At only twenty minutes from Red Wing, MN and a little over an hour away from both the Twin Cities and La Crosse, WI, Lake City is a superb destination for your next day trip. Lake City is a bustling tourist city located right on Lake Pepin, one of the most popular lakes in Minnesota. My suggestion is to go when the weather is nice, pack a lunch, your swimsuit, and don’t forget your binoculars!
Lake Pepin is part of the Mississippi River and sits right between Wisconsin and Minnesota. When you first drive into town on HWY 61 it will be impossible to miss and on a clear day you will see many white clad sailboats drifting through its waters. My recommendation is to park right by the lake in one of the public parking lots. That way you can easily walk to the beach or the downtown area. My favorite area is the Ohuta Park where you will find a few picnic tables on the beach. Set up your picnic lunch, take a quick dip in the lake, and enjoy the breathtaking backdrop.
Lake Pepin sits on what is known as the “Mississippi Flyway” which is a migration route most notably taken by bald eagles and golden eagles. On any given day you will be able to view scores of these majestic birds fishing in and flying over Lake Pepin. Also, there are several viewing areas set up in and around Lake City where you can learn more about the birds while having a prime view of them soaring overhead.
Who needs “Nessie” when you have “Pepie”?
Legend has it that something very big and ancient lurks in the depths of Lake Pepin and his (or her) name is “Pepie”. There have been several sightings over the years and the Lake City Tourism Bureau is currently offering a 50,000 dollar reward for unquestionable proof of Pepie’s existence. So make sure to have your camera charged and your binoculars on hand to skim the surface for this mysterious beast. You never know who/what might pop up to say hello!
Dining in Lake City
If you’re looking for a sit down dinner or lunch there are numerous restaurants to choose from. Chickadee Cottage Café is right down town and is a warm and inviting place with excellent food and an easy walk from the lake. Skyline offers a wide variety of menu items sure to please everyone. Eat your meal while enjoying the beautiful view of Lake Pepin. If you’re craving a taste of hometown make sure to stop at the Galley Restaurant also located conveniently downtown. If you make your trip on a Friday and don’t mind taking a short five minute drive out of town, head north on HWY 61 to the town of Frontenac where you will find the Whistle Stop Café. It’s a small eatery that has one of the best deals of all-you-can-eat cod dinners around. Go early, the tables fill up fast!
The next time you are looking to take a break from city life for a day make sure to put Lake City, MN on your list of places to stop. It’s a place to have fun and relax while enjoying the lake and surrounding area. From bird watching to Lake Monster searching, Lake City is sure to entertain people of all ages!
Pepie’s Home Page