Where good things are always happening

The retro-looking Cozy Theatre is a longtime staple of downtown Wadena, and is representative of the art deco building style that can be found throughout town. The theatre shows new movies regularly, and hosts the Whiskey Creek Film Festival every fall. (Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

This article is from DESTINATIONS magazine, your source for inspiration and resources about travel in Central and Northern Lakes Area Minnesota! Read on for more links and information about some of Wadena's most noteworthy sites and events, or click here to return to , where you can browse travel articles about other communities throughout the region.

For fun DESTINATIONS apparel and more, visit .

DESTINATIONS is a travel magazine published annually by select Forum Communications Company newspapers.



(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo of Blacks Grove Park)

Something good is happening in Wadena.

That’s a motto the city embraces daily as it enjoys a resurgence of exciting businesses throughout the town.

It’s a place where you can start your day enjoying German delicacies, sample just-roasted coffee, and easily walk the historic art deco-styled downtown. If you’re looking for more peace and quiet, step out to one of the many outdoor opportunities in and outside of Wadena’s city limits. Make your way back into town later for a movie and supper, or drinks at the new brewery or distillery. Stay the night in a tree house, A-frame or rustic farmhouse, all within minutes of Wadena.




Kuti Hut.JPG
(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

Wadena boasts a total of more than 200 acres of playgrounds and parks. All parks and playgrounds close at 10 p.m.

Sunnybrook Park, just east of Wadena with access from U.S. Highway 10, is the largest park in the city, with 78 acres of grass, water, pines and oak trees. Fish for trout and sunfish, grill out or have picnics, play disc golf, volleyball or softball, and play on the playground. A children’s zoo has buffalo, deer, peacocks and golden pheasants. There are also semi-enclosed shelters and a campground open from May 15 to October 1.

On the other side of town, two miles west of Wadena, is Black’s Grove Park. Surrounded by majestic oak trees and pines, this 50-year-old park provides a place for relaxation. Trails are suitable for hiking in the summer, and children will enjoy playing in a log shelter or watching for wildlife. A long and winding ski trail can be used for hiking, mountain biking or cross-country skiing in winter.

A large open play area, two large playsets, shelter, restrooms and plenty of room to picnic are all offered at Tapley Park. The park is located on Lincoln Avenue Southwest and encompasses about 18 acres.

The Southwest Playground on Fourth Street provides numerous activities for children, including a playground, courts for basketball, tennis and volleyball, soccer and baseball fields, and skating in the winter. A warming house and restrooms are on site.


At the center of the city is Burlington Northern Park, a place where people of all ages gather during the summertime. The park offers a picnic area, bandstand and access to the historic train depot.

The Softball and Horseshoe Complex is on the southwest side of town, at Second Street. Home to summer recreation baseball and softball programs, this complex includes four fenced softball fields, competitive horseshoe pits, a concession area, restrooms and a winter sliding hill.

RELATED: Splash pad opens in Wadena


Locals Love This: GREEN ISLAND

“When people are out here, they are usually looking for a little quiet and some chance to just kind of be alone.” -Property Owner Kent Scheer

(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

This little-known escape is a place of peace and quiet right inside the city. While it’s set next to Wadena’s largest car lot, Kal’s Kars, a short walk will have you feeling like you’ve left the city behind. This private property is open to all. Enjoy the nature park featuring walking trails, artscapes, picnic areas, gardens and even a meditation hut.

Find the island at 850 Scheer Drive NE, Wadena.

RELATED: Green Island: Poetry among the trees



The June Jubilee: Wadena's signature event

(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

June Jubilee will return as Wadena's pinnacle summer event on June 10-12, 2021. The following main events are planned so far:

June 10: Parade at 7 p.m.

June 12: Family Fun Day at Sunnybrook Park

Wadena County Fair

(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

Happening June 17-20, this year's fair features all the following and more:


June 17-18: Wojo's Rodeo Grandstand at 7 p.m.

June 19: RRVPA Truck & Tractor Pull at 6 p.m.

June 20: Demo Derby at 1 p.m.


Sundays at 1 p.m.: May 23, June 13, July 11, July 25

Championship Race: Saturday, Aug. 14 at 1 p.m.

Hang out in back alleys. No really.

(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

The back alleys of downtown Wadena may seem like strange places for tourists to hang out, but there’s something truly unexpected to be found there — unique and eye-opening murals that tell the story of Minnesota’s history. Murals of Minnesota, also known as the Alley Arts Project, features dozens of huge, colorful murals depicting the people and places that have shaped the state’s history over the past 1,000 years. Some Murals are even found inside Wadena businesses. You’ll have to do some exploring to find them all.

RELATED: Some 'Murals of Minnesota' need new homes

Check out 'The Mas'

(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

Serving the Wadena area and beyond, the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center, better known as “The Mas,” has something for anyone interested in fun and fitness. The 57,000-square-foot facility contains a six-lane lap swimming pool, zero-entry recreational pool, water slide and other water features, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness facility and a multipurpose gym. Fitness classes, swimming lessons and other programs are available for all ages and levels. Day passes are available.

Watch the trains roar past

The Depot.jpg
(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

The restored, historic Wadena Depot hosts a number of community and arts events throughout the year, and is the home of the Wadena Chamber of Commerce. It is located at Burlington Northern Park near the intersections of U.S. Highway 10 and 71 where you can still sit and watch the trains go by. Make a stop here for information on visiting and touring this gem of a community. For more information, visit

RELATED: Wadena could be passenger train stop between Fargo and Twin Cities

Whitetail Run: A champion-caliber course

(Wadena Pioneer Journal File Photo)

Golfers will want to experience the Whitetail Run Golf Course north of town. It’s a Joel Goldstand 18-hole course that captures the beauty and challenge of this place “where the prairie meets the woodland.” For more information, call 218-631-7718 or visit the website.


Want to explore more? Visit these sites:


What To Read Next
This week, gardening columnist Don Kinzler fields questions on hibiscus plants, beating apple trees and how long grass seeds will last.
If it plays well in Winnipeg, it’ll be a hit in Fargo, and all points within planting distance.
This week Sarah Nasello modifies a summer favorite into a warm and comforting winter meal.
Casey is the well-behaved dog that normally stays out of the limelight.