Hastings, MN, is a charming city along the picturesque banks of the Mississippi River. The city beckons visitors with its rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty.
With approximately 22,000 residents, this thriving community offers a warm welcome to tourists from near and far, drawing over 250,000 visitors annually.
Hastings was founded in 1857 and boasts a storied past as one of Minnesota’s oldest cities. It was once a bustling riverfront trading hub and was vital to the state’s development. Today, remnants of its historic charm are evident in the well-preserved buildings and sites that grace the city.
Hastings is a popular tourist destination for various reasons. The LeDuc Historic Estate, a grand 19th-century mansion, beckons history buffs.
Vermillion Falls Park offers stunning natural beauty with its cascading waterfalls, attracting outdoor enthusiasts. The vibrant downtown area, brimming with unique shops and eateries, is a draw for shoppers and foodies alike.
Hastings experiences a classic Midwestern climate, with warm summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is during the summer and early fall (June to September) when the weather is pleasantly warm, and outdoor activities abound.
Spring brings lush greenery and blooming flowers, making it another appealing time for a visit. However, winter can be enchanting for those who enjoy snow and winter sports, as the area offers opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Intriguing history, diverse attractions, and welcoming hospitality make Hastings, MN, a year-round destination for travelers seeking a delightful blend of culture, nature, and small-town charm.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, Hastings has something to offer everyone. Here are the 14 most fun things to do in Hastings, MN.
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1. Hastings Civic Arena
The Hastings Civic Arena is a famous ice rink in Hastings, Minnesota. It opened its doors in 1972 and has been a hub for ice sports and community events ever since. The arena boasts two ice sheets, making it a popular spot for hockey, figure skating, and public skating sessions.
One interesting fact is that the arena hosted the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey Team training camp in 2010, showcasing its significance in the world of ice sports.
Moreover, the Hastings Civic Arena isn’t just about ice; it also features a lively community center with meeting rooms and event spaces, making it a versatile venue for gatherings and celebrations.
This arena has been a source of pride for the Hastings community, offering a place for residents to enjoy winter sports and come together for various events, making it a vibrant part of the city’s life.
2801 Red Wing Blvd, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
2. LeDuc Historic Estate
The LeDuc Historic Estate is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. This grand 19th-century mansion offers guided tours that provide insight into the life of General William G. LeDuc and the history of the region.
The LeDuc Historic Estate was built in 1865. It was once the residence of General William G. LeDuc, a prominent figure in Minnesota’s history.
One fascinating fact is that the LeDuc Historic Estate showcases a unique blend of architectural styles, combining Gothic, Italianate, and Second Empire influences, making it an architectural gem.
General LeDuc was a Civil War veteran and an accomplished horticulturist. His estate features beautifully landscaped gardens, showcasing his passion for plants and botany.
Visitors to the estate can take guided tours to learn about General LeDuc’s life and his contributions to Minnesota’s development. The estate offers a captivating glimpse into 19th-century living and the history of the region.
The LeDuc Historic Estate stands as a testament to the rich heritage of Hastings, drawing history enthusiasts and architecture admirers from near and far.
It’s a place where the past comes alive, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience a piece of Minnesota’s history.
1629 Vermillion St, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
3. Vermillion Falls Park
Vermillion Falls Park is a natural gem in Hastings. Take a walk along the scenic trails and enjoy the stunning views of Vermillion Falls. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic, birdwatching, or simply unwinding in the midst of nature.
Interestingly, the falls were once harnessed to power mills and factories in the 19th century, highlighting their historical importance to the area.
Visitors to the park can explore hiking trails that wind through lush greenery, offering stunning views of the cascading waterfall. The park is also home to various wildlife species, making it a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
For those seeking a relaxing escape, Vermillion Falls Park provides a serene setting for picnicking or simply unwinding by the river’s edge. It’s a place where the sights and sounds of nature create a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city.
This natural gem continues to attract visitors who are drawn to its scenic beauty and historical significance, making it a cherished part of Hastings’ landscape.
215 21st St E, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
4. Afton State Park
Afton State Park is a beautiful natural destination in Minnesota, just east of the Twin Cities. It was established in 1969 and covers approximately 1,702 acres, offering a wealth of outdoor activities.
Afton State Park is known for its rugged terrain, characterized by deep ravines, bluffs, and rolling hills, making it a favorite spot for hikers and nature lovers.
The park provides over 20 miles of hiking trails, including a portion of the famous St. Croix River Hiking Trail, where visitors can explore the park’s diverse landscapes and observe its rich wildlife.
Additionally, Afton State Park offers year-round recreational opportunities, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and swimming and picnicking in the summer, making it a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the seasons.
With its breathtaking scenery and diverse ecosystems, this natural haven continues to be a cherished place for those seeking a close connection with nature and a sense of adventure.
6959 Peller Ave S, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
5. The Vineyard of Alexis Bailly
The Vineyard of Alexis Bailly is a renowned winery in Hastings, Minnesota. Established in 1973, it holds the distinction of being Minnesota’s first winery since the Prohibition era.
One intriguing fact is that the vineyard is named after its founder, David Bailly’s great-great-grandfather, Alexis Bailly, who was an early French settler in Minnesota and a pioneer winemaker. The vineyard pays homage to this rich family history.
Visitors to the Vineyard of Alexis Bailly can partake in wine tastings and tours, offering an opportunity to sample a variety of wines, including some made from cold-hardy grape varieties developed to thrive in Minnesota’s climate.
The vineyard’s picturesque location overlooking the Mississippi River Valley creates a stunning backdrop for enjoying a glass of wine. It has become a popular destination for both wine enthusiasts and those seeking a relaxing day in the countryside.
With its historical ties and a commitment to producing high-quality wines, the Vineyard of Alexis Bailly continues to be a beloved attraction in Hastings, MN, inviting visitors to savor the flavors of the region’s winemaking heritage.
18200 Kirby Ave S, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
6. Rivertown Days Festival
Rivertown Days Festival is a vibrant and much-anticipated annual event in Hastings, Minnesota. It has been a cherished tradition in the city for over three decades, offering a weekend of fun and festivities.
The festival typically takes place in July and spans three days, featuring a wide range of activities and entertainment for all ages.
The event includes lively parades, thrilling carnival rides, and a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the night sky, making it a highlight for families and visitors alike.
Rivertown Days Festival also hosts various live music performances, showcasing local talent and national acts, creating a lively and upbeat atmosphere throughout the event.
Moreover, the festival celebrates the city’s deep-rooted connection to the Mississippi River. Offering riverboat rides and water-related activities allows attendees to appreciate the natural beauty of the area.
As one of Hastings’ most significant annual gatherings, Rivertown Days Festival continues to bring the community together, drawing thousands of visitors each year for a weekend of fun, culture, and celebration.
314 Vermillion Street, Suite 100, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
7. Dakota Pines
Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the challenging and scenic Dakota Pines Golf Club. Tee off amidst picturesque landscapes and rolling hills while enjoying a round of golf with friends or family.
Dakota Pines Golf Club is a renowned golf course situated in Hastings, Minnesota. It has a rich history and interesting features that make it a favorite destination for golf enthusiasts.
One intriguing fact is that the golf course was designed by renowned golf course architect Don Herfort and opened its doors in 1999, offering a challenging yet scenic layout for players of all skill levels.
Dakota Pines Golf Club is known for its meticulously maintained fairways and greens, providing a beautiful and challenging backdrop for golfers to enjoy their rounds.
The course also boasts a charming clubhouse with a restaurant and bar, making it a perfect spot for post-game relaxation and dining with picturesque views of the course.
Moreover, Dakota Pines frequently hosts golf tournaments and events, contributing to its reputation as a regional hub for golfing.
With its exceptional course design, stunning natural beauty, and welcoming amenities, Dakota Pines Golf Club is a top choice for golfers seeking an enjoyable and memorable golfing experience in Hastings, MN.
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Dakota Pines Golf Club, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
8. Spring Lake Park Reserve
Just a short drive from Hastings, Spring Lake Park Reserve offers hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. In the winter, it transforms into a wonderland for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Spring Lake Park Reserve is a captivating natural haven situated near Hastings, Minnesota. Its rich history and diverse offerings make it a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Interestingly, the reserve covers over 1,100 acres and offers a range of recreational activities, making it a popular spot for hikers, birdwatchers, and picnickers.
The reserve also features the Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead, a starting point for the Schaar’s Bluff Trail, which connects to the Mississippi River Regional Trail, providing an extensive network of scenic trails.
Birdwatchers flock to the reserve for its diverse avian population, making it a prime spot for spotting a variety of bird species, especially during the migratory seasons.
The reserve transforms into a snowy wonderland in the winter, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, adding to its year-round appeal.
With its natural beauty, extensive trails, and opportunities for wildlife observation, Spring Lake Park Reserve continues to be a cherished destination for those seeking a close connection with nature in the Hastings area.
8395 127th Street East, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
9. Hastings Arts Center
The Hastings Arts Center is a thriving hub for artistic expression and cultural enrichment in Hastings, Minnesota. It boasts a storied history and a range of fascinating features that contribute to its significance in the community.
Interestingly, the center occupies a historic building, the former Guardian Angels Catholic Church, which adds to its charm and character.
The Hastings Arts Center hosts diverse events, including art exhibitions, musical performances, theater productions, and workshops, making it a vibrant cultural center in the region.
Visitors can explore rotating art exhibits that showcase the talents of local artists, providing an opportunity to immerse themselves in the local art scene.
The center’s commitment to fostering creativity and cultural engagement is evident through its educational programs and outreach initiatives, helping to nurture and support the arts in Hastings.
The Hastings Arts Center remains an essential cultural institution, inviting residents and visitors alike to appreciate the beauty and creativity of the region.
216 4th St E, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
10. Afton Alps
Afton Alps is a well-known ski resort located near Hastings, Minnesota. Its fascinating history and intriguing features make it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
One interesting fact is that Afton Alps was founded in 1963 and has since evolved into one of the largest ski areas in the Midwest, attracting skiers and snowboarders from across the region.
The resort features a variety of slopes and terrain parks suitable for all skill levels, making it an ideal spot for both beginners and experienced winter sports enthusiasts.
Afton Alps isn’t just for winter activities; in the summer, it transforms into an outdoor adventure hub with mountain biking trails and a golf course.
Moreover, the resort’s location along the St. Croix River Valley offers breathtaking views and a scenic backdrop for outdoor recreation.
With its rich history, extensive winter sports offerings, and year-round outdoor adventures, Afton Alps continues to be a beloved destination for those seeking an active and thrilling escape in Hastings, MN.
6600 Peller Ave S, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
11. Levee Park
Levee Park is a captivating waterfront park situated in Hastings, Minnesota. This beautiful park has a rich history and features that make it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
One interesting fact is that Levee Park underwent a significant revitalization in the early 2000s, transforming it into a vibrant community space.
The park offers picturesque views of the Mississippi River, making it an ideal spot for relaxation, picnicking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
Levee Park hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and community gatherings, adding to its appeal as a cultural and social hub in Hastings.
The park also features a scenic riverwalk, providing an opportunity for leisurely strolls and birdwatching along the riverbanks.
Levee Park continues to be a beloved destination for those seeking a serene and engaging experience by the river in Hastings, MN.
20 Ramsey Street Hastings, MN 55033, United States
12. Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council Events
The Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) organizes various cultural events in Hastings, Minnesota. Founded to promote arts and culture in the region, this organization has a fascinating history and offers a wealth of artistic experiences.
One interesting fact is that HPAAC was established in 1983 and has been a driving force behind the flourishing arts scene in Hastings ever since.
The organization hosts diverse events, including concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, and workshops, providing opportunities for artists to showcase their talents and engage with the community.
HPAAC has played a pivotal role in making art accessible to the public, fostering creativity, and nurturing local talent. It often collaborates with schools and other organizations to promote arts education and appreciation.
With its rich history, commitment to the arts, and a calendar filled with cultural events, HPAAC continues to enrich the cultural fabric of Hastings, inviting residents and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the world of art and creativity.
Prescott High School, 1010 Dexter Street, Prescott, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
13. Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center
Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center is a cherished natural sanctuary located near Hastings, Minnesota. Its fascinating history offers numerous captivating features that appeal to nature enthusiasts.
The center covers more than 725 acres, providing a diverse range of ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, making it a haven for wildlife and biodiversity.
The nature center was founded in 1994 and has since become a beloved destination for hiking, birdwatching, and environmental education.
Visitors can explore over ten miles of hiking trails that wind through beautiful landscapes, providing outdoor adventure and nature observation opportunities.
Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center frequently hosts educational programs, workshops, and events for all ages, helping to promote environmental stewardship and a deeper connection to nature.
With its expansive natural beauty, commitment to conservation, and year-round educational offerings, Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center continues to be a treasured destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world near Hastings, MN.
12805 St Croix Trail S, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
14. Afton Apple Orchard
Afton Apple Orchard is a popular agricultural destination near Hastings, Minnesota. It boasts an intriguing history and offers a variety of engaging activities for visitors.
The orchard was established in the 1940s and has been a family-owned operation for several generations, growing a wide range of apples and other fruits.
The orchard is renowned for its apple-picking opportunities, allowing visitors to hand-pick their own apples during the harvest season, making it a fun and educational experience for families.
Afton Apple Orchard also features a petting farm, a corn maze, and hayrides, creating a welcoming environment for children and adults alike.
In addition to apples, the orchard grows pumpkins, strawberries, and other seasonal crops, offering fresh and locally sourced produce.
With its agricultural heritage, diverse fruit offerings, and family-friendly attractions, Afton Apple Orchard is a cherished destination for those seeking a taste of rural life and seasonal festivities in Hastings, MN.
14421 90th St S, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
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Hastings, MN, offers a delightful blend of history, nature, culture, and entertainment. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, this charming river town has something for everyone.