Excelsior is a city of 2300 people (2018) in the Twin Cities. Excelsior was founded in the 1850s as a destination for vacationers, primarily from the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Excelsior sits on beautiful Lake Minnetonka and offers numerous lake cruises and beaches.
Throughout the years, Excelsior's Water Street has been the home to many businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and merchants. Today, Excelsior works hard to maintain its historical identity while renewing various elements of the downtown area.
The Excelsior Commons and Lake Minnetonka are central amenities to the community and are major draws for tourists today. The Minnesota Streetcar Museum, a local transportation museum, maintains a heritage streetcar line in Excelsior and operates three restored streetcars on the line: Twin City Lines No. 1239, Winona Power & Light Co. #10, and Duluth Street Railway No. 78.
Streetcars were used in Excelsior until 1932, when the line was cut back to Hopkins.
A large ballroom called "Danceland" (later "Big Reggie's Danceland") stood across the street from Excelsior Amusement Park from the mid-1920s to 1973. Operated by Ray Colihan, it hosted performances by Lawrence Welk, Fred Waring, and the Andrews Sisters in the 1930s. These acts were followed by the Beach Boys in 1963. In 1964, the Rolling Stones played at Danceland for an audience of 283.
Since 2010, restaurants and eateries have come to dominate the town's commercial landscape. Beyond the downtown district, Excelsior also retains much of its Victorian-era housing stock. Strict building codes are enforced in order to preserve this identity.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is 20 miles from Excelsior.
Highway 7 runs through Excelsior and connects the city to Interstate 494, US 169, and Highway 100. Highway 7 also continues into Minneapolis.
Metro Transit runs express buses to and from Excelsior to Minneapolis
- Excelsior Commons, Lake St, ☏ . At the north end of town is The Commons park and recreation area with a swimming beach, playground, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and picnicking.
- Lake Minnetonka Historical Society, 305 Water St, ☏ . The society’s museum and archives are free and open to the public, and hold the largest collection of historic artifacts and documents in the area.
While it is a smaller town Excelsior is filled with fun activities for all ages. Situated along Lake Minnetonka the city is filled with trails to explore and parks to enjoy all year round.
- The Excelsior Trolley, 305 Water St, ☏ . Old trolley No. 78, a streetcar that ran from Minneapolis to Excelsior in the 1920s, has been restored and now runs between the Bayside Grille and the Farmer's Market in Excelsior. It's a charming experience. Operated by the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, which also operates the Como-Harriet streetcar line in Linden Hills, Minneapolis. $2 single ride or $5 day pass (also includes rides on the Como-Harriet streetcar).
- Lady of the Lake Paddle Wheel, 8 Water St, ☏ . Enjoy a beautiful Minnesota day or evening on the premier Lake Minnetonka charter boat, the Lady of the Lake.
- The Queen of Excelsior Cruises, 10 Water St, ☏ . Every Sunday, May through September, the QE offers a public Sunday Brunch. Cruising the pristine waters of Lake Minnetonka with friends or family is a great way to spend a Sunday.
- Excelsior Bay Charters, 436 Union Pl, ☏ . Sail through Lake Minnetonka gliding through bays and inlets, discovering the magnificent homes and historic estates.
- Steamboat Minnehaha, 400 Lake St, ☏ . A historic steamboat built in 1906 operated by the Museum of Lake Minnetonka.
- Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St, ☏ . Recognized as one of the most popular theaters in the U.S., the Old Log offers contemporary plays and comedies year-round and the theater's company of Equity actors include some of the finest talent in the Midwest.
- Excelsior Dock, 26 Water St, ☏ . 3-theater cinema offering stadium seating and delicious popcorn.
Water Street in downtown Excelsior is lined with specialty stores and smart eateries. There are also shops located along 2nd and 3rd Streets, which run perpendicular to Water Street. Metered parking is available along Water Street, public parking is also available off 3rd Street. This historic shopping district offers a wide range of family-owned and small town shops catering to many tastes.
- Excelsior Coin, 449 2nd St, ☏ . Excelsior Coin and Collectibles has been in business for more tan 30 years. They have extensive knowledge of collectible coins, gold and silver and buy and sell on site.
- Country Look Antiques, 240 Water St, ☏ . Country Look Antiques is your everything antique store that’s chock full of unique treasures and fun finds.
- [dead link] Ooh La La, 274 Water St, ☏ . Two great store ideas within one place that truly complement each other. Ooh La La features fashionable handbags, tees, Voltage shoes and accessories at affordable-chic prices.
- Meridian Boutique, 223 Water St, ☏ . A contemporary boutique offering an extrodinary hand-selected collection of contemporary designer apparel.
- [dead link] Big Island Swim & Surf, 229 Water St, ☏ . Swimwear, beach bags, handbags, handcrafted jewelry, flip flops, sunglasses and browning lotion.
- Capers Excelsior Gifts, 207 Water St, ☏ . Jewelry, scarves, novelty gifts, home accessories, and more.
- The Soap Box, 350 2nd St, ☏ . Situated in Paris Tailors, the Soap Box carries a select range of scented soaps and oils from around the world.
- [dead link] Provisions Excelsior, 320 Water St (in the Excelsior Mill building), ☏ . Provisions offers thousands of gift ideas.
- [formerly dead link] Wilcock Gallery, 218 Water St, ☏ . Original oil, watercolor and pastel paintings by regional and national artists.
- [formerly dead link] Noahs Ark Pet Store, 40 Water St, ☏ . Noah’s Ark Fish & Pet Supply is a full service pet store.
- [formerly dead link] Minnetonka Music, 250 Water St, ☏ . Minnetonka Music offers a complete selection of musical instruments, music education, instrument repairs, school instrument programs, sound equipment, sheet music and instrument accessories.
- [formerly dead link] Excelsior Bay Books, 36 Water St, ☏ . An intimate setting on picturesque Water Street. This bookstore stands out based on its friendly staff, well chosen book selection, and perfect location. If they don’t have it, they’re more than happy to find it and order it for you.
- 318 Cafe, 318 Water St, ☏ . 318 is a quaint cafe on Water Street tga offers a small town feel with an urban vibe.
- Adeles Custard, 800 Excelsior Blvd, ☏ . At Adeleʼs, they make every batch of homemade frozen custard on-site with fresh, premium ingredients from their own recipes resulting in custard that’s rich, creamy and delicious.
- Bayside Grille, 687 Excelsior Blvd, ☏ . Escape the ordinary and experience the Bayside Grille, Lake Minnetonkaʼs hot spot for unparalleled waterfront deck dining, fantastic drinks, and sunsets.
- Hazellewood, 3635 Manitou Rd, ☏ . A neighborhood gathering place for your friends and family that captures the essence of hospitality in casual, comfortable surroundings.
- Joey Nova's Pizza, 5655 Manitou Rd, ☏ . Joey Novas Excelsior Pizza is an East Coast style pizzeria & delicatessen offering and delivering exceptional, freshly prepared foods for their friends in Excelsior, Chanhassen, Shorewood and Tonka Bay.
- Licks Ice Cream, 31 Water St, ☏ . A locally owned ice cream parlor that features homemade wafﬂe cones, ice cream and soft serve yogurt. Just a short walk to the public docks. Lickʼs is open by the season (usually May thru October) and is a local favorite.
- Maynards, 685 Excelsior Blvd, ☏ . American casual, with an expansive outdoor dining deck and bar adjoined to their own dock space that makes it a boating favorite for lunch and dinner.
- [formerly dead link] Yumi's Sushi, 28 Water St, ☏ . A bustling little sushi bar in downtown Excelsior where it serves the artfully presented sushi.
- [formerly dead link] Haskells Bar & Grill, 1 Water St, ☏ . Offering a full bar, grill and happy hour Haskell’s is a great destination for a gathering after a day on the lake.
- [formerly dead link] Jake O Connors Irish Pub, 200 Water St, ☏ . A public house with Irish hospitality. Live music and fresh pints.
- The Bird House Inn & Gardens, 371 Water St, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. 1858 Victorian Italianate inn off Excelsior Bay.
- Hennepin County Library, 337 Water St, ☏ . M W F Sa 9AM-5PM, Tu Th noon-8PM.
In the Twin Cities metro
- Mall of America in nearby Bloomington. Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing.
- Valleyfair is an amusement park that's within an hour's drive in nearby Shakopee.
- Minnesota Zoo is in nearby Apple Valley.
|Routes through Excelsior|
|Montevideo ← Hutchinson ←||W E||→ Hopkins → Minneapolis|