Winona Life

Winona, MN may be on the small side, but don’t let the town’s size fool you. There’s plenty to do in Winona from major festivals that bring in crowds to local entertainment, food, shopping and more to fill your Saturdays.

If you are looking for the thrill of a big city, Winona is not too far from Rochester and the Twin Cities. Did somebody say road trip?

Living in Winona is seriously the best of both worlds. You’ve got the charm, comfort and community-feel of a smaller town for your everyday life and easy access to big-city attractions when you want to go all out.

Fun for Everyone

Lucky for you, there’s a ton of entertainment to keep you busy between the bluffs! On nearly every night, you can hear live music at cafes and other venues.

Then mark your calendars for Winona’s annual music festivals that are one of a kind and not to be missed:

Explore Music Festivals

And for all the movie-lovers, you can go see blockbusters on the big screen at the Winona 7 right downtown. In addition to $5 Tuesdays, students get discounted tickets on Thursdays when you show your student ID.

You can also see films with an indie flair at the Frozen River Film Festival in February and during the WSU Film Series each semester.

Looking for a laugh? The Big Bub’s Comedy Show brings in stand-up comedians from all across the US. Want to test your smarts at trivia? Grab some pals and head over to Taproom Trivia at Island City Brewing Company, which offers house-made soda and kombucha on tap.

Shop Around

In downtown Winona, you’ll find artisan shops selling hand-crafted jewelry and art, local bookstores and charming gift shops.

There’s also Hardt’s Music, which is convenient for replacing snapped guitar strings or cracked reeds, and JimmyJams if you’re looking for the newest comic books or a fresh boardgame.

When you need to make a Target run or stop by Wal-Mart, you don’t need to go far. Those big-box stores are right on the east end of town, while Hy-Vee is on the west side.

Feed Your Inner Foodie

Winona has a little bit of everything— from burgers to burritos, sandwiches to sushi, pizza to pitas -- and a lot is local so you won’t it find anywhere else.

Now when it comes to coffee, you can take your pick to discover the best brew and the perfect study spot.

Winona's Hottest Coffeeshops

Of course, we’ve also got the chains you love when you need a quick bite or a caffeine boost—including Panda Express, Starbucks, Caribou and Einstein Bros right here on campus.

Got a sweet tooth? Winona is home to Bloedow’s Bakery—which has some of the best donuts in Minnesota. If you’re more of an ice-cream person, find your fav flavor at one of several local shops.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

When you live among beautiful bluffs and alongside the mighty Mississippi River, it really is great to get outside. It’s a big part of life in Winona, so you’ll see people out in every season.

Whether you prefer the scenic views, a casual stroll around Lake Winona or the thrills of hiking, biking, rock-climbing and more outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Getting Around Winona

So there’s clearly a ton of great stuff to do in Winona-- now how do you get to it? Well, you can get to a lot of places simply by walking or biking.

No Car? No Problem! 


Getting around Winona is really easy since WSU campus is practically right in the middle of town.

It’s just about 10 minutes from restaurants and shops downtown and the Mississippi River. Head in the other direction and in about 10 minutes you’ll hit the lakes and be almost to the base of Garvin Heights.

Other spots around town are worth driving to, but that doesn’t mean you need your own car. Winona has a city bus, you could get a Lyft, or rent a car by the hour through Enterprise Car-Share—a service just for WSU students.

 Winona has six Kwik Trip locations, and two are within walking distance from Main and West Campuses