Ice Palace Maze in Stillwater

Minnesota Winter: A Guide to Snowy Cultural Festivities

You’re in for a frosty treat! Minnesota’s winter wonders aren’t just about braving the cold; they’re about embracing it with a flurry of cultural festivities.

Feel the thrill of the Holiday Light Shows, clash sticks at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, revel in the historic Saint Paul Winter Carnival, cheer on mushers at the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, and bask in the glow of The Great Northern Festival.

Get ready to experience Minnesota’s winter like never before!

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Holiday Light Shows

Each December, and let’s face it, November too, towns all over Minnesota light up the sky with Holiday Light Spectacles.

This magical time of year is perfect to head out and see some of these holiday light shows, each with millions of lights, lit to music. My favorite is always Glow in St Paul. It’s a holiday tradition!

In addition to the lights, you can also expect to find hot chocolate, carolers, sledding and so much more.

It’s a great way to ease into the holiday spirit and start to get excited for all things winter!

Glow Holiday Lights

U.S. Pond Hockey Championships

After soaking in the parade’s festive spirit, you’ll find that the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis offer an equally exhilarating blend of athleticism and tradition.

Watch teams battle it out on the shimmering ice. You’re not just a spectator; you’re a part of this storied event, where the spirit of hockey pulses like the heartbeat of winter itself.

Here, it’s about the love of the game, the sound of skates carving ice, and the puck gliding into makeshift goals.

You’re free to roam the snowy banks, cheer on your favorites, and revel in the joyous camaraderie that only a true Minnesotan winter can foster.

This event happens every January.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Continuing your winter adventure, you’ll next want to experience the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, a vibrant celebration brimming with ice sculptures, parades, and live entertainment.

Walk through a frosty wonderland, where skilled artists transform blocks of ice into shimmering masterpieces.

You’ll feel the buzz of excitement as you join the crowds lining the streets for the glittering parades.

Don’t just stand shivering on the sidelines—dive into the fun! Try your hand at ice skating, or savor the thrill of a snow slide. Take part in the beard-growing competition, Ice fishing, or even puzzle building.

This is the last weekend of January and the first weekend of February.

St Paul Winter Carnival

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

While you’re still buzzing from the energy of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, don’t miss the thrill of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

The race is a qualifier for the Ididertion.

Witness teams of mushers and their dogs racing across the snowy Minnesota landscape. This isn’t just a sport; it’s a testament to endurance, partnership, and the wild spirit that thrives in the heart of winter.

It’s a call to the wild, an echo of Minnesota’s storied past, and a celebration of the freedom found in the great outdoors.

Embrace the adventure, and let your soul run alongside the untamed energy of this iconic race the last weekend of January.

If you can’t make the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, you can’ also catch the Klondike Dog Debry in Excelsior, the first week of February.

Klondike Derby in Excelsior

The Great Northern Festival

As you leave the exhilaration of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon behind, you’ll find the Great Northern Festival offers a vibrant tapestry of art, music, and community events that celebrate the region’s wintry charm.

Bundle up and dive into a world where ice sculptures glisten under twinkling lights, and folk melodies mingle with the crisp night air.

Here, freedom means embracing the cold, turning breath into clouds, and laughter into echoes across snowy expanses.

With performing arts, outdoor activities, food, and drink, you’ll have a great time the last week of January.

Minnesota Winter

Looking for more fun things to do in Winter in Minnesota? Check out this list: 30 FUN Things To Do During Winter in Minnesota 2023

Embrace the Ice

Two great events happen every January through February, weather-dependent. They are the Ice Castle and Ice Maze.

Both use artist-inspired pathways to light up ice in ways you’ve never seen. These happen every year and are not to be missed.

In addition to the art, you can climb on an ice thrown and slide down fast. There is music, firepits, and even food to enjoy!

Here come the Ice Castles

Embrace Minnesota Winters

Wrap yourself in the magic of a Minnesota winter. The chill in the air is matched only by the warmth of vibrant festivities. You’ve reveled in the glittering Holiday Lights, cheered at the spirited Pond Hockey Championships, marveled at the icy artistry of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, and felt the pulse of the Beargrease sled dogs.

The Great Northern Festival capped your snowy adventure, leaving you with frost-kissed memories that’ll outlast the longest of winters.

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