Red Wing is beautiful to visit any time of year, but the fall can be particularly beautiful and there are a few good reasons to plan a fall visit, including the annual Children’s Book Festival, held the mid-weekend of September, a fall antique festival and the Red Wing Pottery Museum, a fall warehouse sale at Red Wing Shoes and Featherstone Pottery’s annual fall sales. This is a good time to sneak in a last camping trip and/or view the beautiful fall colors.
Red Wing Museum Tour
Red Wing is best known for two things – boots and pottery. You can tour museums for both while visiting the area. But that is not all. This little city has a surprising number of museums tucked into it. The museums on this list have free admission, which is good, because you are probably going to want to keep your visits with kids short and keep moving along. If you travel in from the Twin Cities, you can stop at each of these museums in this order:
The Anderson Center actually offers indoor and outdoor fun. The main building has both a permanent collection and studio space for working artists. Outdoors, there is a spacious sculpture garden and the historic water tower. The best time to visit with family is for the annual Children’s Book Festival in September. Besides getting a chance to meet and listen to local children’s book authors, families can explore the water tower and participate in a variety of kid-friendly activities on the grounds. Building Hours: 8am-4pm Weekdays; 10am-2pm Saturdays. Sculpture Garden 8am-10pm daily.
It might be worth following this museum’s Facebook page and waiting for a kid-friendly event to visit. Otherwise, be prepared it has a lot of breakable items out in the open. It would be a good museum for the “look don’t touch” reminder before entering. Maybe pair this visit with a stop at nearby Pottery Pond Park, where there is plenty of room to run and a skateboard park. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 11am-4pm. Free Admission.
This museum is only open in the summer months. It is in a beautifully restored historic building and features boat motors, fishing tackle and other marine memorabilia. Open Summer Months, Saturdays 1-5pm.
The first recorded ski jumping competition happened in Red Wing in 1887. This Museum is located in the St. James Hotel and includes ski jumping memorabilia and historical information. Open 10am-2pm weekends and 3pm-6pm on Fridays.
Stop by the Red Wing Shoe Store to see the giant boot. It is a real boot. If you happen to know a one-footed giant, you can point him to Red Wing to buy his shoe. There is also a small museum on the second floor that may be mildly interesting to kids. The store and museum are open from 9am-7pm on weekdays, 9am-6pm on Saturdays and 11am-5pm on Sundays. Free Admission.
With exhibits covering American Wars from the revolution through the Persian Gulf. This could be an interesting visit for grade school kids studying the various time periods. Hours: Friday-Saturday 10am to 4pm.
Family-Friendly Shopping in Red Wing.
Fair Trade Books specializes in both new and used books, so if you love to wander the stacks of old books, you’ll want to make a stop Red Wing!
Featherstone Pottery is home of the Larkin family just a handful of miles outside of Red Wing. Located on a farm, we’ve been assured that there is space enough for kids to run and play. Look for special fall shows in September and November. Otherwise, you probably want to make an appointment.
After indulging the book lover in your family, stop by Hobgoblin Music to feed the soul of the musician in your family. Built in an old barn, find handmade harps (made on location) and other folk, traditional and Celtic instruments
Red Wing Parks and Nature
He Mni Can / Barn Bluff
Barn Bluff, known as He Mni Can (Hill Water Wood) by the Dakota, is a great place for scenic hiking. The Dakota consider its a sacred space where first creation happened. For this reason, Red Wing has worked closely with the Dakota community to protect and respect burial spaces, add storytelling signs and Columns of Dialogue to help visitors enjoy the beauty of the area while respecting its sacred significance. Learn More Here.
Frontenac State Park
Fifteen minutes southeast of Red Wing, Frontenac State Park is a good option for camping or short hikes with smaller kids.
Go A Little Further Past Red Wing
You’re already on the road. If you are willing to go another 40 minutes, we recommend the National Eagle Center in Wabasha and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, Wisconsin.
National Eagle Center, Wabasha
Worth a little extra, drive, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha has raptors, hands-on exhibits and more family fun. Read about Anne’s visit here: National Eagle Center, Wabasha: Family Day Trip. 40 minutes southeast of Redwing.
Although the Wayside Cabin is not the original Little House in the Big Woods, it is a replica and give you an idea of the space the Ingalls family occupied during their time in Minnesota. It will give you a whole new appreciation of Caroline Ingalls when you think about the long winters she spent cooped up inside that cabin with small children. 35 minutes southeast of Redwing.