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Ideas for Spending Memorial Day Weekend 2024 in Lanesboro & Whalan, MN

Memorial Day parade in Lanesboro, MN
American Legion Post #40 Memorial Day parade in Lanesboro, MN

May 20, 2024

This Memorial Day weekend, Lanesboro and Whalan, MN offer the perfect place to get away. Our quirky blend of outdoor adventure and artistic escapes makes us the perfect destination for couples, weekend warriors, and families with kids of all ages. Here’s our guide to making the most of your extended weekend!

A group of women shopping in Lanesboro, MN
Have a blast shopping in Lanesboro. Photo courtesy of Stone Mill Clothing and Gifts.

Start the trip off easy-with a little window (or just regular) shopping at some of our amazing retail spots.

Amish Experience has everything, literally.  From Amish popping corn and homemade goods, to silly gifts and fun trinkets for the whole family. Boutiques like the Stone Mill Clothing and Gifts and E2 Boutique offer all sorts of memorable, fashionable ensembles, and everything from water shoes to reversible sandals.  

Sculptor Karl Unnasch opens a sand-block mold to unveil a Discover Sculpture Explore Lanesboro medallion.
Sculptor Karl Unnasch opens a sand-block mold to unveil a Discover Sculpture Explore Lanesboro medallion. Photo courtesy of Lanesboro Arts.

Swing by the Lanesboro Visitor Center and pick up a map for the Discover Sculpture Explore Lanesboro Medallion Walking Tour.

This self-guided tour features 20 iron medallions throughout town, each portraying different facets of Lanesboro’s rich character. The tour begins at the Visitor Center, travels through Sylvan Park, crosses the Root River State Trail bike bridge, and concludes downtown. It’s a great way to explore the town and its public art, with each medallion offering a unique glimpse into local history and culture.

Vegetable stand at Lanesboro Farmer's Market
Vegetable stand at Lanesboro Farmer's Market. Photo courtesy of Lanesboro Farmer's Market.


While Lanesboro and Whalan are blessed with some amazing restaurants, depending on your accommodations, and your desire (or lack thereof) to cook on vacation, you may want to start your day with a visit to the Farmers Market!

Local vendors offer fresh produce, fresh meat and eggs as well as canned jarred and baked goods and it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up ingredients for a delicious home-cooked meal later in the evening.

Kids doing the high ropes course at Eagle Bluff near Lanesboro
High Ropes Course Challenge at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. Photo courtesy of Eagle Bluff.


Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center is an outdoor learning center just seven minutes out of town. Their campus is open to the public from dawn till dusk and offers 9 miles of hiking trails atop the bluffs.

And this Memorial Day weekend (and many weekends throughout the spring summer and fall) they are opening up their high ropes course to the public! An exhilarating adventure on their High Ropes Course, this course, with its choose your open adventure difficulty ratings, takes you 30 feet in the air, navigating through towers connected by cables, ropes, and log events. The panoramic views of southeastern Minnesota from the course are breathtaking, making it a memorable experience for the whole family.

They have two sessions on Saturday the 25th at 9AM-12PM and 1-4PM (pre-registration is strongly encouraged!).

Two pizzas from Clara's Eatery in Lanesboro, MN
Two delicious pizzas. Photo courtesy of Clara's Eatery.


If you opted to cook a home-cooked meal using the fresh ingredients from the Farmers Market, then by all means enjoy a relaxed evening with your family, savoring the flavors of locally sourced produce and artisanal products.  However if you don’t have the accommodations with a full kitchen don’t worry!  Lanesboro has an amazing selection of restaurants (with mostly scratch kitchens and all serviced as much as possible by local farmers) to choose from.  Pedal Pushers cafe has been serving great food for 20 years, and Clara’s Eatery is great for a pizza for the fam. And don't forget the flatbread, wings, and burgers from the High Court Pub!

Of course every great day starts with a great cup of coffee. Start your morning with a latte and breakfast from Paddle On Coffee and Maker Emporium. With you sip and savor, admire the works for sale hand-crafted by local artisans. Also providing a coffee, a full espresso bar, and other beverages is Another Time Ice Cream Parlor (oh, they have delicious chocolates and caramel treats too!).

And please, whatever you do, don't forget ice cream! Another Time Ice Cream Parlor and Clara's Eatery both serve up cones and bowls of the delicious dessert we all know and love. If you prefer something a little more tropical, the Hawaiian Shaved Ice stand near the Lanesboro Dam has got you covered.

To stock up on other supplies to help you have an enjoyable weekend, visit Granny's Liquor and The Root River Saloon for off-sale liquor. For fans of CBD and cannabis products, Fifth Sun Gardens has you covered.

Promotional image for The Outsider by Commonweal Theatre
Promotional image for The Outsider. Photo courtesy of Commonweal Theatre Co.

Saturday May 25th is the opening night performance of “The Outsider” at the Commonweal Theatre.

Starring Adrienne Sweeney, Jeremy Van Meter, and Josiah Laubenstein, this hilarious play is a non-partisan send-up of modern American politics and a tribute to democracy. The intimate setting of the Commonweal Theatre ensures a memorable theatrical experience. If that’s too late for the kiddos, no sweat!  There’s a Sunday Matinee performance as well.

Chef Tyler Shipton of Juniper's Restaurant
Executive Chef Tyler Shipton of Juniper's Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Juniper's Restaurant.

Juniper's Restaurant is a great spot for elevated comfort food.

Chef-curated dishes combine midwestern comfort food with French and Italian cooking techniques to create elevated dishes that delight the taste buds, in a chill and relaxed vibe. Situated on the bank of the Root River, with amazing deck and patio seating, it’s a great atmosphere to dine al fresco.  And on Sunday the 26th it’s the perfect spot to start your day because Juniper's will be doing their first ever Sunday Brunch. Enjoy classic breakfast dishes with a scenic view of the river, preparing you for a day of adventure.

3 tubes by the dam on the Root River in Lanesboro, MN
Tubes ready for floating on the Root River.

Spend a leisurely afternoon floating down the Root River.

If you have your own then bring your own tubes! There’s a canoe launch at the base of the historic stone dam and steps out of the river after the bridge for Highway 250 that take you back to the Root River Trail and you can walk back to the dam and do it all over again.  You can also rent tubes from the Little River General Store and the Root River Outfitter and just do that lazy loop all day.  Or you can sign up for an all day float trip with the Root River Outfitters (South branch of the river) or the Eagle Cliff Campground Outfitters (north branch of the river). Enjoy the serene beauty of the river and its surroundings!

Amish farm and buggies as seen from a tour with Bluffscape Amish Tours
Amish farm and buggies. Photo courtesy of Bluffscape Amish Tours.


As you board the comfortable tour bus on Bluffscape Amish Tours, you’ll step back in time to experience the timeless lifestyle of the Old Order Amish. The rolling hills of Southeastern Minnesota reveal picturesque farms, where horse-drawn buggies move at a gentle pace. You’ll visit several Amish families, learn about their traditions, and explore their retail shops. From handcrafted furniture to homemade jams, each stop offers a glimpse into a community rooted in faith, family, and simplicity. Whether you’re fascinated by history, culture, or simply seeking a unique adventure, Bluffscape Amish Tours promises an unforgettable ride through the scenic countryside.

Tours are available Saturday at 10am and 1:30pm. Call ahead for your reservation!

Live music with people on the patio of Sylvan Brewing
Live music on the patio of Sylvan Brewing. Photo courtesy of Sylvan Brewing.

Grab your dinner to-go from any of our amazing restaurants on Sunday night, and bring it down to Sylvan Brewing.

Outside food is allowed in the old, converted grain mill, and they’ll also have a food truck on site all weekend. Sylvan Brewing offers brews that range from comfy to crafty to a little bit crazy.  All their beers are exceptional  beers be they comfy like the Lanesbrew, crafty like the Sweetbender or just a little crazy like the Amaretto Sour.  And this Sunday the 26th from 5 PM-7 PM Sylvan Brewing will have the band My Cousin Dallas playing live either on the porch or if it’s raining inside.

Memorial Day program in Lanesboro, MN
Memorial Day program in Lanesboro, MN.

Lanesboro will be hosting a Memorial Day Service led by our American Legion post 40, and community members.

The public is invited to join the Memorial Day Program at the Lanesboro Community Center. It’s a time for our community to come together, reflect, and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. The event is free and open to the public, fostering a sense of unity and gratitude.

The event starts at 9:45am with a parade march from Lanesboro Public Schools to the Lanesboro Community Center. The program starts at 10am in the community center, with a gun salute with "Taps" following the program.

People riding bikes on the Root River State Trail
People riding bikes on the Root River State Trail.

After the morning services, head out for a bike ride along the Root River Trail.

Grab your bikes, or rent them from the Little River General Store. Heading east from Lanesboro, the trail offers tranquil scenery along the root river in forests and through pastures. It’s a peaceful ride and takes you to Whalan!  It may be the smallest town on the trail Whalan has a lot to offer.  The world-famous Aroma Pie Shoppe serves thousands of visitors every year, making pies the same way they have for decades.  The Whalan Depot has amazing fudge, treats and gifts and Treasures on the Trail offers unique gifts handcrafted by local artisans.

Monument on Parkway Avenue in Lanesboro paying tribute to those who served in the Armed Services.
Monument on Parkway Avenue in Lanesboro paying tribute to those who served in the Armed Services.

Lanesboro and Whalan offer the perfect blend of outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, and culinary delights for an unforgettable Memorial Day weekend.

From scenic hikes, to river floats, to theatrical performances, and farm-to-table dining to local craft breweries, there’s something for everyone in the family. But here’s the thing – we have great things going on EVERY weekend!

And next week, on June 1st, is maybe our quirkiest event of the year - Rhubarb Fest!