Lanesboro city leaders push for more winter tourism

Travel publication Travel & Leisure recently released a list of the top 20 most beautiful winter towns and Lanesboro is listed at number 18.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:07 PM CST
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LANESBORO, Minn. (KTTC) – Travel publication Travel & Leisure recently released a list of the top 20 most beautiful winter towns and Lanesboro is listed at number 18.

People may think of Lanesboro as a summer destination, but city leaders are working to bring travelers in all year-round.

“What we’re trying to do now is expand our season that’s concentrated in the summer and bridge over into the winter to make it a four-season town,” Lanesboro economic development chairman Phil Dybing said.

Around 12,000 people travel to Lanesboro every year, staying in Airbnbs or local inns.

“I would say most of them come from the Twin Cities in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but they come from all over,” Stone Mill Suites co-owner Rick Lamon said.

Lanesboro is known for its scenic views and thriving art and theater community.

“We have a gallery, but we also have a theater. We do public arts within the downtown. We also have youth education programs,” Lanesboro Arts executive director Cara Maloney said.

Many local artists base their work on the nature that surrounds them.

“We have over 90 artists that are from the region so Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, and we really want to see that connection to our local place. So, you’ll really see that in their work and the variety that we have here,” Maloney said.

Recently, the city received a $50,000 Blandin Foundation Grant to help enhance tourism year-round by creating more activities.

“It will just be better for all the businesses and the residents if we can have more people throughout the seasons,” Dybing said.

Community members say the arts and other businesses may draw folks in, but they stay for the views.

“The scenery. The people come for the scenery. We got the river. We got the bluffs, and there are hiking trails as well,” Stone Mill Suites co-owner Sheryl Lamon said.

“We all need to take a break, now and then. Because it’s good to just take a breath, relax and enjoy just the beauty of the area,” Dybing said.

City leaders also say there’s also been a rise in people looking to move to Lanesboro. There’s been a push to bring new developments to town for those folks.