Best Fun things to do in White Bear Lake, MN was Located on one of the largest lakes in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the city of White Bear Lake is a popular destination for tourists who want to stick close by Minneapolis and St. Paul, but is also a popular residential area for those who want to enjoy the lake life while still living close enough to the cities. With a great mix of small town charm and suburban convenience, White Bear Lake is an ideal option for those who are heading to the Twin Cities for a weekend, or even a long layover. Just 20 miles away from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, it’s a convenient location to visit for work or play. If a stop in White Bear Lake is in your future, read on for some top fun things to do and see in White Bear Lake city.
The History of White Bear Lake
The story of how the body of water, and in turn the city, got its name varies depending on who you ask. The most common story is a tale of star-crossed Native American lovers from the Sioux and Chippewa tribes, whose love was forbidden. Tales include a large white bear, who was killed, but the how depends on who you ask. Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi even features a version of the tale. But while the origin of its name isn’t confirmed, what is known is that in the 1800s White Bear Lake enjoyed fame as a resort town, along with other nearby suburbs Dellwood, Hugo and North Oaks. The area really started to gain popularity after 1868 when the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad reached the town. There were a number of hotels, resorts and cottages developed in the area for families to enjoy a lakeside getaway, some of which still stand today.
White Bear Lake Today
While the city still boasts some of its resort heritage, it is now a popular residential area as well. In addition to many of the lakeside attractions, the city today includes numerous trails, parks and other outdoor recreation, as well as a popular downtown area with shopping, fine dining, spas and salons, and more.
Fun Things to do in White Bear Lake
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy some of Minnesota’s famed lakeside charm, but want the convenience of staying close to the metropolitan area, take a look at some of White Bear Lake’s highlights below:
Shopping and Relaxing in White Bear Lake
- The downtown area of White Bear Lake is where you’ll find a central spot to enjoy all the shopping your heart desires. With numerous boutiques, book stores, antique shops, art galleries and more, there is something for everyone in this quaint downtown spot.
- If you’re looking to pamper yourself and unwind a bit, check out any of the downtown area’s salons and spas. Whether you’re looking for a quick pedicure, or a full-blown spa day, you’ll be sure to find just what you need.
Restaurants in White Bear Lake
- Looking for a spot to dine lakeside? Try Acqua for beautiful views and refined Italian fare. For a more laid back vibe, check out Tally’s Dockside & CG Hooks BBQ, where you can enjoy live music on their lakeside patio and enjoy tasty BBQ and beers. They even offer boat and watersport rentals, as well as guided cruises so you can enjoy cocktails and snacks on the water.
- For a classy, farm-to-table experience, find a spot at Margaux’s Table. Offering a rotating monthly menu, here you’ll find high-end organic and gluten-free entrees.
- Local favorite Eat!@Banning & 5th offers fresh and from scratch breakfast, lunch and baked goods. Dine in or grab something to go before you head out to explore the lake and town.
Outdoor Recreation in White Bear Lake
- Of course the lake is one of the main attractions for visitors to the town. If you have a boat, there are a number of public boat launches to get out on the water. If you’re looking to rent for the day, check out Tally’s Dockside or Admiral D’s for watercraft rental options.
- If you’re looking for a quieter spot to spend some time near a lake, spend an afternoon at the Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy nature, with less of the action that you’d find on White Bear Lake. The park includes a boat launch, fishing spots, hiking and more.
- Looking to spend some time on the greens while in White Bear Lake? Oneka Ridge Golf Course is a public regulation 18 hole, par of 72 golf course, and is a great spot to spend an afternoon.
Other Entertainment in White Bear Lake
- The White Bear Center for the Arts is a community-centered space for art classes, events and exhibitions. Stop in to be amazed at some of the local talent right in White Bear Lake.
- Team with the top flight crew in White Bear Lake, Inflight Pilot Training and fly an airplane (under direction of a professional flight instructor, of course). With their Discovery Flight offering, you get the chance to take control of the yoke yourself and explore the Twin Cities metro area from thousands of feet above.
Do you want to become a licensed pilot? Whether you want to experience flying before signing up for lessons or you’re ready to start training today, our certified instructors will help you experience the joys of becoming a pilot. We have hundreds of hours of flying under our collective belts, and specialize in private pilot licensing throughout the Minneapolis metro area. Find out what it’s like to work with our team and explore the skies at the helm of an airplane — contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.