Day Trip: Excelsior – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine
Excelsior is more than a home of ice castles in winter; it’s also home to ice cream in the summer and a city that captures the essence of Lake Minnesota life without the two-hour drive to Lake Superior. The quaint town is just 20 miles from Minneapolis and is a lovely spot for a quiet day in a location with an excellent bike path, scenic walks in the neighborhood or a dip in Excelsior Bay.
Need a quick pick-me-up? You have options. Start the day with a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito at 318 Coffee, a pastry or two at Red Bench Bakery, or a full-fledged brunch experience at Coalition—Two words: golden Benedictine.
Overlooking the subtle waves of Excelsior Bay, Excelsior Commons is a vast green space where visitors can enjoy a picnic by the bay, watch a sailboat, or turn a few pages to a favorite summer reading. If you’d rather be in the water than admire it from afar, take a dip in the lake at Excelsior public beach, a three-minute walk from the commons.
As the summer sun intensifies and a sandy shore no longer does the trick, grab an ice cream to cool off. Excelsior isn’t lost on its frozen dairy options, with three solid cream choices – Licks Unlimited, Adele’s Frozen Custard, Tommy’s Tonka Trolley – in the heart of the city. Grab a stand and a banana split and revel in the kitschy decor of Licks Unlimited. For a frozen custard made every day, go to Adele. If you are a die-hard Seb Joe fan, Tommy’s Tonka Trolley offers the goods to their trolley standing along the bay. Order the Excelsior Chocolate Ice Cream for Culture, of course.
Once you’ve roasted in the sun and soothed your burns with a big dose of ice cream, stroll down Water Street and shop. Visit Lake effect for this decor of lake life par excellence, Gray house and lifestyle for timeless basics, TaVor for chic clothes, and Ooh La The Shop for all the Minnesota produce your Lakelands heart desires. Pick up a book off your reading list at Excelsior Bay Books, only if you’re in the bookish mood, and end the day with a brewski from Excelsior Brewing Company, only if you’re feeling drunk.
The LRT Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail winds through the lakeside town and takes you, if you wish, to Hopkins, approximately 15 miles away.
Not too far from the path and only a ten minute drive into town is Paisley Park, where you can spend a few hours in Prince’s house and studio. Paisley Park is currently offering a limited-time exhibition of Prince’s shoes. While you are in Chanhassen, visit the Minnesota Landscaped Arboretum for your dose of flora and fauna.