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Spend A Day In Lindsborg, KS, A Swedish Heritage Town

Updated: Apr 24, 2023



"There's nothing in Kansas." I'm sure we've all heard the phrase. Some of us have said it, too. I know I have. But I've been on a kick lately of really trying to discover the hidden gems of this state. This is partially because I'm curious and believe there's something to do and see no matter where you live. It's also because I've been driving through Kansas to get to Colorado and Missouri a lot more lately and desperately want to find some good stopping places along the way for myself and others.


Well, I'm happy to announce that I've found one: Lindsborg. Located less than 30 minutes from Salina, KS, which is right on Interstate 70 (a popular route from Missouri to Colorado and vice versa) and Interstate 135 (a popular route from Oklahoma to Colorado and vice versa), Lindsborg is known for its Swedish heritage.


At first glance, it might not seem like much — just a small town in the middle of nowhere. But upon further investigation, you'll find plenty of activities to fill up a day (perhaps even a weekend). So, let this blog post be your official Lindsborg guide.


What You'll Find In This Post


 

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A Lindsborg Day Trip Itinerary

I've done all of the hard work for you and created an itinerary for a day in Lindsborg. Of course, feel free to do any of these activities whenever you want or add to this list, but this itinerary is a great way to see everything you need to see in the town without collapsing with fatigue before the end of the day.


But before we get into the specifics (aka long paragraphs), here's a condensed itinerary:

  • Breakfast

  • Lindsborg Old Mill and Swedish Heritage Museum

  • Birger Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery

  • Lunch

  • Coronado Heights Castle

  • Main Street Shopping

  • Dinner



Grab a drink and/or pastries from a local bakery or coffee shop.

Start your day off right with breakfast. And whether that means just coffee or coffee and pastries or a smoothie and pastries or a full meal, Lindsborg has you covered. More specifically, Main Street has you covered.


For example, Blacksmith Coffee Shop & Roastery offers coffee, pastries, breakfast items and some Swedish specialties. The White Peacock has coffee, tea, smoothies and meals. And next door, you'll find 350 Degrees, a bakery with lots of goodies. Learn more about some of these shops in the Where To Eat section.



Walk through the Lindsborg Old Mill and Swedish Heritage Museum.

This mill and museum will be your longest tourist attraction, which is why it's the first (main) stop of the day. There's a lot to see, especially if historical buildings and artifacts are something you enjoy.


After you park, make your way to the main museum building that is located right next to the mill. This is where you'll purchase your tickets (which were $5 or less if I remember right), grab a map and begin your tour. The first exhibit explains the process of milling. Next up is "Dreams of America," which shares the history of how the town of Lindsborg was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1869. The displays haven't been modernized, but you can still learn a thing or two.


From there, you'll go inside the Smoky Valley Roller Mill, which was built in 1898 and continued commercial operation until 1955. (Now, the mill operates on the first Saturday of May for the Millfest celebrations.) There are several floors in the mill, and all of them are open to the public. By scanning the QR codes as you go, you can listen to information about the milling process and each piece of technology you see in the building. Also, note that this is a roller mill, not a grist mill. (I usually only see grist mills on my travels.)


Once you've finished up at the old mill, take a walk outside for a view of the Smoky Hill River and the log cabin. Then walk across the road to the other half of the museum where there's a big field with a maypole in the center and various buildings lining the outside. Here, you'll find a one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, chapel, steam engine and many more structures with historical artifacts in them. One of the coolest buildings is the 1904 World's Fair Swedish Pavilion, which was moved to Lindsborg years ago after the first fair in St. Louis.


So, as you've read, there are quite a few things to see at the museum, which means it could take you some time. (I would allot a few hours if you enjoy history and historical artifacts.) However, if you're not a history buff, don't worry. We'll now move on to art.



Birger Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery

This art gallery can be found on Bethany College's campus, an area that also has a few Wild Dala Horses. (If you're confused about this, head to this section.) The gallery isn't huge, but it is free and showcases the work of Birger Sandzén and other artists. You can learn more about each of them not only by reading the artwork's plaque but also by reading the printed documents (that you can take with you) located around each room.


Birger Sandzén, the main event, was actually born in Sweden but later immigrated to Lindsborg where he taught at Bethany College. During his lifetime, he finished 3,000 paintings, some of which are in this museum. I actually really enjoyed his art. His oil paintings are usually of landscapes, and they're full of texture and a blend of colors that put me at ease when I look at them.


Take a tourist break and eat some lunch.

It's about the time of day when you'll be hungry again, and you have different options when it comes to lunch, including restaurants with Mexican, American, Swedish and Asian cuisine. Take a look at the restaurant section below to help you decide where you want to eat. Just be sure to also think about where you want to go for dinner because I suggest eating at a Swedish restaurant for one meal during your day in Lindsborg.



Visit Coronado Heights Castle.

Coronado Heights Park is a bluff with scenic overlooks and a small castle-like structure. (I know, who knew Kansas had a castle???) It's just a 4-mile drive from Main Street and would be a great place to move your body a little after lunch.


Coronado Heights is named after Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who visited Kansas with his soldiers and guides in the 1540s during his search for the "Seven Cities of Gold." Obviously, he didn't find it here (or anywhere), and some researchers suggest this could have been his final stop before giving up.


The overlook was linked to this event in 1881 when a local professor found a Spanish coin there and then some rusty chain mail was discovered after further investigation. So, it very well could be the place where Coronado stopped to overlook the prairie below, just as many visitors do now.


In addition to taking in the view and snapping some photos, tourists can go inside the castle, which was built from Dakota limestone in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. (It gives off Game of Thrones vibes to me.) You can also climb the stairs and get another view of the prairie on the top of the castle.


Feel free to walk the trails in the park, and if you'd like to have a picnic during lunchtime rather than go to a restaurant, this is the perfect spot. There are tables and bathrooms for you to use.



Peruse the shops on Main Street.

There are a variety of stores on Main Street, from clothing boutiques to toy shops, and many of them sell Swedish items. It's a lot of fun to simply walk down one side of the street and visit every interesting storefront and then walk down the other side and do the same. Many of the owners and workers are also really kind and enjoy chatting, so you can learn more about the area in that way, too.


There's a winery if you want a free tasting, or you can go inside the Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess for more information about this one-of-a-kind school. I also suggest you stop in at Indigo Moo'd Ice Cream at some point during your shopping spree for a sweet treat. Although you'll be eating dessert before your dinner, it's worth it! (Learn more about this ice cream shop in the Where To Eat section.)



Have a Swedish-inspired dinner on Main Street.

Finish off the day with a Swedish dinner (unless you've already chosen to eat your one Swedish meal during lunch). Crown and Rye is one of the main restaurants that has multiple Swedish-inspired dishes for dinner. Now, whether or not these meals are up to par with what you'd eat in Sweden, I can't say ... yet. But once I do travel there, I'll be sure to let you know!



Other Things To Do In Lindsborg

If you get through some of the above activities quicker than this itinerary has planned or if you decide to spend a weekend in Lindsborg instead of a day, there is still plenty more for you to do to pass the time.


Search For The Wild Dala Horses

The Wild Dala Horses scattered around Lindsborg is just another way the town shows off its Swedish heritage. There are 36 of these horse sculptures, and each one is sponsored, sits at a place of significance and is decorated by local artists, making each one unique. They're also named creatively. For example, one of them is purple and decorated in grape vines. It's called "Herd it Through the Grapevine." (I thought that was clever and punny!)


Be on the lookout for all of these Wild Dala Horses as you spend the day in Lindsborg, or even challenge yourself to find them all. If you want a cheat sheet, click on this link. You can also add some extra fun and have everyone in your party pick their favorite horse and get a photo with it.


Drink Some Mountain Clear Water

There's a little turquoise/mint green shed on Main Street that says "40 cents per gallon" Mountain Clear water. It's legit! But what is Mountain Clear water? Apparently, it's "a product of more than 20 stages of pre-treatment, including high pressure reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, ultra violet light sterilization and special polishing." It's cycled daily, and apparently it's great in coffee, tea and juices, can be used in fish aquariums, car batteries and radiators and fed to your pets. (You can read the sign for a little more information about all of this.)


Just keep in mind that when it says "per gallon," it really does give you a gallon. If you only have a tumbler, that water will continue flowing and spill out into the shed (and I couldn't find a way to turn it off lol). So if you want to try some of this water, bring an empty gallon jug with you to drink from throughout the day or to take home or be prepared to waste some of the water.


Check out the Art Scene on Main Street

You'll notice quite a few galleries on Main Street. If this type of art experience intrigues you, be sure to research the galleries' hours in advance and add them to your itinerary. You can also take a look at the various murals on the sides of the buildings as you peruse the shops. My favorite one depicts Swedish people dancing around a maypole.



Where To Stay In Lindsborg

If you want to stay at your typical hotel chains, you can find those 30 minutes away in Salina. However, if you're looking to stay in Lindsborg — which I suggest — you have a few options: Dröm Sött Inn, Viking Motel, and Rosberg House Bed and Breakfast.


Dröm Sött Inn


Although I haven't been to the latter two and the Rosberg House especially looks lovely, I have stayed at Dröm Sött (Sweet Dreams) Inn and I suggest you do, too! So, let me share my experience at this boutique hotel with you and its benefits.


1. It's basically located on Main Street. This means you don't have to go far when you're done sightseeing for the day. Especially if you decide to follow the above itinerary and eat on Main Street, from there, you can walk down the street and arrive at your accommodation.


2. It sticks to the Swedish heritage theme. From the color palette to the furniture, Dröm Sött Inn has an adorable aesthetic. It will definitely help you feel like you're not in Kansas anymore and further boost your unique Lindsborg experience. I especially love the Swedish chess board in the lobby. (Check out the opening photo of this blog post for an idea of what the hotel lobby looks like.)



3. It has some fun food and drink amenities. Each guest who is at least 21 years old can enjoy a free glass of wine in the cellar. This might be a fun thing to do with your partner or travel group after dinner. Booking a room also includes a complimentary breakfast, and you have two options: a typical American breakfast (likely a casserole and baked good) and the Swedish plate. Again, for that more unique experience, I suggest the Swedish plate. It usually includes fresh fruit, pickled cucumber, pickled beets, pickled herring, cheese imported from Sweden, Swedish meatballs, a boiled egg, rolled ham, Swedish rye bread, rye crisp and lingonberry jelly. Lastly, you'll also get a sugar cookie in the shape of a dala horse when you check out.


4. The staff is really kind. I had a positive experience with each staff member I ran into. They're welcoming, nice and helpful.


5. The rooms are simple but have all the necessities. The rooms are comfortable and should have everything you need. This includes Wi-Fi and a TV with a Roku device. Additionally, in each room you'll find a guide book with not only information about the hotel but also lists of restaurants to visit and local activities, places and contact information if there's an emergency or someone is sick, coloring pages for kids, etc.


6. If you're missing something, you can visit the Butik. In this room at the hotel, you can buy snacks, hygiene items and even souvenirs.


7. There are different types of rooms to choose from. When booking, you have options — six of them in fact. They differ in occupancy, bed size, location and extra amenities. This means the room prices differ as well. For example, there's a Queen Room for about $135 a night, which houses two people, up to a VIP Suite, which can house six people and has a lot more space than other rooms, for $250 a night.


While Dröm Sött Inn isn't the cheapest option, I think it's a great price for your experience there, as it really is a cute and unique stay. And if I return to Lindsborg, I'll be sure to check out the other two options and leave my thoughts about them, too.



Where To Eat In Lindsborg

As I never like to review restaurants I've never been to, this section will only include the places I've actually tried in Lindsborg. I'll add to and update this list when I visit again.


Breakfast


350 Degrees LLC

This specialty bakery is family owned and sells all types of fresh baked goods, even some Swedish ones. I suggest you fill up a box with the treats you want to try, from kolaches and cinnamon rolls to buns and breads. The staff is also really nice and will help you decide what you're in the mood for if you're finding it difficult to choose.


Blacksmith Coffee Shop & Roastery

What used to be a 19th century blacksmith shop has been transformed into a cool, hipster coffee shop. The business offers coffees (which are roasted in-house) and other beverages, pastries/desserts, and breakfast and lunch items. Although I can't really judge the coffee, since I don't drink it much, I did enjoyed the latte I had there and the overall vibe.


Dröm Sött Inn

See the Where To Stay section above.


The White Peacock Tea and Coffee Company

Although this shop is probably known more for its coffee and tea, I had a smoothie there, so I can't review it completely yet. However, I liked the space, as it's lit up from the storefront windows, so it would be a great place to study, work or read. The White Peacock also prides itself in being sustainable and supporting local businesses, including Hildebrand Farms.


Lunch/Dinner


Crown and Rye

The Crown and Rye is one of the only restaurants in Lindsborg with a variety of options when it comes to Swedish cuisine. (These dishes are labeled with a crown on the menu, as the others are American meals.) So, this is the place to go if you want to try some unique foods or if you need to seat a group of people, as it can hold a crowd. I had the Köttbullar for dinner, which was Swedish meatballs with a beef cream sauce over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. It was good, but I didn't like my side of färskpotatis, or creamy dill potatoes, though I'm not sure if it was simply because they weren't cooked enough. (That also could just be how they're supposed to be cooked.)


Jalisco Mexican Restaurant

Jalisco is your typical casual Mexican restaurant. It has every combination of Mexican food to choose from and is cheap. And, yes, the chips and salsa are free with your meal. So, basically, you can't go wrong with it if you're feeling regular Mexican-American fare.


Ol Stuga

If you're looking for the bar/pub scene, Ol Stuga is where you'll find it. This restaurant sells hot and cold subs and sandwiches for a cheap price and has all of the sports channels going for customers. I decided to try the Brent Nelson, since it included sausage, and it wasn't bad. Not great, but not bad.


Dessert


Indigo Moo'd Ice Cream

I thought this little ice cream shop was so cute and highly recommend it! Firstly, I love its aesthetic. When you walk into the building, it's as if you've walked onto a street in Sweden, which leads you to the Indigo Moo'd. Secondly, the ice cream is all made in-house and with fresh and local ingredients, and you can tell when you taste it. Finally, the owner and workers are extremely nice! They'll chat with you about the various flavors and let you try them before you make a decision. When I visited, the owner even let me taste an experimental spicy flavor they were working on for that month.


 

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