There’s surely no shortage of natural beauty in the idyllic river town of Red Wing, Minnesota, the Mississippi River’s crown jewel. The team at St. James Hotel understands this fact more than most, which is why we boast a small fleet of bicycle rentals. Within minutes of our historic Red Wing hotel, cyclists will discover towering bluffs, centuries-old architecture, a world-famous river, and many family-friendly parks. Sometimes the allure of a picnic in the park, especially around this time of the year, grows too large to forgo. So, join us in our quest to find the five best picnic destinations in Red Wing.
A Late-Summer or Autumn Picnic in the Park
There’s still ample time to plan an idyllic picnic in the park, complete with wraps (or sandwiches), crisp vegetables, fresh fruit, and an indulgent snack. Don’t forget to scroll through Country Living’s annual list of picnic recipe ideas.
Note that picnic baskets are available with an overnight stay at the St. James Hotel. Please reserve at least 48 hours in advance.
A peaceful, thought-provoking sculpture garden rests in a grassy meadow on the north end of town. This 350-acre estate features 30-plus sculptures crafted mostly by Minnesota-born artists, although works span the globe. There are designated picnic areas a short distance from the most beloved artworks, but feel free to throw a blanket down wherever you see fit.
Sorin’s Bluff (Memorial Park)
Sorin’s Bluff peers toward downtown Red Wing, where red brick buildings, the mighty Mississippi, and faraway hillsides fill the frame. Atop the bluff, visitors can swiftly utilize a sprawling field, tailor-made for a picnic in the park. The stretch of land also entices a healthy number of disc golfers.
Frontenac State Park’s main picnic area overlooks one of the widest sections of the Mississippi River: Lake Pepin. Below this overlook, the state park’s most-traveled trail meanders down near the water. Inside the park, there’s still archaeological evidence of the Hopewellian culture’s existence dating back to 400 B.C.
Barn Bluff (He Mni Can)
Barn Bluff might seem like an obvious choice, but there isn’t much real estate for a classic picnic in the park. However, the grassy, south-facing hillside does proffer ample prairie for a picnic if you’re OK with feasting on a slope. Much of the green space near the trails see too much foot traffic to wholly enjoy the experience.
For guests hoping to relish a picnic in the park within walking distance of St. James Hotel, look no further than riverside Levee Park. While Levee Park isn’t overly large, its proximity to the Mississippi River and its lush flowery make it a perfect place to lay back and relax with some light eats. Make sure to purchase some locally-sourced goods at the Red Wing Farmers Market prior to your meal.
The Best Restaurants in Red Wing: Scarlet Kitchen
After a full day of river town exploration, stroll into the newly-modeled and revamped Scarlet Kitchen & Bar for an extravagant end to an already flawless day. Scarlet Kitchen has been described as a “culinary, architectural, and ornamental masterpiece” since its 2020 opening. Whether you dine under the stars on the patio or inside, you’ll return to your Victorian guest room smiling from ear to ear. Match your gourmet dinner with an award-winning wine label, a house-made cocktail, or a local craft ale. Culinary delights include grilled salmon, shrimp fettuccini, and an apple cider-brined pork chop. To learn more about our historic, sophisticated Red Wing lodging, please visit us online at St-James-Hotel.com. Visitors can also swiftly check availability or simply give our team a call at 800-252-1875.