Saunas of The World Which Are Good

In January of 2023, Chyah Chyah and I were at wits end with the frigid Minnesota winter. We only like cross-country skiing so much, and it was giving us limited entertainment. We really wanted to do something special and regional before leaving the area. That’s when we discovered Minnesota’s Sauna Culture.

Minnesota has a strong Nordic heritage, and Sauna culture was brought over as a part of that diaspora. As a result, Minnesota has a strong sauna market. Here are the ones we found:

  • The Well North - In Duluth. The location itself is not scenic, but the sauna experience was great. The owner dude also gave us a fantastic intro into Sauna etiquette and how-to-sauna.
  • Cedar and Stone - Also in Duluth. A bit more expensive, but really scenic, RIGHT on the water with a cool view of Lake Superior. It’s adjacent to a fancy hotel called Pier B. Great sauna.
  • Duluth Family Sauna - This is most definitely not the instagrammable glamorous sauna experience that you’d get at cedar and stone. It’s an old old old Finnish immigrant sauna, a relic of Duluth’s industrial past when the Finnish factory workers demanded a sauna. It’s kinda rundown, but really cool. It’s more like a steam sauna, not wood-burning sauana. Beware: this has a past in which it was previously a gay hookup place. Clearly the owners have struggled with this, and it seems like they’ve come to some kind of arrangement. Just don’t go downstairs, stay upstairs, those are the legit saunas.
  • Sisu and Löyly - in very far north Grand Marais, Minnesota. We didn’t make it here, unfortunately. But this place is super cool and I do want to go some time.
  • Ely Steam Sauna - also very far north in Ely, MN. Looks cool.
  • Silvae Spiritus Forest Bathing, Sauna, and Nature Retreats - Pine Country, MN. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to this one either, but it looks great.
  • The Stokeyard - Minneapolis, MN
  • St. Croix Sauna - Stillwater, MN
  • The Nordic Nook - closed now, but looks great. Can keep an eye there to see if they may reopen.
  • The River Kiln - Red Wing, MN
Last modified: December 03, 2023
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