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Exploring Northfield has a lot to offer anyone who comes to visit. This guide should provide you a great head start to finding your #NextBikeAdventure.

Next Bike Adventure – Northfield, MN_Riding My Bicycle

At-A-Glance: Exploring Northfield – Fun and Food

Located along the Cannon River Valley corridor, 30 minutes south of the Twin Cities, is Northfield. A great southern Minnesota bicycle destination for a family day trip or biking vacation. The relaxed lifestyle and picturesque surroundings here draw many people out for exploring the hidden treasures of this historic milling town. Here, cyclists can enjoy the local paved trail, local mountain bike trails and a vast network of road biking routes on the scenic rolling terrain, used by stagecoaches for a true touring experience. With a vibrant downtown area, still sharing the history of the famous bank robbery of Jesse James you will find plenty of retail areas, many recreational activities – other than biking, and restaurant choices in town to explore – it’s easy to spend several days here.

Where to Bike when Exploring Northfield, MN

There really is no better way to experience what this community has to offer than on your bike. It has trails that take you through its history and lets you explore all the wildlife it has to offer with its many off-road trails. For those who long for biking on the open road there are many paths outside the town. The local bike clubs has designed many loops in the area ready for you to conquer. You can also make the trek to nearby Nerstrand Big Woods State Park for some more scenic trails.

Available Maps for the Area

HaveFunBiking Northfield Area Map 

Northfield Bike Club Ride Routes

Map My Ride   

Milltowns Trail

Sechler Park MTB Trail
Caron Park MTB Trail

Walk/Hike Opportunities When Exploring Northfield

Cannon River Wilderness Area
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Area Bike Shops and Clubs

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Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT)
Main Office: 912 Meadow View Dr,
Northfield, MN 55057

Where to Play When Not Biking or Hiking

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At some point you’ll have to take a break from the trails. Luckily the community here has plenty to offer. You can explore the town’s history with Jesse James and more at the Northfield Historical Society, go for that perfect bowling score at Jesse James Lanes, or go for a refreshing swim in the Old Memorial Pool. Take a look at more info by visiting their tourism site.

Northfield Historical Society
408 Division St.
Northfield, MN 55057

Riverwalk Market Fair
Bridge Square
Division St and 4th St
Northfield, MN 55057

Jesse James Lanes
1700 Bollenbacher Dr.
Northfield, MN 55057

Old Memorial Pool
801 7th St E
Northfield, MN 55057

Where to Eat when Exploring Northfield

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As you ride the trails during your stay you’re going to need fuel for your body. Thankfully, Northfield has several choices to keep your taste buds and stomach happy. Below is just a sampling of what’s waiting for you as you get into town or are coming of the trails. If these don’t appeal to you, there are many other options to choose from.

Tandem Bagels
317 Division St. S
Northfield, MN 55057

The Ole Store Restaurant
1011 St. Olaf Ave.
Northfield, MN 55057

Hogan Brothers’ Acoustic Cafe
415 S Division St.
Northfield, MN 55057

Applebee’s 
2433 Highway 3 S
Northfield, MN 55057

Where to Sleep When Visiting 

You’re going to need a place to rest at night. Northfield and the surrounding area has many lodgings available depending on your preference. You choose to spend a night with nature, enjoy some Northfield hospitality at a local Bed and Breakfast, or sleep like royalty in one of the many hotels. Below is a list of favorites, but you can check out more choices on Northfield’s tourism site.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
9700 170th St E
Nerstrand, MN 55057

The Magic Door Bed & Breakfast
818 Division St S
Northfield, MN 55057

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson
300 MN-3
Northfield, MN 55057

Public Wi-Fi Spots in the Area

Along with most hotels, many coffee shops and restaurants have Wi-Fi availability. The Northfield Public Library is also a great option.

Northfield Public Library
210 Washington St
Northfield, MN 55057

See the Northfield Tourism Bureau for more detailed information.

 

Next Bike Adventure – Faribault

At-A-Glance: Exploring Faribault – Fun and Food

Located along the Cannon River Valley corridor, Faribault is 60 minutes south of the Twin Cities. Faribault is a great southern Minnesota destination for a family outing or biking vacation. The relaxed lifestyle and picturesque surroundings here draw many people out to explore. On the east end of the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail, you will have several loop options that will take you on quiet rural roads for a true touring experience. With plenty of retail areas, recreational activities, and restaurant choices in Faribault, it’s easy to spend several days here.

This fat bike cyclist is getting ready to head down to Faribault, this Saturday, where demo bike rentals will be available for beginner and race awards.

This fat bike cyclist is getting ready to head down to Faribault.

Where to Bike in the Area

Explore and enjoy the beauty of the lakes and rolling terrain around the Faribault area. It is easy to ride your bike to both the city and State Trail from the hotels in town. From the trail, you can continue your adventure as the trail connects to the paved community roads. At the city park, take the 39-mile journey on the paved rail-bed west through Morristown, Waterville, Elysian then onto Mankato. For road riding choose from many scenic loops designed by the local bike club. For the mountain biker, there are miles of off road trails at the River Bend Nature Center.

 

Available Maps for the Area

HaveFunBiking Faribault Area Map 

River Bend Nature Center’s Map
Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail Map
Map My Ride

 

Walk/Hike Opportunities

River Bend Nature Center
Sakatah Lake State Park

 

Area Bike Shops and Clubs

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Milltown Cycles | 311 Central Ave. N., Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-331-2636
Faribault Flyers Cycle Club – offering safe rides in Rice County through Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT) | Main Office: 912 Meadow View Drive, Northfield, MN 55057

 

Where to Play When Not Biking or Hiking

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Explore the historic downtown area, Rice County Museum or take a dip at the Aquatic Center, plus golf and many other fun activities in the area.

J&J Bowling | 1802 4th St. N.W., Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-334-3262
Aleman Apple Creek Orchard | 5524 185th Street West, Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-334-9043
Whillock Studios | 122 1st Ave. N.E., Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-334-8306

Where to Eat

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From the Cheese Cave to Augustos Piadina Restaurant, the Faribault area also offers several interesting and charming cafes and ice cream shops. If these do not appeal to you, there are many other options as well.

The Cheese Cave | 318 Central Ave. N., Suite #6, Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-334-3988
Godfather’s Pizza | 328 4th St. N.W., Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-334-1672

Grandpa Al’s | Menu | 28 3rd St. N.W., Faribault, MN 55021 | 507-334-3582

 

Where to Sleep When Visiting 

exploring faribault

 

Public Wi-Fi Spots in the Area

Along with most hotels, many coffee shops and restaurants have Wi-Fi availability. Also, the public library is a good option.  The Buckham Memorial Library is located on 11 Division Street East, Faribault, MN 55021 and can be reached by phone at the following number: 507-334-2089.

 

See the Faribault Tourism Bureau for more detailed information.

Next Bike Adventure – Albert Lea

At a Glance: Exploring Albert Lea – Fun and Food

Known as the “Land Between the Lakes,” Albert Lea is nestled between Albert Lea Lake and Fountain Lake. Geographically located at the crossroads of Interstate I-90 and Interstate 35W in southern Minnesota, this charming community is about 90 miles south of the Twin Cities. Both the city and the lake were named in honor of Albert Miller Lea by Joseph N. Nicollet. Nicollet explored and mapped streams and lakes in this county in 1835.

Today when exploring Albert Lea, you will find a relaxing setting to bike with family and friends while enjoying some of southern Minnesota’s hospitality.

Albert Lea was one of the first cities to take part in the Blue Zone Health Initiative.

Here, this young lady shows off here new bike after finishing a bike rodeo at her school in Albert Lea, MN, this last summer.

Here this young lady shows off her new bike after finishing a bike rodeo at her school in Albert Lea, MN.

Where to Bike

Along with the paved trail running out to Myre-Big Island State Park, many recreational trails will allow cyclists and walkers to enjoy the area. In addition, there are many bike friendly streets and rural roads to explore the countryside. If you are interested in exploring Albert Lea’s nature-based sides, one of the best ways is by taking the Blazing Star State Trail. The trail is currently paved from Albert Lea Lake to Big Island State Park, a distance of approximately six miles and it connects to Albert Lea’s city trail system. Future plans are for the trail to connect to Austin’s city trail system, as well as the Shooting Star State Trail. When completed, the Blazing Star State Trail will be approximately 20 miles long and connect Albert Lea to Austin via Big Island State Park.

Trail users will enjoy views of rural landscapes along the entire trail. Big Island State Park has the opportunity to experience a diversity of natural environments including wetlands, oak savanna, big woods and prairie. The park is considered an excellent birding spot in southern Minnesota, especially during spring and fall migration.

Available Maps

HaveFunBiking Albert Lea Area Map

Walk/Hike Opportunities

Exploring Albert Lea Parks 
Exploring Myre-Big Island State Park

Area Bike Shops and Clubs

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Martin’s Bike Shop |1137 South Broadway Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-377-3704
Poole’s Bike Shop | 402 Main Ct., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-373-8595

Where to Play When Not Biking

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Albert Lea has a variety of attractions to keep the whole family having while they visit including:

Aquatic Center | 321 James Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-373-3328
Farmers Market| North Broadway Parking Lot from May-Oct., Wed. 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and Sat. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Albert Lea Art Center | 224 S. Broadway Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-373-5665 | Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Holiday Lanes – A fun family bowling place with XTREME bowling some nights | 522 Prospect Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007| 507-373-7276

Events

Bayside Water Show | June through August every Thursday night at 7 p.m. with a special 4th of July and Labor Day show

Where to Eat

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Along with the favorite chain restaurants, when out exploring Albert Lea you’ll find that it has some local restaurants that will give you a one of a kind experience.
Crescendo Exquisite – Offers great food and fine wines | Menu | 118 S. Broadway Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-377-2425
Elbow Room – Offers burgers | Menu | 310 E. 8th St., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-373-1836
Trumble’s – Offers classic hometown feel with all your favorites | Menu | 1811 E. Main St., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-373-2638
Grandma’s Kitchen – Offers a great family feel with favorites foods for all ages | Menu | 115 E. Clark St., Albert Lea, MN 56007 | 507-552-1599

Where to Sleep

Exploring Albert Lea Hotels

When Exploring Albert Lea, find some great places to stay overnight.

WI-FI Hotspots

Along with most hotels, many coffee shops and restaurants have Wi-Fi availability. The public library is another good option. The library here is located at 211 E Clark St., Albert Lea, MN 56007 with their phone number being 507-377-4350.

See the Albert Lea Tourism Bureau for more detailed information on your next trip to exploring Albert Lea.

Next Bike Adventure – Mankato

At a Glance: Exploring Mankato – Fun and Food

As the Minnesota River bends to the North and the Sakata Singing State Bike Trail approaches from the East, the scenic river valley in and around the area offers miles of biking and hiking adventures. With all of this safe and gorgeous nature, exploring Mankato is fun and memorable.

Find your next bike adventure in Mankato's scenic Minnesota River Valley with picturesque vistas as you ride the roads, recreational and mountain bike trails in the area.

Find Your Next Bike Adventure in Mankato’s scenic Minnesota River Valley with picturesque vistas as you ride the roads and bike trails in the area.

For the trail rider, there are over 50 miles of family-friendly paved trail. Road touring enthusiasts will find a network of suggested routes offering wide shoulders and little traffic.

With the work of a devoted group of local mountain bikers, the area continues to grow as a premier off-road biking destination.  Here there is a relaxing setting to bike with family and friends while enjoying all that the area has to offer.

Where to Bike in the Area

Being a designated a bike-friendly community, by the League of American Cyclists, you will find riding the streets and roads here safe and relaxing. There are also miles of paved trails nestled in the scenic river valley. With the Red Jacket Trail connecting to the West from Minneopa Falls and State Park, bikers and walkers alike will enjoy a new form of public art along the trails. Something new to Mankato is the Poetry Walk and Ride. Along the miles of trails and in the parks of the City, poetry signs display creative verses that compliment the nature you can see along the way. Thanks to the efforts of the Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB), there are currently five areas for off-road biking enthusiasts.

Available Maps for the Area

HaveFunBiking Mankato Area Map
Mankato City Bike Map 
Mankato Bike Loops 
Mankato Bike Trails 

Crystal Lake Loop
North Mankato Loop
St. Clair/Eagle Lake Loop
St. Clair, Smiths Mill, Madison Lake Loop
North Gravel Ride

Multi Use Trails

Red Jacket Trail
Minneopa State Park
Sakatah Singing State Trail Map
Indian Lake Conservation Area

Mountain Biking Trails

7 Mile Creek Trail
Mount Kato
Kiwanis Recreation Area
Ft. LeHillier Trail

Walk/Hiking Opportunities

City Parks

Area Bike Shops and Clubs

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Key City Bike | 1429 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-304-1936
Flying Penguin Outdoor Sports | 624 N Victory Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-345-4754
Nicollet Bike Shop | 607 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-388-9390
Scheels | 1850 Adams St. #404 (River Hills Mall), Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-386-7767
Mankato Area Mountain Bikers
Envision2020 – bike/walk advocates

Where to Play

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The city offers a variety entertainment for the whole family!
Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Clinic Tree of Forts Climber, Grow it Gallery, and Coughlan Quarry are just of few of their exhibits | 224 Lamm St., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-386-0279
WOW! Zone – Laser Tag, Arcade Games, Bowling, etc. | 2030 Adams Street, Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-625-269
Old Town Escape – use your critical thinking skills to solve the mystery and escape the room | 403 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-779-7799

And more!
Learn more about the events in the area here.

Where to Eat

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From the Blue Bricks Bar and Eatery to Charley’s Restaurant, one of the finest in the area, the city offers several interesting and charming cafes, coffee, and ice cream shops ideally suited to a cyclist’s tasteHere’s just a taste of some of the local restaurants.

Happy Chef – the original Happy Chef location allows you to get a bite to eat and take picture with one of the few remaining Happy Chef statues | 51646 US-169, Mankato, MN 56001| 507-388-2953
Tandem Bagels – the coffee shop and cafe has a variety of options including bagels made from scratch and they have bike racks! | Menu | 200 E. Walnut St., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-720-6533
Mom & Pop’s Ice Cream Shop – they have over 30 unique flavors of ice cream including dairy free options | 629 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-344-0629

Check here for a complete list of more places to grab a bite!

Where to Sleep

exploring mankato hotels
Check out these links for more information:
Hotels
Bed & Breakfasts
Minneopa State Park Camping

Public Wi-Fi Spots in the Area

Along with most hotels,  many coffee shops and restaurants have Wi-Fi availability. Mankato has three public libraries that are also good options.
Blue Earth County Library located at 100 E. Main St, Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-304-4001
North Mankato Taylor Library located at 1001 Belgrade Ave. North, Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-345-5120
Traverse Des Sioux Library located at 1400 Madison Ave., Mankato, MN 56001 | 507-625-6169

See the Mankato Tourism Bureau for more detailed information.

Getting to Mankato

Located in Southern Minnesota, the city is approximately an hour and half drive Southwest on U.S. Highway 169, from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport (MSP).  From Interstate 90, at Blue Earth, it is a half hour drive north on Highway 169.  The Regional Airport is conveniently located north of town allowing visitors an opportunity to catch connecting flights to and from MSP and other parts of the country.