Are you and your girlfriends planning a weekend getaway? Owatonna is a perfect location to meet and enjoy any and all of the options to catch up with the ladies! Check-in to one of our ten lodging properties and enjoy the weekend!
Arrive late afternoon to Owatonna and check into one of the city’s group-friendly hotels. Get settled and leave for dinner and karaoke at Wings Tavern & Grill. Relax at your hotel for the night and prepare for a full day of fun tomorrow.
Enjoy your breakfast at your hotel before departing for a leisurely walk as you explore the unique architecture and history of Downtown Owatonna on the Historic Walking Tour. Your guide will take you through the district which has a total of 75 buildings and 1 park, which date from 1876 to the late 1950s. This tour highlights 5 murals, each depicting the history of Owatonna and a local landmark; the Owatonna Power Plant. Built-in 1855, it showcases 3 original smokestacks behind the iconic red neon lettering. The tour will finish with an inside look into Louis Sullivan’s biggest and most elaborate Jewel Box of the Prairie Bank. You will experience awe-inspiring and spirit-lifting architecture. This is the first of Sullivan’s eight jewel box banks. Historian Tom Martinson calls it “one of the greatest buildings in American history.”
Get ready for an old-fashioned small-town café experience at The Kitchen. Once the sight for the towns livery stable and a Ford garage, The Kitchen provides home-cooked meals and a fantastic room for groups.
Next stop will take you back in time to experience what life was like at the turn of the 20th century. The 20-structure Village of Yesteryear is constructed like the original layout of Owatonna. The village features Congressman Mark H. Dunnell’s 1868 mansion and the Milwaukee Railroad Bixby Depot built-in 1899.
Take some time to walk around the rotating exhibit hall of the Steele County History Center, now featuring a World War II interactive exhibit, and the gift shop.
Finally, your last stop will take you to the Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum, once the 3rd largest institution of its kind in the nation. Over 10,000 neglected children were sent to Owatonna from 1885 to 1945, where they could be transformed into productive members of society. The State School was to be a temporary home, preparing the children for adoption or placement in “good homes.” Discover the 10,000 different stories in these historic halls.
Refresh back at the hotel before dinner at one of Owatonna’s international restaurants. Local favorites include Mizuki Fusion, Grace’s Tex Mex, and Pupuseria La Paz (El Salvadorian). Now it’s time for a fun evening activity in Owatonna. You will pick between exploring a local event (seasonal), catching a show at the Little Theater of Owatonna or The Music Space of Owatonna, or a specially made Owatonna Walking Tour with a local historian as your guide.
After you have had breakfast at your hotel, you will take a Minne-Road Trip to find out what the region has to offer. Travel north a half an hour to Shepherds Way Farm in Northfield for a guided tour of the farm, including the milking parlor and artisan cheesemaking facilities. To end the tour your guide will give you an educational cheese sampling.
Your next stop will take you to the town of Faribault where your first stop will be lunch at the Depot Bar and Grill. The Depot Bar and Grill Faribault restaurant is located within the old depot building and brings a glimpse of history to life as visitors.
After you have finished lunch, tour the Faribault Woolen Mill Co. which was established in 1865 on the banks of the Cannon River and dedicated to making fine woolens for 149 years. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 and was nominated for being one of the largest and oldest fully integrated woolen mills in Minnesota.
Finish the afternoon activities with a private tour and wine tasting at Indian Island Winery in Waseca. The winery was built on a Native American hunting camp. Experience what Indian Island Winery award-winning wines has to offer.
Relax and unwind before a wonderful dinner at Torey’s Restaurant and Bar. Tonight’s activity will be a DIY customized clothing, pillowcase or sign workshop with Hat Chic Clothing Co. and take home something to remember your time in Owatonna.
After you have eaten breakfast and checked out of your hotel, leave for one of Owatonna’s most well-known parks; Mineral Springs Park.
Legend has it that Chief Wabena heard about the healing waters called minnewaucan and moved his tribe to the natural springs on the banks of Maple Creek. His daughter, Princess Owatonna, was ill and once she drank from springs her health recovered. Her kindly spirit hovers near the bubbling waters and beckons weary travelers to pause in the beautiful valley and drink of the magic waters.
In 1875, the spring water was analyzed and pronounced them like those of the famed Vichy Springs in the Ardennes of France. Take a nice walk around the park and take a picture with Princess Owatonna (the statue dates to the early 1930’s).
Take some time to visit local boutiques and gift shops in downtown Owatonna before grabbing a bagel sandwich from “Minnesota’s Best Bagel Shop”- Old Town Bagels. We will hate to see you leave Owatonna, but we hope you and your girlfriends will have plenty to talk about on the ride home.
For more itineraries and activities in Owatonna, contact the Tourism Department 800-423-6466.