Stillwater is notable for its antiquarian bookstores, being a book town.
Stillwater receives an average snowfall of 42". Average rainfall is 24". Each year has an average of 14 days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stillwater is often referred to as the birthplace of Minnesota. In 1848, a territorial convention that began the process of establishing Minnesota as a state was held in Stillwater at the corner of Myrtle and Main Streets. Minnesota officially became a territory in 1849 and became a state in 1858.
As more evidence of Stillwater's importance at the time, the convention selected three leading Minnesota cities as locations for three important public institutions: Minneapolis got the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul became the capital, and Stillwater was chosen as the site of the territory's first prison. The Minnesota Territorial Prison was opened in 1853.
Lumbering was the predominant industry in the St. Croix River Valley in the second half of the 19th century, and for many years logs were sent down the St. Croix, collected at the St. Croix Boom Site two miles upstream of Stillwater, and processed in Stillwater's many sawmills. Steamboats were used most widely from 1860–1890, and a few are still used for entertainment purposes today.
In recent decades, there has been a good deal of new housing development on the outskirts of the city, and there is a substantial population that commutes daily to the Twin Cities. More recently, development has focused on medium-density housing, such as condominium complexes, on the north side of downtown.
There were 5,797 households out of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $57,154, and the median income for a family was $72,188. Males had a median income of $49,158 versus $33,680 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,163. About 3.0% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.6% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.