Welcome to Excelsior
Historic lakeshore city with great shops and restaurants.
Excelsior is a quaint, historic city on the southern shore of Lake Minnetonka. The community was founded in 1853 as the first community on Lake Minnetonka’s shores and quickly became a favored summer retreat of wealthy businessmen from upstate New York and Massachusetts throughout the second half of the 19th century. The town’s streets are laid out in an eastern-style, grid-like layout and feature an abundance of Victorian homes and masonry-clad businesses. The historic character of Excelsior’s homes is protected by some of the strongest building ordinance restrictions in the United States.
This classic lakeside town offers unique street life and a variety of retail outlets. Three heritage streetcar lines run through the community, and Excelsior Commons offers a relaxing green space with picnic areas and sports facilities set along the Lake Minnetonka shoreline. The adjacent Port of Excelsior has boat docks and old-world steamships that transport passengers across the lake.
What to Love
Diverse shopping and dining
People & Lifestyle
Excelsior is one of Lake Minnetonka’s oldest and most distinctive communities. It boasts some of the area’s best shopping and dining, outstanding local public schools, and offers many activities for all ages to enjoy. Excelsior’s lakeshore setting is beautiful in both winter and summer, and the seasonal activities and events are diverse.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Among the dining options in Excelsior’s historic downtown area is Coalition, a stylish modern eatery with a chef-driven menu of New American cuisine. The taproom at Excelsior Brewing Company lets guests sample great craft beers, brewed onsite with live entertainment. This laidback local favorite is dog-friendly, and its Wednesday open mic nights are a weekly highlight. Other downtown businesses include Licks Unlimited for ice cream splits, laidback Italian dining at Red Sauce Rebellion and Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar, Japanese food at Yumi’s Sushi Bar, and relaxed pub-style food and drink at The Suburban.
Downtown Excelsior also features numerous boutiques and specialty stores. Head to The Sitting Room for unique home décor items or shop for fashionable clothing at Brightwater, Emma Rose, and Ooh La La.
On the lakefront wharf, Maynards serves a delicious menu of surf and turf eats with fantastic views over the lake. The lakeshore also has several choices for boat storage and maintenance. Excelsior Marina opened in the summer of 2018, expanding on the private boat slips and boat-related service options available at the Tonka Bay and Bayside Marinas. Bay to Bay Boat Club has been serving the area for almost two decades and prides itself on being “the country club of boating.”
Things to Do
Excelsior has a number of seasonal events throughout the year. In June, Art on the Lake is a weekend-long celebration that invites visitors to explore a wide range of artworks. Many of Excelsior’s shops and galleries participate in the festival. Art on the Lake also features outdoor music performances and food trucks. September’s Apple Day is a street fair showcasing locally-grown foods and locally-made handicrafts. Along with many street vendors, Apple Day hosts a street dance with live music and a scenic 5K run along the lakeshore. On Thanksgiving weekend, Excelsior’s Christkindlmarkt is Lake Minnetonka’s premier holiday season event. This German-style Christmas market has vendors offering delicious foods and handicrafts, a children’s lighted lantern parade with over 1,000 participants, and the chance to meet Father Christmas and his reindeer. Excelsior joins with the neighboring communities of Tonka Bay and Shorewood for January’s Arctic Fever celebration. Arctic Fever has a diverse lineup of events and activities in all three communities. Excelsior’s highlights include a magic show, brew party, and a fat tire bike race.
Excelsior is zoned to the Minnetonka Public School District. Highlights include:
Excelsior Elementary, Public, K-5
Minnewashta Elementary, Public, K-5
Minnetonka West Middle, Public, 6-8