Travel Minnesota: 24 hours in Shakopee

“Every Hundred Feet The World Changes” ~ Roberto Bolaño

There’s something to be said about taking the scenic route, in both life and travel and the lesson here is, you don’t have to trek very far to find an adventure.  John and I had the opportunity to experience a brief but action packed 24 hours in Shakopee, MN last weekend. This historic city is just across the river from our home in Chanhassen but other than our outings to Canterbury Park, or the occasional trip to Valley Fair when the kids were young, we haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time there. The essence of discovery is something that we embrace so we really looked forward immersing ourselves in this mini-vacation.

Downtown Shakopee

Hours spent exploring are never wasted and we strive to make the absolute most of  the time we have in a new location.  We arrived in Skakopee at 9:30 AM on Saturday morning and started by familiarizing ourselves with local shops, breweries and restaurants –  there are many! Below is a photo tour of a few of our finds.

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Clink! Sip + Savor Wine Market

We attended the Clink! Sip + Savor Wine Market on Saturday afternoon.  This annual affair is held once a year at the Canterbury Park Expo Center.  It was a phenomenal opportunity to taste a multitude of wines from across Minnesota.  We really enjoyed meeting the wine makers and learning about the exciting developments happening throughout our local wine community.   Unique and delicious food samples from producers around the state were also available.

Looking for a great gift idea for the wine enthusiast in your life? Give them a MN Wine Passport! The cost is $25 and this fee includes ten wine tastings from a choice of approximately 48 wineries.  Here is how it works: After purchasing the passport, visit any of the participating locations and receive a free wine tasting.  Repeat the process until you have redeemed a total of 10 tastings (Valued at $50 +) In addition to the tastings, the passport also contains at least 32 discount offers.  To learn more or to purchase a passport, click here.

To read more about the Minnesota grape and wine industry head to the Minnesota Grape Growers Association

MN Uncorked is the go to resource for winecentric news and events from around the state of Minnesota.  “Minnesota Uncorked has quickly gained a following for its mission to encourage exploration of Minnesota through wine-related experiences, and currently reaches over 5,500 local wine lovers monthly” ~ founder, Lauren Voigt

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Canterbury Park

The excitement is returning! Canterbury Park hosts live racing from May through September and opening day for this season is this Friday, May 4th. The first race posts at 6:30 PM.

On Saturday, May 5th they are hosting Minnesota’s biggest Kentucky Derby Day Party.

Derby Day Party Details:

• First Race from Churchill Downs: 9:30 a.m. (CST)
• First Canterbury Live Race 12:45 p.m.
• Pony rides and face painting 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Kentucky Derby: 5:50 p.m. (CST)
• Derby Hat Contest – Presented by Kwik Trip
Check-in at the live racing info booth immediately after Canterbury race 4
• Derby Selfie Station – Presented by the Kwik Trip

Click here for more information on opening weekend activities, race schedules, admission fees and events.

Save money and time by purchasing tickets online here.


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O’Brien’s Public House

We enjoyed a fantastic brunch at O’Brien’s Public House.  We were seated immediately upon arrival.  Our server was friendly and had extensive knowledge of the menu. I really loved the Eggs Blackstone dish which was created with poached eggs, grilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes, (perfectly) crispy prosciutto and chives.  John had the Breakfast Grilled Cheese which was stacked high with aged cheddar, American cheese, applewood smoked bacon, ham and scrambled eggs, all served between two nicely toasted slices of sour dough.  In addition to the brunch menu, they have lunch, dinner and daily specials.  We’re planning on heading back in the near future to check out the Taco Tuesday deal –  $12 for tacos and a pint.

Click here for business hours and the full menu

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Badger Hill Brewing Company

The bright, open spaces and creative craft beer line-up make this a great destination brewery.  We spent about an hour here and we each had one pint.  I sipped on the light and fruity Goldy Golden Ale and John ordered the Kölsch-Style Minne-ale. The taproom staff were happy to educate us on the many flavor characteristics of their current line-up and we were allowed small samples prior to ordering.  I really appreciate this! There is nothing worse than ordering a tall beer and finding out on that first sip that the flavor profile isn’t what you were seeking.  Badger Hill Brewing is releasing their new Post Time Peach Ale on May 4th in conjunction with the first day of live racing at Canterbury Park. I’ve heard this is going to be a superb summer brew.  It will be available for purchase at both the brewery and track.

Click here for hours and taproom information.

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Mr. Pig Stuff BBQ & Catering

This was our first meal from Mr. Pig Stuff BBQ and it did not disappoint! There are a lot of restaurants that advertise authentic BBQ but not all do it as well as Mr. Pig Stuff. I really enjoyed the shredded pork sandwich (served with coleslaw & french fries).   John had the sliced brisket (hickory smoked) sandwich.  We also ordered a side of Ellsworth Cheese Curds, they were perfectly crispy on the outside and the flavor and integrity of the cheese came through nicely.

Click here for restaurant info and for the in-house and catering menus

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Holiday Inn Express in Shakopee

We spent our Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Shakopee.  This hotel is situated within minutes of Canterbury Park, as well as a host of other major attractions including Valley Fair and The Minnesota Renaissance Festival (scheduled on weekends August 18th to September 30th, 2018).  While location is important, for us, comfort and service are key.  Check-in was a breeze and the desk staff were exceptionally professional and friendly. The rooms were clean and well appointed.

Because a hotel is your “home away from home” while traveling, the finer points of hospitality are essential.  The Holiday Inn Express and Suites and IHG hotel group are clearly intentional about creating a first-class experience.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay!

Click here for hotel location and rates

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For more on where to Eat, Stay and Play check out  Visit Shakopee 

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