Welcome to Excelsior
Experience the delights of Lake Minnetonka and its easy lifestyle.
Excelsior is a historic, old-fashioned boating town. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Excelsior was one of the first famous resort getaways in the Midwest. Minnesota’s state motto is “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” and Lake Minnetonka is among its most noteworthy and picturesque. The lake attracted early settlers and travelers to the area to relax away from the major Minnesota metropolis lifestyle. To this day, Excelsior is a hamlet that harkens back to the olden days, and three running streetcars wind through the rustic Main Street.
Main Street in Excelsior is a downtown district where you’ll find the same commercial buildings on Water Street that recently landed on the federal National Register of Historic Places. The homes in this area feature plenty of Victorian-style architecture with large, two- or three-story homes with bay windows, terraces, and gingerbread trim. The lakeside town has plenty of iconic Victorian cottages and summer homes subject to strict building codes over the years to preserve the traditional, quaint appeal.
What to Love
- Apple Day, a celebration of apples surviving the winter
- Plenty of outdoor water sports in the summer season
- Docking at restaurants for meals
- Pond hockey, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling
- Historic, quaint downtown with chartered boat tours
- Town said to have inspired The Rolling Stones’ hit “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
- Views of the ninth-largest inland lake in Minnesota
Things to Do
There are plenty of places to explore in downtown Excelsior; its rich local culture complements its status as a historic regional resort town. First and foremost, visiting Lake Minnetonka and exploring the parks, beaches, and water is a refreshing way to spend the day. Since it is a historic town, there are landmarks worth visiting, like the Excelsior Commons, a 13-acre marina and recreational area. The Port of Excelsior is located in the Excelsior Commons and offers a boardwalk, places to embark, and a scenic view.
Throughout the year, festivals like Prince Day, Apple Day, Oktoberfest, and Independence Day keep the townspeople merry. The Fourth of July celebration includes a carnival. During the winter, there is a one-of-a-kind Pond Hockey Championship that differs slightly from regular ice hockey and lets local talent compete for fun. And each February, the Klondike Dog Derby captivates the community and crowns a new champion. The Dog Derby partners with sponsors and non-profit organizations loved and supported by the mushing community. The 40-mile race epitomizes the spirit of the authentic North.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Many travel to Excelsior to escape from the Twin Cities and beyond. There is plenty of entertainment in town, and various establishments offer fine dining or prized local cuisine and brews. Maynard’s
is one of the most popular restaurants; perched on a wharf, it enables patrons to dock their boats while eating.
Locals participate in an ongoing debate: who has the best ice cream in town? Excelsior’s two most popular ice cream makers are just a half-mile apart. Adele’s
serves frozen custard, which differs from standard ice cream in that it contains a fraction of egg yolk. Though temporarily closed (as of this writing), Licks Unlimited
features cones, malts, and banana splits with all the toppings. Both dessert places have flavors of the day, keeping patrons surprised and delighted.
Excelsior is part of Independent School District 276, which is part of the lauded Minnetonka School District. Students may attend: