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Northfield is a city in Minnesota. Its major historical claim to fame is the "Defeat of Jesse James." It's also one of the best-smelling towns in America due to the local Malt-O-Meal factory.


On September 7th, 1876, the James-Younger Gang rode into town intent on robbing the First National Bank of Northfield. Tipped off due to their suspicious actions, the citizens of Northfield engaged in a quick but heavy firefight with the gang that left two citizens and two gang members dead. The other six gang members sustained a range of injuries and fled south. Four were captured two weeks later only fifty miles from Northfield.

Malt-O-Meal was purchased by POST Consumer Brands in 2016, so the Northfield factory now has a large, red POST sign. At times the town distinctly smells of popcorn or chocolate or cinnamon depending on which cereal is being made at the time.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Northfield sits at the intersection of highways MN 19 and MN 3. The quickest way to Northfield from the Twin Cities is taking Interstate 35 south to MN 19 (Exit 69) and go east on 19. The downtown area is on the east side of the Cannon River.

By bus[edit]

  • Northfield Lines. Operator of the Northfield Metro EXPRESS, a daily bus service between Northfield and the Twin Cities. One-way fare is $13 if purchased online or $25 if purchased on the bus.

Get around[edit]

Map of Northfield (Minnesota)

There is some public transit in Northfield, but it is a very walkable town. However to get out to the more commercial shopping area down Highway 3, you'll probably want a bike or car. There is a smaller taxi service (+1 507-645-4447).

Care Tenders [formerly dead link] is an airport shuttle service, the only service of its kind in Northfield. It also provides service in and around Northfield. +1-888-492-RIDE (7433)

There is also Northfield Transit and Dial-A-Ride +1 507 645-7250 that operates during the day.


  • Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, toll-free: +1-800-658-2548. State Highway 3. The Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau helps visitors plan trips to Northfield. The offer information about attractions, featured events, local history, arts and culture, recreation and group tours.
  • Carleton College, One North College Street, +1 507-646-4000. Carleton College was founded in 1866. The campus covers 950 acres, including the 880-acre Arboretum, a nature preserve and park which is accessible to the public. The Arboretum was named Minnesota’s best running trail by Runner’s World magazine. Walking in the arb is highly recommended. The Gould Library, also open to the public, houses over a million volumes.
  • Northfield Historical Society, 408 Division St, +1 507-645-9268. Site of the bank raid, restored to original condition. The bullet holes in the wall are genuine. Tours and souvenirs.
  • St. Olaf College. St. Olaf College is on a hill on the west side of Northfield. The college was founded in 1874 by Norwegian immigrants and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • 1 Depot Diner...a Museum, 217 Water St S (E on 3rd St W off Hwy 3 to parking lot; or walk just over downtown footbridge from the Library), . Thursdays 4-7PM; Fridays-Saturdays 1-4PM. Museum - a curious collection of objects from nature, science, technology and the arts. Museum Store sells local fossils, collector's supplies, science posters, antiques and gently used non-fiction science/nature books.


  • Defeat of Jesse James Days. First weekend after Labor Day. A rodeo, midway and local celebrations, including live reenactments of the bank raid.
  • Riverwalk Market Fair (The Art of a Minnesota Summer Saturday), Downtown Northfield along the Cannon River (Division Street at Bridge Square the center of town). Early June to late October: Sa 9AM - 1PM. Riverwalk Market Fair is held in historic Northfield along the beautiful Cannon Riverfront. In addition to providing an array of fine art and fine craft made by area artists, locally grown produce and artisan food Riverwalk Market Fair offers live entertainment, family activities and special events. Free.
  • St. Olaf Christmas Festival. First Thursday after Thanksgiving. St. Olaf College has been giving the festival since 1912, one of the finest choral events in the nation. It is nationally broadcast on public radio and television. Tickets are difficult to come by, so plan ahead.
  • Plays and Exhibits sponsored by the Northfield Arts Guild. Art exhibits and a gift shop featuring pottery, jewelry, cards, and other locally made crafts. Plays at the Northfield Arts Guild (NAG) Theater. See the website for current plays and exhibits.
  • Crazy Daze. Usually the last Thursday every July, businesses in the downtown area offer discounts and vend in the street.


  • The Sketchy Artist, 300 Division Street S., +1 507-645-2811. Open all week. Surprise yourself with this original art supply and gift boutique located in lovely downtown Northfield (MN). Great selection of quality art materials as well as several eco-friendly lines. Gifts include a fun selection of cards, papers, Japanese pottery and novelties, journals, and kids stuff. Local art featured on display and for sale as well. Definitely the place to shop for something truly unique and off the beaten path - whether you're an artist or not!
  • Depot Diner - a museum and shop (Art on Water), 217 Water St. (just over the footbridge from Division), . Th 4-7PM, F Sa 1-4PM. and encyclopedic collection of rarities, curios, and antiquities. Fossils, rocks, antiques from around the world, blue plates, oddities for sale. modest admission.
  • con.tent, 314 Division Street. Purveyors of new and used books. Live reading events.
  • Rare Pair, 401 Division St. Quality shoes, clothing and accessories for men and women.
  • Paper Petalum, 212 Division St. in the Archer House. Scandinavian and quality gifts.


  • Hogan Brother's Hogies, Downtown on Division. Super tasty sandwiches. Super super tasty.
  • The OIe Store Restaurant, 1011 St Olaf Ave. Home of the Ole Roll and delicious lunches and dinners. Upscale casual contemporary menu.
  • Gran Plaza Mexican Grill, On Highway 3 south. Good Mexican food.
  • El Tequila, On Highway 3. Good Mexican food.
  • Basil's Pizza A Greek pizzeria for over 50 years!. Try the Gyro pizza with Taziki sauce. Seriously. Located in the old downtown on 4th street.
  • B and L's, On Division St. Another Greek Pizzeria.
  • George's Vineyard Another pizzeria located on Highway 3, serves Greek food.
  • The Quarterback Club, Highway 3 and 3rd street. Delicious and reasonably priced flame-broiled burgers, broasted chicken and BBQ ribs.
  • Tokoyo Grill, Highway 3 at 1301 Bollenbacher Dr. Excellent Japanese steak house. A favorite of college students and locals.


Coffee shops[edit]

  • 1 Goodbye Blue Monday, 319 Division St, +1 507 663-6188. 6AM-10PM daily. Goodbye Blue Monday serves good coffee in a friendly atmosphere. There are lots of tables and couches, free wireless internet, a public internet kiosk, and usually some great music. It is a favorite coffee shop of college students.
  • The Ole Cafe The Ole Cafe is similar to the Blue Monday, but provides caffeinated goodness to the other side of town. Located just short of St. Olaf College on St. Olaf Avenue.
  • James Gang Coffeehouse & Eatery This place serves people around the Highway 3 shopping areas. Great coffee, sandwiches, and soups, in a relaxed atmosphere. Free WiFi internet connection.
  • 2 The Hideaway Coffeehouse and Winebar, 421 Division St, +1 507 664-0400. M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa Su 7AM-10PM. Located in the heart of downtown Northfield this is a great place for outstanding coffee, made to order sandwiches, wine, beer and appetizers.


  • The Contented Cow This British-style pub is a local favorite. Classic pub food is available as well as a wide range of international beers among other beverages. Local bands (mostly of the folk variety) play there regularly. This place tends to attract a mellow crowd of all ages.
  • Froggy Bottoms On the banks of the Cannon river, Froggy Bottoms has a very trendy feel and serves food as well as drinks. This place attracts a varied kind of crowd.
  • Tanzenwald Brewing Company, on Highway 3 at 103 Water St. It serves German food and their own beer.
  • Imminent Brewing, 519 Division St. Production brewery and taproom. Live music.


  • Froggy Bottoms River Suites, 309 South Water Street. Along the west bank of the Cannon River in the heart of historic downtown Northfield, the Froggy Bottoms River Suites feature a wide range of amenities and can be rented by the day, week or month.
  • AmericInn Suites, 1320 Bollenbacher Dr. This hotel is on highway 19. Each room is nicely appointed and reasonably priced. There is a free breakfast.
  • Country Inn & Suites, 300 South Highway 3, +1 (507) 645-2286, . Located very close to the downtown, this hotel offers a free breakfast.
  • [dead link] Magic Door Bed and Breakfast, 818 Division Street South. This charming home offers three suites. The bed and breakfast is within walking distance of the downtown area and Carleton College.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Northfield
Saint PaulRosemount  N  S  FaribaultEND
Redwood Falls ← Jct N S  W  E  Cannon FallsRed Wing

This city travel guide to Northfield 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.