Water Street in Excelsior

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.

Get in[edit]

Map of Excelsior

By plane[edit]

The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is 20 miles from Excelsior.

By car[edit]

Highway 7 runs through Excelsior and connects the city to Interstate 494, US 169, and Highway 100. Highway 7 also continues into Minneapolis.

Get around[edit]

Metro Transit runs express buses to and from Excelsior to Minneapolis


  • Excelsior Commons, Lake St, +1 952 474-5233. 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, +1 952 221-4766. 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.

Trolley rides[edit]

Duluth Street Railway No. 78
  • The Excelsior Trolley, 305 Water St, +1 952 922-1096. 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).

Lake cruises[edit]

Restored Express Boat Minnehaha


  • Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St, +1 952 474-5951. 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, +1 763 682-3000. 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, +1 952 474-4789. 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, +1 952 474-0050. Country Look Antiques is your everything antique store that’s chock full of unique treasures and fun finds.





  • 318 Cafe, 318 Water St, +1 952 401-7902. 318 is a quaint cafe on Water Street tga offers a small town feel with an urban vibe.
  • Adeles Custard, 800 Excelsior Blvd, +1 952 470-0035. 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, +1 952 470-8975. 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, +1 952 401-0066. 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, +1 952 405-2700. 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, +1 952 474-4791. 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, +1 952 470-1800. 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, +1 952 474-1720. A bustling little sushi bar in downtown Excelsior where it serves the artfully presented sushi.




Go next[edit]

In the Twin Cities metro[edit]

  • 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
MontevideoHutchinson  W  E  HopkinsMinneapolis

This city travel guide to Excelsior is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.