If you’re planning to visit Carleton College or St. Olaf College, here's what else is there to do while you’re in the area.
Entertainment and sports
- Watch a reenactment of James-Younger Gang's foiled 1876 robbery attempt of the First National Bank of Northfield during the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days.
- Bring a disc and let it fly at the local Frisbee golf courses at St. Olaf and Carleton. Both are free to the public and a good way burn some extra energy.
Museums, art and history
- The Northfield Historical Society Museum commemorates the fateful September day when townspeople took up arms against the James-Younger Gang — the first time any community had stood up to the gang. Other historical exhibits, which change periodically, and a gift shop are part of the museum.
- Explore the Northfield Arts Guild in the historic Center for the Arts on Division Street. The gallery hosts several juried professional exhibits each year and the theater program produces four stage plays each season. The Guild also offers classes in multiple art disciplines for people of all ages and abilities. (If you like fine art, you’ll really like Northfield. Artists abound and the list of public and private galleries is impressive.)
- Head to Carleton's Perlman Teaching Museum and Art Gallery or St. Olaf's Flaten Art Museum to take in local, regional, national or even international exhibitions.
- Wander the stacks: As befits a town with two colleges, Northfield takes its libraries seriously. Both college libraries — Gould and Rolvaag — and the newly renovated Northfield Public Library are open to the public and have fun (we promise!) rotating exhibits. Free Wi-Fi is available at all three.
- Explore the 880-acre Carleton College arboretum along the Cannon River. Trails through the grounds traverse an astonishingly diverse mix of terrain, including pine forests, swampland, wildflower gardens and oak savannah. It’s a great place to stroll, fish, run, bird watch and look for unique plants.
- Swing by St. Olaf to experience the dense woods of the Norway Valley or the open feeling of restored prairie.
- Go zen with Carleton’s own Japanese garden. Hidden just behind Watson Hall, it's in full, manicured bloom all summer long. Stop by, take a seat and absorb the sounds of silence.
- Sample some local flavor during a relaxed stroll along Northfield’s main drag, Division Street. Bookstores, boutiques, pubs and a sweet treat or two are only a few steps away.
- Gather with town residents Thursday evenings in Bridge Square, nestled right downtown for a chance to hear music, catch a snack and see a few friendly faces.
- Pick fresh berries at Lorence’s Berry Farm north of town or sample the apples at Fireside Orchards when you drive in from I-35.
- Purchase delicious homemade and homegrown products from local growers all summer long. Stop by Riverside Park from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. weekdays and 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Or visit the downtown Riverwalk Market Fair held during the summer and fall on Saturdays.
If you're getting hungry on your visit…
Along Division Street downtown:
- The Contented Cow (302 B Division Street)
- CakeWalk (303 Division Street)
- Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House (319 Division Street)
- Quality Bakery & Coffee Shop (410 Division Street)
- Hogan Brothers’ Acoustic Café (415 Division Street)
- The HideAway Coffeehouse and Wine Bar (421 Division Street)
- Reunion (501 Division Street)
- B&L Pizza (514 Division Street)
- Kahlo Underground (519 Division Street)
Near Division Street:
- Basil’s Pizza (301 South Water Street)
- Brick Oven Bakery (158 Water Street North)
- China Buffet (630 Water Street South)
- Froggy Bottoms River Pub and Lily PADio (307 Water Street South)
- Mandarin Garden (104 East Fourth Street)
- Quarterback Club (116 Third Street West)
- Tanzenwald Brewing Company (103 Water Street North)
Elsewhere in town: