Things to Do
Whether you prefer an active outing outdoors, or a relaxing evening in, Northfield has something for every interest. From hundreds of acres of parks to golf course and trails to visual and performing arts, there is always something going on. Explore this section for all the details and then check out our calendar of events to see what catches your interest.
The events that occurred in Northfield on September 7, 1876, gave Northfield is place in the history books. The infamous Jesse James and his gang rode into town to rob the First National Bank. The raid was thwarted by the brave townspeople who answered the call, "Get your guns boys. They're robbing the bank." Joseph Lee Heywood, acting cashier, was killed when he refused to open the safe. A Swedish immigrant died in the street, along with two members of the gang. Jesse James, Cole Younger and the others road out of Northfield along what is now called The Outlaw Trail Tour; a meandering trip that retraces the steps taken by the James-Younger Gang in and out of Northfield.
Retrace the route the James-Younger Gang took as they rode through the Northfield area in 1876. The Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau provides a self-guided tour brochure, available upon request from the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Tour guide service is available for tour buses and large groups with reservations made in advance of visits.
Historic Sites and Points of Interest Tour
Many of the buildings in Northfield's downtown and nearby residential area look as they did when built a century ago, with windows and cornices embellished with 19th-century architectural detail. Among them, the Scriver Building on Division Street is the former site of the First National Bank; The Archer House, one of the state's oldest river inns, still functions as a hotel; and The Grand Event Center, on the corner of Fourth and Washington Streets, serves the public as it did when known as the Ware Auditorium. Stop by the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and pick up a self-guided tour brochure. Tour guide service is available for tour buses and large groups with reservations made in advance of visits.
Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges
These two national ranked colleges, with their extraordinary history, cultural and intellectual richness, athletic rivalries and beautiful campuses, contribute significantly to Northfield's appeal. Carleton is located on the northeast edge of central Northfield and includes within its 900-acre campus two scenic lakes and an 880-acre arboretum, where you, too, may stroll, hike or ski in the solitude of nature. St. Olaf is located on the west edge of town on Manitou Heights with an impressive view of Northfield and the Cannon River Valley. For more information, visit the web sites of Carleton College and St. Olaf College.
In the early years, the Cannon River was a source of power for many saw and flour mills. Today it is a recreational river and a source of pleasure. Canoeing and fishing are popular pastimes with Northfielders and visitors alike. Stroll along the Riverwalk for a view of the river and the falls, which are lit at night to add to the scenic beauty. You will leave with an appreciation of the beauty and tranquility of this peaceful town.
Farmers Market at Riverside Park
Daily 8:00 a.m. to Sunset
Highway 19 West
Experience the area's finest locally grown produce. Visit in October to pick your own pumpkins, hardy mums and gourds. Enjoy a relaxing hayride or one of our fall activities. For more information visit www.bridgewaterproducefarm.com
Thursday on the Square
The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve
789 Sciota Trail East
Goodsell Observatory at Carleton College
One North College Street
One North College Street
Apple and Berry Picking
Sample the best Northfield's countryside has to offer at local orchards, strawberry and raspberry fields. Pick your own or buy off the shelf.
For apples, Fireside Orchard & Gardens is located 5 miles west of Northfield. Fireside offers the finest apples and more.