Originally founded by an industrious Swede en route to the California Gold Rush, Stockholm WI is a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River, just a quick drive (or ferry ride) from Minneapolis. While historically it’s been known for the curious trades of lemon beer and dredging up river clams, today it’s become a novel adventure with fun shops, good eats, and a surprising number of events for such a small population — 66 people as of 2016. If you’re in need of a little bucolic getaway, here’s a collection of the best things to do in Stockholm, Wisconsin.
Stockholm Art Fair
One of the highlights in Stockholm is undoubtedly the art. Each year on the third Saturday in July, over 100 artists gather on the banks of Lake Pepin to flaunt their paintings, jewelry, clay, glass, sculptures, leather, wood, and more. Food vendors selling portable wood-fired pizzas and portobello sandwiches are on site, as well as musicians and plenty of activities for children.
Places like Adobe sell local artisan crafts, Humble Moon Folkstead sells antique furniture, and Ingebretsen’s is known for its Swedish-themed “butik” offering authentic Scandinavian goods. There’s also an established Amish community with a store selling handcrafted items that show off their way of life.
The Stockholm Institute
If you have any Swedish or Scandinavian heritage, this museum makes for a great glimpse into the lives of your ancestors. Artifacts from around the world are collected here in Stockholm to celebrate and preserve the culture. Visitors can even trace their family lineages using histories provided by area families. If you’re thinking about heading to Europe to truly trace your heritage, check out 8 Amazing Things to Do in Iceland.
Black Cat Farmstead
Just a couple miles outside of Stockholm is Black Cat Farmstead, a rustic 19th-century farmhouse that has been converted into a petting zoo and spinning factory. Visitors of the ranch can meet and pet their flock of Icelandic sheep and other farm animals (and yes, black cats). They can also see traditional spinning techniques with antique looms and demonstrations on how to use farm-raised wool to weave. For other great ideas on getting out to the countryside, check out the Best Places to Go Camping in Wisconsin.
Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery
Locally sourced from the fresh fruit of Wisconsin and Minnesota, the wines and ciders at Maiden Rock truly deserve a tasting. Located right on the bluffs above the Mississippi River, this spot is a huge rural estate that offers a true Midwest country experience. Tours of the grounds are $5 and include tastings as well.
Stockholm caters to hungry travelers with an array of hometown, diner-style eateries. Bogus Creek Cafe and Bakery serves delicious Swedish pancakes and thick bacon all day, Lena’s Lucky Star serves burgers, homemade soups and desserts, and Stockholm Pie and General Store makes drool-worthy pies, baked breads, quiches, soups, and chocolates.
Rent a Blue Bike
That’s right — a town with a population of 66 has a bike sharing program. Taking an afternoon to roam around the streets of Stockholm is a great activity. Roll out to the pier that juts into Lake Pepin, and stroll down Main Street. Especially if you arrived by ferry and don’t have a car, renting one of Stockholm’s Blue Bikes is a great way to get around.