Pine City is like an image that lingers in the American consciousness: An oak-lined courthouse square. Gazebos and band shells. One-chair barber shops. The town café, gossip for breakfast and meatloaf for lunch. It's small-town life as it was and as it remains.
The city's politics are split between liberal and conservative with a slight advantage to the liberals. Carhardt is a popular brand worn on local, middle-aged men and its not uncommon to see fishing hooks attached to many of their hat bills. Another article of clothing commonly seen on men and women is green plaid flannels, a modern style nod to the lumberjack heritage of the town. The typical Pine Citian says "You bet" in place of "yes". Yet, this is a place that mixes the true 'Up North' with a surprising level of sophistication; after all, it's an arts community.
While it's the biggest city around it for milesfrom North Branch to Cloquet, and from Mora to Rice Lake, Wisconsin (a very large geographic area)--it's not a pious place and the people aren't pretentious. They show a fine display of "Minnesota Nice" and are eager to assist the tourist. To get a deeper understanding of the city, one has to visit it.
The weather is definitely not one of the attractions in Pine City. There's a boat load of fun to be had in any season, but it is a place where the climate has to be taken into consideration.
Obscured by Minnesota’s ferocious winters (see Cold weather) are the heat waves of summer. Many days in July and August are hot and humid. Summer nights are more comfortable, though, and you'll get a few degrees' respite along one of the many lakefronts — in the local parlance, that's "cooler by the lake". But then there are those winters. The months from November to March will see very cold temperatures, with even more bitter wind chill factors. Blizzards and ice storms are a regular occurrence. It's a city that's well-accustomed to these winters, though, so city services and public transportation are highly unlikely to shut down.
Pine City does have a few nice months of weather. May and September are pleasant and mild; April and June are mostly fine, although thunderstorms with heavy winds can also occur suddenly. Even though there may be a chill in the air in October, it rarely calls for more than a light coat.
- Cordes, Jim (1989). Pine County-- and its memories. s.n. ASIN B00071SNAQ.
- Johnson, Nathan (2010). Images of America: Pine City. Arcadia Publishing. .
- Johnson, Nathan (2014). Legendary Locals of Pine City. Arcadia Publishing. .
Visitor information center (tourism)The information center is at:
phone: +1 320 322-4040address: Pine Government Center, 315 Main Street SAlthough Pine City has no official tourism/visitor's bureau, this Chamber of Commerce acts as one and does one helluva job of it!
By busPine City is served by Jefferson Lines with a stop at Super America near Exit 171. Also, other cities served by Arrowhead Transit can take that bus service into the community. Route 285 out of the Twin Cities only goes as far north as Forest Lake and a transfer to the Heartland Express and then Arrowhead Transit is a logistical tribulation. Best bet is Jefferson Lines, but it's kind of spendy.
By carInterstate 35 links Pine City with Duluth to the north and the Twin Cities to the south. Pine City is about an hour drive north of downtown Minneapolis and of downtown St. Paul. A driver approaching Pine City on I-35 from the Twin Cities will be rewarded by a spectacular view of native pines and thick groves of trees. After a period of relatively flat and urbane scenery, the view is a treat, especially during peak fall colors. Exit 169 is the recommended exit for most downtown attractions. Coming from Duluth, Pine City looks like the first major city with the newly expanding freeway interchange at Exit 171, with the Pine County courthouse visible to passersby. Either way you come, take the I-35 Business Loop through Pine City.
Or, you can get to Pine City on the St. Croix Scenic Byway, Old US Highway 61.
There are EV-charging stations at Family Pathways, 800 Main Street S., two fast-charging ports and a Level 2 charger.
- Rush City Regional Airport (KROS), 7.5 miles south of Pine City.
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP). Most travelers will arrive this way via Terminal 1-Lindbergh. Terminal 2-Humphrey has been rebuilt and serves primarily charter and low-cost carriers. The Lindbergh terminal (Charles Lindbergh was a Minnesotan, and one of his transatlantic planes is suspended above the ticketing area) receives the bulk of renovation fees, however, and it is an attractive, modern, convenient, and well-designed terminal. The Humphrey terminal is also quite attractive; the terminals share the same runways, have long- and short-term parking set between them, and are equally convenient for transportation. Savvy travelers might check the terminal of their arrival or departure to communicate their location to friends, relatives, or other transport.
By thumbIt's not uncommon to see hitchhiking along the Interstate 35 corridor.
Arrowhead TransitOffers free fares for seniors and cheap fares for all.
By carDriving is probably the best option for getting around Pine City. The city generally does not have any traffic problems, although it can get congested before and after school hours. Pine County Highway 61 runs north-south and the Snake River runs east-west dividing the city into quadrants as such. Keep in mind when finding addresses, the majority of the city is laid out in a grid based on the Snake River shoreline, dividing the city into north and south. Main Street/County 61 is considered to be the dividing line between east and west.
AttractionsPine City is an arts community and it is evident from its award-winning music program in its schools to its quality Heritage Players theater productions. Other things to see in the community include:
phone: +1 320 216-7636address: 7th Street SWLearn how school was over 100 years ago in this restored, one-room schoolhouse that was relocated to near downtown Pine City. It is operated as a museum by the Pine County Historical Society.
phone: +1 320 629-2575address: 600 1st Avenue NW
phone: +1 320 629-6356address: 12551 Voyageur LnA historic fur trading post from the early 1800s.
Sokol Campphone: +1 651 222-6448address: 19201 Woodland Acres S
phone: +1 320 629-3219address: 10527 Emerald Road
Veterans MonumentsLocated throughout town. Woodpecker Ridge Park is home to a Golf War memorial. World War I and II monuments are located outside of the Pine Government Center, downtown. And, look for them at the library, cemeteries, etc.
phone: +1 320 629-4924address: 265 5th Street SETake a class or browse the gallery. The arts are for everyone.
Flea Marketphone: +1 320 629-6924address: Pine County Fairgrounds
Chengwatana State ForestExcellent sightseeing, plenty of wildlife.
City Beach and Skate Parkphone: +1 320 629-2575address: West Side ParkShow off your new pair of board shorts or that rockin' henna tramp stamp. If you want to see and be seen, this is where you need to be. Join a beach volleyball match, toss the Friz, or just keep your shades down and get your creep on; this beach is your oyster, shuck it. The horseshoe pits are well-manicured and chances are you'll have them all to yourselves unless it's Monday night. The beach is home to some of the City's most beautiful sunsets.
Anderson's Rock Creek Relics Corn MazeFive miles south on Old Highway 61. Noon-6PM daily, Sep-Oct $5, (under 5, free). Since 2010, Mr. Anderson has tilled his land and broken his back so city folk can spend an afternoon getting lost amid acres of America’s favorite crop. Presidents, Senators and Congressmen get in for free.
phone: +1 320 591-0007address: 13650 Government Rd
address: 10035 Pokegama Lake Road SWIn 1905, 35 acres of rural lakeside land was set aside for a tuberculosis hospital here—half a day’s journey north from St. Paul, where a prominent doctor held office. That doctor was Longstreet Taylor, and he specialized in tuberculosis patients. It was abandoned in 1986 and the building still stands. It has become commonplace to ghost hunters and "My Ghost Story" (Season 5, Episode 13) recounted one such investigation. Warning: There are lots of bats. And, this is private property so it is best to contact the owner for permission.
phone: +1 320 629-2148The Sandrock Cliffs Trail is a 5-mile system of loop trails north of Highway 70 along the St. Croix River. The southern-most trail is a 3-mile loop. Connecting trails provide 2 additional miles to explore and feature picturesque sandstone cliffs. Trail heads are located at the Highway 70 Landing parking area and off of Tennessee Road near the north end of the trail system. The trail is open year-round and is for foot-traffic only. No motorized vehicles or bicycles are permitted.
Major annual events
Spring, summer, and fall
Highway 61 Film FestivalEarly April
- Citywide Garage Sale - mid-May
- Memorial Day Parade - late May
address: 200 5th St SEFirst Sunday each June in Robinson Park.
- Freedom Fest – Last Weekend in June. The largest and most popular Independence Day celebration in the Midwest that doesn't fall on Independence Day (it's always the weekend before). There's more to do here than in Brainerd, the Fourth of July Capitol of Minnesota. Classic car and tractor shows, impressive fireworks display able to be viewed from land or by boat, softball tournament, pancake breakfast and a heck of a lot more.
Art FestIn Robinson Park – July 13, 2019 (42nd Annual)
Pine County Fair– Jul. 31 - Aug. 4, 2019 (127th Annual). Home to Minnesota's largest, and hardest-hitting demolition derby.
- National Night Out. Robinson Park - Aug. 6, 2019
Czech Booyah FestivalAt Sokol Camp – Aug 11, 2019 (89th Annual). Longest-running event in Pine City area. The booyah recipe is a secret but it's darned good stuff.
Pine City PRCA Championship RodeoLabor Day Weekend, 2019 (13th Annual)
- Snake River Fur Post's "Rendezvous" or "Festival of the Voyageur" – Sep 21-22, 2019 (41st Annual)
- Winter Frolic, Jan. 19, 2019
Ice Fishing DerbyPokegama Lake (hosted by the Snake River Valley Conservation Club) – Jan. 27, 2019 (50th Annual)
- Ice Fishing Derby. Cross Lake (hosted by the Pine City Lions) - Feb. 9, 2019
- Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball. Snake River Fur Post - Feb. 9, 2019
BB32 Memorial Hockey TournamentHilltop Park and Korbel Arena grounds. Late Jan. This annual weekend tournament highlights the talents of many local athletes and brings spectators from far and wide. The hot and fast action nearly melts the ice, despite the frigid January temperatures. On the pond, skill, speed and toughness are tested to their limits and champions are immediately vaulted into iconic status within the community, free to revel in glory for eternity.
- PTCC Shooter's Association Gun Show – Feb. 23-24, 2019 (36th Annual)
- Holiday Madness and lighted parade – Dec. 6, 2019
Nordahl Marinephone: +1 320 629-2647address: 13108 Canalville LaneMarina with boat maintenance and repair services.
phone: +1 303 435-6726Canoeing adventures.
FishingFishing is Minnesota's favorite sport, and Pine City is an ideal place for it. While there are smaller lakes to explore, the real draws in Pine City are Cross Lake, Pokegama Lake and the lower Snake River. The lakes are full of northern pike, muskellunge, bass, perch, and Minnesota's favorite fish, the Walleye.
phone: +1 320 629-8068address: 12465 Branch Drive
Holiday Station Store - Freewayphone: +1 320 629-7839address: 715 13th Street SW
Holiday Station Store - Downtownphone: +1 320 629-6660address: 570 Main Street S
Adrenaline Archery and Baitphone: +1 320 629-4992address: 1300 Northridge Drive NW
Sports and recreation
phone: +1 320 629-3848address: 10413 Golf Course Rd SWFor over 40 years, the Pine City Country Club, a nine-hole par 36 golf course, has been the primary destination for golf enthusiasts in the area. It offers PGA professional instructions for both amateurs and professionals.
phone: +1 320 629-2575address: 600 1st Avenue NWExperience disc golf where a Guinness World Record was set in 2011.
phone: +1 320 629-5002address: 19379 Homestead Road
Pine City/Hinckley Flames Snowmobile TrailsOver 100 miles of groomed trail.
phone: +1 218 485-5410address: County Rd 10/Chengwatana Forest Rd
phone: +1 612 644-4710address: 890 Main Street S
phone: +1 320 629-4732address: 545 3rd Avenue SE
phone: +1 320 629-6018address: 525 3rd Avenue SE
phone: +1 320 629-3878address: 800 Main Street S
phone: +1 320 269-3437address: 229 5th Street SEHistoric Sauser's is a living museum, an old-fashioned hardware with creaky wood floors that offers virtually everything one can think of (i.e. welding supplies, lawn mowers, paints, trimmers, appliances, unique gifts and more).
Farmers' Market in the ParkNear the train depot in the town square. The summer market opens in July and runs through October every Friday and Saturday, 11AM-1PM. Activities for kids, farm-to-table recipes and master gardeners at your service.
address: 166 Evergreen Sq SWEverything's a dollar!
phone: +1 320 279-0927address: 215 Main Street SProceeds benefit community in effort to reduce poverty and build social capital.
Ethnic and specialty
phone: +1 320 629-3470address: 245 5th Street SEHealth foods, organic menu and items, with gluten-free and vegan options.
phone: +1 320 629-6365address: 150 Main Street SFull Chinese menu, no MSGs.
Bamboo Kitchenphone: +1 320 629-4989address: 610 8th Avenue SWChinese and Thai.
phone: +1 320 629-3955address: 820 Main Street SAll-American food and carhop. Ask for the "Dragon Meal".
phone: +1 320 629-6468address: 500 3rd Avenue SEAward winning pizzeria and family restaurant; considered by some to be a Pine City staple. Best time to go: Friday nights.
phone: +1 320 629-2645address: 5737 State Hwy 70Great breakfasts all day long and world famous chicken dumpling soup.
phone: +1 320 629-6833address: 255 Main Street SEat like a local and hear local happenings, all with a laid back atmosphere and free WiFi Internet.
On the lake
phone: +1 320 629-9979address: 13646 Muffies Ln
phone: +1 320 322 4020address: 10762 Lakeview Shore Drive
phone: +1 320 629-3660address: 1000 Main St STasty treats for everyone.
Mom's Parkside Cafeaddress: 223 5th Street SEIce cream and a downtown stroll, parkside? Oh yeah.
Bars and nightclubs
phone: +1 320 629-1066address: 245 3rd Avenue SEPine City's first and finest watering hole. Try the "Village Idiot".
phone: +1 320 629-9917address: 209 5th St SELocal favorite with deejay keeping a lively dance floor weekends.
phone: +1 320 629-2021address: 525 Main St NLocally referred to as "The Wrinkle Room".
phone: +1 320 629-8108address: 515 8th Avenue SEFull menu. Full bar. Full belly. Great outdoor patio during warm months. Plenty of taxidermy on the walls.Brewhouses
phone: +1 320 322-1237address: 135 5th Street SEA craft brewery and taproom.
Boondoggle Wineryphone: +1 320 629-7497address: 31575 Saint Croix RoadRed, fruit and white wines.
phone: +1 320 266-8691address: 6916 Canary Rd, Grasston, MN 55030
phone: +1 320 629-5982address: 620 8th Ave SWUnique 'Up North' feel, serving an wide selection of coffee drinks and smoothies as well as bakery items.
phone: +1 320 629-0030address: 1450 8th Street NWFree Wi-Fi served daily.
phone: +1 218 583-2125address: Snake River Campground RoadCampsites consist of a cleared area, fire ring and table. In addition, vault toilets, garbage cans and drinking water are available. All sites are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Chalet Motelphone: +1 320 629-7684address: 6110 State Highway 70Motel.
Gail Motelphone: +1 320 629-1247address: 1100 Main Street SMotel.
Pokegama Lake Campgroundphone: +1 320 629-7393address: 12965 Lake Line Road
phone: +1 320 629-6552address: 19193 Island Resort RoadRV Park has a 9-hole golf course (Par 3) and a large heated swimming pool, among many other amenities.
phone: +1 320 629-9960address: 415 2nd Avenue SERetreat in this perfect place to get away well-suited for scrapbooking (of course) but also stamping, quilting, gaming, and crafting.
phone: +1 320 629-8987address: 925 Main Street S
East Central Martial Artsphone: +1 763 843-7955address: 175 Main St. S.Karate, TKD, Hapkido, Judo, and Aikido. Adult and youth classes.
phone: +1 320 629-8380, 911 (For emergencies)address: 635 Northridge Dr. NW, Suite 100
Fire Departmentphone: +1 320 629-7405 (Non-emergency), 911 (For emergencies)
Poison Centerphone: +1-800-222-1222
Hospitals and clinics
phone: +1 320 629-2542address: 129 6th Avenue SE
phone: +1 320 629-6721address: 100 Evergreen SquareShingles? Bird Flu? Mumps? You name it, they can cure it.
phone: +1 320 629-7505address: 1425 Main Street NContract something at Froggy's Friday night? This clinic will have the remedy (for the disease, not your reputation).
United States Post Officephone: +1 320 629-3515address: 170 Evergreen Square SWExcellent, speedy service!
Internet/Wi-FiThere are no Internet cafes in Pine City. Most coffeehouses offer free WiFi to paying customers, but the only internet terminals available are at the public library and Pine Technical and Community College.
phone: +1 320 629-6403address: 300 5th Street SEUnlimited free WiFi if you have your own computer. The Internet workstations can only be accessed by East Central Regional Library cardholders.
phone: +1 320 629-5100address: 900 4th Street SEUnlimited free WiFi if you have your own computer. The Internet workstations can only be accessed by students and faculty with a college ID.
TelephonesPine City and the central part of Minnesota are in the 320 area code. From Pine City prefixes (213, 322, 323, 386, 438, 629, 591 and 964), local calls can be made to Rush City (215, 358, 388, 566 and 923) and Hinckley (207, 279, 280, 336, 384, 385 and 390) prefixes.
- Pine City Pioneer, Pine City's weekly newspaper aka. the "Pine Poker". See the "Happenings" section. $1.
- Rush City Aquatic Center - A pool for all ages.
- Historic Grant House- Said to be haunted, and previously investigated.
- Chucker's Bowl & Lounge - Get your bowl on. Strike!
- Combat Zone(paintball), 57631 Barns Spring Rd, Hinckley. + 1 320 384 0738. Take a chance and try something new, and then take out your aggression by shooting a cocky 14-year-old in the head with a rock hard ball of paint.
- Grand Casino Hinckley Open 24 hours a day. Come join droves of other vagabonds and lose your mortgage payment while drinking all the free pop or coffee your bladder can handle. Enjoy Grand Casinos' best-kept secret: Play high stakes and get fed too.
- Grand Cinema To watch the cinema on the cheap, it’s recommended going “dutch", as paying for two could drain your checking account. Now hiring exchange students, emo lifestyle required.
- Bike the Willard Munger Trail (over 100 km, 70 miles between Hinckley and Duluth)
- Shop the Shops at Gateway North.
address: 102 E. Crex Ave., GransburgA wide variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects also reside here. The rare sedge marsh and brush prairie habitats make the area a utopia for wildlife which, in turn, makes Crex a paradise for bird-watchers, naturalists, botanists, hunters, trappers, and all the other hearty explorers who are interested in the great bounty that nature offers.
Twin Cities metroIt's an easy one-hour drive, give or take, on I-35 to most destinations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, including:
- Mall of America is in Bloomington. Remember, Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing.
- Valleyfair is a 125-acre amusement park that's in the southwest suburb of Shakopee.
- Minnesota Zoo is in the southern suburb of Apple Valley.
- Drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior along 'Scenic 61'
- Set off for a camping/canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area