Northfield Travel Guide

  • if I walk out the front door, this is what I see
    if I walk out the front door, this is...
    by zrim
  • partially frozen Cannon River
    partially frozen Cannon River
    by zrim
  • we have dog beds all over the house--about ten
    we have dog beds all over the...
    by zrim

Northfield Things to Do

  • Best Little Town South of the Twin...

    Northfield, Minnesota is a vibrant 19th-century river town with a blend of unparalleled characteristics and opportunities to enjoy Minnesota at its bestVisit the Northfield Historical Society Museum and learn all about how the townspeople stopped the infamous Jesse James from robbing the town’s bank. Northfield is a perfect place for a getaway with...

  • Consult the map in the town square

    If you are coming from the college [that would be Carleton:)] this is a bit of a walk down Division St. and in the small square in front of the Scrivner Building. A key element of Northfield's environment is the Cannon River, which runs through the town. I wonder if it still floods the baseball fields in the spring, leaving dead fish in its wake??

  • View across the Bald Spot

    The spire in the distance is that of Willis Hall, the first permanent building on the Carleton Campus. The cornerstone was laid in 1869, three years after the founding of the college. .When I was attending Carleton it was the student union. Now it seems to be offices. It is kind of sad actually as there were big open lounges that have been carved...

  • Scoville Hall at Carleton College

    Built in 1896, this was the first library for the campus. It served that purpose until 1957 when it was turned into a classroom building. I remember those 8am classes ....

  • Skinner Chapel is worth the stop

    One of the most obvious buildings on the Carleton College campus is Skinner Chapel. Built in 1916, I spent many bored hours there attending required convocations.

  • Visit Carleton College

    Forget about those other folks on the hill on the other side of the Cannon River. You can't walk there anyway!.The college is a short uphill walk from Division St. The campus is very attractive and there is a lovely Arboretum attached, which is part prairie, part forest.

  • Another view of the First National Bank

    This building was not the one that Jesse James and his gang tried to rob. I always thought it was a bit fun to have my money in a bank that managed to resist such an attempt!

  • The Veterans Memorial in the square

    The Northfield Area Veterans Memorial is in Bridge Square, so named because there is a bridge over the Cannon River at this point.

  • The building facades along Division St.

    Northfield is a charming town with both cool and old-time shops on the main street. But the real show are the building facades. So be sure to look up to see some really wonderful historic late 19th century middle America architecture! Fortunately a lot of it was saved.

  • Visit the Northfield Historical Society

    Lots of good information and exhibits as well as a small bookstore. It is in one of the oldest buildings in Northfield, the Scriver Building. This would be a good year to visit as they are celebrating the town's sesquicentennial!

  • The Defeat of Jesse James Days

    Every year on the weekend following Labor Day Northfield hosts a community celebration known as the Defeat of Jesse James Days. Thousands of people from all over the upper Midwest come to Northfield during this weekend to see bank raid re-enactments, to browse at the craft show, to see the rodeo and to eat carnival food. Of course the kids love the...

  • NAG, The Northfield Arts Guild

    I'm not really an artist or a theater person, but the Northfield Arts Guild does a tremendous job in promoting the arts in Northfield. There are several plays put on each year and this building houses both a dance studio and an art gallery. Quite an asset to the community. A non-profit organization run almost exclusively by volunteers.Can you...

  • Old Main at St. Olaf

    St. Olaf is Northfield's second college. It was founded a few years after Carleton College and Northfield has maintained two of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation for over 125 years now.St. Olaf is acclaimed for its internationally known choir. I have to admit that Oles know how to sing their hymns and choral pieces (they can even do...

  • Nutting House

    One of the perks that is granted to the Carleton College president is the use of this turn of the century house. The former pres mainly used it for receptions and dinners, but the current guy lives there.

  • Walk the Carleton College Campus

    A beautiful campus with lots of green spaces (except in winter, then a lot of white spaces!) In the spring and fall the college kids are often out frollicking with their frisbees. I like to take my golden retrievor. We sneak past the tennis courts and Sparky almost always comes home with a fresh tennis ball.


Northfield Hotels

  • Americinn Northfield

    1320 Bollenbacher Dr, Northfield, MN 55057

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • The Archer House

    212 S Division St, Northfield, Minnesota, 55057, United States

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Couples

  • Country Inn Northfield

    300 South Highway 3

    Satisfaction: Poor

    Good for: Solo

Northfield Restaurants

  • So disappointing!

    The ambiance of this restaurant is lacking. I did not see one “good” table – all the tables, including ours, seemed to be oddly placed. I felt a bit exposed at our table. The service, as well, made me feel very awkward. The menu is extensive, and we were not sure what to order. When we asked the waiter for his recommendation, however, he was very...

  • It's not the OLD Ideal Cafe!

    I used to love eating here when I was a student. It has a great tin ceiling! But times change and it's now purple and serves a mix of ethnic & regional cuisine, including vegetarian and vegan options. The current window announces that it is now serving a new Guatemalen menu.

  • MOOOOOOO ...

    I have zrim to thank for this recommendation. We had a GREAT lunch here. It's a limited menu, but well-prepared. Of note is that all prices are even and include the tax, so change isn't a big issue for you or them:) There is a terrace overlooking the Cannon River in the summer..It is also the location for music performances on a regular basis.


Northfield Nightlife

  • A pint at the Contented Cow

    I generally visit the Cow after work and have a pint or two with the lads. The Contented Cow is a non-smoking English pub on the waterfront. Several nights a month there is live music--which I tend to shun, but many of my friends really enjoy the music nights. One crowd-pleaser is a group called Bonnie and the Clydes.One word of warning. Stay away...

  • Division Street at night

    This is as exciting as things get in the evenings in Northfield. Quiet town. Quiet pace of life. Every once in a while the college kids will come downtown to drink it up in the bars, but even then the scene is rather subdued. No raucus bar fights or loud parties. Which is good, because I like to be in bed by about 10:00 p.m.

  • Northfield Hotels

    5 Hotels in Northfield

Northfield Transportation

  • zrim's Profile Photo

    The trains still run in this part of the...

    by zrim Written Feb 14, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Freight trains pass through town eight to ten times a day, blasting their horns at every street crossing (pretty darned annoying at 3:00 a.m. on a warm summer evening when the windows are wide open and I'm trying to get some sleep).

    Unfortunately, no passenger train serves Northfield. I think it would be great if Northfield were linked to Minneapolis and St. Paul by rail, but this is the U.S. and we tend not to be as forward thinking as the Europeans on these matters.

    choo choo
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Northfield Local Customs

  • Jesse takes the cake!

    In honor of the "Defeat of Jesse James Days", the bakery on Division St. made this cake. In 1876 the notorious outlaw and his gang tried to rob The First National Bank of Northfield and failed, mostly because the locals were having none of it. Most of us figured that if Jesse James couldn't rob this bank it was a good place for our students...

  • Class gifts .. that keep on giving

    Two details inside Scoville Hall, which was the original library at the college. On the right the original stairway. On the left the water fountain given as the gift of the class that graduated in 1914. One can only imagine that a water fountain was a "new thing" back then. It is nice to see that it has survived though.

  • We called it "booking"

    When I attended Carleton we all seemed to study all the time. Except for the crew that was playing bridge all the time in Willis Student Union! They actually closed the library on Saturday afternoon in the fall so we would go to the football games!.These carrels overlooked a playing field, the Lyman Lakes and the arboretum. They are MUCH spiffier...


Northfield Warnings and Dangers

  • Watch out for woodchucks

    Why this woodchuck has decided that my backyard, complete with 245 lbs of ravenous dogs, would be a good place to set up quarters, is beyond my comprehension. So every day the dogs go tearing out the back yard racing to catch the woodchuck before he dives into his burrow under the shed. He is still alive, but yesterday Buddy came within a wisker of...

  • Snow, Ice and Cold

    The town is a very safe place (relatively speaking) but Northfield is in the upper midwest and therefore the winters are very cold and generally snowy. Watch your step on the ice, it is slippery.

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Northfield Off The Beaten Path

  • Jo Ryo En again

    The Japanese Garden at Carleton College is a traditional "dry" garden where stones replace water. There is always a "master rock" which tells the maker where to site the other rocks.

  • 'Earthwork' on the Bald Spot

    Another of the works of art sited on the Carleton campus is Earthwork, installed by Ed Zelenak in 1973 on the edge of the Bald Spot.

  • Twigonometry II

    Here you can see the curving arches of 'Twigonometry' spreading its arches and secret nooks over one end of the campus main 'square' known as 'The Bald Spot'..In my day the Bald Spot was used for campus-wide functions. In the winter it was flooded to form a large ice skating area, half of which was for the hockey team. I made my debut as a...


Northfield Favorites

  • It's All About Northfield

    Check out this site to learn all about Northfield and start planning your visit:Northfield Tourist & Travel Information

  • Winter

    Northfield is truly a town of four distinct seasons. Springtime is my favorite time of year, but many people favor the winter.Snow and ice are the rule between the first of December and the end of March. It is a fact of life and most townsfolk resolve to enjoy themselves with ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.I, on the otherhand,...

  • A greatplace to walk with the dogs

    Carleton College maintains an 800 acre arboretum. The mission of Carleton's arboretum is threefold: education, recreation and conservation. Three goals which I heartily endorse.The arboretum is just a few minutes walk from my house, so I am able to utilize the recreation aspect at my whim. However, the conservation portion is also important in this...


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Explore Deeper into Northfield
Twigonometry I
Off The Beaten Path
Jo Ryo En - The Japanese Garden at Carleton
Off The Beaten Path
Cows everywhere!
Local Customs
Zrim as student in 1986
Local Customs
Parking along the river
Off The Beaten Path
My favorite tree
Off The Beaten Path
River City
A college campus ablaze
Off The Beaten Path
A blue heron taking off
Off The Beaten Path
My Office
Off The Beaten Path
Senator Wellstone's Green Bus
Local Customs
Look at all the Canadian Geese
Off The Beaten Path
The Episcopal Church
Off The Beaten Path
Walk in the Arboretum
Things to Do
an English pub on the riverfront
Bridge Square

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Map of Northfield