28 Things to do in MN during Winter

A Minnesota Winter | 28 Things To Do in the Twin Cities

Last updated on January 30th, 2019

For some, a Winter in Minnesota is one of dread. The blizzards, epic cold weather and of course road conditions. When I think of a Minnesota winter, I think of all the fun you can have on the snow. Like taking a sled or tube and hurtling down a hill at top speeds, building a snowman or having a snowball fight. Or warm up with a nice hot chocolate by the fireplace. Any way you enjoy the season, it is one of my favorite times to be in Minnesota. To get you into the spirit of winter, there are 28 different activities to keep you busy all season round.

28 Ideas to keep you busy this Minnesota Winter

Things to do Outdoors in Minnesota

  1. Ice Climbing. The Sandstone Ice Festival is celebrating its 13 years. Brave the elements and give it a try. You don’t have to wait for the festival to start climbing. Give it a try through REI and other outfitters.
  2. The fishing doesn’t stop when the lakes freeze over here, give Ice Fishing a try. The largest festival is held in Mille Lacs Fishing for Ducks competition with a grand prize of $20,000 in cash.
  3. Speed over the fresh snow by Snowmobiling. The DNR has a great list of trails to check out.
  4. Visit an Ice Castle. The ice castle in Minnesotaa just moved to Excelsior this year. The St. Paul Winter Carnival likes to create their own too but theirs you can just view from the outside.
  5. Glide across some fresh ice and go Ice Skating! Most cities have local rinks, but my favorite has to be in Roseville’s OVAL, Centennial Lakes in Edina, and of course Rice Park in St. Paul.
  6. Snow Shoeing around the Arboretum Trials or in a state park. Rentals are usually inexpensive or bring your own. You can also local nature centers offer rentals. Women in the Woods with Wine at the Dodge Nature Center
  7. Skiing the Slopes or even Snowboarding. Check out some of the best hills in Minnesota.
  8. Cross Country Ski around Minneapolis. Head out to a trial or rent a pair of skies and get a great workout.
  9. Watch the start of the John Beargrease Dog Sled Race in Duluth.  Or get into the spirit and try racing yourself with an outfitter.
  10. Jump into the ice for a good cause with the Polar Plunge. Its an experience you will never forget.
  11. Kick Sled – Kick around on the ice with a kick sleds. The Three Rivers Parks rentals them for only $5 an hour.
  12. It doesn’t matter the age; sledding is always a fun way to get down the hill. Here are some of the best hills in the twin cities: 10 of the Best Sledding Hills in the Twin Cities
  13. Zip Line about the trees with Kerfoot Canopy Tours. I’ve done their Brainerd trip during the summer and winter now sounds like something I need to try.
  14. Just because the snow falls, doesn’t mean you have to put away your bike. Put on your Fat Tires and hit the bike trails. Or take part in the Stupor Bowl race going on over the Super Bowl. The race is known only to the MPLS biking community and finding ‘Official Race’ info online is challenging, so good luck!
  15. Try Winter Camping. Many of the MN State Parks are open year round for camping. Here are a few that are open year round. If tenting it sounds too scary, think about renting a cabin.
  16. MN is filled with waterfalls, and when winter hits, they all freeze into something amazing. Check out 6 Stunning Waterfalls Near Minneapolis! Visiting them is always free.
  17. Not quite dog sledding but skiing either, try out Skijoring. If you are interested the IFSS World Cup is being held on Lake Calhoun this year.  It should be a fun race to watch. Or even better, Points Unknown offers you the chance to try it out.
  18. Visit an Ice bar with Social Ice in Rochester. It’s one of the biggest collections of outdoor bars in one location complete with music.

The Top MN Destinations You need to visit next

Things to do in Minnesota in Winter

  1. Stay in shape over the winter with Rock Climbing. Vertical Endeavors indoors is the best place to go.
  2. Visit some museums. My favorites are the Children’s Museum, the Science Museum of MN and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
  3. Get dressed up and check out one of our great Theaters. The Chanhassen Dinner Theater always has something playing as well as some shows right off of Broadway with the Hennepin Theater Trust.
  4. Spend a day at the Mall of America. From shopping to Sealife Aquarium to Nickelodeon Universe, there is something for everyone.
  5. Go on a Wine Tour. There may not be grapes on the vines anymore, but that doesn’t have to stop the fun. The Minnesota Wine Growers Association sells a wine passport that will help you get started. For $25 you’ll get ten free wine tastings and other great deals.
  6. Visit a Comedy Club. The Twin Cities attracts some of the best talents. Check out the best places to watch.
  7. Visit a place where it’s always 50 degrees, Niagara Cave.
  8. Don’t want to wait outside for amazing Food Truck delicacies, check out the Seventh Street Truck Park in St. Paul.
  9. The SPAM Museum is a must-see destination, and it’s completely free.
  10. The COMO Zoo Conservatory has blooms year round. Once you are done checking that out, make sure to visit some of the animals! It’s the only Free zoo in MN.

This is just to get you started off for your Minnesota Winter. There are tons more winter activities in MN that haven’t made our list. If you are planning to stay overnight, make sure to check out Expedia for some of the best rates on hotel stays. Always make sure to have a winter safety kit in your car whenever you travel this time of year. I recommend AAA’s 66-Piece Severe Weather Road Kit. Do you have any other winter traditions? Leave them in the comments.

Need some more inspiration, make sure to check out my other list of 28 Things to Do:

28 Things to do in Spring in Minnesota

28 Things to do in Summer in Minnesota

28 Things to do in Autumn in Minnesota

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  • Reply Jen from Field Trip Iowa December 26, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    We are thinking of taking a winter trip! THANKS for all the info 🙂

    • Reply Jenn December 28, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Anytime. Let me know if you are in the area, I’d love to plan an activity with you again!

  • Reply Aly Halbakken December 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I love visiting ice castles! Great ideas. Thank you!

    • Reply Jenn December 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      They are my favorite too. I’m hoping to make it to Stillwater this year to check it out. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Holly | Legally Crafty December 27, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve still yet to see a frozen waterfall here! Maybe this year!

    • Reply Jenn December 28, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      I heard that Minnehaha has frozen over already. Time to check it out!

  • Reply Sedona December 27, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Omg! After 22 years in Minnesota I still have never done half the things on this list. Can’t wait to try ?

    • Reply Jenn December 28, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I’ve haven’t done them all yet either and I’m going on 34 years, so you’ve got time! Enjoy your Winter exploring!

  • Reply Nina December 27, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    You had me at indoors! But a great list for indoor and outdoors! Will be sharing this.

    • Reply Jenn December 28, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Haha, it depends on how cold it is for me too Nina. Sometimes chilling inside watching a movie is my favorite activity when it gets below 0 out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Roxana Renteria January 7, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Great list! Do you have any activity suggestions for the Super Bowl week?

    • Reply Jenn January 8, 2018 at 8:23 am

      It depends on what you like. If you are wanting to stay in the cities, I’d check out Minnehaha Falls. It’s close to the action. It will probably be busy, but not as busy as downtown. You can also check out the Ice Castle in Stillwater or even head over to Centenial Lakes in Edina for some Ice Skating. If you want to stay indoors, the Museums are a great choice! Have a great time on your visit!

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