Mankato, we love you.
While your winters are long and make me want to curl up on the couch for a How I Met Your Mother marathon, spring is in sight and I can’t wait to get out and experience you again. Here’s our list of must-do’s:
1. Visit the Falls
One of my very fist weekends in Mankato I ventured to Minneopa Falls with friends and it instantly became one of my favorite spots in Mankato. As it is a state park, parking costs approximately 5 dollars. But it is well worth it for the hours of exploration. A few weekends later Ryan brought me to Minnemishinona Falls (try to say that three times fast) and I instantly fell in love (with the falls? with him? you’ll never know!). This waterfall is definitely the smaller of the two in town and I probably hold some sentimental attachment, but it’s free and makes for a fantastic quick afternoon adventure.
2. Complete a coffee tour
While Ryan and I have never done this, I think an awesome way to experience Mankato would be to visit the local hot spot coffee shops ALL IN ONE MORNING (or afternoon if you like to sleep in, we don’t judge.) We’ve always talked about doing a coffee tour in the Twin Cities where coffee is a lot more competitive, but there’s several coffee shops in town filled with character that serve a decent cup. Plus you can hit all the biggies without going into a caffeine overload. We’d visit The Fillin’ Station, The Coffee Hag, WYSIWYG Juice for a pourer, and of course Tandem Bagels Company. Which leads me to number three…
3. Have the best breakfast date in town
Since I moved to Mankato in 2012 I’ve always enjoyed frequenting Tandem Bagels. With a cozy fireplace, large farm table, and smiling servers this place has always felt a bit like home. Of course now that I work there I am a bit more biased, but I promise we really have always loved this place. Tandem makes for the perfect breakfast date – with a friend, significant other, or the entire family. Split a back of bagels or order a breakfast sandwich. You’ll leave full and happy.
4. Complete the Walking Sculpture Tour
While you’re downtown eating breakfast and drinking coffee, one will certainly observe the intriguing sculptures scattered across the streets. Every summer Mankato’s downtown hosts an art walk filled with unique sculptures. They stay up for the majority of the year, so you can do this walk in December if that’s your thing. Check out the past few year’s sculptures here, but I recommend visiting the sculptures in person as well.
5. Shop small at Salvage Sisters
Mankato’s Old Town is filled with awesome local businesses selling quality products. Salvage Sisters is an awesome local shop that sells home goods, clothing, and art all created by local artists. This one is perfect for a girl’s afternoon.
Hop on over to Riverfront Park for a unique park experience and a long walking trail along the Minnesota River. I highly recommend completing this walk at sunset, because the sunset colors glowing over river are gorgeous. Looking to make an evening out of it? Stop for a picnic at Riverfront Park before completing your riverwalk.
7. Mom and Pop’s Ice Cream
Of course I couldn’t post about things to do in Mankato without talking about ice cream. Mom and Pop’s has over 32 flavors of ice cream including soy and Italian ice options. Rumor has it that all their ice cream has at least 14 percent butterfat in it. The more fat in ice cream = the better the ice cream, people. Ryan and I are ice cream connoisseurs so trust us on this one. This stuff is too good to miss out on if you’re in town, plus in the summertime they have an awesome patio with plenty of picnic tables and sunset views. Talk about the perfect summer night outing.
8. Sibley Park
Sibley Park is a must-do for anyone 1 to 101 years old. In the summer time the park boasts pretty views of the Minnesota river, a flower garden, plenty of walking trails, a park that is always hopping, and a petting zoo for kids (or adults if that’s your thing). During the Christmas season the park is decorated with Christmas lights. While springtime and summer scream park season, this one does is it all, all year long.
9. Sporting Events
With four colleges in town and several minor league adult sports teams, there is never a lack of sporting events to attend in this town. Vikings training camp is held on Mankato State University’s campus each August. This is in an awesome event for the fail. In the winter time, MSU Hockey games are inexpensive to attend and promise a night of excitement.
10. Chankaska Winery
While Chankaska is technically outside of Mankato, this winery is just a short drive out of town. There you can find delicious wines and appetizers as well as ample outdoor sitting in the summer evenings. It truly feels like an escape from your day to day routine. Enjoy!