It’s that time of year again: the daylight leaves us by 4 p.m., and the streets of the Twin Cities clear as everyone shuffles into the extensive skyway system to escape the bitter cold. While visitors might be shocked to see fat tire bikes trudging through piles of snow and the brave souls in shorts (shorts!) shoveling their driveways, true Minnesotans know that winter is just another challenge we aren’t afraid to defeat. So grab your favorite hot dish, throw on your millions of sweaters, and hit up one (or all) of these classic Minnesotan winter activities.
In other (weaker) states, farmers markets are a thing of the summer and fall. But in Minnesota, they’re a year-round festivity. Whether you’re shopping around for the perfect Christmas tree, wreaths, seasonal produce, or a cozy mug of hot chocolate, the Minneapolis and St. Paul farmers markets make for a fun outdoor adventure no matter the season (take that, Polar Vortex!).
Loring Park, Minneapolis
Through Dec. 22
Nothing says “winter in Minnesota” quite like Holidazzle. This year’s festival includes all the classic family holiday films, fireworks, a kids zone, interactive art and games, singing, and more. The perfect event for people of all ages, Holidazzle will give you something special to do whenever out-of-town family comes by for a visit.
BENTLEYVILLE TOUR OF LIGHTS
Through Dec. 26
Get in the holiday spirit with the largest free walk-through lighting display in the United States with the Bentleyville Tour of Lights! Located on the shores of Lake Superior, five million lights shine upon 20 acres of park land for visitors to stroll about. Expect some complimentary hot cocoa and roasted marshmallows, and kids will get a chance to meet Santa and his reindeer at Bentleyville.
RAGING ART ON
Gamut Gallery, Minneapolis
With more than 40 artists, Raging Art On at Minneapolis’ Gamut Gallery is a fun holiday pop-up shop perfect for every art lover. Back for its eighth year, the Raging Art On show will be open for three weeks and will feature all sorts of artsy gifts, from handmade apparel and jewelry to housewares and more. After all, there’s no better way to shop for your loved ones during the holidays than by perusing a bounty of local artists’ creations.
DESTINATION WINTER ST. PAUL
CHS Field, St. Paul
Dec. 6-Feb. 22, 2020
There’s nothing quite like wintertime in St. Paul. Skate the iconic outdoor rink while surrounded by twinkling lights at the annual Wells Fargo WinterSkate, take advantage of the abundance of snow at the Securian SuperSlide at CHS Field, enjoy the Greatest Day Parade with friends and family, and so much more. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, and heat lamps will be available to warm up between all of the winter fun.
ROXI MANACOOCHI’S CHRISTMAS CABARET
Who says Christmas isn’t for adults? Join Roxi Manacoochi’s Christmas Cabaret at LUSH for a night of your favorite holiday jingles, impressive choreography, costumes, and live vocals. This year’s costars are Paul Gutmann and the Aquanetts.
THE ROSE ACADEMY OF BURLESQUE STUDENT SHOWCASE
The Pourhouse Downtown, Minneapolis
Come celebrate the Roses in Bloom at the Rose Academy of Burlesque Student Showcase at the Pourhouse Downtown. Starring Shimmy LaRoux of Chicago and headmistress Deeva Rose and hosted by Foxy Tann, the showcase will leave you in awe of the Rose Academy students’ impressive performances.
Gooseberry Falls State Park, Two Harbors
Looking to appreciate the winter scenery outside of the cities? Head to Two Harbors (just outside of Duluth) for a peaceful walk through Gooseberry Falls State Park. The walk will feature history, nature, and geology with a stroll through the park and a conversation with a naturalist beside the fireplace at the Visitor Center. Hiking sticks, snowshoes, ski poles, and cleats are encouraged depending on weather conditions.
BENDELACREME & JINKX MONSOON: ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS ATTENTION
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
All hail the queens! Join BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon at their holiday extravaganza, All I Want For Christmas Is Attention. Between the songs and the eggnog, the two will surely be getting the attention they deserve. Seating is available as general admission (first come, first served) and Center Section VIP.
HOLIDAY IN THE HEARTLAND
Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis
With music by Har Mar Superstar, silent and live auctions, presentation of the annual One Heartland Heart of Hope Award, and more, the Dakota Jazz Club’s Holiday in the Heartland will get you in the holiday giving spirit. After being welcomed with champagne and a silent auction, guests will enjoy a dinner and program, followed by a live auction and closing remarks.
WWE TLC: TABLES, LADDERS & CHAIRS
Target Center, Minneapolis
WWE is returning to Minneapolis for its first Pay-Per-View in more than two years. The titular Tables, Ladders & Chairs matches will feature Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin, Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair vs. the Kabuki Warriors, and more. Card is subject to change.
CHRISTMAS AT HOGWARTS: HARRY POTTER DRAG TEA
The Lynhall, Minneapolis
$13 for tickets, $15-25 for tea menus
A Harry Potter-themed drag tea party is exactly what we never knew we needed until now. This child-friendly drag show will feature Joe Loney, Francis Reine, and Trixi Del Mar. Sip on some chamomile while drag Draco Malfoy shows you what really goes down at Hogwarts during Christmastime.
A MINNI XMAS
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Join BdotCroc, OKnice, Solana, Honee Jones, and DJ Nanobyte at 7th St. Entry for a not-so-traditional Christmas party. Tickets are available in advance for $10 or $12 on the day of the show.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE LIVE IN CONCERT
Minnesota Orchestra, Minneapolis
It’s officially Christmastime when It’s a Wonderful Life returns. Join the Minnesota Orchestra to view the classic holiday film accompanied live by the Minnesota Orchestra and the Minnesota Chorale. Don’t forget to bring a box of tissues!
SNOWTA NYE FESTIVAL
The Armory, Minneapolis
Make sure 2019 ends with a bang at the Snowta NYE Festival at The Armory in Minneapolis. Zeds Dead will headline on Dec. 30, and several performers including Doctor P, Big Gigantic, Zomboy, Juice Wrld, and several others will take the stage. A countdown set by Ganja White Night will be the perfect farewell to 2019 and hello to 2020.
MAMMA MIA! DRAG BRUNCH
Ticket prices TBA
Here we go again! What better way to ring in the new year than with a drag Meryl Streep? Join Flip Phone for another one of their famous Union Rooftop drag brunches. Sing along to your favorite Mamma Mia! hits with Sasha R Cassadine, Mercedes Iman Diamond, Lila Vera, and Jaidynn Dior Fierce of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Jan. 3-4, 2020
F1rst Wrestling brings the entertainment of pro wrestling without the price tag of pro wrestling. For just $27-35, you can snag a ticket to see Wrestlepalooza XVI at First Avenue. Start 2020 off right and enjoy some of the very best of Minnesota wrestling.
POLAR PLUNGE 2020
Jan. 17-March 19, 2020
Are you even a Minnesotan if you don’t willingly throw yourself into freezing cold water? Form a group or brave the chilly ice water solo, either way, there are plenty of Polar Plunges to choose from throughout Minnesota. If you don’t want to take the plunge (who can blame you?), you can also just make a donation; proceeds go the Special Olympics Minnesota.
Snake River Fur Post, Pine City
Jan. 18, 2020
Come to the Snake River Fur Post in Pine City for the Winter Frolic, an outdoor adventure featuring lessons about winter travel during the fur trade and activities like throwing a curling stone, a round of Ojibwe snow snake, and snowshoeing along two miles of trails. Warm up indoors next to the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate where you can learn about other historic games.
ART SHANTY PROJECTS
Bde Unma, Minneapolis
Jan. 18-Feb. 9, 2020
In Minnesota, we do just about everything on the ice. Which is why it’s not surprising that you can now meet and mingle with local artists on the frozen over lake of Bde Unma in Minneapolis. Art Shanty Projects supports the engagement between artists and their audiences to raise awareness of their projects and promote community involvement. Plus, it’s a memory in the making you and the family will cherish forever.
U.S. POND HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis
Jan. 23-26, 2020
It’s perhaps the biggest event in the State of Hockey: the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Since 2006, these championships have brought Minnesotans young and old together to celebrate the sport of hockey played the way nature intended: out on the pond!
SAINT PAUL WINTER CARNIVAL
Downtown St. Paul
Jan. 23-Feb 2, 2020
It’s the 134th year of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. That’s right, this St. Paul tradition started in 1886 and has only grown in popularity since. Known for its snow sculpting competitions, parades, food, games, and more, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival is a great way to get outdoors this winter… and more importantly, to enjoy it!
MINNEAPOLIS HOME AND REMODELING SHOW
U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Jan. 24-26, 2020
Whether you’re a home and interior design aficionado or you just want a $10 tour of the massive U.S. Bank Stadium (hey, no one’s judging), the Minneapolis Home and Remodeling Show is a unique way to get out of the cold this winter while still making the most of the season. With a whole slew of exhibitors, celebrity appearances, valuable tips, and more, the Minneapolis Home and Remodeling Show is perfect for anyone looking to remodel their home.
Target Field, Minneapolis
Jan. 24-25, 2020
Ticket prices TBA
Calling all Twins fans! TwinsFest 2020 is upon us. Presented by Kwik Trip, this celebration of all things Minnesota Twins is one of the largest fundraisers for the Twins Community Fund, which works to change the lives of kids across Twins Territory by getting them involved in youth baseball and softball. With fun and games and opportunities to meet the players, TwinsFest 2020 is great for the whole family.
WINTER ADVENTURE FAMILY DAY
Forest History Center, Grand Rapids
Jan. 25, 2020
When the family is feeling a little too cooped up at home during the winter, the Winter Adventure Family Day at Forest History Center is a great way to get outdoors and beat the winter blues. From snowshoeing and bullet sled rides to horse-drawn sleigh rides and snowball slingshots, there’s fun for everyone at Winter Adventure Family Day. Warm up with indoor wildlife presentations featuring live animals, music, games, and more.
LAKE HARRIET KITE FESTIVAL
Lake Harriet Park, Minneapolis
Jan. 25, 2020
Let’s go fly a kite! A great way to meet up with the rest of your community, the Lake Harriet Kite Festival will feature kites of all shapes, sizes, colors, and themes filling the sky above Lake Harriet. There will also be snowshoeing, ice fishing, and a marshmallow roast.
WINTER BALL 2020: THE ’20S ROAR AGAIN
Marriott City Center, Minneapolis
Feb. 1-2. 2020
Get your fellow flappers together and head to the Marriott City Center for Wishes & More’s Winter Ball 2020: The ’20s Roar Again. A celebration of 1920s glam and a welcome to 2020, the Winter Ball 2020 will be serving up some serious speakeasy vibes. From feathers and fringe to swinging and shimmying, this year’s Winter Ball will be one where anything goes.
FUR FLEE 13: GET LUCKY!
Barker’s Island Inn, Superior, WI
March 5-8, 2020
It’s time to try your luck at Fur Flee 13: Get Lucky! at Barker’s Island Inn in Superior, Wisconsin. Each Fur Flee attendee will get a starter roll of Fur Flee “bucks” to bet with in any of Barker’s Island Inn’s games. More of a cautious gambler? No problem! Everyone will have plenty of chances to blow their bucks at the big Saturday night finale.
MN ROLLER DERBY TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul
March 7, 2020
Join the Minnesota Roller Derby for its Season 16 Home Team Championships. The pre-show is still in the works, but if you get there early, you’ll receive a limited edition Minnesota Roller Derby T-shirt (available for the first 200 attendees). Stay for a good old fashioned derby party after the race (location TBA).