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Exploring Downtown Northfield

Hannah discusses her favorite places to frequent in downtown Northfield.

Hannah discusses her favorite places to frequent in downtown Northfield.

When navigating the college application process, one of the things I always wish I knew more about was not just the vibe on a college’s campus, but the surrounding area as well. Since I am from Minnesota, exploring Carleton and Northfield were not far out of reach at the time, and yet I had never been in the surrounding area until I had been accepted and on campus as a freshman. Northfield is definitely a college town, and while some people worry that there isn’t much to do, as someone who came from a small town where it was at least a 20 minute drive to get anywhere, being able to walk right into downtown Northfield from campus has been awesome.

While I haven’t had nearly enough time to check out everywhere on Division Street (I do still have 3.5 years ahead of me), I already have a couple favorite places.

Clothes Closet

The number one place I have spent my time off campus (besides my work study at local elementary schools) is probably a thrift store called Clothes Closet. My friend Audrey and I have spent multiple Saturday afternoons sifting through racks of clothes (I’m pretty sure your closet is not supposed to have less room as the term goes on… but it seems to be happening to me). Currently my style is a mix between old man and grandma, so thrift stores have been working out pretty well for clothes shopping.

clothes closet
A view from inside my favorite thrift store!

Antiques of Northfield

Audrey sifts through some records.

Another place I love to check out is Antiques of Northfield. While you do have to wander through the twisting “aisles” (if they can be called that), it’s all part of the fun! There is so much to look at, and it’s impossible to see it all in one trip. I couldn’t even tell you everything that they have to offer. They have quite a selection of, well anything really, but my most recent purchase included old postcards which I have adorned my dorm wall with.

room postcards
The postcards I bought to decorate my room!

Hogan Brothers


Hogan Brothers was one of the places I had heard about before I even came to Northfield. It is a great place for off-campus food, and for a college student on a budget, on the cheaper side as well. They serve hot sandwiches, soups, etc. and I have yet to have something I didn’t like. Warm things aside, they also have a variety of ice cream flavors to choose from!

hogan brothers
Our lunch from one of our town excursions.

Content Bookstore

Book recommendations!

As an avid reader, walking into bookstores can be a risky move for me in terms of time and monetary loss. Content Bookstore is no exception. Something really cool about this store is the book recommendations throughout the shelving! Staff members write personal recommendations on books they have read and enjoyed, so that other people take a look at them. One of the best things I have found here was a Pride and Prejudice board game. Audrey and I used that discovery as an excuse to have a Pride and Prejudice themed night in which we made food, played the game, and watched the movie.

Audrey browses the book selection.

The Blast

Though this ice cream place is seasonal, during the warm seasons we definitely take advantage of its openings! The Blast has very large portions and a wide variety of creative flavors.

My new student week group enjoys some ice cream at The Blast.

Just a couple minutes walk from campus, I can’t wait for it to open back up again during spring term.

The (Eclectic) Goat


The Goat has a lot of fun (and also random?) things to look at and buy. Audrey and I continually go back for the crazy variety of stickers. Carleton students love stickers, and you will see them stuck on various personal items such as water bottles and laptops. Just recently I found a sticker that looks exactly like my dog (who I miss a lot), so of course it was my latest addition to my water bottle.

the goat
I make Audrey pose for the 30th photo of the day (I think she was sick of me at this point).

In Conclusion…

It has been so fun to explore Northfield (there is so much more to see!) and this blog post is by no means exhaustive. Even if the small city of Northfield isn’t enough to satiate the desire for a city dweller life, the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are only 40 miles from Carleton. Want to learn more about Northfield? See what Carleton’s Admissions Office has to say about it here.

Hannah is a freshman interested in Political Science and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Born and raised in Minnesota, she considers herself somewhat of an expert on MN winters. She can’t wait for ice skating on the Bald Spot and Nordic skiing in the Arb, along with exploring all of the other amazing opportunities and activities on campus! When Hannah isn’t in class, she can be found reading, running for the Carleton Track team, watching TikToks, and tutoring with the Northfield Read and Counts Program. Meet the other bloggers!