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A great place to visit on the Mississippi River is the city of Lake City, Minnesota! Tucked against Lake Pepin, including a marina to serve the entire lake, this small city has something for everyone. It’s another one of those Minnesota lake towns that double, triple, or even quadruple in population in the summer! Here’s a link back to all of Minnesota if you want to go there after reading about Lake City.
Lake Pepin results from a “natural dam” where the Chippewa River flows out of Wisconsin to join the Mississippi. The faster-moving Chippewa deposits silt and soil to form the dam. Pepin is long and narrow, like many lakes with rivers flowing in and out. It runs for 22 miles but remains just 2.5 miles wide at its widest point. And that’s the widest point on the entire Mississippi River!
Lake City Table of Contents
Of course, Lake City Views and Information
Lake City Minnesota has many views of Lake Pepin. The top two show nesting places for eagles with the lake in the background. Significantly, this section of the Mississippi remains an “Eagle fly-way,” so you will likely see many eagles here and in other places on the river.
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Did you know that a Lake City resident invented water skiing here on Lake Pepin? Ralph Sampson built the first pair of skis in 1922. His idea included towing a skier behind an outboard motorboat and skiing around Lake Pepin. Water skiing became a recreational activity and exhibition sport within a decade. Of course, right here in River City…oops, I mean Lake City!
And Lake City Minnesota, Eating places
The Lake House is a great restaurant right on Lake Pepin. Many say it’s the best place in town! Here are a few others:
- Chickadee Cottage Cafe: TripAdvisor score of 4.5 with classic American food.
- Fiesta Jalisco: TripAdvisor score of 4.5 serving Mexican and Southwestern food.
- Stockholm Pie & General Store: TripAdvisor score of 4.5 serving pie, coffee & tea, and a limited selection of other food.
- Papa Tronnios: TripAdvisor score of 4.5 serving pizza!
- However, there are others as well. Check TripAdvisor and city directories to find them. Unfortunately, no Jersey Mike’s or Jimmy John’s! As a substitute, they do have a Subway.
Lake City Minnesota Lodging
The AmericInn presents a great place to stay for a reasonable price. TripAdvisor gives it a 4.0 rating. I found it to be clean, comfortable, and with very friendly and helpful staff. (Note: When staying at Wyndham properties, check TripAdvisor. Wyndham doesn’t do a great job managing their franchisees. Generally, AmericInn is a good choice for reasonable prices.)
The Turning Waters Bed and Breakfast in nearby Wabasha scores a 5.0 rating on TripAdvisor. If you like B&Bs, this one’s a great option. Reviews are generally very positive: many visitors call the staff super-friendly and helpful.
John Hall’s Alaskan Lodge maintains its pure Alaska theme. Consequently, the 165 reviews on TripAdvisor show an average score of 4.5 with many very positive comments. Of course, the decor, the staff, and the cleanliness all receive high rankings. Many comments about “we’ll stay here again.” However, I didn’t stay here because I try to maintain my hotel loyalty awards to help me get more free nights!
Want to see a shop for my road trip photos? You can have them printed as wall art or puzzles. They also work on coffee mugs, t-shirts and more! So, take a look. Maybe you'll see something you will like!
However, there are other hotels in Lake City Minnesota, for your lodging pleasure. Here are a few:
- Willows on the River: It’s right on Lake Pepin, just as you enter town from the north. TripAdvisor gives it a 4.5 score. Conveniently attached to the building, Kelly’s Lake House Restaurant provides a great lakefront atmosphere.
- Sunset Motel & Resort: Another place to stay right on the lake receives a 4.0 rating on TripAdvisor.
- Frog & Bear Bed & Breakfast: This one also receives a 5.0 score on TripAdvisor. It’s an 1890s Victorian home featuring four unique and beautifully appointed guest rooms with all private baths. Indeed, they also officiate Non-Denominational Wedding Ceremonies – Civil, Secular, Religious, or Interfaith. Personalized ceremonies are created to reflect you, your relationship, and your beliefs.
Lake City Marina
In addition to the pictures of the marina above, they also provide storage for many boats. Since Lake Pepin remains a long lake (22 miles), sailboats abound in the storage area year around and on the lake in the summer! Lake City Minnesota ranks as one of the top Minnesota lake communities due to the popularity of Lake Pepin.
Of course, Lake City Shopping
There is more shopping, but I enjoyed talking to the people that opened this gallery in early spring. Terri and Art moved there after living in the Twin Cities. They opened the store in March of 2023 and are looking forward to all the summer visitors! Here’s a link.
Of course, I could go on and on about shopping, but I’m not a shopper, and it’s better to just browse around the main street and a few side streets. Nothing is very far away in Lake City Minnesota!
Overall, Lake City makes for a great visit. And the Great River Road remains a fantastic road trip. It should be ranked right up there with Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway! Also, let me know if you want more information about the area, or leave me comments on your experiences in Lake City Minnesota!
Classic Rock Recollection
“Jump ” by Van Halen
Ah, might as well jump (jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump (jump)
Go ahead and jump
Ow, oh, hey, you
Who said that?
Written by Alex Van Halen/David Roth/Edward Van Halen