Explore the Excelsior Ice Castles
If you’ve been there/done that with St. Paul’s Winter Carnival, consider venturing further to Excelsior for their even more intense ice castle experience. As opposed to the former’s traditional, square-shaped construction with ice bricks, these ice castles are larger, more abstractly shaped, and ever-growing. Each one is created via an elaborate sprinkler system that makes over 20 million pounds of ice and grows an estimated 12,000 new icicles daily. The result is a fanciful, fairy-like design, which features grown-up play areas like caves and slides to explore, as well as entertainment such as fire shows and star-gazing parties. Better yet, ticket prices (you reserve an entrance time in advance) never top $16 on weekends, making this is an affordable date night option. Opening day is expected for January 11 -- dependent on when the weather gets cold enough, so remember to dress warmly. Oh, and build in some time to stroll through quaint downtown Excelsior to enjoy views of Lake Minnetonka while you’re there.