The city of Austin, MN is rich in history and culture. If you want to see the home of SPAM or get the opportunity to enjoy nature at its best, visit Austin. Along with a visit to the Historical Hormel Home, be sure to check out all the extra goodies that Austin has to offer. This town is smaller, with a population of around 25,000, so you’ll surely feel at home during your visit.
1.Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
© Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center began in 1927 as an estate. When the city of Austin acquired it, they eventually added acreage to bring it the Nature Center up to 520 acres of a wildlife refuge. Today’s guests can hike the trails, which are open even when the center is closed. Birds of prey that were once abandoned or hurt now call the Nature Center home. All summer, educational and adventure classes are available for children from birth through age 18. Family sessions are also available each summer to get everyone in the family educated about conservation, water treatment, wildlife, and the surrounding environment.
1304 21st Street NE, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-437-7519
© Spam Museum
As part of popular culture, spam has become a food that can be turned into almost anything. The spam museum was once part of the Hormel Foods First Century Museum. However, in 2001, the Spam museum opened in a larger facility to include exhibits, a theater, and a gift shop. Today’s guests can check out the museum for free, and 30-minute tours are held every hour. Current exhibits in the museum include a “How many Spam Cans Tall Are You,” the history of spam advertising, Spam for the troops, and spam recipes from around the world.
101 3rd Avenue NE, Auston, MN 55912, Phone: 507-437-5100
3.St. Augustine’s Catholic Church
© Hannes Mallaun/stock.adobe.com
St. Augustine’s Catholic Church is in a parish with St. Edwards Catholic Church. This is often done to provide a sense of community and financial stability through all the churches. Today, visitors can join the parish with near-daily masses or Saturday reconciliation. St. Augustine has recently undergone a restoration and the gifting of a marvelous Mother Mary and baby Jesus statue. Its placement is perfect for those followers who wish to pray and give thanks in the nave. Along with masses, there is a strong Parish life that ministers to the poor, the homebound, and the hospitalized.
405 4th Street NW, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-437-4537
© Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com
The historic Paramount Theater was the first place in Austin to show movies. Eventually, new management took over and turned this building into a night club for teens, the disco age, and comedians. After some renovation, today’s visitors can take in a show or concert. There are 620 stadium-style seats, a concession stand, and a lobby. Movies are still shown on a screen, but instead of first-run shows, classics (like Jaws, The Neverending Story, and The Lion King) are shown. Along with tours of the historic building, this can make for a magical movie night for the family.
125 4th Avenue NE, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-343-0934
5.Mower County Historical Society
© Mower County Historical Society
For those who want some background on a historical town like Austin should seek out the Mower County Historical Society. The history of the Historical Society is as rich and humble as the history it covers. Back in 1947, the building was erected to honor those farmers and workers who pioneered the area. Today, the society has expanded with several buildings, and tours are available for a small fee. Visitors can research the history through photos, documents, newspapers, and other recorded papers, or check out the buildings and mine that make up the life-size replicas of past eras, including a church room, a schoolhouse room, and a garage full of old buggies and sleighs.
1303 6th Avenue, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-437-6082
6.Sweet Reads Books
© Sweet Reads Books
Directly across from the Spam Museum, visitors to the Austin area will find Sweet Reads Books, the new (and used) bookstore. While this lovely storefront houses tons of books to check out, it’s the experience of the place that will stick with you. Check out the 30-foot train inside the store, the world’s largest Berenstain Bear collection, or the other genre treats around the store. When you want a pick-me-up, be sure to check out the old fashioned candy display or frozen treats. The store is home to some beautiful objects available for purchase that are often literary-themed, and local authors often stop by for a reading.
407 N Main Street, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-396-8660
Opened in 1952, the YMCA-Auston is housed in a 32,000-square foot building. The YMCA is more than just a place to get some exercise, it is an entire community center. Along with a pool, gym, and fitness classes, families can get involved in a Family Fun Night. Some of the family activities include fun runs, epilepsy response training, and CPR training. Kids can sign up for a sports program, swimming classes, or even the preschool on site. After school babysitting is also available for those parents who work or want to provide a fun and healthy outlet for their kids.
704 1st Drive NW, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-433-1804
8.Kenny’s Oak Grill
© Kenny’s Oak Grill
When you’re ready to get your grub on, be sure to check out Kenny’s Oak Grill. This restaurant serves home-style diner food, just the way you want it after a long day of adventuring. This 50-year old diner serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t be surprised to find plenty of regulars gossiping around with a cup of coffee, as this place has a loyal customer base and is nearly always full. No matter what you’re hungry for, you’re sure to find it here with new creations always on the menu. They even serve fried fish for breakfast – talk about Minnesota life!
307 Oakland Avenue W, Austin, MN 55912, Phone: 507-437-4135
8 Best Things to Do in Austin, MN