Three Central Minnesota towns made a list of 10 best Minnesota towns for antique shopping.

My mom loves antiques. I have far too many memories of trudging along to antique stores as a kid as my mom perused for -- what seemed like -- hours. The mindlessness of looking at old things was further worsened by the fact that I wasn't allowed to touch anything ("You break it, you buy it!"). My lack of appreciation aside, my mom did have a knack for finding unique antiques that gave our home a warm, cozy feeling without ever feeling stuffy or ancient. I loved our childhood homes and my mom's antique touches.

Minnesota's tourism department Explore Minnesota recently put together a list of 10 Minnesota Towns for Antique Shopping. While most were small hometowns spread across the state, three of them are located right here in Central (-ish) Minnesota and within an hour and a half drive from St. Cloud -- Alexandria, Crosby and Buffalo!

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Alexandria

"Touches of the Alexandria area's Scandinavian and resort town heritage pop up in stores like Now and Then, which features four floors of antiques in a sturdy, elegant former bank building," says Explore MN.

"You might find Norwegian sweaters, giant fishing lures and lifesavers among the many collectibles and nostalgic pieces." The travel department also lists Past and Present Home Gallery and Special Memories, where you can find collectibles, toys, puzzles and unique gifts.

Approximate Drive from St. Cloud: 1 hour 15 minutes

Crosby

Dubbed the “Antique Capital of the Lakes Area," Crosby near Brainered makes Explore MN's list of best antique-shopping towns in Minnesota.

"Crosby boasts seven shops along its compact Main Street," including  Hallett Antique Emporium and Abbey House Antiques where you can find everything from Lincoln Log toys to Iron Range postcards, burnished canoe paddles to souvenirs from Minnesota companies such as Pillsbury.

Approximate Drive from St. Cloud: 1 hour 20 minutes

Buffalo

"Watch for the historic barn on the east side of Highway 55 for a chance to get lost among the goods from more than 70 vendors," says Explore MN of Buffalo Nickel Antique Market.

You'll find Annie’s Attic and some second-hand shops along Highway 25 as well as additional shops in the historic downtown overlooking Buffalo Lake. After or between shopping, be sure to stop in my favorite local watering hole --  the authentically Irish pub Hayes' Public House, also located downtown just off the lake!

Approximate Drive from St. Cloud: 45 minutes

If you're really up for a day drive, you can visit other notable antique-shopping towns around Minnesota like Bemidji, Crookston, Northfield, and Redwing. You can view the whole list from Explore MN here.

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