Whether you are new to Minnesota or have lived here all of your life, Minnesota winters can seem long and brutal (especially this week!) Being cooped up inside can take its toll on you, so instead of just suffering through winter, enjoy all the outdoor winter activities Minnesota has to offer.
Visit Ice Castles at the Mall of America
The Mall of America has constructed a 40-foot tall Ice Castle completely out of icicles. The Ice Castle spans over more than an acre of land and was made from 4 million gallons of water! You can view the castle from afar or walk through and explore all of the tunnels and archways. Visit the Ice Castle website to learn more.
Visit a Zoo
Both the Minnesota Zoo and Como Zoo are open during the winter. They each have a mixture of outdoor and indoor exhibits so you can warm up in the tropics after visiting the animals that thrive in the cold.
If you really want to do something crazy, then the Polar Plunge is for you! Throughout the state brave Minnesotans will gather to plunge into freezing cold water to help raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. In 2012, more than 14,000 participants took the plunge and raised more than $2.85 million for the cause. Visit the Polar Bear Plunge website to find the event nearest you.
Take a nature walk in one of the state parks
Minnesota has dozens of state parks and they are open during the winter. If you need some exercise or are tired of the city, take a walk around your nearest state park.
Go ice skating at Landmark Center
Every year, from November to the first weekend in February, St. Paul’s Landmark Center is enhanced with a charming, outdoor skating rink. The setting is beautiful and lit up with Christmas lights if you come for night skating Thursday – Saturday. Visit their website for hours and more information.
Go ice fishing
There is nothing more Minnesotan than ice fishing. Many lakes allow you to ice fish free of change, but if you are new to the sport or want to meet new people, click here for a listing of all the upcoming ice fishing events.
Play a winter sport
Get some friends together and play a couple of Minnesota’s most popular winter sports – broomball and boot hockey. If you need to know how to play, click here for broomball rules or here for boot hockey rules.
Igloos are not just for kids. In fact, many adults take igloo making very seriously and have created some artistic designs. Click here for directions on how to build a rainbow igloo.
Spend a day at the Winter Carnival
The St. Paul Winter Carnival is the nation’s oldest and largest winter festival. The event offers so many things to do and see including a treasure hunt, ice sculptures, and a parade. The carnival begins January 24th and goes through February 3rd.
Participate in one of the 6 S’s: snowboarding, skiing, sledding, snow tubing, snow shoeing, or skijoring
These six activities are vital to having an exciting winter. The DNR has put together a fantastic winter guide that helps you find the park nearest you that offers one or more of these activities.
Minnesota has so many opportunities for you to get out and enjoy winter, so pile on five or six layers of warm clothing and have some fun!