Fall drive restaurants in the Mississippi River Valley
Looking for fall color? Explore Minnesota has you covered with 10 recommended drives, or "Rainbow Routes," and a Fall Color map to show you which percentage of the leaves have changed in all areas of the state.
Explore Minnesota Plan your trip before the leaves pass peak.
As for where to stop if you're headed along the Mississippi River Valley, Hot Dish has several recommendations:
Have you really only made it a half-hour outside of town and you already need to stop? Hit Emily's Bakery & Deli in Hastings for a danish and a cup of coffee.
But be sure to save room for second breakfast, a.k.a. pie. Once you get a little further down the road to Stockholm, WI, the Stockholm Pie Co. offers a huge selection of fresh-baked pies--fruit, creme, and savory. We recommend two half-slices apiece for better sampling.
After several years in Wisconsin, the Nortons restaurant moved to Red Wing. There's globally influenced, eclectic fare, and funky decor that hides the fact that the space used to be a 1950s-era JC Penny
Lake City's Nosh earned last year's Best Restaurant Worth the Drive title for good reason--actually, several of them, including a seasonally changing menu of gourmet, scratch-made fare and a gorgeous harbor view.
Just across the river in Pepin, WI, the Harbor View Cafe has been serving homey classics--lasagna, coq au vin, pork chops--in its cozy, book-lined dining room for more than 30 years. They don't take credit cards or reservations--and close for the season in mid-October.
If you have enough stamina to make it to the state's southeastern tip, hit the Trempealeau Hotel, in Trempealeau, WI, which is famous for its meatless walnut burger. (They're tasty, but also available at local co-ops if you don't make it that far.)
(You also still have time to see fall colors up north. Read our guide to another great food road trip: a stunning scenic picnic along the North Shore.)