5 Illuminating Ideas for the Winter Solstice

Last updated on February 26th, 2018

Did you know there are two winter solstices a year? One for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern. This year, the solstice official time is at sunrise on December 21nd at 7:48 am. The day will be 6hrs and 51 minutes shorter than it was on the Summer Solstice in June. That is almost 7 hours less of daylight!

Are you getting a little depressed? I’m not! I’m actually excited. You have to know how to take advantage of our tilted earth and all its possibilities.

Here Are 5 Ways to Lighten up Your Winter Solstice:

1. Visit a Planetarium. If the weather cooperates, bring out your Telescope and check out the stars. If you don’t have a telescope, you can always rent one with the Minnesota Astronomical Society. They also have a few designated viewing areas just outside the cities.  If the weather is not cooperating, go to a planetarium. We have 3. The Como Planetarium in St. Paul, the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis, and the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium in Duluth.

StarGazing Winter Solstice


2. Go for a Christmas Light Tour. The earlier nights will give you a more time to see some of the amazing light displays are around town. The St. Paul Police Foundations Holiday of Lights is a great local destination. Or Kiwanis Holiday Lights display in Mankato is stunning.  

3. Check out Making Spirits Brighter at the MN Landscape Arboretum. This year the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a unique show of holiday lights featuring 6 different light up areas. It’s truly a magical experience. Check out my full post Making Spirits Brighter at the MN Landscape Arboretum for the full details.

Tunnel of lights at Baking Spirits Brighter at the MN Landscape Arboretum

4. Mark the occasion at the American Swedish Institute! Enjoy their winter courtyard’s bonfires and a performance by Impossible Salt. Enjoy a tour of the mansion and some family handcraft activities. Cost is $10 for Adults and $5 for Kids at the door. 

The Turnblad Mansion


5. Not everything about the winter solstice has to be at night. Because of the angle of the earth, your shadow will be extra-long. Take your kids out and get extra tall pictures. Or go into the forest and see what kinds of incredible shadows you can find.

Tree Shadows Winter Solstice

If you are still not excited about the thought of the longest night, don’t worry. December 21st also marks the date that we will reclaim more daylight each day. About 5 minutes each day! So hang in there. For those of you that love the night hours, what is your favorite PG to um let’s just say PG13 activity? Mine is movie night with the kids and some popcorn.

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The shortest day or the longest night. Either way you look at it, the earth is pretty cool. Check out some of these ideas for ways to take advantage of the Winter Solstice in the Twin Cities. They won't disappoint.

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