Willmar Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Willmar, Minnesota with this comprehensive travel guide featuring things to do, places to visit, where to stay, and tips for getting around.

Introduction to Willmar

Located in southern Minnesota, Willmar is a charming city known for its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or just a relaxing getaway, this friendly town has something for everyone.

In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll share the best things to do in Willmar, tips for getting around, and recommendations for where to stay, eat, and shop.

List of Places to Visit in Willmar

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Kandiyohi County Historical Society

The Kandiyohi County Historical Society is an excellent place to learn about the history and culture of Willmar and the surrounding area. Located in the old railway depot, the museum features exhibits on local Native American history, pioneer life, and the area’s railroad history.

Schwanke Museum

The Schwanke Museum is an incredible collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia. From classic muscle cars to antique bikes, this collection spans decades of American automotive history.

The Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre is a local gem that has been entertaining Willmar audiences since 1965. From classic plays to modern musicals, this intimate theatre is the perfect place to catch a show.

Natural Attractions of Willmar: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Robbins Island Park

Robbins Island Park is a beautiful nature park located on the banks of Willmar Lake. With walking paths, picnic areas, and a beach, this park is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center

The Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center is a great place to explore the natural wonders of Minnesota. With 500 acres of woods, prairies, and wetlands, this center features extensive hiking and biking trails, camping facilities, and a nature center with interactive exhibits.

Sibley State Park

Sibley State Park is another great place to explore the natural beauty of Willmar. With over 3,000 acres of forests, prairies, and lakes, this park offers hiking, camping, fishing, and boating opportunities.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Willmar

Willmar Lakes Area Trail

The Willmar Lakes Area Trail is a 21-mile paved trail that winds through the scenic countryside around Willmar. With picturesque views of lakes, forests, and farmland, this trail is perfect for a relaxing bike ride or a leisurely walk.

Glacial Lakes State Trail

The Glacial Lakes State Trail is a 22-mile long trail that connects Willmar to the city of Spicer. With a mix of paved and unpaved surfaces, this trail offers a variety of terrain for hikers, bikers, and horse riders.

Best Things to Do in Willmar: Activities and Tours

Ridgewater College Theater

The Ridgewater College Theater is a hidden gem that features local theater productions throughout the year. From musicals to plays, this intimate theater is a great way to experience the local arts scene.

Willmar Stingers Baseball

The Willmar Stingers are a local minor league baseball team that play their home games at Bill Taunton Stadium. With affordable tickets and a fun atmosphere, a Stingers game is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family.

Model Railroad Museum

The Model Railroad Museum in Willmar features an impressive collection of model trains and railroad memorabilia. With interactive exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities, this museum is perfect for train enthusiasts of all ages.

Week-Long Itinerary for Willmar

Day Activities
1 Visit Kandiyohi County Historical Society, Schwanke Museum
2 Explore Robbins Island Park, picnic by Willmar Lake
3 Hike the Willmar Lakes Area Trail
4 Visit the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center
5 Watch a Play at the Barn Theatre
6 Visit Sibley State Park
7 Take a bike ride on the Glacial Lakes State Trail

Food and Drink Scene of Willmar

Must-Try Dishes

Walleye Fillet Sandwich

This popular local dish features fresh-caught walleye fillets breaded and fried to golden perfection, served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce.

Wild Rice Soup

A Minnesota classic, wild rice soup is a creamy mixture of wild rice, bacon, and vegetables, often served with a slice of fresh bread.

Local Beverages

Schell’s Brewery

Located in nearby New Ulm, the Schell’s Brewery is the oldest brewery in Minnesota and offers tours and tastings of their award-winning beers.

Millner Heritage Winery

The Millner Heritage Winery produces a variety of high-quality Minnesota wines, including honey wine, fruit wines, and classic grape wines.

Where to Stay in Willmar: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Willmar Inn

The Willmar Inn offers comfortable rooms, an indoor pool, and a complimentary breakfast.

Country Inn and Suites

The Country Inn and Suites offers spacious rooms, a fitness center, and a complimentary breakfast.

Super 8 by Wyndham Willmar

The Super 8 by Wyndham Willmar offers affordable rooms and a convenient location near local attractions.

What to Buy in Willmar: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Wild Rice

Minnesota is known for its wild rice, which can be found in local grocery stores and gift shops.

Handmade Pottery

Willmar is home to several talented pottery artists, whose work can be found in local galleries and gift shops.

Local Culture and Customs of Willmar

Willmar is known for its friendly locals and welcoming small-town atmosphere. Visitors should be prepared for a slower pace of life than in larger cities and should be respectful of local customs and traditions.

Best Time to Visit Willmar

The best time to visit Willmar is in the summer months, when the weather is warm and sunny and outdoor activities are plentiful.

Do’s and Don’ts of Willmar


  • Do enjoy the local cuisine, including walleye and wild rice dishes.
  • Do explore the natural beauty of Willmar, including its parks and biking trails.
  • Do visit local museums and historical sites to learn about the area’s rich history and culture.


  • Don’t litter or damage natural areas.
  • Don’t ignore local customs and traditions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask locals for recommendations or directions.

Safety and Health

Safety in Willmar

Willmar is a safe and welcoming community, but visitors should still take precautions to stay safe. It’s always a good idea to lock doors and windows and to be aware of your surroundings when walking alone at night.

Health in Willmar

Willmar has several pharmacies and medical facilities, including a hospital and clinics, to ensure that visitors have access to necessary medical care if needed.

Getting to Willmar: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Willmar

Willmar is served by the Willmar Municipal Airport, which offers daily flights on regional airlines.

Bus Stations Near Willmar

Willmar is served by several regional bus companies, including Greyhound and Jefferson Lines.

Other Options

Visitors can also drive to Willmar using the nearby Interstate 94 or take the train into nearby St. Cloud.

How to Get Around in Willmar

Visitors to Willmar can rent cars, bikes, or make use of the local taxi services to get around town.

Where to Go Next from Willmar: Nearby Destinations and Excursions


Located just a short drive from Willmar, Spicer is a charming town known for its art galleries, antique shops, and beautiful lakeside views.

New London

Another nearby destination, New London features a charming downtown area with unique shops and restaurants, as well as a beautiful, pristine lake.


From hiking and biking to museums and theaters, Willmar offers a wide variety of attractions and experiences for visitors. Planning your trip to this charming Minnesota town is easy with this comprehensive guide, featuring recommendations for things to do, places to stay, and local customs and traditions.