Twin Cities Winter Activities

Watching the local news a few nights ago. an anchor made the statement that January and February were the best months to leave the state. And although I can't say that I would pass up a warm, sunny beach; I will have to disagree. January and February can feel like an unending horror flick only if you stay inactive. February is one of my favorite months in Minnesota because there is so much to do, indoors and out! So, if you are feeling stumped on what to do and starting to succumb to cabin fever, here is a list of the goings-on in the Twin Cities over the next months. This list is by no mean exhaustive and mostly focuses on activities that involve the outdoors. Let's true up to our Minnesota hardiness and not let weather get in our way of a good time!


January-Feb 1 Wells Fargo Winterskate | Experience the charm of Saint Paul in the winter while gliding across a downtown rink. Open skating is available daily. The rink is located at Landmark Plaza, adjacent to Rice Park in Downtown Saint Paul. Remains open in warm weather. All ages. Free. (Rentals $4, free with check/debit card). 11 am.

Jan 9-March 7 Eden Prairie Ice Castles | Experience the awe and wonder of these colorfully lit ice formations. Open skating is available daily to round out your icy adventure. All ages. Fees vary ($6.95 - 12.95). Sun through Fri 2 pm - 9 pm. Saturday 12 pm - 10 pm.

Jan 10-March 15 Como Conservatory Winter Flower Show | Fight the winter blues by surrounding yourself with the sweet scents of hundreds of flowers. All ages. Free, donations encouraged.

Jan 15-18 U.S. Pond Hockey Tournament | Take part in a Minnesota tradition and cheer on your favorite pond hockey team at this huge Lake Nokomis tournament. Warming house tent offering Sandcastle food to players and spectators. Beer garden open evenings. All ages. Free.

Jan 16-18 Artic Fever Winterfest (Shorewood) | We love snow at Arctic Fever, and hope for some great groundcover in January! If you are going to live in Minnesota you might as well enjoy it! The entire family will love getting outside and moving around to stay warm. Enjoy hot cocoa, s'mores and bonfires; ice skating and snowshoeing; horse drawn wagon rides; snow painting and kites, and much more! All ages. Free unless otherwise noted.

Jan 17 13th Annual Lake Harriet Kite Festival | Kites of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes will fly over frozen Lake Harriet. Other fun family activities at the festival include ice fishing, horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing, a children's medallion hunt and a marshmallow roast. All ages. Free. 

Jan 18 Como Conservatory Music Under Glass Beat the winter weather blahs inside the comfy confines of the Conservatory. Beer, wine, pop, and light snacks will be available to purchase. All ages. Free. 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm.

Jan 18-25 Bloomington Winter Fete | Kick off Winter Fete by attending Minnesota Hockey day events at Running Park. Be sure to check out the many other activities including the Pond-Dakota Winter History Festival, International Ski Jumping Competition, and other great events during this winter celebration! All ages. Free unless otherwise noted. Varied schedules.

Jan 22-Feb 1 Saint Paul Winter Carnival | The coolest celebration on earth is returning to Saint Paul for the 129th time! Participate in this historic event by searching for the medallion, watching chilly parades, participate in a fun run, and pick your favorite ice sculptures. With so many fun events, you will have to mark your calendars! All ages unless otherwise noted. Free unless otherwise noted. Schedule varies.

Jan 22-24 Crashed Ice | For the past three freezing-cold winters, Saint Paul has hosted the ice cross downhill competition, with a huge crowd of more than 100,000 people converging under the gaze of the imposing Cathedral of Saint Paul to witness the high-speed action that features skaters competing in four-man heats in a race to the bottom of a long ice track full of obstacles. Witness this crazy sport for yourself! All ages. Free. 6:45pm - 9 pm.

Jan 23-25 Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Show (Waconia) | A weekend celebrating vintage snowmobiles. Meander the show of snowmobiles, watch drag racing on ice, or find your own treasure at the swat meet. All ages. $20 for the whole weekend.

Jan 24-25 Winter on the Hill | Celebrate winter in Minnesota with special displays of Winter Carnival memorabilia, Great Northern Railway Winter Carnival uniforms, snowshoes and a luxurious wolverine carriage blanket. Tours of the James J. Hill House will focus on the Hill family’s involvement with the Winter Carnival and how they and other St. Paul residents survived, and even celebrated, Minnesota’s most "famous" season. Guests can also put together old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles, play games made from household items, and work on knitting, crocheting or small quilting projects in the art gallery and drawing room. All ages. Varying fees {$6-9}. Saturdays 10 am - 3:30 pm, Sundays 1 pm - 3:30 pm.

Jan 26 Fridley Winterfest | Free fun for the whole family! Stop by Commons Park or Fridley Community Center we will celebrate winter both indoors and out!
Commons Park = Sleigh rides, dog sled activities, snowball launching and more!
Join the family medallion hunt for a $100 prize! Keep warm by the bonfire while enjoying s'mores!
Community Center = Bingo, crafts, refreshments, games and dancing! All ages. Free. 12 pm - 3 pm.

Jan 30-Feb 1 Celebration of Lakes (Chisago Lakes) | Winter family fun! The NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) Tournament Series National Qualifying Tournament is taking place on Sunday & a free Kids Ice Camp on Saturday. All kids in attendance receive free fishing rod and lunch. Most events will be happening on North Center Lake, including Wild River Snowmobile Club Radar Run, Kids Pro Ice, Sled Dogs, Kids Games, 5K Walk/Run, Medallion hunt, and more! All ages. Free unless otherwise noted. Schedule varies.

Jan 30-Feb 1 City of Lakes Loppet | The City of Lakes Loppet is a festival of cross country skiing and winter activities for the whole family. Events include Tradtional, Skate, and Skijoring loppets; fat tire, dogsled, and snowshoe loppets; Kubb tournament, fireworks, beer garden, and vendor village. All ages. Registration and fees required. Free to spectate. Schedule varies.

Jan 31 Luminary Loppet | This event is part of the City of Lakes Loppet festival. It is the most accessible event for the entire family to participate in. Enjoy a leisurely snowshoe or xc ski around Lakes of the Isles surrounded by thousands of luminaries. You will shush your way through the Enchanted Forest, Ice-cropolis, Ice-Henge, and Ice-ster Island. Participants receive cocoa and treats along the way, and are entitled to enjoy the Post-Luminary Party, featuring live music and more. And adult participants receive a free Surly Beer at the Loppet’s Big Tent. All Ages. Registration and fees required {filling fast}. 6 pm.

Jan 31 15th Annual Snow Day (Anoka) | Come out to Wargo Nature Center for a chance to try out winter activities including snowshoeing, ice fishing, kicksledding, crosscountry skiing, and winter crafts. Come play in the snow! All ages. Free. 1 pm - 4 pm.

Jan 31 Art Sled Rally | This is a mass sledding spectacle featuring the most artistic and ridiculous sleds careening down a Powderhorn Park hill. Participate or spectate! All ages. Free. 2 pm.

Jan 31-Feb 1 Winter on the Hill | Same event, hours, and fees as listed above.


Feb 1 Como Conservatory Music Under Glass | Beat the winter weather blahs inside the comfy confines of the Conservatory. Beer, wine, pop, and light snacks will be available to purchase. All ages. Free. 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm.

Feb 6 Oakdale Snowshoe, Sip, and Sample | Enjoy snowshoeing through the Oakdale Nature Preserve, lit by ice luminaries; relaxing by the outdoor bonfire and roasting marshmallows; and heading inside to try local food, wine, and beer samples by the fi replace. Price includes snowshoe rental and refreshments. Snowshoe lessons are also available. Although the website doesn't articulate, I would assume 21 and older. Registration required and fees of $34. 7 pm - 10 pm.

Feb 7 Wayzata Chilly Open | Winter can't stop Minnesota's golfing enthusiasts! Hundreds of of golfers come from all around with their golf clubs and hockey sticks to putt with tennis balls on the three, 9-hole courses carved out of ice. All-you-can-eat chili, music, and crazy costumes are all part of the fun! All ages. Registration and $40 fee required per golfer. Free to spectate. 10 am - 3 pm.

Feb 8 Como Conservatory Music Under Glass | Beat the winter weather blahs inside the comfy confines of the Conservatory. Beer, wine, pop, and light snacks will be available to purchase. All ages. Free. 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm.

Feb 16 A Scottish Ramble | Nothings cooler than kilts in February! Experience Scottish culture, music, and dancing at Landmark Center in Saint Paul. All ages. $6 adults, $4 kids and seniors. 11am-6pm.

Feb 21 Brine’s Frozen Bocce Ball Tournament | Come cheer on the fun during the Brines 23rd Annual Tournament in the parking lot behind Brines Restaurant & Bar downtown Stillwater along the St. Croix River. Adults only. Registration required. 10 am.

Feb 21 Carnaval Brasileiro | This year’s event will include an all-ages afternoon family matinee (with mask and instrument making, dance lessons, and face painting for kids).  The annual Carnaval, celebrated throughout Brazil, lasts nearly a week and has roots dating back to the 1700s.  Like Mardi Gras, Carnaval is an all-out party with music, masks, dancing, food and drink – a final blowout before Lenten traditions kick in for the Easter season.  Over 80 singers, drummers, samba dancers, and artisans will transform International Market Square into an authentically festive Brazilian cultural experience! All ages and 18 and up. Matinee fees {$10-15}. Masquerade fees {$15-75}. 3 pm - 2 am.

Feb 22 Como Conservatory Music Under Glass | Beat the winter weather blahs inside the comfy confines of the Conservatory. Beer, wine, pop, and light snacks will be available to purchase. All ages. Free. 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm.

Feb 22-27 Restaurant Week | Celebrate the best of Twin Cities dining with a week's worth of great deals in the Twin Cities trendiest and best restaurants. Participating restaurants will serve two course lunches for $10-$20 and three-course dinners for $15-$30. Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week started in 2007 in an effort to connect Twin Cities food enthusiasts with the best in Twin Cities dining. Since then, Restaurant Week has become a tradition embraced by Minnesotans.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day TC 5k | Time to get your heart racing! Join us at Lake Harriet for a the 30th annual Valentine's Day race, presented by Fleet Feet Marathon Sports! Run with your sweetie or sole mate. All ages. Registration and fees required. 10 am.

Cupid Undie Run | This Valentine’s Day weekend, come put the hilarity in charity with hundreds of half-naked runners taking to the streets in celebration of their fundraising for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Adult event. Registration and fees required. 11 am-4 pm.

Lyndale Farmstead Skating Party | Stop by the park and enjoy Valentine's Day festivities in the warming room! We'll provide hot beverages and valentine making supplies for all skaters! Enjoy the last of the skating season and take a valentine home to your sweetheart. All ages. Free. 3:30 pm-8:30 pm.

Theodore Wirth V-day Snowshoe | Looking for an outdoor adventure on Valentine's Day? Travel by sunset or moonlight through the park on snowshoes and go to areas seldom visited in winter. End your evening at the Wirth Pavilion where you'll warm up by the fire and make homemade hot chocolate. Meet at the Wirth Beach parking lot. Snowshoes provided. Dress for the weather. Winter boots are a must. Age 18 and older. Registration and fees required. 5 pm-7 pm.

Victorian Poetry Slam | Celebrate Valentine’s Day with classic poems of the 19th century performed in the elegant drawing room of the Hill House. Actors wearing 1890s eveningwear, will perform humorous and stirring poems including works by Dickinson, Poe, Longfellow, Browning and others. The poems deal with love, romance, temperance, sports, war and even James J. Hill. Audience members are invited to bring a short Victorian-inspired poem to read aloud. The one-hour program will be followed by light refreshments and tours of the Hill House. Varied fees $8-12. 7 pm.

Sweetheart X-Country Ski (Lake Elmo) | Grab your sweetheart and hit the trails for this cozy, torchlight adventure. Cocoa, coffee, and cookies will served. Live jazz music. And warm up by the bonfire. All ages. Free. Vehicle and County ski pass required. 6 pm-9 pm.

V-day Trails by Candlelight (Eagan) | Pick your passion for winter fun. Cross-country ski, hike, ice skate, and snowshoe by candlelight. Slide on the lit sledding hill and warm up by a roaring bonfire. Ski and snowshoe rental available. Bring your own sleds and ice skates. Dinner provided by food trucks, prices vary. All ages. Registration and fees {$8-10} required. 6 pm-9 pm.

Three Rivers Parks Valentines Programming |  Three Rivers is offering a variety of Valentine's events at various locations. Included are dinners, candlelit snowshoeing, and toasty treats. Find the event that fits you best. Don't delay! Some programs are already full! All ages. Varying fees.

Paint the Town Red | More than 30 independent shops, restaurants and lodging properties will join together to offer Valentine specials all weekend including  free romantic Carriage Rides along the St. Croix River on Friday and Saturday from 4-8 p.m. Carriage tickets can be picked up at businesses displaying a “Paint the Town Red” window sign or at any Stillwater lodging property. All ages. Free.

V-day Hot Metal Pour | Minnesota metal artists converge at Franconia during this outdoor iron pour that highlights the intriguing process of metal casting. Warm your hands over the bonfire and witness your own mold, created during the Scratch Block Workshop, be poured into
your own sculpture. All ages. Free. 12 pm-5 pm.
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