Events

Every Single Thing to Do in the Twin Cities This Winter

Published On 11/30/2016 Published On 11/30/2016
Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Saint Paul Winter Carnival | Teresa Boardman

Winter isn't exactly everyone’s favorite season... especially when it's sub-zero outside and getting ready to leave the house involves suiting up like the kid brother in A Christmas Story. However, this Minnesota winter isn't looking too shabby -- we've rounded up all of the events worthy of braving the chill. When you’ve mustered the courage to get out of your PJ's and power off Netflix, check out our top picks for not-too-freezing winter fun.

December
Holidazzle
Holidazzle | Dusty Hoskovec Photography via Holidazzle

December

Thursday
Dec 1
Stillwater
Walking in a winter wonderland takes on a new meaning this year with Ice Castles, a nationwide exhibit which comes to Stillwater this year. Frozen waterfalls, icicles, archways, tunnels, and caves make the perfect backdrop for a family Christmas card photo or an Instagram-worthy selfie.
Thursday - Tuesday
Dec 1-Feb 7
Saint Paul
Lace up those hockey (or figure) skates and glide along with the Saint Paul skyline as a backdrop. Right in the heart of downtown next to the historic Landmark Center, Wells Fargo Winter Skate offers free outdoor ice skating and free skate rentals (if you’re a Wells Fargo customer- otherwise it’s $4) for the whole family.
Thursday - Friday
Dec 1-23
Loring Park
Once a light parade and festival in downtown Minneapolis, Holidazzle was reborn in 2014 as a Loring Park event with family-friendly programming including visits with Santa Claus, fireworks, ice skating, and outdoor holiday movies. Now in its third year in Loring, Holidazzle is finally getting in a groove and finding a new audience through popular local vendors like Kramarczuk’s Sausages, Spyhouse Coffee, Fulton Brewery, and Faribault Woolen Mill Co.
Thursday - Friday
Dec 1-30
Guthrie Theater
After 42 years running at the Guthrie, A Christmas Carol is easily the most well-known holiday theatrical performance in town. Getting tickets can be tricky, but seeing a play at the Guthrie is always a special night and whoever you take certainly won’t think you’re a Scrooge.
Thursday - Sunday
Dec 1-Jan 29
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The arboretum is beautiful by day, but by night, Bruce Munro’s large- scale light exhibition will give the arboretum a whole new glow. Five outdoor and two indoor installations will transform the landscapes, gardens, water, and sky into works of art.
Saturday - Saturday
Dec 3-17
Minnesota Zoo
While we don’t know if there will be any reindeer, you can visit the zoo and get a Christmas-card-worthy photo of the kids (or yourself, or your friends) with Santa each Saturday in December. Other cold-weather animals like moose and caribou are usually out on the Northern Trail, and there are twice-daily penguin feedings too.
Saturday - Wednesday
Dec 3-7
American Swedish Institute
You know you want to keep toasty with Glogg, the warm, mulled wine that’s popular in Swedish culture. Order one and enjoy the ASI’s Lantern Lit Holiday Glogg Tours, which are a great way to see the historic Turnblad Mansion decked out in all its holiday splendor. Sip, shop the ASI store for Nordic gifts, and enjoy themed appetizers from FIKA.
Thursday - Saturday
Dec 8-31
Ordway Theater
Seeing a show at the Ordway is an experience in and of itself, but White Christmas, based on the Bing Crosby film of yore, is one of the most requested shows in the theater’s history. Whether or not we have a White Christmas remains to be seen, but inside the Ordway, the days will be merry and bright.
Thursday - Sunday
Dec 15-18
Pantages Theatre
On the Western Front during World War I, Christmas 1914 saw Allied and German troops stumble into an unbelievable truce, defying orders against fraternizing for one night only. In All Is Calm, Director Peter Rothstein and Theater Latte’ Da present this real-life story in a way that makes you look at the holiday in a different light.
January
Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Saint Paul Winter Carnival | Courtesy of Saint Paul Winter Carnival

January

Thursday - Friday
Jan 19-20
Orpheum Theatre
No soup for you this winter! Seinfeld’s 2017 tour stops at the Orpheum for two nights, where he’ll perform his signature stand-up and...yada yada.
Thursday - Sunday
Jan 26-29
Lake Nokomis
Watch hundreds of teams and thousands of players from all over the country -- and the world -- as they compete round-robin style for the coveted Golden Shovel at the 12th annual pond hockey tournament.
Thursday - Sunday
Jan 26-Feb 5
Saint Paul
More than 250,000 people attended The Saint Paul Winter Carnival last year, and for good reason. There are dozens of events, but the main ones include the Securian Winter Run, Grand Day Parade, Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival, and Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade. Rice Park is home to most of the events, including the intricately-carved ice sculptures on display, live entertainment, and great eats.
Friday - Sunday
Jan 27-29
Target Field
A Minnesota baseball tradition, TwinsFest provides fans with behind-the-scenes Target Field tours, player photo and autograph sessions, and memorabilia sales, as well as raising money for the Twins Community Fund. If you bleed navy blue and scarlet red, it’s also chance to bond with thousands of your fellow fans.
Saturday
Jan 28
Lake Harriet
There’s something stunning about colorful kites flying over a stark white landscape, and watching experts from the Minnesota Kite Society skillfully maneuvering them is pretty cool, too. Other festival activities include ice fishing, horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing, and a marshmallow roast.
Saturday - Sunday
Jan 28-29
Saint Paul RiverCentre
Whether you’re truly a crazy cat lady or you just want to do something different with your weekend, the Saintly City Cat Show is a sight to behold. Watch the fur fly as hundreds of felines from all over the country compete for titles.
February
Chocolate class
France 44 Chocolate Making Class | Courtesy of France 44 Wine & Spirits

February

Friday - Saturday
Feb 3-4
Saint Paul
It’s impossible to miss Red Bull Crashed Ice -- the nearly half-mile track wraps around the city, snaking from the Cathedral to downtown Saint Paul. The toughest skaters in the world compete on a massive ice track filled with drops, hairpin turns, and jumps at speeds of up to 50mph in a sport known as “ice cross downhill.” Red Bull Crashed Ice has been coming to the capital city since 2012, and watching extreme downhill skating against an urban backdrop is one of the most unique things you’ll see all winter.
Friday - Sunday
Feb 3-5
Uptown
The loppet -- better known as a cross country skiing festival -- returns to Uptown this year bigger and better than ever. You’ll find fireworks, point-to-point races, and a beer garden, but the big event is the Luminary Loppet, with luminaries lighting the Lake of the Isles as you ski, snowshoe, or walk on the trails surrounded by fire dancers, ice sculptures, and live music.
Tuesday - Sunday
Feb 7-12
Orpheum Theatre
The feel-good musical featuring ABBA’s greatest hits returns to the Orpheum for the eighth year in a row as part of its farewell tour. Escape to Greece for a few hours, and be prepared to hum “Dancing Queen” for the rest of the day.
Thursday
Feb 9
France 44 Cheese Shop, Edina
While known as a wine and cheese shop, don’t miss this chance to learn from France 44’s artisans about fine chocolates. They’ll do a chocolate tasting with drink pairings and provide purchase recommendations just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Saturday
Feb 11
Downtown Minneapolis
It’s billed as a “brief” run (1 mile) but a big party: Cupid’s Undie run returns as a benefit for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. While underwear is encouraged, it’s not required, so whatever your level of comfort, drop your pants and celebrate Valentine’s Day early for a good cause.
Tuesday
Feb 14
Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, Maple Plain
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a true Minnesotan twist. Enjoy a catered dinner with your sweetie in a romantic log cabin followed by a campfire and candlelit snowshoe walk through the woods.
Saturday
Feb 18
U.S. Bank Stadium
The 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross rumbles into the new U.S. Bank Stadium after a four-year hiatus. Look for some kick-ass off-roading as hometown hero and current supercross champ Ryan Dungey defends his title.
Friday
Feb 24
Orpheum Theatre
Comedian Jim Jefferies returns to the Orpheum with his super-popular and controversial standup tour following his recent Netflix special. Touch on topics from gun control to misogyny, you can expect the irreverent Aussie comedian to tickle your funny bone and invite some ire.

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Jenna Bennett is a writer for Thrillist who likes to spend Twin Cities winters ice-skating, snowshoeing, and watching Netflix with her cat. Check out her Twitter @jennasbennett.

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