EXPLORE TAYLORS FALLS, MN & ST. CROIX FALLS, WI
Imagine spending a weekend during the holiday season immersed in small-town, festive activities; shopping the cute downtown areas, hopping on the freshly powdered ski slopes, taking in a holiday theater show, visiting a winery or brewery, and delighting in a cozy dinner.
Nestled right along the wild and scenic St. Croix River are the twin towns of Taylors Falls, MN and St. Croix Falls, WI, and the many communities surrounding these two charming small villages. In just an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, you can be at your holiday getaway destination.
Holiday vacations offer a great chance to reconnect with your family or friends, try new activities, or visit unique shops to find that perfect gift for the special people in your life. We’ve pulled together a list of things to do this holiday season that will bring you joy that will last all of next year!
You may have heard that we have an amazing new event premiering in our area this year: “Miracle at Big Rock.” This holiday event is a Christmas Light Display and a huge collection of the best family-friendly festivities running from November 26 – January 2 at the 1,000 acre Big Rock Creek property just north of St. Croix Falls. The folks at Big Rock Creek are going all-out to bring you holiday fun and create family memories to last forever. You can expect all the following:
The festive fun continues as you visit each of our charming towns too. The Taylors Falls Lighting Festival will take place from November 26 – November 28, with the beloved Santa Parade kicking off the 37th annual event on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 6 PM. The Rivertown Holiday in St. Croix Falls, WI, will be held on Saturday, December 4 this year, and will host an entire day of activities at the beautiful overlook in downtown St. Croix Falls. This year, we’ve made a picture-perfect spot for you, with the backdrop of a giant Christmas tree and the view of the powerful dam that spans the St. Croix River between the twin towns of Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls. Don’t miss FROST FEST at Franconia Sculpture Park this year, an outdoor holiday market and bazaar where shoppers will find unique gifts by local artisans and vendors. This year’s event features food trucks, hot beverages, and holiday-themed art making activities.
Learn more about our holiday festivals around town and check out the full schedule of events!
Whether you’re scouting for antiques, boutiques, or a unique piece of local art, our downtown areas are a perfect place to stroll and shop. Here are a few places to try.
Antiques & Upcycled Goods
We have our very own professional theatre right here in St. Croix Falls. Currently housed in the Franklin Square Black Box, the Festival Theatre will be performing “Gift of the Magi” through the holiday season. For music lovers, don’t miss Samantha Grimes on December 18th performing on stage!
For showtimes and tickets, visit: www.festivaltheatre.com
If a day of hiking or skiing has got you ready to cozy in for a movie, head to St. Croix Cinema, where they have the latest blockbusters and yummy movie theater popcorn waiting for you.
Ski & Snowboard
The ski resorts are officially OPEN for the year, and it’s time to hit that fresh powder! If you haven’t been to Trollhaugen or Wild Mountain in a while, this is your year. Both resorts have undergone major upgrades and renovations, and they are unveiling their new looks and equipment this ski season! If snow tubing is more your thing, both resorts have a tubing hill that will thrill people of all ages!
A calm winter hike can do wonders for the soul. Step out in the frosty air and see nature’s beauty under a fresh blanket of snow. Try out one of the trails listed on our trails resource. Be sure to keep clear of the trails designated for groomed XC ski or fat bikes.
If you can hike it, you can probably snowshoe a trail! Break out those snowshoes and get an extra adventure (and workout!) in. Plan ahead for January and you’ll be able to take a guided snowshoe tour at Franconia Sculpture Park!
As soon as the trail is covered with snow, the fat bikes can come out to play! The Woolly Trails turn into a wooded winter wonderland, and the trails offer a sweet course to ride all day. Just south of here, Osceola has also opened up their winter trails at Brookside to fat bikes. Be sure to check conditions before you go and get your bike tires set up for a snow ride!
Winter Waterfalls and River Views
The Severson Memorial Overlook in St. Croix Falls is one of the best spots to take in a view of the dam that spans across the St. Croix River in between Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls. This year, the Overlook is trimmed with holiday cheer featuring a giant Christmas Tree and lights. Just south of St. Croix Falls, the cool little river town of Osceola is home to Cascade Falls, which is lit up at night making for a special winter walk in the evenings. To get the classic view of the river, park in either town, and take the pedestrian path across the bridge. Take a memorable photo here as you’ll be in two towns, two states, two state parks, and one national park all at the same time!
Valley Sweets in St. Croix Falls is ready to serve you all your favorite sweet treats this holiday season. You can even pre-order Christmas cookies to go. Perfect for that snack to bring home (or back to your hotel room!) Fine Acres is an ideal place to pick up a few things right in downtown St. Croix Falls if you need a few staples. Or, try Schoony’s Malt Shop and Pizzeria right on Bench Street in downtown Taylors Falls for an ice cream cone and a slice of pizza.
Coffee and Lunch
If you’re looking to grab a cozy cup of coffee or yummy lunch, try one of these delightful stops:
Dinner and Appetizers
And we know holiday shopping and outdoor adventures can work up an appetite! When you want a hearty meal or cozy in for dinner, try these favorites:
Craft Brews and Fine Wines
Indulge with a local craft brew, or visit one of our area wineries. There is always a selection of live music or special holiday events happening each weekend to make the stop even more memorable.
We have regular food trucks in the area that will serve up a variety of food types! Check out their websites or social for scheduled stops.
Don’t rush off just yet! The best part of the holiday getaway is having the extra time to explore and experience. Leave the holiday stress at home and tuck yourself away for a good night’s sleep at one of our area hotels or AirBNB’s.
This article was written by Linda Shober and produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, a marketing firm located in the St. Croix Valley specializing in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.