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Discover Wisconsin: Consider getaway to Hudson for beautiful views, more
For breathtaking views, check out the waterfall at Willow River State Park near Hudson. (Photo supplied)
Our destination of the week is a bustling and eclectic river town located just 30 minutes from Minneapolis-St. Paul. We're talking about the beautiful city of Hudson in St. Croix County. From festivals and summer concerts to restaurants and a striking state park, here are just a few ways you're sure to fall in love with this "Spirit on the St. Croix."

Events: Hudsonites and visitors from near and far enjoy festivals during every season. Hot Air Affair, taking place in February, hosts an evening parade, hot air balloon launches, smooshboarding (you'll just have to attend to find out what that is) and hot air balloon moon glow.

Booster Days, Hudson's summer festival, is held in Lakefront Park near the historic downtown and takes place during the Fourth of July weekend.

North Hudson celebrates Pepper Fest, "The Little Village Celebration with a Big Italian Flavor" in August.

Music: Cozy up on the lawn of Lakefront Park every Thursday evening in the summer for Concert in the Park. The band shell hosts country music, big band, Christian, rock and roll, orchestra, jazz and everything in between.

Nature: The Black Oar, a board and bike shop in Hudson, carries 99.9 percent local products and rents out paddleboards, kayaks and bikes. Paddle board individually or with a group of up to 30 people and even get professional instruction from a world record holder.

For some beautiful views during any season, check out Willow River State Park and hike to the waterfall or enjoy camping, fishing, boating or just a day at the beach.

Golfers flock to Hudson for world-class courses, Troy Burne and White Eagle.

Sights and activities: Make your way to Birkmose Park, the site of what is believed to be a burial ground for the St. Croix Valley Sioux Indians. The park overlooks the St. Croix River and the Minnesota border - a breathtaking, must-see view.

Or, jump aboard the Afton Hudson Cruise Line for more stunning vistas of Hudson and the St. Croix River.

Eat: Downtown Hudson, no matter the day of the week or time of day, is bustling with the breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds, thanks to several fabulous restaurants that keep food aficionados coming back.

Enjoy an evening on the hillside at The Nova, a restaurant and wine bar, or sit on the patio of Pier 500 for excellent views and even better food.

Stop in to Agave Kitchen for Tex-Mex, San Pedro Cafe for comfort foods with a Caribbean twist and Brick's Neapolitan Pizza for specialty pizzas and paninis.

Top off your meal at Knoke's Chocolates and Nuts, where you can find anything from ice cream and homemade pies to truffles, nuts and homemade candies.

For more ideas, stream "Hudson: Beauty on the St. Croix" now on or tune in when the episode airs across the Midwest Saturday and Sunday.

- Kristen Finstad is a crew member of the nation's longest-running tourism TV show, "Discover Wisconsin." The column is published Tuesday on the Life page in the Times.