Winter Events in the Twin Cities
Don't let the cold keep you from having fun! There's plenty to do around the Twin Cities in the middle of winter.
Photo by Teresa Boardman
By Claire Noack
Winter in Minnesota can be a pretty solitary experience. All you want to do is curl up with a blanket and hibernate for the next three months. It is called the “dead of winter” after all. But life does carry on, even in the coldest of temperatures, and the Twin Cities has great activities happening all winter long. You won't regret bundling up and checking out these entertaining winter events.
Wells Fargo Winter Skate
Now through February 5
Lace up your skates and enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink in the middle of downtown St. Paul. Free admission and views of the city create a fun winter outing for the whole family. Rent a pair of skates for only $4 (they only accept cash), or show your Wells Fargo debit card and receive a pair free of charge.
>>109 W. Fourth St., St. Paul
Stillwater Ice Castles
Now through March 31 (weather permitting)
While the awe-inspiring ice castle attraction will return to Minnesota at a new location, visitors will enjoy the same magical views. Head to Stillwater to take in the more than 10,000 icicles that are used every day to continually construct the growing ice castle. Upon entering the gigantic crystalline cave, visitors step into a new world and experience the beauty of the ice structures.
>>201 Water St., Stillwater
Winter Flower Show
January 7–March 12
The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory hosts its annual winter flower show in the indoor Sunken Garden at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Escape the cold weather and see the winter season come to life with a mixture of purple and red plants and flowers.
>>1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul
Saint Paul Winter Carnival
January 26–February 5
Downtown St. Paul's Rice Park hosts spectacular light displays, ice carvings and a mini ice palace complete with an icy throne. Check out other signature events throughout the city, including a snow park at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, the Securian Winter Run, the Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt, Disc Golf Ice Bowl, Autonomous Snowplow Competition, parades, food, live music and much more.
>>Various locations in St. Paul
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
Watch as hockey players from around the world embrace their childhood-like love of the game and compete for the ultimate pond hockey title. For the past seven years, thousands have braved the cold and gathered on frozen Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis to see who will get their names etched into the Golden Shovel trophy.
>>Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis
City of Lakes Loppet Festival
Check out the Twin Cities' spin on the Winter Olympics. Head to Uptown for cross-country skiing, speed skating, skijoring and fat tire bicycle races. Winter sports enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate in the games. Fireworks, food trucks, a beer garden courtesy of Surly Brewing Co. and much, much more fill this exciting weekend event.
Red Bull Crashed Ice
February 3 & 4
Red Bull's famous event comes to St. Paul for the second year in a row this February. Experience the exhilarating atmosphere as some of the world’s best skaters compete in ice cross downhill, the fastest sport on skates. Hundreds of thousands of spectators gather at the Cathedral of Saint Paul to watch the athletes skate down a mammoth track filled with twists, drops and gaps at speeds over 30 miles per hour.
>>239 Selby Ave., St. Paul
Warm up this winter at Minnesota's largest outdoor beer festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Enjoy samples from over 150 breweries as you take in live music and taste food from local food trucks.
>>1842 W. Dan Patch Ave., St. Paul