Natural beauty, quaint small-town feel and convenient access to the Southwestern Twin Cities metro area make Fun Things to do in Waconia a great place to both live and visit. Whether you’re searching for fantastic dining, recreation, shopping or entertainment options, this suburb has something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the best fun things to do in the fantastic city of Waconia, MN.
Waconia has a long history with the Native American Dakota groups, who’ve occupied the land for well over 10,000 years. The name, in fact, stems from Native phrase, “Wa Ko Ni Ya”, roughly translating to, “Out of the water, comes life”. The first settlers to move to the area in the 19th century kept the name phonetically similar, although changed the spelling to Waconia. The area has always attracted a variety of people and commercial interests, and is an important footnote within the development of Minnesota’s tourism efforts. In 1884, construction started on “Coney Island”, located on Lake Waconia.
The new island resort (today, a historical landmark) and Great Northern Railroad systems brought more and more tourists and new residents to the area. Throughout the early 20th century, the town added even more resorts and businesses, growing as the main summer tourist destination in the state, and earning the moniker, “The Paradise of the Northwest”. 1921 brought about official incorporation as a city and planted the roots that are still flourishing today.
The town has come a long way since its early days as untamed wilderness, now welcoming tens of thousands of tourists every year, and earning status as one of the top three largest cities in Carver County.
Fun Things to Do in Waconia
With delicious dining, recreational, shopping and entertainment options, there are fun things to do around every corner in Waconia – take a look at some of the following recommendations:
Dining in Waconia
- Lola’s Lakehouse: Take in the view of Lake Waconia at this on-the-water eatery specializing in seafood, bar chow and libations.
- Hopper’s Bar & Grill: Really hungry? Get your fill with big burgers, plenty of appetizer options and extensive beer list, all in casual digs.
- El Rey Azteca: Traditional Mexican fare, plus a wide offering of margaritas that can take the sizzle out of the spice.
- Vandy’s Grille: This hidden gem is tucked away on the northwest side of Waconia, where you’ll find a classic American menu, outdoor seating and a lakeside view.
Parks in Waconia
- Lake Waconia Regional Park: Check out the beach right off Lake Waconia on a summer day, enjoy the playground equipment or the many picnic areas at this 100-acre park.
- City Square Park: Located in the heart of the city, find the perfect getaway at this shady spot with walking trails, a gazebo, farmers market and local events.
- Interlaken Park: 65-acre park with extensive playground systems for the little ones, as well as hiking trails, tennis courts and a pond.
- Wahibo Marsh: For birdwatchers and other wildlife enthusiasts, this open marshland provides the perfect area for animal spotting.
Shops in Waconia
- The Stash of Waconia: Stylish clothing items for women and men, in addition to home décor and unique gifts.
- Unearthed Arts: Pick up something that speaks to you at this hip spot selling handmade art from the local community.
- Shop Chicks Boutique: Small but loaded shop selling fashionable clothing, accessories and vintage finds.
Options For Fun Things to do in Waconia
- Visit a Winery: Take a wine tasting tour at a number of great wineries in Waconia – Schram Vineyards offers an on-site kitchen, The Winery at Sovereign Estate offers events like live music throughout the year, or try Parley Lake Winery for flights, outdoor seating and art installations.
- Discovery Flight: A one-hour introductory course in flight training from the area’s top-rated flight school. Learn what it’s like to fly a plane under the direction of Inflight Pilot Training instructors and take-in the view of Waconia from thousands of feet above.
Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training to find out more about our Discovery Flights.
Our team of certified flight instructors can put you on the correct path toward obtaining a pilot certification. Whether you’re interested in a Discovery Flight or are ready to sign up for formal lessons, we’re here to help. Experience what it’s like to become a pilot – 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.