Minnesota : Safety by City
- Brooklyn Park
- Detroit Lakes
- Fergus Falls
- Grand Marais
- Grand Portage
- International Falls
- Maple Grove
- New Ulm
- Red Wing
- St. Cloud
- St. Paul
- Two Harbors
Red Wing, Minnesota, is a triangular-shaped city southeast of Minneapolis on the Mississippi River, just across the Wisconsin state line.
In the spirit of the triangle shape, there’s a three-pronged benefit to visiting this small town of 17,000 people.
You get the charm of a small town with unique stores and restaurants, the excitement of a casino resort, and the beauty of the Midwestern wilderness all in a company region.
Red Wing is also in the Driftless Area, which is the space of land that was untouched by Ice Age glaciers.
This makes the region full of rocky bluffs and unique geographical features you won’t find in northern Minnesota.
The Driftless Area might very well be one of the least appreciated parts of U.S. geography from a tourism standpoint.
Visitors also get two entertainment districts, downtown, and the West End District, each bringing its own cultural flavors to the town.
That’s in addition to the numerous activity on the mighty Mississippi River, from steamboat rides to solo kayak tours.
Warnings & Dangers in Red Wing
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here with crime rates that aren't high enough to create concerns and so many various things to do you won't get bored.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Hiawatha Transit offers set routes Monday through Friday in Red Wing and several other routes in nearby communities. Red Wing Taxi service is available, and rideshares are another option. Rental cars are available, with plenty at the Minneapolis St. Paul airport.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The risk is low, with just one purse snatching reported in 2021. Those participating in outdoor activities will carry bigger backpacks or bags, but you should still limit what you bring to the bare essentials and never let your stuff out of sight.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Winters are tough here, with winter storms, blizzards, and ice storms possible. Winter weather can also lead to ice jams, which in turn leads to flooding on the river. Spring starts the severe weather season with strong storms and tornado potential. Those violent storms can happen any time of year, most the highest risk is in spring through fall.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
2021 had no robberies reported, and in the past decade, no more than six robberies have happened in a year. That's a refreshingly low risk but not one that should make you let down your guard.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There are no hard targets or reasons to be worried about terror attacks here. That said, Lone Wolf acts and domestic terrorism are happening in random US cities. You can read the Homeland Security Terrorism Advisory that is released every few months to get a better grasp on risks before your visit.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The Red Wing Shoe Company is a popular brand, and visitors might sign up for coupons and rewards. If you want to get Red Wing shoes, buy them directly through the company's website, and don't use third-party sites to get discounts. Red Wing will never ask you for unsolicited personal information like credit cards or passwords.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women have a low risk but will need outdoor safety education and still want to use standard cautions as in any city.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance with all state and federal standards. You can read the report on the city's website. A new report is issued for the previous year by June, so check for the latest report.
Safest Places to Visit in Red Wing
RedWing.org is the official tourism site, and there’s a free downloadable tourism guide that doesn’t require any personal information disclosed.
You can also use the Explore Minnesota state tourism site to look for things to do in the Driftless Area or Bluffs Country.
Most of the things to do in town run along Highway 61 on an east/west route through the city.
Most of the stores here are unique boutiques, like Scandinavian-themed stores and local arts and crafts.
Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop is known for some of the best doughnuts in Minnesota.
Don’t miss the chance to try the Upper Midwest staple snack of cheese curds.
You’ll find plenty of options throughout downtown and the West End District.
The city offers several museums of different niches, such as:
- Avliveo Military Museum
- American Sky Jumping Museum
- Goodhue County History Center
- Pottery Museum of Red Wing
- Red Wing Marine Museum
- Red Wing Shoes Museum
Treasure Island Resort & Casino (note that the website is ticasino.com and not treasureisland.com – the latter of which is in Las Vegas) is a place to play slots, bingo, table games, and take in a concert or get a great meal.
Guests over 50 get special discounts on Wednesdays.
Use RedWingBluffs.org to get to the Friends of the Bluffs website, where a full map of trails and bluff locations can be found.
The site covers all trails in every season, shows rock climbing options, and explains the difficulty level for each one.
Mountain bikers should look for the Red Wing Area Mountain Bike Organization for trail layouts and activities.
Daily trail statuses are posted on its Facebook page daily.
Anglers should start their planning with Hahn’s Mississippi River Fishing Guide Service.
You can get daily fishing reports and river levels, plus fishing tips for this special region.
About 30 minutes southeast of Red Wing, you can visit the National Eagle Center to see exhibits, go on habitat tours, or get the option for boat trips to see eagles in action.
Eagle tours are also available on Trenton Island, Wisconsin, just across the river from Red Wing.
Pearl of the Lake is the paddlewheel that takes guests on scenic and history tours on the Mississippi River.
You can also charter a boat at one of many marinas on both sides of the state line near Red Wing.
15 miles east of Red Wing is Frontenac State Park, which is also along the river.
Campsites, trails, and fishing spots are available, but the real treasure here is the fall foliage.
Places to Avoid in Red Wing
There aren’t any bad parts of town or neighborhoods to avoid.
The city is too small, and even within the city limits, the actual populated portion is even smaller, as it forms a narrow path east and west before expanding a bit to the south.
14 miles northwest of Red Wing, along the river, is the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant.
With concerns about nuclear energy and radiation, it’s important to understand all aspects of this form of power.
All nuclear plants have a 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) with specific details of what to do *if any accident happens.
If this topic concerns you, review the “Prairie Island Emergency Planning Visitor’s Guide” on the Minnesota state website.
While Red Wing is technically 14 miles by roadway, it is less than 10 miles away “as the crow flies.”
While there have been accidents connected to the nuclear facility here, there have been three emergency shutdowns.
The Nuclear Regulatory Agency also includes annual reports of safety reviews for each site.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Red Wing
- Red Wing does have its own police department, and it does release its own annual report to give you a better of crime statistics for the previous year. It’s a much more robust list than the FBI data reported.
- You can use the Tip411 app to report any suspicious activity or crime information you get that isn’t an emergency needing 911. This is a great way to help keep crime rates low and connect with police without giving your name and contact information if you don’t want to. You can also call Crime Stoppers of Minnesota at 1-800-222-8477 anytime.
- Use the CodeRED emergency notification system to get critical weather alerts. You need to be weather aware as severe weather can quickly form, making a regular thunderstorm into a potentially tornado-producing storm. Heavy hail can cause car and property damage while being dangerous to people as it’s literally ice falling from the sky – sometimes the size of golf balls. When you sign up for CodeRED, you’ll also get IPAWS notifications which are more location-specific.
- Tornado sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 pm. This drill confirms the sirens are working. When a tornado siren goes off, you’ll hear a loud, waning noise. This means seeking shelter immediately. There is no “all-clear” siren, so you’ll really need those weather alerts to let you know when a warning has expired.
- Red Wing has a community channel online called Channel 6. This includes updates on safety, policing, and community events. It’s a great resource to learn about the community closer to your visit.
- When exploring the trails in the winter, cross-country skiing trails are only for that activity. Those who are snowshoeing, hiking, or dog walking need to stay off these trails and use the appropriate walking trails.
- Summers visitors should contact the Park Nationalists organization in Red Wing. This group knows the trails inside and out and can provide guidance for solo trips or take you on a custom-tailored hike.
- He Mni Can-Barn Bluff is one of the most notable features in Red Wing, but also the most likely to get vandalized. You should report any graffiti you see and report anyone creating graffiti (but don’t confront them). If you choose to violate the law against marking the rocks, you’ll face the risk of paying for the cleanup and legal repercussions.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. There is an additional cost above and beyond the license to fish for trout, salmon, or sturgeon. Wisconsin and Minnesota do have a reciprocity agreement to fishing in connecting waters but confirm your license covers that agreement before you make the purchase.
- Check the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for river quality and levels before you consider any activities on the river. In general, avoid swimming in the river as it’s known for contamination, debris, and a swift current. Careless guests leave too much trash on the shoreline, which can gather in Red Wing – especially at Frontenac State Park. This isn’t an act of government negligence. This is visitors refusing to clean up after themselves. Pack up everything you bring in and dispose of it outside the park.
So... How Safe Is Red Wing Really?
Crime in Red Wing is low, so if you’re making a decision based on how safe the city is, you’re in luck.
The city had 38 violent crimes in 2021, and none was against strangers.
Crime here is likely domestic in nature or among people who know each other casually.
I found one statistic that really jumped out at me (no pun intended) – 47 reports of deer hit by vehicles in 2021.
I grew up in a rural area before it was overly developed, and I can attest to how quickly a deer can jump in front of your car.
At night, it’s even more concerning since they move so fast, and there’s little time to stop.
Stick to the speed limit, especially when you’re in rural or waterside areas.
The theft rate is twice the national average, and that’s likely due to valuables being left behind.
37% of thefts were car break-ins, and you should be cautious when visiting a park.
Thieves know you’ll be away from the vehicle for a while and will scour the inside to see if there’s anything worth taking.
Pack the trunk BEFORE you arrive at the park.
Red Wing is a great place with so many things to do in a smaller space, saving you gas and time to explore it all.
Common sense, situational awareness, and understanding of the rules from the DNR will go a long way here.
How Does Red Wing Compare?
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International visitors will need a passport and a visa. A travel visa will cost $160, and it's an arduous process, but the lag time on interviews has been shortened in 2023. Check the Customs and Border Patrol website to see a list of items banned from entering the U.S.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and you'll want to exchange currency at your home bank or a Duty-Free shop to pay the lowest fees. Don't use public ATMs to get cash.
You'll need warm layers of clothing for at least half of the year, with an emphasis on the cold-weather clothing needed in winter. Summers will be warm, hot at times, and humid. Bring bug spray and comfortable, breathable clothing.
Red Wing is less than an hour by car to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That's a major airport in the U.S. and can get you direct flights to major domestic and international cities.
If you don't have health coverage in the United States, travel insurance is well worth the cost of an out-of-pocket emergent room trip. Don't risk it. See if you can find a plan that covers your flight, rental car, health, and adventures.
Red Wing Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Minnesota - Safety by City