in getting a view of the city from the water, you can see the downtown action in a riverboat cruise.
Or take a final tour on one of the trolleys that run through downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. I love these things. They’re so friggin’ cute.
Finish the day with a meal and live music at Tin Bins, located in the Commander Building, an 1898 grain elevator and one of the most notable historic structures in Stillwater.
In two days (missed the first day? check out what we did here) we’ve really only touched on everything there is do and see in Stillwater and the areas around town. Of course, the Twin Cities and all they have to offer are only a half hour away, too. This is definitely a visit that needs to be repeated.
© Caruth Studio