Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and home to four distinct seasons, Minnesota offers a unique mix of quaint small towns and bustling cities. If you’re planning a romantic weekend getaway, Minnesota boasts plenty to do and see. From quiet lakefront cabins to upscale lofts with breathtaking cityscape views, there are numerous incredible vacation rentals in Minnesota. Spend the day canoeing in the Boundary Waters, or take a stroll through the historic streets of Stillwater. Catch an evening show in downtown Minneapolis after dinner at an exclusive eatery. To help you get started on your weekend trip itinerary, check out the top romantic getaway spots in Minnesota.

1. Brainerd Lakes Area

Home to Paul Bunyan, the world-famous lumberjack, the Brainerd Lakes area is surrounded by numerous lakes, including Long Lake and Gull Lake, where you’ll find rustic rental cabins, waterfront restaurants, recreation areas, and beautiful scenery all around. Cities in the Brainerd Lakes area include Nisswa and Brainerd, each with its own unique personality and a host of activities that are perfect for a romantic getaway. Head to Nisswa and peruse the shops along Main Street, including the Chocolate Ox, known for its root beer barrels and homemade fudge. For an intimate meal, reserve a table at Nisswa’s Italian Gardens restaurant, or take in the views of the Legacy Golf Course while enjoying a walleye sandwich at Brainerd’s Legacy Grille.

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2. Minneapolis

Minneapolis is a busy metropolis in Southern Minnesota, the birthplace of beloved musician Prince, and home to an abundance of fine dining establishments, museums, lush green parks, and historic architecture. Choose a vacation rental overlooking downtown or the Minnehaha River, then head over to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden for a romantic outdoor picnic and walking tour. Enjoy authentic French cuisine in an intimate setting at Cafe Vin, or opt for Thai food served in a private booth at King and I Thai. If you’re up for a few laughs, take in a show at ACME Comedy Club or HUGE Improv Theater in the downtown area.

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3. Stillwater

Stillwater is an ideal spot for a romantic getaway, as this peaceful town sits along the St. Croix River surrounded by historic scenery, cozy vacation rentals that overlook the water, and a host of antique shops and boutiques along Main Street. Spend the day at Teddy Bear Park with your sweetheart, and take some photos with the life-size bear statues. Walk along the St. Croix Bridge or the riverfront and take in the views, then go apple picking at Aamodt’s Apple Farm. Listen to German music over authentic cuisine at Gasthaus Bavarian Center, or take in a European-themed dinner show at The Outing Lodge.

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4. Red Wing

For a weekend filled with history and gorgeous scenery, visit Red Wing, Minnesota. The historic St. James Hotel sits above the bluffs of the Mississippi River and offers dining and walking tours, and Red Wing Pottery hosts pottery classes for all skill levels. If you’re interested in learning more about the world-famous Red Wing pottery, spend an afternoon at the Red Wing Pottery Museum and check out stoneware, kitchenware, and art manufactured between 1880 and 1967. For a romantic steak dinner for two, head over to Bayside Tap and Steakhouse on Old Main Street.

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5. Ely

If you’re looking to incorporate some recreation into your romantic Minnesota weekend, Ely is a great option. Ely is the “last stop” before you get to the Minnesota side of the Boundary Waters that border Minnesota and Canada, making it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Choose a rustic vacation rental near the water and rent a canoe for a moonlight cruise, then wake up early and head over to Sheridan Street for some dining and shopping. Chat with friendly locals over coffee and baked goods at the Front Porch Coffee and Tea Company, then visit the International Wolf Center for a morning of nature education and live wolf exhibits. Before you head out of town, pop by Mostly Moose and More gift shop for “only in Minnesota” souvenirs.

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6. Rochester

Rochester sits along the North fork of Minnesota’s Zumbro River, surrounded by lakes, parks, and plenty of lovely scenery. Home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, Rochester is known for its historic architecture, including the 1928 Plummer Building. Vacation rentals in this quiet city offer waterfront views and easy access to University Square and the downtown area, where residents and visitors enjoy shopping, dining, and casual strolls through town. Enjoy a cozy, intimate meal and live music at the Redwood Room, then sign up for a private trolley tour through the city with Rochester Trolley and Tour Co.

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7. Duluth

Situated along the shores of Lake Superior, Duluth provides visitors with picturesque views, crisp clean air, and plenty of activities to fill up a romantic weekend. Start your weekend off with a tour of the Glensheen Estate, a historic 27,000 square foot mansion built in 1905. Once owned by mining millionaire Chester Congdon, Glensheen is a top attraction in Duluth, complete with beautiful grounds and 39 rooms. After your tour, pop over to Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar for a quaint meal for two.

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8. Winona

Winona is one of Minnesota’s best-kept secrets, as this lovely scenic town along the Upper Mississippi River is home to amazing museums, parks, and restaurants. Spend a day at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum checking out treasured works by featured artists, such as Picasso and George Bellows, then take a romantic stroll along the bluffs of the Mississippi and sneak a peek at Sugar Loaf, a unique rock formation, and the city’s most well-known landmark. For a casual meal after a day of sightseeing, head over to Signature’s Restaurant for surf-n-turf and a few drinks.

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