When your heart’s aflutter and you’ve got a special someone you want to spend time with, Minnesota will not fail you. From gorgeous gardens to snowy sweet spots and heartwarming hotels, the North Star State has the fuel to stoke your romantic flame. Here are some of the best.
Named one of the country’s best wine bars by Travel + Leisure magazine, Domacin is one of those places where you sit shoulder to shoulder, feel the wine in your cheeks, and feed each other bites from the ever-changing, scratch menu. Try a prix fixe with a wine flight, or just order the risotto of the day and let the wine expert behind the bar surprise you.
Just steps from the Mississippi River, in historic Red Wing, the St. James Hotel has been harboring couples seeking romantic refuge for more than century. The St. James retains all of its 19th century, baronial splendor, with turn-of-the-century art and antiques in its common areas and guest rooms. Cuddle on a couch in the Port, the hotel’s lower-level restaurant, and enjoy seasonal specialties created by the award-winning kitchen.
Something about art and romance just seem to mesh. So, why walk past it in a museum, when you can stroll through it in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden? Home to the iconic Claes Oldenburg work, “Spoonbridge and Cherry,” the garden also features the Cowles Conservatory, where you can warm up among the flora, and plenty of nooks for nuzzling.
Perhaps the most beautiful restaurant in St. Paul, W.A. Frost is tucked into an historic brick building on St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill. Located in a space once occupied by a drugstore of the same name, Frost’s is a romantically-lighted space with multiple dining rooms, warmed by a double-sided fireplace, a world-class bar, and the Cities’ prettiest patio. Original oil paintings and antique furniture only serve to strengthen the restaurant’s seductive spell.
It doesn't get much more romantic than ice skating hand-in-hand. Head over to Maple Grove's Central Park Ice Skating Loop for an outdoor skating experience like no other. At over 800 feet long and 20 feet wide, this ice skating loop twists and turns and makes for a more exciting experience than a typical rink. Stop by with your signifcant other.
Tucked into a pebble-beached bay on Lake Superior, at the mouth of the Poplar River, Lutsen Lodge is one of the North Shore’s most venerable and beloved properties. This classic Scandinavian-style resort has been hosting Minnesota couples for generations. The log-and-wood panel lodge, with its giant stone hearth and cozy dining room make for the perfect old-school North Shore getaway. The fact that it’s part of the state’s biggest ski resort adds to its cold-weather allure.
Baby, it may be cold outside, but the warmth of the Como Park Conservatory’s lush, green gardens feels like a lingering embrace. Trickling fountains and the occasional musician set the aural backdrop as you stroll hand-in-hand with your sweetie, past tropical trees, fragrant flowers, and venerable bonsai. As you saunter, several secret benches set the scene for stealing kisses. It’s no wonder this place hosts so many weddings.
Ledge Rock Grille is located on the the Larsmont Cottages property, between Duluth and Two Harbors on Scenic Hwy. 61. Voted among the North Shore’s best waterfront dining spots, Ledge Rock will not disappoint folks with light hearts and twinkly eyes. Views of Lake Superior, a fireplace in the dining room (as well as a lakeside bonfire outside) will keep couples warm as they nibble at dessert and then wander out to the water, wine in hand.
One of the Twin Cities’ premiere music venues also happens to be a critically-acclaimed restaurant with a stellar wine list. While it’s best known for jazz shows, the Dakota features renowned music acts from all genres throughout the year. Take your sweetie to the Dakota for a romantic dinner, with drinks and music in an intimate club setting for dessert.
You need a go-big-or-go-home reservation for the looming date night. This is the one. The local eatery started by James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysem has been the hardest reservation to get in the Twin Cities since it opened in 2014. Winner or nominee of more awards than can be listed, this intimate restaurant in the Loop is sure to spark the romance in any date.
If you said the best food in the Duluth area was at the New Scenic Café, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone to argue with you. Add sweeping views of Lake Superior, an intimate dining room, along with a stellar wine list, and you’ll find the New Scenic’s a recipe for romance.
This gem on the Root River in Southeastern part of the state is known as the “bed and breakfast capitol of Minnesota.” Tucked into the area’s hilly bluff country, and a main stop on the Root River Trail, this quaint town has no chain stores and more romantic B&Bs than can be mentioned here. That’s why the whole town is on the list. You and bae are just gonna have to explore for yourselves.
What could be more romantic than a leisurely walk up to the country’s most-photographed lighthouse, where you can lean over the railing and shout out “I’m the king of the world!” over Lake Superior? The romance of the turn-of-the-20th century lighthouse has been immaculately preserved by the Minnesota Historical Society, while the surrounding Split Rock Lighthouse State Park ensures that you and your honey have plenty of trails to sneak down for some alone time together.