Things To Do In Excelsior MN: 9 Activities In This Charming Town

Things To Do In Excelsior MN

Excelsior, Minnesota is one of America’s most charming towns! Located just 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis on the gleaming shores of Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior offers antique charm that’s paired with a vibrant tourism industry. This is the perfect place to enjoy quaint shops, dreamy inns, neighborhoods lined with Victorian-era homes, exceptional restaurants, and some pretty great pubs!

It’s no exaggeration to say that a stroll through Excelsior feels like you’re walking through a postcard. Excelsior’s historic commercial district that runs down Water Street is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

If you’re curious about fun things to do in Excelsior MN, you’ll be happy to know that this oasis in the shadow of the Twin Cities has no shortage of fun attractions and excursions that can be enjoyed in the summer and winter. Of course, nobody will blame you if you simply want to find a quiet nook where you can enjoy some pretty lake views.

Planning a little Excelsior getaway is one of the best things to do if you desperately need to unwind. Use these nine tips to discover what to do in Excelsior MN to make your visit magical!


1) Take A Tour Of Lake Minnetonka

A cruise is a great experience for all ages! Enjoy the sight of 18 acres of sparkling water spread out before you when you visit this lake to enjoy its serene views and abundant wildlife. You don’t need to own a boat to partake in the “lake life” culture of Excelsior. Just do what everyone else does by booking a spot with PaddleTap!

We offer all types of tours and excursions that are perfect for family, friends, couples, bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, girlfriend getaways, birthday trips, special celebrations, and more. Take a look at what Excelsior visitors are booking:

  • LazyTap Party Boat – Our top-selling tour

  • Private tours on one-of-a-kind tiki vessels, pedal pubs, or party pontoons

  • Public tours that are perfect for smaller groups

  • TikiTap Back Channel Brewing experience on a tiki-themed party pontoon

  • RegularTap Paddle Pub-Downtown Excelsior

  • Back Channel Brewing private tour

  • Electric Duffy boat rental

Most of our tours offer an unforgettable 100-minute experience on the sparkling waters of Lake Minnetonka. However, we do have a few options lasting two to three hours. Our top-of-the-line boats can hold between 14 and 18 people. We’ve carefully curated our fleet to be able to bring our guests to beautiful areas of the lake that large vessels can’t access.

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Lake Minnetonka in all its glory from an easy boarding spot on the dock near Excelsior’s downtown. Book your cruise with PaddleTap today!

Discover Lake Minnetonka - Guided Tours


2) Do A Little Shopping At Excelsior Bay Books

Excelsior Bay Books is one of the gems of this charming lakeside town. Located at 36 Water Street, the store offers an exceptional collection of new and classic books. In addition to being a great place to find your next favorite read, this shop is also a wonderful place to soak in the welcoming vibe of Excelsior.

Excelsior Bay Books offers an inviting environment with comfortable seating. You’ll love this little bookstore even more once you learn that this is a dog-friendly establishment!

Shopping In A Bookstore


3) Grab Some Goodies At Excelsior Gift Shops

Excelsior is peppered with a variety of gift shops and specialty shops that provide the break you need from uninspired online shopping and big-box stores. These shops offer cute memorabilia, clothes and jewelry, fun gifts to bring back home, and last-minute accessories for your day on the lake that you may have forgotten to pack! Here’s your quick shopping guide to downtown Excelsior, MN:

  • Lake Effect Nautical Gifts (219 Water Street)

  • Fleurish LLP (40 Water Street)

  • Leipold’s Gifts & Antiques (239 Water Street)

  • Water Street Gallery (211 Water Street)

All of that shopping might make you peckish! Luckily, downtown has some places where you can grab quick treats. Licks Unlimited on Water Street is Excelsior’s premier purveyor of ice cream. Dunn Brothers Coffee is also conveniently located within walking distance.

Explore Excelsior MN Gift Shops


4) Be Entertained At Minnesota’s Oldest Professional Theater

The Old Log Theatre is the oldest professional theater in the state of Minnesota. While the venue hosts a variety of shows and concerts, the biggest draw is the performance of “Million Dollar Quartet” which plays out an impromptu 1956 Memphis jam session shared by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley!

If a jukebox musical isn’t your thing, the ongoing Excelsior Bay Concert Series dazzles audiences with some of the most beloved and popular tribute bands in the Twin Cities.

You can also simply visit this historic theater for dinner. The attached Cast and Cru Restaurant is a popular date spot that features a regular menu, wine menu, and Sunday brunch menu!

Performance At A Theater


5) Grab Some Tacos For Lunch Or Dinner

Having an incredible meal is always one of the best things to do on any vacation or weekend getaway.

You won’t be able to hang around Excelsior for very long before you hear locals raving about Lago Tacos. This popular eatery specializes in fresh Mex, street tacos, and oversized burritos. It also just happens to be the best spot to get a fresh margarita with your food in Excelsior!

If you’re dining in the summer, be sure to grab a seat in the front patio area.

Grab Some Tacos


6) Visit Excelsior Brewing Company

Visiting Excelsior Brewing Company is one of the best things you can do if you want to experience the full scope of lake life! Located in historic Downtown Excelsior, Excelsior Brewing Company is a lake-themed microbrewery offering an on-site taproom. Visitors can enjoy live music, games, and 20 tap lines at this full-production brewery with a large outdoor patio.

In addition to enjoying brewery favorites, visitors to the taproom are also treated to special sneak peeks of pilot beers and hard seltzers that aren’t on the market yet!

Experience A Lake Themed Microbrewery


7) Get The Market Experience

Feel like a local by checking out the markets of Excelsior. The Excelsior Farmers Market is a seasonal market held every Tuesday from June 14 through Aug. 30. With the location and dates changing from time to time, you’ll want to check the town’s website to confirm the current season’s offerings!

Excelsior is also home to an extravaganza called the Excelsior Flea Market & Outdoor Market which has been going strong for 20 years. This event that brings together a variety of eclectic vendors offering vintage and handmade goods is located at a site directly across from Lake Minnetonka at the corner of Lake Street and Water Street.

Farmers Market


8) Relax With A Picnic Or Concert At Excelsior Commons Park

Offering exquisite views of the water during all four seasons, Excelsior Commons Park is home to a public beach, picnic areas, and playground swings for kids. This lakefront park also hosts many of the town’s most popular events.

During the summer, the Concerts in the Common series brings people out for live music, great food and drinks, and sunset views from the banks of the lake. The park is also the site of Lake Minnetonka Oktoberfest in the fall. Of course, some people simply like to gather here in the winter to enjoy iced-over views of the glistening banks.

Don’t skip the chance to experience one of the most peaceful things to do in Excelsior with a little detour to this charming park!

Concert At The Park


9) Swim At Minnetonka Regional Park

This is the swimming hole people dream of when sitting in their cubicles in Minneapolis!

If you want nothing more than to enjoy a lazy day with family or friends, this scenic lakeshore area with a swimming pond, fishing pier, hiking paths, and cycling trails will hit the spot!

In the summer, the sandy-bottom swimming pond with filtered, chlorinated water provides endless hours of entertainment and enjoyment for families.

Water Activities For Families


Embark On An Unforgettable Adventure On Lake Minnetonka

There’s clearly no shortage of things to do in Excelsior MN for people who love the idea of exploring a charming town on a lake. While views from the shore will enchant you, one of the best things to do with your time here is to actually get on the lake. That’s where PaddleTap swoops in!

We take pride in pampering our guests with luxurious vessels, top-notch service, and unprecedented access to the lake’s best spots. There’s no better way to spend time with your favorite people.

With so many different cruise experiences available, our team is here to help you book the perfect tour based on your preferences. Book your incredible day on the water with PaddleTap today!

Explore Lake Minnetonka For A Unforgettable Adventure

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
2 to 18

Gift Card

Looking to buy a tour for a gift? This is where that would happen!

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

TikiTap-Back Channel Brewing

Our 100 minute cruise our Tiki Pub (yes, its a Tiki Themed Party Pontoon Boat and has ZERO pedals) boat offer the perfect scenic escape! It's our #1 Boat Tour for Bachelorette Parties!

This is our newest boat on Lake Minnetonka for the season. This adventure is perfect for any corporate event, private birthday party or just for fun on a bachelorette or bachelor parties!

This is the newest and largest single boat we offer and is 26 feet long and almost 12 feet wide! This party boat includes comfortable bar stool seating around the custom tiki bar, and seating for maximum of 18 total guests with plenty of walking room around the almost 300 square foot deck.

Enjoy our one of a kind Tiki Themed bar to rest your beer, wine, or cocktails.

Do you have any worry about a bathroom? Don’t! this boat does come equipped with a full bathroom for you to use.

Worried about rain? Don’t! We have a large canopy that covers 70% of the TikiTap! If this boat is open, book it soon as this is for sure the first one to be reserved.

Things to Know:
What to know:

100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on board
Departs out of Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park
300 square feet of usable room
Holds up to 18 guests
Pricing: $35-$49/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
135 HSP Gas Motor

8 Reviews verify
1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

Private Tours (All Boats)

PaddleTap is proud to offer private tours on all of our party boats! These one-of-a-kind Tiki Boats, Pedal Pubs, or Party Pontoons can be rented out on Excelsior Bay or Seaton Channel! Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka!

Take a peek at all our boating options and which locations they start from. You will truly love this experience for any Bachelorette, Birthday or Corporate outing!

All private tours are charged on a per person fee. Prices range from $35-$39/person Monday-Wednesday and $35-$45/person Thursday-Sunday with a $4/increase for prime summer on all tickets in July. 10 Tickets or more are required to reserve a private boat. We have a public option that is $55/person if you have less than 10.

Our Lowest cost boat is our Original PaddlePub out of downtown Excelsior ($35/person) the rest of our boats are closer to $39-45 most days

2 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
10 to 18

2.5 hour Private Tour-Private Tour Back Channel Brewing (18 max)

PaddleTaps longest tour of the season-2 hours and 30 minutes! This tour is new for 2024, and only being offered starting in June of 2024.

Explore Lake Minnetonka in the fall where the leaves start changing. Explore the channels and bays that the larger charter boats cannot offer. Bring your own beverages, some snacks and let us drive you around West Arm/Seaton Channel/Cooks Bay for 2.5 hour on the water, our longest cruises of the year! We will get up and close to some of the best fall colors Lake Minnetonka offers. This tour will have a bathroom on board as well with bluetooth music.

This tour will either be on our largest 30 foot LazyTap double deck boat, or the 25 foot TikiTap boat. Depending on boat availability with other tours being offered"

Pricing is $70/person for the 2.5 hours, and private bookings require 8 tickets to be purchased as a down-payments are utlizied before the season starts to reserve your boat. But you are more than welcome to book as many seats as you need up to the boat maximum of 18 guests.

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 14

Small Group/Public Tour (All Boats)

Do you have a smaller group? Or just don't want to rent the entire boat? Book our per seat boating option! Perfect for those smaller groups who still want to go out and celebrate that Birthday/Bachelorette or even just a night out! This option does have a requirement of of 6 guests to guarantee it will go out. But you only pay for as many seats as you want. This option is not guaranteed private, and it is very likely you will be paired with other people! (we offer private cruises that start with 8 ppl-18 ppl)

This public option is only available out of our Back Channel Brewing Location (LazyTap or TikiPubs) and downtown Excelsior on our original Pedal Pub Boat Cruise.

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

LazyTap Double Deck-Back Channel Brewing (18 person boat)

PaddleTap’s #1 boat tour! For the people who like to take it easy on the lake! Our LazyTap Party Boat ride has your name written all over it. This is our only double deck party boat that is massive! PaddleTap offers one boat for 2024. This boat can hold up to 18 guests!

Both boats offers two levels and covers at least 300 of deck space on the main level with an additional 100 square feet on the upper deck! This boat has zero pedals and is the true lazy experience that can hold up to 18 total guests!

These boats offer a private party bar down the middle for you to load up with your own drinks and bench seating all the way down on both sides.

We have a large wide open space in the front where people can move around and take in the views, or sit in our comfy seating all around.

This is our only boat that can allow swimming (on requests) which has a ZERO alcohol policy. If you want to swim no alcohol is allowed. but it still does only last 100 minutes. If you do choose to swim, we limit it to four people at one time and must wear a life jacket (provided) BUT ZERO ALCOHOL. Swimming on our LazyTap is only allowed out of Back Channel. We do not allow it out of Downtown Excelsior.

The LazyTap has a large 150 HSP motor, we can cover a fair amount of lake to enjoy everything that Lake Minnetonka offers! Our pickups are out of Back Channel Brewing, Lord Fletchers, Downtown Excelsior or Wayzata.
What to know:

Private boat captain
100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on board
Departs out of Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park
400 square feet of usable room (two levels)
Holds up to 14-18 guests (depending on the boat you select)
Pricing: $39-$45/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
*$4/more a person from July 12th-August 4th 2024*
150 HSP Gas Motor
Zero Pedals (not even an option here)

22 Reviews verify