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Stillwaters bars restaurants, like Feller at the Lora Hotel pictured, are getting national attention by being named one of the top food scene small towns by USA Today. (Submitted photo)

It’s not your imagination – downtown Stillwater does seem busy weekdays and weekends. With more people looking to stay close to home this summer with “Stay-cations” and short road trips, Stillwater has attracted attention throughout the region. There could soon be more visitors across the nation looking to sample the best food and drinks Stillwater has to offer.

USA Today has just named Stillwater one of the 10 Best Small Town Food Scenes in the country. For the purposes of the category, a small town was determined to be cities with a population less than 25,000. For the 2020 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award, a list of 20 nominee towns from across the country was curated by editors, then narrowed down over four weeks of online voting by readers. After the results were tallied, Stillwater ranked fifth as a must-visit destination for those who appreciate an excellent variety of food and drink.

“There’s a really festive feeling as you walk through the streets to find your favorite deck, rooftop or patio this summer. This award is well-deserved as our hard-working, all locally owned businesses have been through a lot these last few months.” said Christie Rosckes, Marketing Director for Discover Stillwater.

In its coverage of the awards, 10Best Local Expert Chelle Koster Walton said “this river city wears its past in its fun and funky restaurants,” including romantic rooftop restaurants overlooking the St. Croix River and casual sidewalk cafes.

Fill up on hearty German fare at Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, sip a Mai Tai at the Tilted Tiki, grab dinner and a cocktail from LoLo American Kitchen & Craft Bar or eat al fresco at Brick & Bourbon,” Walton wrote.

The top spot in the awards went to Abingdon,Virginia. Other cities in the list are Punta Gorda, Florida; Thibodaux, Louisiana; Lewisburg, West Virginia; Saranac Lake, New York; Oxford, Mississippi; Orange Beach, Alabama; Collingswood, New Jersey and Twisp, Washington.

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