2016 Winter What To Do
Wells Fargo Winter Skate
Through February 7
$4 skate rental (free with Wells Fargo check card or credit card)
The historic Landmark Center creates a beautiful backdrop for the outdoor rink in the heart of downtown St. Paul. New this season, professional figure skating coaches will be on hand on select dates to help you learn some new moves or brush up on your basics.
Indoor Skating at The Depot
Milwaukee Road Depot, Minneapolis
Through March 6
$9 adults, $6 children, $7 skate rental
This indoor skating rink has a wall of glass offering views of the downtown skyline.
By day this frozen wonderland glimmers with glacial blues and frosty whites. After dark the ice formations glow multi-colored with the help of thousands of LED lights within the ice.
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Through March 20
Discover the sometimes quirky, always fascinating history of our seemingly commonplace suburban environment — from cars to cul de sacs, ranch houses to redlining, and malls to millennials. This exhibit is developed by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Winter Farmers Markets
Minneapolis and St. Paul
Through April 9
Retain the ability to shop locally through the winter! You will find a wide variety of meat items, cheese, honey, bakery goods, strudel, jams and jellies, pickled items, chocolates, mustard and hot sauces, peirogies, apples, and seasonal decorating items.
Out There 2016
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
January 7–January 30
$75 package for all four shows, $20 individually
Out There brings startling, vital, provocative, and often joyous new forms of theatrical expression to the Twin Cites. This year’s performances include The TEAM, Daniel Fish, Rabih Mroué, and Halory Goerger and Antoine Defoort.
Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul
January 8–March 3
$8 first film, 15% discount on additional films
Get a front-row seat to experience larger-than-life adventures! Omnifest 2016 will bring five big films — both new and favorites — to the Omnitheater’s giant screen. With a diverse film line-up that will appeal to all ages and interests, it is an ideal family destination this winter. Humpback Whales joins scientists as they uncover the secrets of some of the world’s largest mammals on their 10,000-mile annual migration; Mysteries of the Great Lakes is a glimpse at the majestic lake vistas that Minnesotans find in their own backyard; Forces of Nature lets you witness some of nature’s most awesome spectacles: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tornadoes; Jerusalem explores the intersection of science, history, and religion in this enigmatic city; and Tropical Rainforest is a Science Museum original production that takes you to Australia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, and Malaysia to explore rainforests’ long evolutions and recent dramatic declines.
Minnesota Regional Pole Competitions
Maplewood Community Center
$60 All-Access Pass
Pole and Performing Art invites you to the first Minnesota Pole Competitions! Enjoy two days of workshops, free seminars, free food, prizes, and amazing performances by competitors across the region. Competitive divisions include women’s, men’s, and doubles.
Nomad World Pub, Minneapolis
January 9, February 13, and March 12
A queer dance party held every second Saturday, this event is 21+. Although each event has different promotions and events, it’s always a queer dance party with DJ Girl Named Jane. Follow Grrrl Scout on Facebook to hear about what is going to make each event unique. Everyone is welcome.
“I Ride Park City” Rail Jam Series
Afton Alps, St. Croix River Valley
January 9, February 20
Join this fun three-week rail jam series, open to skiers and snowboarders of all ages. Weekly and series prizes will be awarded, plus one lucky competitor from the open category will win a grand prize trip to Park City, Utah! Participants need only to place in the top 5 of either the December or January open class events to be entered into the February finals. The top ten from the first two open class events will compete on February 20.
Figure Skating Frozen 5K
Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval
This unique event has never been done before! Skaters of all ages and levels will partake in a non-competitive, family friendly 5K skate. All participants will receive a Figure Skating Frozen 5K pom stocking hat, swag bag, participation medal, and a ticket voucher for the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul. Skate rentals will be available on site. Former U.S. champion and Stars on Ice cast member Ryan Bradley will make a special appearance acting as the honorary starter of the event.
Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul
January 16–February 13
$13 adults, $10 children museum admission
Now an annual four-part event series, Science Fusion focuses on the accomplishments of members of the Twin Cities’ African American, American Indian, Latino and Hispanic, and Asian American communities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Adults and kids alike will learn through interactive displays and presentations from scientists and educators at leading Twin Cities companies.
North West Fur Company Post, Pine City, MN
Shake off the winter blues by heading outdoors at the Fur Post. Visitors can learn about winter travel during the fur trade and join in activities like tossing a curling stone, playing a round of Ojibwe snow snake, or snowshoeing along two miles of trails. Guests can also relax indoors, enjoy a cup of cocoa before a blazing fire and watch the outdoors festivities from the visitor center.
Life Among the Dakota
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
Jane Williamson, an avid abolitionist born into a slave-owning southern family, traveled far from her South Carolina home to Minnesota where she spent the last fifty years of her life teaching and living among the Dakota Indians. Explore her record of life on the Dakota reservation before the war of 1862, which she described in candid, unexpurgated letters recently brought to light by historian Lois Glewwe.
History Happy Hour: Minnesota Breweries
Alexander Ramsay House, St. Paul
Have a beer with your friends at the Ramsey House while learning about the history of Minnesota breweries. Join Andrew Gieske, a certified beer judge and craft beer enthusiast, for a look at the past, present, and future of brewing in Minnesota. From the earliest breweries in the 1850s to the microbreweries of the 21st century, discover how brewing culture has changed over time and explore its impact upon the state. This program is for those 21 years and older. Ticket price includes two drinks, snacks, presentation, and time to mingle in the mansion.
11th Annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis
January 28–31 (updated date due to ice conditions)
$500-650 team registration
Players from around the world compete in the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Either register a team or just show up as a fan to support the great winter pastime.
2016 Saint Paul Winter Carnival
January 28– February 7
Varies by event
Featuring a Beer Dabbler, parades, disc golf, a cat show, treasure hunt, contests, fireworks and more, every member of the family is sure to find something they enjoy.
TCGSL Winter League
West St. Paul Sports Center
Starts January 28
The number of teams will be determined by the number of people interested. All teams will be in the same division. Teams will play 8 games (4 weeks of doubleheaders) with a day of playoffs at the end of the season. Depending on the number of teams there may be bye weeks in the season but all teams will still play 8 games. You do not need to be a past member of the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League to sign-up. You also do not need to find a team to be a part of the winter league. Just sign up as part of the free-agent pool and you will be drafted to a team.
Target Field, Minneapolis
$20 adults, $10 children
One of the largest team-run fan festivals in professional sports, TwinsFest provides Twins fans with exclusive and intimate baseball experiences throughout the course of the weekend. As the largest annual fundraiser for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund, TwinsFest will feature numerous new interactive activities and behind-the-scenes fan experiences that celebrate Twins baseball and Target Field.
Art Sled Rally
Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis
A mass sledding spectacle inspired by the history of mass winter events at Powderhorn Park that began around a hundred years ago.
Polar Bear Plunge
January 30–March 19
Raise a minimum of $75
A unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to raise money in support of Special Olympics athletes by jumping into frigid Minnesota waters.
City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival
Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Registration fee varies by event
The urban cross country ski festival presents winter activities for the whole family with events jam-packed into one weekend.
Schell’s Brewery Grounds, New Ulm, MN
An all-outdoor event on the grounds of Schell’s Brewery, featuring the release of the seasonal bock beer, with food and other drink. The Bock Fest Boys play all day, so come party with 5,000 other “festive” souls and head downtown afterward! Always held, no matter the weather, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., this events is only open to 21+, with most of the crowd between 25 and 45.
Maple Syrup 101
Forest History Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Learn how to tap sugar maple trees and make maple syrup. A local syrup producer will show how to tap the trees, collect sap, and perform a simple boil up to produce excellent syrup.
Coup d’etat, Minneapolis
February 12, March 11
The Vigilantease Collective is bringing the burlesque and drag elite back to Uptown for your favorite late night naughty hour! Make reservations for a late dinner, stay to watch the show, and then finish your evening with the post-show dance party. The cast will meet you on the dance floor to continue to bump-n-grind to the beats of Butch Dandy.
Twin Cities Leather Weekend 2016
The Saloon, Minneapolis
Join in the fun as this year’s panel of eight judges crown Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2016. The winner will join a line of six previous Mr. Twin Cities Leather titleholders, and an incredible group of international titleholders competing for International Mr. Leather (IML). The title of Mr. Twin Cities Leather is a celebration, to have fun and build community during the title year.
Valentine’s Day TC 5K
Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
$30 individual, $50 couple
Twin Cities in Motion presents the Twin Cities’ oldest winter running event. Open to couples and singles, “relationship status” backtags make the perfect icebreaker. Join the post-race party at Cooper Irish Pub for drink and appetizer specials.
Victorian Poetry Slam
James J. Hill House, St. Paul
Celebrate Valentine’s Day the old-fashioned way by enjoying classic 19th century poetry in the elegant drawing room of the James J. Hill House. Actors, wearing 1890s eveningwear, will perform a wide range of humorous and stirring poems by Emily Dickinson, Poe, Longfellow, Browning, and more dealing with love, romance, temperance, sports, and war. Audience members are also invited to bring a short Victorian poem to read aloud throughout the evening.
Minnesota Vikings Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally
The weekend’s festivities are scheduled to include: a youth football clinic, Polaris snowmobile lessons and adventures, Vikings meet-and-greets at local Duluth restaurants and Duluth Lawn & Sports and a party to conclude the weekend with over $30,000 in prizes to be given away. Benefitting the Vikings Children’s Fund, the three-day, family-friendly event will include appearances by current and former Minnesota Vikings players, as well as the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders.
Disney on Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!
Target Center, Minneapolis
Starting at $12
Audiences are invited to make an ordinary day extraordinary and enjoy some of the world’s most popular festivities, including a winter wonderland with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains, a Hawaiian luau with Lilo and Stitch, a Royal Ball with the Disney Princesses, a Very Merry Unbirthday Party and more in one action-packed and positively unforgettable celebration!
15th Annual Winterfest
Union Depot, St. Paul
$75 individual night, $135 two-night package
This craft beer sampling event celebrates beer brewed in Minnesota by the breweries and brew pubs that are current members of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. Chase out the winter chill with a multitude of Winter Warmers, hearty food, beer education, entertainment and music.
2016 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship
The sport of ice cross downhill (a mix of downhill skiing, skating, and roller derby) continues with a visit to St. Paul as the sport continues to grow in popularity with U.S. fans.
2016 Wishes & More Winter Ball
Marriott City Center, Minneapolis
The theme for 2016 is “Superheroes Go Glam.” Guests are encouraged to dress the part in your favorite costume or attend in black-tie style for a “Bruce Wayne Gala.” Join the fun for an evening of bidding, dining, dancing, and program showcasing wishes coming true for some of the littlest superheroes battling life-threatening conditions. Proceeds benefit Wishes & More, an organization which enhances the life of a child fighting a terminal or life-threatening condition by providing extraordinary experiences including wishes, scholarships, memorials and more.
Grumpy Old Men Festival
Fishing contest is $5 for adults, $3 for kids
Ice fishing contest, Ice Shacks n’ Plaid Parade, cribbage tournament, bingo, minnow races, Annual Grumpy Plunge, hotdish luncheon, and more.
Fur Flee 9
$85 registration fee, plus hotel
This year, the bears are channeling ancient Rome and Greece, with mythical gods, gladiators, satyrs, and nymphs taking center stage. For nine years now, Fur Flee has brought you the premier bear event of the upper midwest, which includes: private hotel with some 200 bears, an Italian and Greek wine tasting, and more. Saturday night erupts with the Mt. Vesuvius Dance Of The Gods. Outfit creativity counts here, think outside the bed-sheet box and come up with something lava hot!
Minnesota RollerGirls Championship
Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul
Cheer on the Minnesota RollerGirls as they fight for the championship. Don’t miss your chance to see who will raise the Golden Skate.
Cabin Fever Days
Winehaven Winery, Chisago City, MN
Got Cabin Fever? Here’s the cure! Go and taste some vintage selections that will be brought out of hibernation for this special event. This is the only event of the year where visitors can taste, and purchase, Winehaven’s classics that have been aging in the cellar for years. There is no fee for admission and reservations are not required.
18th Annual Subway Bedrace for Bridging
Buck Hill, Burnsville
Bedrace for Bridging was created in 1999 by local SUBWAY® Restaurants to raise awareness and funds for Bridging. Teams of four are invited to race down the tubing hill atop specially covered bed mattresses (provided at the race site). The event has grown from less than 20 teams racing down Buck Hill’s tubing slope, to an annual event that, since its inception, has raised more than a $500,000 to support families transitioning out of homelessness.
Duct Tape Derby
Mount Kato, Mankato
Build a sled of only cardboard, duct tape, zip ties, stickers, and paint — that’s all! Prizes are given out for the sled that goes the farthest, most unique sled, and the best all-kids sled. Spectators are welcome and encouraged! Mount Kato will have food and drinks on site, along with a toasty warm fire, so bring a whole group and make a day out of it!
Hot Dash 5K & 10 Mile
The Hot Dash 5K & 10 Mile is for tough Minnesotans to reward themselves for running through the winter and celebrate the great state of Minnesota with friends. Rock your “lumberjack” best or think creatively about how to best represent Minnesota! That’s right, judging for best lumberjack costume, Minnesotan, and winter beard competitions will take place at the event. Following the race, keep the fun going at the post-race beer garden.
Theodore Wirth Park
$10 snowboard pass
Featuring the first inner-city snowboard program, now with snow-making equipment, Theodore Wirth Park also plays host to cross-country skiing and sledding/tubing opportunities.
Frozen Minnehaha Falls
With a slight minty-blue tint, Minnehaha Falls is the perfect backdrop for some cold-weather selfies or just a glorious bit of nature to enjoy.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park
With over 12 miles of winter ski trails, the park also features special events open to the public such as candle-lit trails in the evening and nature scavenger hunts. After your fun in the snow, return to the visitors center for a cup of hot chocolate or spiced cider.