Best Spots for photos in Stillwater MN

Living in Minneapolis means I’m always in striking distance of the lovely St Croix river, and that makes Stillwater a terrific space for engagement portraits and weddings!

If you are thinking about incorporating the city of Stillwater into your wedding and portraits, there are some obvious spaces (hello, Historic Lift Bridge!) and also unexpected ways to incorporate this area into your photos, and some great bites to grab along the way. Here are a few favorite spots for photos in Stillwater.

Photos at Stillwater’s Historic Liftbridge:

This is a no brainer for incorporating Stillwater into your images. The bridge has great architectural lines, great views of the St Croix (and Wisconsin’s forests on the other side) and feels like a little a little lakeside retreat in the city.

I could go one hundred times to Stillwater and never see the liftbridge the same way. The water is high, or low; the fog is captured on the water, or it is crystal clear. The sunset is fractured by clouds and bluffs, or it pierces through.

Photos with Downtown Stillwater vibes:

Stillwater has countless historic alleyways, murals, great bars, newer restaurants, and lots in between. Bringing in some of the vibe of being in Stillwater is pretty spectacular. Favorite spots include Nelson’s Ice Cream, the exterior of the Commander Grain Elevator, and the plaza by Hotel Lora.

Photos at Stillwater Courthouse:

This historic building is gorgeous on the outside, fabulous for wedding receptions, and within striking distance of the waterfront area of downtown Stillwater. You can check out a full wedding gallery, too.

Photos on Water Street

This tiny spot of warehouse area between the river and downtown has lots of great textures and vibes to bring into your images.

Photos at Teddy Bear Park

Driving up from downtown means views of the St Croix and downtown Stillwater.

Photos with St Croix Views without the Liftbridge

I’ve photographed weddings at Marine on St Croix before, with peninsula views jutting into the river. The river views closer to downtown bring a little of the river space into your images.

Photos from Trellis Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies

A very specific space for a very specific function – outdoor ceremonies in beautifully maintained woods. brings a little structure to an outdoor ceremony in Stillwater.

Photos at Carnegie library in Stillwater

Oh, this venue is an exceptional historic space right outside of Downtown Stillwater.

Stillwater Hotels for Staying and Enjoying

stillwater restaurant recommendations lora hotel

Hotel Lora

The Hotel Lora is a boutique experience nestled right in the most historic part of Stillwater. Their bar and restaurant are lovely to make a day out of your Stillwater trip.

Hotel Crosby

The Hotel Crosby is on the other side of downtown, also opposite the river. I’ve enjoyed the food at Matchstick Restaurant as well!

stillwater rivertown inn wedding ceremony

Rivertown Inn

Small wedding receptions fit perfectly in this little B&B style space!

bridesmaids at lowell inn stillwater mn wedding at studio j winter wedding photographer

Lowell Inn

Close to downtown, with an excellent lobby and sense of style, this is a classic for a reason!

Restaurants with Stillwater Flair

Stillwater has always been one of my summer ‘staycation’ locations – we can enjoy the drive down, spend a day walking and eating, and feel like we are taking a tiny vacation. My husband and I have also enjoyed a whirlwind tour of Stillwater’s dining scene before the pandemic (you can read the article that features his reviews and my photos at the growler). Here are a few of our favorite spots for a meals, drinks, and snacks in Stillwater:

stillwater restaurant recommendations gasthaus bavarian

Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter

I like restaurants that tell stories about a place, and that is what Gasthaus will do. It speaks to waves of German immigration and influence in this area combined with a American supper club vibe.

stillwater restaurant recommendations la carreta

La Carreta

Tacos are a contentious beast of what is “authentic” and what that even means. I will say this – the tacos at Stillwater’s La Carreta are totally wonderful and flavor-packed without any pretense. Its located off the county roads, so enjoy a bit on your way into town.

Domacin Winebar

Enjoy space on the patio and an elegant mix of well selected wines and modern charcuterie with a European flair.

Oasis Cafe

I’m a sucker for an old school breakfast spot, and Oasis Cafe’s old school dinner is nestled right into the rocky bluffs along the St Croix.

Lolito Cantina

Right in downtown Stillwater, Lolito Cantina has excellent modern margaritas and brings a high end vibe to tacos and other latin-american foods.

Chilkoot Cafe and Cyclery

Pastries, breakfast burritos, and coffee. That is how I like to come into town, and I like to hit Chilkoot Cafe and Cyclery for breakfast, coffee, and cycle needs!

Looking to find a wedding photographer in Stillwater?

Hey – are you planning your wedding in Stillwater and looking for a photographer? I’d love to chat with you about all the things you are planning! Lets connect! 

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