Home of friendly residents, a thriving business community, historic public park system and good mix of dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities, Best Things to do in Mendota Heights is one the Twin Cities’ most popular suburbs. Whether you live here or are just visiting, here are a few ways to spend a day in this iconic town.
About Mendota Heights
Positioned in the northern tip of Dakota County, Minnesota, the history of Mendota Heights is wrapped tightly within the development of mighty Fort Snelling, built in 1819. That, along with the area’s stunning natural landscape, among the natural bluffs at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, has attracted settlers since the state’s incorporation as a territory in the mid-1850s. For a moment, the area was also home to the official Governor’s House, known as Sibley House, named after the first governor elected in 1858, Henry Sibley. The same year, the borders were drawn and the territory south of the Twin Cities was officially incorporated as a village, known as Mendota Township. Although the village remained essentially agricultural and farmland, the population slowly grew throughout the end of the 1800s and through the turn of the century. After WWI and WWII brought the post-suburban boom, the community more than doubled from 2,100 to 5,000. By 1956, the first mayor was elected, housing was constructed, schools and communities started popping up and the village thrived up to its official adoption as a city in 1974. Today, thanks to its location on the south side of the Twin Cities, it retains great access to both downtown areas, as well as the other attractive suburbs like Eagan. In other words, there are plenty of fun things to do throughout Mendota Heights.
Things to Do in Mendota Heights
Mendota Heights is filled with delightful restaurants, accommodating shopping centers, protected recreational areas and beyond. We highly recommend some of the following options:
Restaurants in Mendota Heights
- Axel’s Restaurant: Specializing in steak, seafood and other charcoal-fired meats, find comfort food in a comfortable lodge-style setting.
- Haiku Japanese Bistro: Open, modern Japanese eatery with unique sushi options, as well as cocktails and other libations.
- Lone Oak Grill: Catch the big game while enjoying some classic pub grub, barbecue and specialty beers. Weekends bring live music, specials and nights on a breezy, modern patio.
- Teresa’s Mexican Restaurant: No-fuss, local chain of Mexican restaurants that serve standards like tacos, burritos and enchiladas plus a full bar and patio.
Recreation in Mendota Heights
- Fort Snelling: Historic military fort that is well-maintained and explorable on foot. The fort is just a piece of an overall larger public park with trails, water activities and educational programs.
- Pilot Knob Preservation Site: As a portion of Native American heritage sight, Oȟéyawahe, this area offers public trails for hiking that lead to scenic overlooks of the surrounding river valley.
- Big Rivers Regional Trail: Long, 4.5-mile asphalt trail system, great for walking, roller skating and biking. It also links to the more extensive 72-mile Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Shopping in Mendota Heights
- Apricot Lane: Upscale women’s clothing chain with a focus on modern dresses, casualwear and accessories.
- Embellir Gallery of Gems: The area’s premier jewelry store, specializing in unique, custom items like necklaces, rings, bracelets and tiaras.
- MSP Airport: For those flying through Mendota Heights, the terminals of MSP airport provide plenty of shopping opportunities for yourself or others – check out Adrenaline Clothing, Uptown Minnesota Boutique and Urban Undercover Gift Shop.
Entertainment Things to do in Mendota Heights
- Sibley Historic Site: View the home of Minnesota’s first governor, and learn more about how Mendota Heights was central to the state’s success throughout its tumultuous early years.
- Inflight Pilot Training Discovery Flight: A one-hour introductory flight training course where you get the chance to actually fly an airplane under professional direction, while getting a great view of Mendota Heights from 20,000-feet above. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience while seeing what it’s like to be a pilot.
Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training to find out more.
Our team of certified flight instructors can put you on the correct path toward obtaining a pilot license. Whether you want to give flying a try via our Discovery Flight option or are ready to start the formal education process, we give you the power to take to the skies – all it takes is a quick call or note to our team to get started. For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.