Railfan Motels

Motels & Hotels with a railroad view

MANKATO, MINNESOTA -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mankato, MN - Hilton Garden Inn Mankato Downtown 

Address:    20 Civic Center Plaza                 Phone:   507-344-1111

Location/ Directions: Highway 14 to downtown Mankato. Exit east to 2nd Street, turn south on 2nd street for 3 blocks. Right 1 block to hotel. Please stop at front desk before parking your vehicle.   GPS Users - use address: 113 East Hickory Street, Mankato, MN 56001

Average Price (Checked May 2011):   $103.00                                 AAA Rated:   N/A       Stars: (n/a)

About Hotel: 9-Stories, 118-Rooms, Interior Corridors, No Pets Allowed, Complimentary high-speed Internet in hotel guestrooms, 24-hr Business Center, Fridge, microwave & coffeemaker in every room, Air Conditioning, Arm Chair with Ottoman, Black-Out Curtains, Clock Radio w/ MP3 Connection, Thermostat (adjustable),
LCD Flat Panel Cable TV, Evening Room Service Available, Hairdryer, Iron/Ironing Board, Newspaper M-F (USA Today), Self Laundry Available, Two-Line Telephone Voice-mail, Elevators, Gift Shop, Local Area Transportation, Lounge, News Stand, On-Site Convenience Store, Room Service, Fitness Room, Pool, Cribs.

Railroad View:  Excellent View!  Need a room on a high floor (5th Floor or above are needed) on the Riverside Drive side of the building.  The railroad is across the street.  A solid fence prevents a view from the ground level.  I was on the 7th floor, and had a spectacular view!  Expect no more than 20 train's during a 24-hour period.  During my 14-hour stay, I saw 5 trains, but that maybe due to the fact that you can't hear passing train's from the well insulated hotel.  I have to admit, I slept very well here.  The windows do open about 6", I didn't realize that until it was near check-out time.  With the A/C and television off, I was able to hear a distant train horn with the windows shut.  Also note, if you hear a distant train horn; it doesn't always mean a train is coming.  At night, you can see the train's, binoculars will help to read engines numbers at night.  Train's pass at a slow speed.  Sunlight is best for photo's of train's during the AM hours.  

Railroads past Hotel:  Union Pacific (former Chicago & North Western RR) / DM&E Railroad.

Notes:  A short walk down the street will land you at the train station building, now used as private offices.  A former C&NW bay-window caboose displayed in front of the station houses the towns visitor center.  There is a nice bike path / walking trail along the river, however a tall sea-wall separates the railroad from the walking path.  




Photo Comment:  Aerial picture A local Union Pacific train passes the Hilton Garden Inn (lower left).  Get a room on a high floor to keep above the tree's.  The restored former C&NW train station is across the street just out of the picture to the right.


 Photo Comment: Above: A eastbound DM&E freight train passes the Hilton Garden Inn hotel.  The photo was taken from room # 704, a perfect view!  While most trains are Union Pacific, a handful of DM&E train pass the hotel using trackage rights.  Left:  Shot with a 35mm lens, much of the railroad view can be seen in this photo.  Just out of view to the right is the old train station building. I really enjoyed my stay in this hotel, and my visit to the town itself.  Next time I find myself south of the twin cities, I plan to return to Mankato.

MANKATO, MINNESOTA -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mankato, MN - Mankato City Center Hotel  

Address:    101 East Main Street                 Phone:  (507) 345-1234

Website: Mankato City Center Hotel

Location/ Directions: From the North: HWY 169 South to Downtown/North Mankato exit.  At the top of the ramp turn left onto Belgrade and proceed across the bridge.  Merge into the far right lane and exit onto 2nd Street/Main Avenue.  Turn right again onto Main Avenue and the hotel is located 1/2 block on your left.

Average Price (Checked May 2011):   $150.00                                AAA Rated:    YES      Stars: ***3***

About Hotel: 4-Stories, 150-Rooms, Interior Corridors, 32" Flat Panel Cable TV with HBO, All rooms feature Microwaves and Refrigerators, Coffee Maker / Tea Maker,
Free Wireless High-speed Internet Access, Work Desk w/ Lamp, Phone with Voice Mail, Speaker Phone, Free Local Phone Calls, Connecting Rooms available, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning, Iron / Ironing Board, Roll-away Bed (fee), Windows Open by Guest, All rooms Non Smoking, Pets accepted (fee), 101 Main Restaurant featuring our complimentary City-Side continental breakfast available 7 days a week, Lunch buffet Monday-Friday, Sunday Brunch Buffet, Blazer Lounge, Pool, Whirlpool, Fitness Center, Business Center, Daily Housekeeping, On-site Guest Self-Laundry Facilities (washer/dryer), Game Room on the upper deck of the pool area featuring a Billiard Table, Ping Pong and various arcade games, Ice Machines.

Railroad View:  Excellent View.  Any room on the east side of the hotel will offer a railroad view.  No rooms face the tracks directly, tracks are off to the left. The restored former C&NW train station used as private offices is across the street complete with a former C&NW caboose displayed and used as a visitors center.  The train station is a great location to photograph passing trains.   Train's can be seen very well at night.  During the day, sunlight is best in the AM hours for photography from the hotel.  Train's pass slowly past the hotel.

Railroads past Hotel: Union Pacific (former Chicago & North Western RR) / DM&E Railroad.  Expect no more than 20 train's during a 24-hour period.    

Notes:    This is a former Holiday Inn Hotel.

Comments:    Walk across the street, you can cross the tracks and enter the bike path / walking trail that runs between the river and the railroad.  The only drawback is there is a tall sea-wall between the walking path and the railroad.  

Photo Comment:  The aerial view shows the Mankato City Center Hotel located across the street from the restored train station.The windows in the hotel with a railroad view are shown in this photo.